More Than Just Having Good Ideas
So you have a lot of good ideas about games. That’s great!
However, game design is not just coming up with ideas.
Everyone has ideas. A lot of them are probably pretty good.
Your ideas are just that, ideas, if you don’t have the courage, ambition, motivation, skills, and put in the hard work to implement your ideas.
As Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, puts it: “Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who implement them are priceless.”
Implementation of ideas is where things get tricky.
You have a unique and great idea for a game. But then you start running into all sort of questions that need to be answered.
For example, if you’re making a video game, how do you scaffold your player into your game without text? Or if it’s with text, how many pop ups do you need and how does the player navigate those pop ups? A button? What color is the button? What sort of feedback should pushing that button give a player when the intended action is successful? What about when it fails? What sounds do the pop ups make when they pop up? What color are they? Do they have a title? Or just a description? What about a picture? An animation? Can the player exit the tutorial? What if they leave the game during the tutorial? Does it come back when they come back to the game? What if they want to revisit the tutorial later? Can they? What if they want to revisit a previous pop up? Can they? The list goes on and we haven’t even starting playing the game yet!
These are all design questions. And as a game designer, you are the one who has to answer these questions.
It’s not just about coming up with ideas. The romantic notion of sitting back and tossing ideas to a team that labors tirelessly to realize your every thought and vision sounds great, but in reality, the job of game designer is more often mired in communication, planning numerous and often mundane details, and solving the most minute problems.
The real trick to being a game designer is to be an expert on your game.
Being an expert doesn’t mean knowing everything, it just means being at least one step ahead of everyone else on the team.
You have to be able to provide answers and practical steps to achieve goals to your team. And that means you have to spend a lot of your time making decisions about all the mundane details of the game and communicating those decisions to your team effectively.
Being a good game designer is not just coming up with good ideas.
You might also like Game Design Ed's video on Doors.