How to Become a Game Designer in 5 Steps
A video game is synergistic, meaning it equals more than the sum of its parts. Once a new game is complete, it becomes something truly unique. To create this synergy, you must possess lots of technical knowledge and an artistic flair as well. A good video game designer will be required to access both the logical and creative sides of his/her brain. There are essentially five steps to developing a video game, they are:
1. Develop an Idea
Before you can design a game, you need an idea, a storyline, a place to start. Brainstorm ideas for a game and settle on the one you like the best. The game idea should at least be loosely based on a storyline. The more details you have for the story, the better your game will be. Next, determine your gameís objective. If youíre wondering where you can come up with game ideas, here are a few resources you can tap into.
Movies and videos: Try to develop your game ideas based on the plots and concepts of the movies you watch. Remember, if you use any characters or story lines straight from those movies, you will need to obtain permission from the filmmaker. You can adapt your original ideas, plots and concepts using the inspiration you derive from those movies.
Real-life games: You can design a computer version of any game, such as hockey or baseball and of it, or develop a futuristic version of it.
Dreams and nightmares: In your dreams, all things are possible. Keep a notebook or audio recorder next to your bed. Think about potential game elements, themes and characters prior to falling asleep. Hopefully, when you awaken you will recall and record some awesome details to use in your gameís design.
2. Storyboard It
After you have your game ideas, then you need to outline the story. One of the best ways do this is to create storyboards -- sequences of drawings that identify game play, levels, scenes and goals. Each storyboard should include a written description of whatís happening. These images don't have to rival picasso or the Mona Lisa, they just have to convey the idea.
3. Consider the Details
After creating the storyboards, write down the details of the gameís design. This stage of the process is very complex.
Your primary goal is to think of every character, their personalities and what they can do, every possible situation and outcome, every foe, every weapon, every point of view, every component of game play -- then describe it in writing.
As a video game designer, you are the god of your game world. If you don't program the details that will determine the rules and structure of the game, they will not exist. Create as much detail as possible to generate an artificial universe that appears to be real.
4. Create a Design Proposal
Now, it's time to create a design proposal, which is a report of your ideas in a format resembling a movie script. This process should reveal whether anything needs to be added to your game.
A written proposal will also demonstrate to others how your game flows. At this point, your imaginary world becomes more vivid in your mind, and you can begin to think about game action as if its really happening.
Developing a clear picture of a game world is a vital task for a video game designer. If you present an ill-conceived idea and make things up as you go, your gameís design will seem haphazard and incoherent, and unbelievable. Without planning and forethought, you can't pull the players into your reality and they won't play nor like your game.
5. Present Your Game Design to a Publisher
This is the most difficult step of game design. If you go to the trouble of designing a game in your spare time, be sure that it possesses a spark of originality or uniqueness that will make it stand apart.
Many game companies review hundreds of game ideas each year, some review thousands. They are only capable of producing a tiny handful and usually only accept game designs from internal sources as well as those those individuals and companies that have proven they know how to create good, sellable video games.
How You Can Get Started
To truly understand how to become a video game designer and thrive in the world of game creation, it would be enormously helpful if you worked for a game developer. The best way that I know is by being a paid video game tester for awhile.
As a video game tester, you'll get some much needed industry experience and you'll also be able to jump into the video game designer role much more quickly. Furthermore, you'll already have some contacts that will look at your game much more seriously than if you just "submitted an idea".