Games Industry Guide: Designers

From conceptualizing projects to bringing them to life, the designers are integral to game development. In this post, our designers share their tips on how to get into the industry, what they do to keep learning and where they go for inspiration. 

Application & Portfolio tips

  • Your application needs to show that you understand what it is that makes a game good. Your ability to design elements that players will enjoy in the game is key, but you must also understand (and show) the trade-offs and return of investment of your design.
  • Show that you are able to design within the boundaries of a game world and can make things believable.
  • Your portfolio should ideally contain a one-pager describing your game at its core and one page narrating a playing session.
  • When showing features you have designed, the reasoning behind your design choices are usually more valuable to us than the actual design.
  • If you’re a UI designer, make sure the website for your portfolio has a good, intuitive, design.
  • Having “Cool Ideas” is not game design. The craft of Game design is the ability to break down your own, and others’ Cool Ideas into systems and features that can be realized within whatever framework and limitations the game is produced in.
  • If you’re a level designer consider making a level for an already released game that we could try out. Show us an overview of the level and a description of what you’ve tried to accomplish. That way we can play and evaluate how well it came out. 

Working as a Designer

  • Having a good understanding of the entire process of making games is a big plus! As a designer, your work will almost always involve a lot of cross-discipline work with other people.
  • An additional skill in addition to Game Design is often mandatory for doing day-to-day work at the studio, such as scripting, level design or animation.
  • If you are not the Game Director, you need to understand that you are working to help someone else’s game vision come alive. It is especially important for game designers as they have the most influence over how the game is shaped.
  • Giving and receiving feedback is a big part of your job as a designer. Being open to feedback without getting defensive is crucial. If someone comes to you with a suggestion to change a mechanic in the game, it is your job to understand if it will actually solve the underlying problem and if it aligns with the vision of the game.

Video

Linus Larsson is a Designer here at Arrowhead. Here he shares his thoughts on useful tools for game design, what he does to continue learning and where he finds inspiration.

 

 

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