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Video game
Video game
design is the process of designing the content and rules of a video game in the pre-production stage[1] and designing the gameplay, environment, storyline, and characters in the production stage. The designer of a game is very much like the director of a film; the designer is the visionary of the game and controls the artistic and technical elements of the game in fulfillment of their vision.[2] Video game
Video game
design requires artistic and technical competence as well as writing skills.[3] As the industry has aged and embraced alternative production methodologies such as agile, the role of a principal game designer has begun to separate - some studios emphasising the auteur model while others emphasising a more team oriented model. Within the video game industry, video game design is usually just referred to as "game design", which is a more general term elsewhere. Video game
Video game
programmers have also sometimes comprised the entire design team. This is the case of such noted designers as Sid Meier, John Romero, Chris Sawyer and Will Wright. A notable exception to this policy was Coleco, which from its very start separated the function of design and programming. As games became more complex and computers and consoles became more powerful, the job of the game designer became separate from the lead programmer. Soon game complexity demanded team members focused on game design. Many early veterans chose the game design path eschewing programming and delegating those tasks to others. With very complex games, such as MMORPGs, or a big budget action or sports title, designers may number in the dozens. In these cases, there are generally one or two principal designers and many junior designers who specify subsets or subsystems of the game. In larger companies like Electronic Arts, each aspect of the game (control, level design) may have a separate producer, lead designer and several general designers. They may also come up with a plot for the game.

Contents

1 Overview 2 Game
Game
designer

2.1 Compensation

3 Disciplines

3.1 World design 3.2 System
System
design 3.3 Content design 3.4 Game
Game
writing 3.5 Level design 3.6 User interface design 3.7 Audio design 3.8 Game
Game
feel

4 Game
Game
elements

4.1 Narrative 4.2 Gameplay

5 Design
Design
process 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Overview[edit] See also: Game
Game
design Video game
Video game
design starts with an idea,[4][5][6][7] often a modification on an existing concept.[4][8] The game idea may fall within one or several genres. Designers often experiment with mixing genres.[9][10] The game designer usually produces an initial game proposal document containing the concept, gameplay, feature list, setting and story, target audience, requirements and schedule, staff and budget estimates.[11] Many decisions are made during the course of a game's development about the game's design; it is the responsibility of the designer to decide which elements will be implemented, based on, for example, consistency with the game's vision, budget or hardware limitations.[12] Design
Design
changes may have a significant positive or negative impact on required resources.[13] The designer may use scripting languages to implement and preview design ideas without necessarily modifying the game's codebase.[14][15] A game designer often plays video games and demos to follow the game market development.[16] It is common for the game designer's name to misleadingly be given an undue amount of association to the game, neglecting the rest of the development team.[17] Funding game publishers must be taken into account, who may have specific expectations from a game[18] as most video games are market-driven — developed to sell for profit.[19] However, if financial issues do not influence designer's decisions, the game becomes design- or designer-driven; few games are designed this way because of lack of funding.[20] Alternatively, a game may be technology-driven, such as Quake (1996),[21] to show off a particular hardware achievement or to market the game engine.[21] Finally, a game may be art-driven, such as Myst
Myst
(1993),[22] mainly to show off impressive visuals designed by artists.[22] In Rules of Play (2004), Katie Salen
Katie Salen
and Eric Zimmermann write:

“ A game designer is a particular kind of designer, much like a graphic designer, industrial designer, or architect. A game designer is not necessarily a programmer, visual designer, or project manager, although sometimes he or she can also play these roles in the creation of a game. A game designer might work alone or as part of a larger team. A game designer might create card games, social games, video games, or any other kind of game. The focus of a game designer is designing game play, conceiving and designing rules and structures that result in an experience for players. Thus game design, as a discipline, requires a focus on games in and of themselves. Rather than placing games in the service of another field such as sociology, literary criticism, or computer science, our aim is to study games within their own disciplinary space. Because game design is an emerging discipline, we often borrow from other areas of knowledge — from mathematics and cognitive science; from semiotics and cultural studies. We may not borrow in the most orthodox manner, but we do so in the service of helping to establish a field of game design proper.

Game
Game
designer[edit] A game designer is a person who designs gameplay, conceiving and designing the rules and structure of a game.[23][24][25] Many designers start their career in testing departments, other roles in game development or in classroom conditions,[26] where mistakes by others can be seen first-hand.[27]

Lead designer coordinates the work of other designers and is the main visionary of the game.[28][29] Lead designer ensures team communication, makes large design decisions, and presents design outside of the team.[30] Often the lead designer is technically and artistically astute.[31] Keeping well-presented documentation also falls within the lead designer responsibilities.[32] Lead designer may be the founder of a game development company or a promoted employee. Game
Game
mechanics designer or systems designer designs and balances the game's rules.[29] Level designer
Level designer
or environment designer is a position becoming prominent in the recent years.[17] Level designer
Level designer
is the person responsible for creating game environment, levels, and missions.[33][34][35][36]

Compensation[edit] In 2010, a game designer with more than six years of experience earned an average of US$65,000 (GBP GB£44,761.22), $54,000 (GBP £37,186.24) with three to six years of experience and $44,000 (GBP £30,299.90) with less than 3 years of experience. Lead designers earned $75,000 (GBP £51,647.56) with three to six years of experience and $95,000(GBP £65,420.24) with more than six years of experience.[37] In 2013, a game designer with less than 3 years of experience earned, on average, $55,000 (GBP £37,874.88). A game designer with more than 6 years of experience made, on average, $105,000 (GBP £72,306.58). The average salary of these designers varies depending on their region.[38] As of 2015 the salary of experienced workers has shifted to approximately $87,000 USD (GBP £59,911.17) [39] Disciplines[edit] World design[edit] World design is the creation of a backstory, setting, and theme for the game; often done by a lead designer. [40] World design can also be the creation of a universe or a map, as well as topics or areas that are likely to be pursued by the player. It is a map referenced for creation of everything as it shows where it is and allows for the most logistical design in any given game.[citation needed] System
System
design[edit] System
System
design is the creation of game rules and underlying mathematical patterns.[40] Content design[edit] Content design is the creation of characters, items, puzzles, and missions.[40] A secondary definition of Content design is the creation of any aspect of the game that is not required for the game to function properly and meet the minimum viable product standard. In essence, content is the complexity added to a minimum viable product to increase its value. An example of this is the item list from Final Fantasy. None of the items are necessary for the game to function, but they add value and complexity to the game as a whole. Game
Game
writing[edit] Main article: Video game
Video game
writing Game
Game
writing involves writing dialogue, text, and story.[40] Writing in games also includes the elements in which the literature is presented. Voice acting, text, and music are all elements of game writing. Level design[edit] Main article: Level design Level design
Level design
is the construction of world levels and its features.[33][34][35][40] Level design
Level design
makes use of many different fields to create a game world. Lighting, space, framing, color and contrast are used to draw a player's attention. A designer can then use these elements to guide or direct the player in a specific direction through the game world, or mislead them User interface design[edit] User interface (UI) design deals with the construction the user interactions and feedback interface, like menus or heads-up displays.[40] The user interface also incorporates game mechanics design. Deciding how much information to give the player and in what way allows the designer to inform the player about the world, or perhaps leave them uninformed. Another aspect to consider is the method of input a game will use and deciding to what degree a player can interact with a game with these inputs. These choices have a profound effect on the mood of the game, as it directly affects the player in both noticeable and subtle ways. User interface design
User interface design
in video games has unique goals. A conscious decision has to be made regarding the amount of information to relay to the player. However, the UI in games do not have to be absolutely streamlined. Players expect challenges and are willing to accept them as long as the experience is sufficiently rewarding. By the same token, navigating or interaction with a game's UI can be satisfying without the need to be effortless.[41] Audio design[edit] Audio design involves the process of creating or incorporating all of the sounds that are in the game, like sound effects or voice acting.[citation needed] Game
Game
feel[edit] The disciplines listed above all combine to form the discipline of game feel. Game
Game
elements[edit] Narrative[edit] Further information: Narrative designer Numerous games have narrative elements which give a context to an event in a game, making the activity of playing it less abstract and enhance its entertainment value, although narrative elements are not always clearly present or present at all. The original version of Tetris
Tetris
is an example of a game apparently without narrative. Some[who?] narratologists claim that all games have a narrative element. Some go further and claim that games are essentially a form of narrative. Narrative in practice can be the starting point for the development of a game, or can be added to a design that started as a set of game mechanics.[citation needed] Gameplay[edit] Further information: Gameplay Gameplay
Gameplay
is the interactive aspects of video game design. Gameplay involves player interaction with the game, usually for the purpose of entertainment, education or training. Design
Design
process[edit] The design process varies from designer to designer and companies have different formal procedures and philosophies.[42] The typical "textbook" approach is to start with a concept or a previously completed game and from there create a game design document.[citation needed] This document is intended to map out the complete game design and acts as a central resource for the development team. This document should ideally be updated as the game evolves throughout the production process. Designers are frequently expected to adapt to multiple roles of widely varying nature: For example, concept prototyping can be assisted with the use of pre-existing engines and tools like Game
Game
Maker, Unity, Godot, or Construct. Level designs might be done first on paper and again for the game engine using a 3D modelling tool. Scripting languages are used for many elements—AI, cutscenes, GUI, environmental processes, and many other behaviours and effects—that designers would want to tune without a programmer's assistance. Setting, story and character concepts require a research and writing process. Designers may oversee focus testing, write up art and audio asset lists, and write game documentation. In addition to the skillset, designers are ideally clear communicators with attention to detail and ability to delegate responsibilities appropriately.[citation needed] Design
Design
approval[clarification needed] in the commercial setting is a continuous process from the earliest stages until the game ships. When a new project is being discussed (either internally, or as a result of dialogue with potential publishers), the designer may be asked to write a sell-sheet of short concepts, followed by a one or two-page pitch of specific features, audience, platform, and other details. Designers will first meet with leads in other departments to establish agreement on the feasibility of the game given the available time, scope, and budget. If the pitch is approved, early milestones focus on the creation of a fleshed-out design document. Some developers advocate a prototyping phase before the design document is written to experiment with new ideas before they become part of the design.[original research?] As production progresses, designers are asked to make frequent decisions about elements missing from the design. The consequences of these decisions are hard to predict and often can only be determined after creating the full implementation. These are referred to as the unknowns of the design, and the faster they are uncovered, the less risk the team faces later in the production process. Outside factors such as budget cuts or changes in milestone expectations also result in cuts to the design, and while overly large cuts can take the heart out of a project, cuts can also result in a streamlined design with only the essential features, polished well.[original research?] Towards the end of production, designers take the brunt of responsibility for ensuring that the gameplay remains at a uniform standard throughout the game, even in very long games. This task is made more difficult under "crunch" conditions, as the entire team may begin to lose sight of the core gameplay once pressured to hit a date for a finished and bug-free game.[original research?] See also[edit]

Game
Game
development portal

List of video game designers List of video gaming topics List of books about video games First playable demo Educational game design

References[edit]

^ Brathwaite, Schreiber 2009, p. 2 ^ The Making of a Great Modern Game
Game
Designer
Designer
Glassner, Andrew. Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. ^ Adams, Rollings 2003, pp. 20, 22-25 ^ a b Bates 2004, p. 3 ^ Adams, Rollings 2003, pp. 29-30 ^ Bethke 2003, p. 75 ^ Chandler 2009, p. 3 ^ Adams, Rollings 2003, pp. 31-33 ^ Bates 2004, p. 6 ^ Oxland 2004, p. 25 ^ Bates 2004, pp. 14-16 ^ Bates 2004, p. 160 ^ Bates 2004, pp. 160-161 ^ Bates 2004, p. 161 ^ Oxland 2004, pp. 297-298 ^ Bates 2004, pp. 161-162 ^ a b Bates 2004, p. 162 ^ Bates 2004, p. 12 ^ Adams, Rollings 2003, pp. 47-48 ^ Adams, Rollings 2003, pp. 48-49 ^ a b Adams, Rollings 2003, p. 51 ^ a b Adams, Rollings 2003, p. 52 ^ Salem, Zimmerman 2003 ^ Oxland 2004, p. 292 ^ Moore, Novak 2010, p. 74 ^ "Formal tuition in video game design" ^ Bates 2004, p. 179 ^ Oxland 2004, pp. 292-296 ^ a b Bethke 2003, p. 40 ^ Oxland 2004, pp. 293-294 ^ Oxland 2004, pp. 294, 295 ^ Oxland 2004, pp. 295-296 ^ a b Moore, Novak 2010, p. 76 ^ a b Shahrani 2006, part I ^ a b Oxland 2004, pp. 296-297 ^ Bethke 2003, pp. 40-41 ^ Fleming, Jeffrey (April 2008). "9th Annual Salary Survey". Game Developer. United Business Media. 17 (4): 8.  ^ "Top Gaming Studios, Schools & Salaries". Big Fish Games. ^ http://www.indeed.com/salary/Game-Designer.html ^ a b c d e f Brathwaite, Schreiber 2009, p. 5 ^ G, Luis Miguel Bello (2017-09-25). " Design
Design
principles face-off: UX versus Game
Game
Design". Luis Miguel Bello G. Retrieved 2017-12-04.  ^ Bates 2004, p. 151

Adams, Ernest; Rollings, Andrew (2003). Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on game design. New Riders Publishing. ISBN 1-59273-001-9.  Bates, Bob (2004). Game
Game
Design
Design
(2nd ed.). Thomson Course Technology. ISBN 1-59200-493-8.  Bethke, Erik (2003). Game
Game
development and production. Texas: Wordware Publishing, Inc. ISBN 1-55622-951-8.  Brathwaite, Brenda; Schreiber, Ian (2009). Challenges for Game Designers. Charles River Media. ISBN 1-58450-580-X.  Moore, Michael E.; Novak, Jeannie (2010). Game
Game
Industry Career Guide. Delmar: Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-1-4283-7647-2.  Oxland, Kevin (2004). Gameplay
Gameplay
and design. Addison Wesley. ISBN 0-321-20467-0.  Salen, Katie; Zimmerman, Eric (2003). Rules of Play: Game
Game
Design Fundamentals. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-24045-9.  Shahrani, Sam (April 25, 2006). "Educational Feature: A History and Analysis of Level Design
Design
in 3D Computer Games". Archived from the original on 2009-04-22. Retrieved 29 March 2010. 

External links[edit]

Wikiversity has learning resources about School: Game
Game
design

Game design
Game design
veteran Tom Sloper's game biz advice, including lessons on game design ACM Queue article " Game
Game
Development: Harder Than You Think" by Jonathan Blow The Art of Computer Game
Game
Design
Design
by Chris Crawford Game design
Game design
at Curlie (based on DMOZ) Example Game
Game
Design
Design
Document by Chris Taylor "So You Wanna Be a Game
Game
Designer" at GameSpot The Designer
Designer
at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
(archived January 7, 2008) at Eurocom The Philosophy of Game
Game
Design
Design
(part 1) at The Escapist GDP2: Game
Game
Designs and Game
Game
Design
Design
Patterns collection hosted by Interactive Institute The Chemistry Of Game
Game
Design
Design
at Gamasutra - by Daniel Cook Daniel Cook: Game
Game
Design
Design
Theory I Wish I had Known When I Started video from YouTube Hunger games (January 2015). "A new wave of videogames offers lessons in powerlessness, scarcity and inevitable failure. What makes them so compelling?" Will Wiles, Aeon

v t e

Design

Outline Portal Designer

Disciplines

Communication design

Advertising Book design Corporate design Exhibit design Film title design Graphic design

Motion Postage stamp design Print design

Illustration Information design Instructional design News design Photography Retail design Signage / Traffic sign design Typography / Type design Video design Visual merchandising

Environmental design

Architecture Architectural lighting design Building design

Passive solar

Ecological design Environmental impact design Garden design

Computer-aided

Healthy community design Hotel design Interior architecture Interior design

EID

Keyline design Landscape architecture

Sustainable

Landscape design Spatial design Urban design

Industrial design

Automotive design Automotive suspension design CMF design Corrugated box design Electric guitar design Furniture
Furniture
design

Sustainable

Hardware interface design Motorcycle design Packaging and labeling Photographic lens design Product design Production design Sensory design Service design

Interaction design

Experience design

EED

Game
Game
design

Level design Video game
Video game
design

Hardware interface design Icon design Immersive design Information design Sonic interaction design User experience design User interface design Web design

Other applied arts

Public art
Public art
design Ceramic / glass design Fashion design

Costume design Jewelry design

Floral design Game
Game
art design Property design Scenic design Sound design Stage/set lighting design Textile design

Other design & engineering

Algorithm design Boiler design Conceptual design Database design Drug design Electrical system design Experimental design Filter design Job design Integrated circuit design

Circuit design Physical design Power network design

Mechanism design Nuclear weapon design Nucleic acid design Organization design Process design Processor design Protein design Research design Social design Software design Spacecraft design Strategic design Systems design

Approaches

Activity-centered Adaptive web Affective Brainstorming By committee By contract C-K theory Closure Co-design Concept-oriented Configuration Contextual Continuous Cradle-to-cradle Creative problem-solving Creativity techniques Critical

Design
Design
fiction

Defensive Design–bid–build Design–build

architect-led

Domain-driven Ecodesign Energy neutral Engineering
Engineering
design process

Probabilistic design

Error-tolerant Fault-tolerant Framework-oriented For assembly For behaviour change For manufacturability For Six Sigma For testing For X Functional Generative Geodesign High-level Integrated Integrated topside Intelligence-based Iterative KISS principle Low-level Metadesign Mind mapping Modular New Wave Object-oriented Open Parametric Participatory Platform-based Policy-based Process-centered Public interest Rational Regenerative Reliability engineering Research-based Responsibility-driven RWD Safe-life Sustainable Systemic

SOD

Tableless web Theory of constraints Top-down and bottom-up Transformation Transgenerational TRIZ Universal

Design
Design
for All

Usage-centered Use-centered User-centered

Empathic

User innovation Value-driven Value sensitive

Privacy by

Design
Design
choice computing controls flow leadership management marker methods pattern research science strategy theory thinking

Tools Intellectual property Organizations Awards

Tools

AAD Architectural model Blueprint Comprehensive layout CAD

CAID Virtual home design software

CAutoD Design
Design
quality indicator Electronic design automation Flowchart Mockup Product design
Product design
specification Prototype Sketch Storyboard Technical drawing Web design
Web design
program Website wireframe

Intellectual property

Community design Design
Design
around Design
Design
patent Fashion design
Fashion design
copyright Geschmacksmuster Industrial design
Industrial design
rights

European Union

Organizations

AIGA Chartered Society of Designers Design
Design
and Industries Association Design
Design
Council International Forum Design The Design
Design
Society Design
Design
Research Society

Awards

European Design
Design
Award German Design
Design
Award Good Design
Design
Award (Chicago) Good Design
Design
Award (Japan) Graphex IF product design award James Dyson Award Prince Philip Designers Prize

Related topics

Aesthetics Agile Concept art Creative industries Cultural icon .design Enterprise architecture Futures studies Innovation Management Intelligent design Lean Startup New product development OODA Loop Philosophy of design Process simulation Slow design STEAM fields Unintelligent design Visualization Wicked problem

Design
Design
brief change classic director education elements and principles engineer firm history knowledge language life load museum paradigm rationale review specification studio technology

Commons Wikibooks Wikinews Wikiquote Wikisource Wiktionary

v t e

Game design
Game design
elements

Subjects relating to game design, video game design, game studies, gameplay and game mechanics

Concepts

Balance Game
Game
theory Interactivity Lusory attitude Magic circle Meaningful play

Rules

Action point Build order Continue Difficulty level Experience point Game
Game
over Health Kingmaker scenario Magic point Permanent death Point of no return Probability of kill Score Six degrees of freedom Technology tree Unwinnable

Modes

Attract mode Bonus stage CPU vs. CPU Capture the flag Conquest Cooperative gameplay Deathmatch Game
Game
replay Hotseat King of the hill Last man standing Multiplayer New Game
Game
Plus Nonlinear gameplay Player versus environment Player versus player Real-time vs. turn-based gameplay Single-player Sudden death Time attack Time trial Turn-based game

Systems

Character creation Dialog tree Dynamic game difficulty balancing Gold sink Instance dungeon Leveled gameplay Monster infighting Minigame Puzzle Quicksaving Quick Time Event Random dungeon Random encounter Role-playing battle systems Saved game Spawning Spawn point Virtual economy

Activities

Combo Double jump Finishing move Frag Grind Headshot Looting Macromanagement Micromanagement Quest Raid Special
Special
attack Syntax guessing Timesink Twitch gameplay Wall jump

Behavior

Actions per minute Button mashing Bunny hopping Camping Cheating Circle strafing Crowd control Griefer Kill stealing Kiting Maphack Min-maxing Ogging Online creation Powergaming Rocket jumping Respecing Rush Sequence breaking Spam Speedrun Power spike Spray and pray Strafe-jumping Straferunning Tank Tap Team killing Tool-assisted speedrun Trickjump Turtle Twinking Wallhacking

Items

1-up Hitscan Magic satchel Nuke Power-up

Effects

Buff Cooldown Critical hit Damage over time Damage per second Splash damage Status effect

Feedback

Automap Cutscene Fog of war Ghost Gibs HUD Mini-map Overworld

Characters

Artificial Intelligence Avatar Boss Bot Mob Non-player character Paper doll Player character Super move Win quote

Environment

Invisible wall Level Line of sight Open worl

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