“How does a game designer start?” - Step By Step vol.1

  • Tutorial

Good day, readers!

If you are determined to develop games, you probably know what to do if you are:
concept artist, video editor, special effects artist, sound engineer, coder, interface designer, network specialist, and so on.

But how to be a game designer? What is the minimum he needs to have in order to do his job? Where to begin?

The most important

The game designer is not taught.
Such a specialty does not officially exist and there are no diplomas (at universities, so far, if you have information about this, share in the comments)
Yes, there are many courses, but they will be useful or not, and most importantly, at what stage they are needed .

Before reading the article, I recommend to familiarize yourself with this material.

So, you still decided to go along the thorny path of the game designer, you have 2 options

Option I

Create your own mod (addition) for your favorite game. There are many mods for HL 2 and Unreal that have grown into full-fledged games. The main thing is to create a new gaming experience based on the materials.

What you can enter:

  • New storyline
  • Change balance
  • New opponents
  • Create new locations
  • Make a new game with a utility for modding
  • Do all of the above

This is a good option to try yourself as a game designer. Record a video overview on your mod and put it in open access, the mod itself too. Collect feedback from the audience, correct if you wish.

Congratulations, you can now try your hand at the position of the juna while having a portfolio. (mod of course must be cool)

Author's notes *
Not my way, I was doing this in 2003 - 2007, I outgrown or just not interested. But for the vast majority of people - an excellent choice.

Option II

Develop your game on Unity using the available assemblies without the involvement of a coder and artist.


  • suitable for singles
  • you will recognize the engine and all its features
  • collect a maximum of cones and be ready to train newcomers whom you will recruit to your team (if you will)
  • you will become a strong generalist and be able to find what you are interested in.
  • You will see your capabilities and the quality of your work.


  • long and harder option b (although someone like)
  • no one will tell and will not help, you will not be able to delegate some things
  • no one to consult with (most of the others around are “off topic”)


Assemble a team of 3 people (game designer + artist + coder), or find a person who is strong in what you are weak. (you are an artist, he is a coder and vice versa)


  • you will learn how to work in a team
  • you have like-minded people and you are responsible to each other.
  • you can concentrate on your strength
  • 2 heads are always better, most problems are solved by themselves
  • if you are a good team, then it is easier for you to attract new people and train them
  • your advertising budget (if any) is higher


  • hard to find the right people
  • need to be able / want to work with people
  • it is important to clearly structure the information on the game (I love the bard and it's hard for me)
  • it is necessary to arrange the documents in order to avoid conflicts
  • you may come across a cheater

Author's notes *
My choice, because the work of a game designer is to bring the idea to the team. Otherwise, what kind of development can we talk about? This is a good way for ambitious developers, the main thing is not to give up.
Okay. The first way is more suitable for children up to 15-17 years old, the second one for students ... ok, you are a serious uncle, what to do?

If you are already in the industry, then everything is much simpler, learn how to make DG and push the speeches, and better Lift Talk (separate material will be on this topic) and try, drown, do not give up and everything will work out.

And if not ...

Suppose you have a few hours after work. Then you need a clear algorithm and a set of rules.


  • Identify your strengths
  • Create a DG document
  • Decide to do the project alone or with a team
  • Assemble the team and show her the State Duma
  • Make a game prototype ( here's a good article about it )
  • Make an adjustment
  • Test inside the team (correction if needed)
  • Open beta
  • Release
  • Make 2-3 simple projects in such a way, your genre - arcades, hyper casual, casual


  • Prepare documents for the team
  • Do not tear the fifth point (why? Do not rush, you have a job, is there?)
  • Do not make protracted (you can not afford it, you have no guarantees that the game will appeal to the public)
  • Choose your target audience and niche
  • Make a prototype as fast as possible
  • Buy low-cost assets to reduce development time.
  • Choose a simple engine with a bunch of lessons (file or anrial)


  • Understand if you have the potential (adequate)
  • Release Portfolio Projects
  • Get income from simple projects, perhaps it will be enough to engage in game-dev all the time.


  • make unfinished first project
  • be overly confident
  • neglect statistics and marketing data
  • think you are the smartest
  • make clones
  • do extra work if you have an asset with what you need, buy
  • make samopisnyh engines (I'm serious)


Long-term construction workers kill the fuse, the team and the idea. After 3 years, you do not remember what you did. Need experience to work with such projects.

There are exceptions to all the rules, believe me, these people do not read, they do and devote all the time to development.

We are mere mortals and not geniuses, there are exceptions, but in most cases it is enough to follow simple rules, consistency and correct calculation to achieve good results.

From the author

Now I supervise 4 projects, 3 of them are mine. For 3 years of work in game dev I didn’t release finished projects made entirely according to my idea. Therefore, I can not call their own.

  • If the idea came from a CEO, this is not my game.
  • If the idea is ready, and it needs to be improved, this is not my game.
  • If you need to update / patch and rebalance, this is not my game.

My game is what I invented myself, from the idea, the setting, to the music, art, mechanics, behavior patterns of opponents, and so on. Yes, I did not deal with the code, this is done by my partner. I say how it should work and look, so I do not think that he can consider this game his 100%.

I am stubborn and I think so. Therefore, I often come across situations where I have nothing to show with enough experience. But it is enough to look at me in action and see what I am standing for.

Do not make this mistake, build a portfolio, even from simple projects, but you will have something to show and it will be in the release.

ALL projects in which I play the role of game designer (and I can call them my ideas) at the PTA / Prototype stage, this is my big mistake. I will tell about them a bit later, when entering the MBT stage.

Now you can “touch” a 2D RPG on an android, start 2 wave, if you want to write in the LAN.
You can also fill out a Google form or write to us at

Today I started developing a simple game in the arcade genre, while this is just a game design document and a set of references, I will dedicate a separate article to this, the main thing is to start working on my mistakes.

Be smarter, learn from the mistakes of others. Set goals and achieve them.

In the following material we will examine the question:
What is the work of a game designer, why is it needed?

Thanks for reading!

I want to believe that the article gave you a charge of vigor and determination for the week ahead.

More materials from the author:

Part 1 "Monsters in games or how to create fear"
Part 2 "Monsters in games or make fear diverse"
Part 3 "Monsters in games or how to surprise a player"
Part 4 "Monsters in games or 15 cm is enough to attack"
Part 5 "Monsters in games - how to make a player hate you" The
disastrous mistake of newbies in game devs
I am surrounded by idiots or how to work in a team

Also popular now: