Every game designer has encountered a few challenges along the path of development. From idea to prototype to development to a release date there are numerous opportunities to encounter difficult aspects of game design. Some of the most common challenges revolve around immersion, grinding, monetization, and personal resolutions.
Here are a few ways to overcome these challenges in game design.
Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
Immersion is one of the hardest to obtain and most beautiful aspects of any game. When a player is entirely immersed in the game, he/she feels as though the game world is real. This level of altered reality is only reached by a few games and is difficult to achieve, but when it’s done right players will return again and again.
To improve your ability to create the sensation of game immersion, study materials other than gaming. Go out and learn things that have nothing to do with gaming. Go snorkeling, take a ukulele lesson, learn to sew, read a self-help book, attend a religious ceremony — do something that is so entirely unlike what you’re used to that you are forced to think differently and gain new perspective on life. Take notes. What sounds did you hear? What sights were grotesque, inspiring, shocking, or surprising? What emotions did you experience?
The new skills, cultural understandings, and perspective you gain when trying something new (and journaling about it) will enable you to create more detailed worlds in your game environments.
Determine Your Grinding Philosophy
Grinding is the aspect of a game which involves various repetitive tasks that players must do to earn rewards or advance. Some players love grinding, while others find it frustrating and meaningless.
Ultimately, there will likely always be some amount of controversy regarding grinding in game design. If you haven’t determined your own view on the issue, it’s time to figure out your grinding philosophy. To assist you in the process, break out your favorite games and assess the frequency and types of grinding involved. Think about some of those games you threw away or didn’t enjoy — was it because of something in the grinding process (or lack of)?
Determining your grinding philosophy will give a more definitive feel to your games and give your designs a certain fan appeal.
Money Makes the World Go ‘Round
Game success is partially limited by its ability to make money. Without funding of some sort, designers can’t continue to do their jobs — or if they do, it is not at the same rate of output. Monetization of games occurs in several ways. Charging a fee to purchase the game, including advertisements in the game, charging fees to participate per session, or offering the game for free on an advertisement rich website or platform are just a few of the ways game makers have been able to make income. Game designers rarely like to think about monetization, but it can affect the final design so you’re best to consider it early to avoid problems later.
Challenges that designers encounter in game design can be very nerve-racking and a cause for insomnia. There are times when it seems you must stay awake to solve the problem. In fact, it seems impossible to sleep until you do. However, the habitual practice of poor sleeping, eating, or healthcare will only increase the risk of these problems later when another game design challenge arises.
The solution is living a balanced life. Incorporating relaxation, learning, and healthy eating and sleeping into your routine will actually stimulate your mind to produce better and more long-lasting solutions to your game design challenges.
Which of these game design aspects do you find most challenging?
[Photo 1 Credit: Benjamin Horn]
[Photo 2 Credit: Timothy Krause]