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November 20, 2019
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What Is Game Design from A Jr. Game Designers Eyes

by Atilla Kabakcioglu on 11/08/19 10:31:00 am

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Hello, first of all, I'd like to introduce myself shortly. I'm Atilla and I'm a jr. game designer. Maybe it is a bold decision to write here as a fresh game designer but I'd like to write about what it feels like, how it goes my journey in the hyper-casual world and so on. Another reason why I'm writing this blog post is I always read or watched "who is a game designer" from industry experts. But I never saw from the perspective of a jr. game designer who starts is their journey.

I always thought that the hyper-casual games were so easy to design. Because they are not complicated and therefore, so simple. But I was wrong. Because when I somehow managed to secure my job as a jr. game designer I realize that the world of hyper-casual games is so crucial. It is crucial because the hyper-casual market is really fast. As a designer, I have to think, design and act fast. What I learned from my experiences is, if you are or want to be a game designer in the hyper-casual market you always have to check your competitors daily (maybe hourly basis). Because when you find a mechanic, a feel, a pleasure that you can give to your players maybe someone is already done that.

And what I see is, when someone had a success with something copying that doesn't bring that much success to you. If you don't have a really good marketing budget, then it is mostly hard to succeed. As a game designer in a hyper-casual world (and in other genres) the first thing, a designer can capable of is "letting it go". Because when you attach some idea and say "I'm sure that it will be ground-breaking, will smash the charts" most of the time it isn't that good. I don't mean your idea is bad, I don't mean your design is useless. Please don't get me wrong, but what "amazing" to us can be "mediocre" for the others. Accepting this possibility is one of the greatest maturity that a game designer could have. Also accepting the possibility of making a mistake is one of the first things you should have in your mind kit immediately.

Probably one of the hardest things I've ever countered was making a clear, healthy communication with others. Believe me, it's not an easy thing to do. Because as a game designer, you have to communicate with the game artist, game developer, management and sometimes with the publisher. You have to express yourself clearly every time, but also not breaking their hearts. There can be a conflict from time to time, which is fine. You have to listen to others. Every idea is important and could change a lot.

As Ram Dass said:

"When you know how to listen, everybody is the guru."

 

By the way, give yourself some space. Because no one, literally no one, could think everything at once. When you try to think everything at once, it will collapse. To me, going step by step is always better than thinking about everything. 

Back to hyper-casual, as I said this genre is so fast. One day, rolling a ball on the nose is popular but after a week no one wants to roll a ball on their nose. There are no "secret formulas" for being succeeded. Of course, the power of the advertisement gives you a really good boost. But when you have a good game you can always market it on social media for free (or for a really small fee).

Sorry to say that but, you will fail. A lot. I'm not saying this to discourage you. Having a failure is not the end of the world, because you will learn from your mistakes. As I said previously, maybe the game that you designed recently is a chart-smasher for you but other people could have other plans. 

One of the biggest misconceptions that I saw is, don't be a game designer just because you can't code and just want to be in the game industry. The reason why I'm saying this is simple, designing games from scratch isn't an easy business to do. Most of the time it may be nervous and could overwhelm you. Because being a game designer is a 7/24 job. After a while when you play games, watching a movie, meeting with your friends everything becomes a mechanic, a system, a feel that you can use in your games. Your brain starts to work differently and you start analyzing everything in your life that you encountered.

Accepting criticism is crucial. When you put an idea, design a system or just make a small change in the game some people would not like that. So when they tell you they didn't like what you made, don't be upset or angry. Because this is normal, not everything you made makes everyone happy. Not everyone looks at the world from the perspective you look, so they may not feel your creative work. 

When you start to game design always improve yourself. Learning game engines, having basic code knowledge, knowing how a level can design can help you a lot. Maybe designing levels is level designers job and game developer should code, and you are right to think like that. But game design is at the center of all of those things. When you know these kinds of things, you'll start to know your limits. Having a piece of knowledge for the game engines, level design, art, psychology, and code makes your designs much more consistent and stable. Also, when you have basic knowledge in these fields, you can communicate with your coworkers much more easily. You can understand where they stuck or what their problem is so you can solve them together.

As I said, I never intend to discourage anyone. Game design is a beautiful thing to do. But beauty comes with the price. I know most of my writings are like a rulebook or guideline but I just wanted to share my experiences and perspective with you. 


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