Anyone dabble in game design?

over 9 years ago from , Designer & Developer at Axonista

Haven't seen game design brought up here very often, or in many design communities for that matter, which is frankly a little bizarre to me given the size of the industry. Anyone here dabble in it? As a discipline it seems to be a massive melting pot of pretty much every aspect of design you can think of. I've been dabbling in a game as a side project and frankly it's overwhelming how much there is to consider.

Anyone have any good resources/communities/stories to share?


  • Joe Blau, over 9 years ago (edited over 9 years ago )

    I built http://xo9.us/ from the ground up over 12 weeks. Did everything from the mocks, to 3 levels of AI coding, to publishing it to app store. It was the best time I had because it really helped me understand the whole design process. The game is far from done, but one of the biggest thing I've learned is to keep the game DEAD simple. Those are the types of games that see the best adoption. One of the hardest things for my game was conveying how to play the game.

    Here are some Dribbble shots of the process: http://dribbble.com/joeblau/projects/156280-XO9

    Here is me creating sound effects using my OP-1:

    3 points
  • Catalin CimpanuCatalin Cimpanu, over 9 years ago

    Last time I posted an article about character design on DN I was told to f%$# off to HackerNews with that stuff. Apparently the guys here are mostly UI&UX hipsters. I wish people here would be more open minded, posting links to someone's art is considered promotional here and removed.

    As far as resources, it depends what side of game development you want to be in. I personally prefer the art side of things and I check http://cghub.com on a daily basis. I currently have a few hundreds level designers and environment artists in my following list. Couple that with the CGHub newsletter and you have a daily dose of freshly baked artwork in your email inbox.

    And yes, it's true. Game developers are the best paid jobs right now. But you won't meet many of those people on DN or HN. Most of them are extremely busy. I have a friend that worked for Ubisoft for a couple of years and we lost touch for 2-3 years. When he left Ubisoft and started working for a Web design company we started hanging out again and turned out he worked on Assassin's Creed and he worked overtime on a daily basis. Working in these kind of jobs requires a massive amount of skills, but you earn more than your average design job.

    PS: His advice to me (if it helps someone) was to work as a freelance or consultant, never work fully employed.

    3 points
  • Mathew SissonMathew Sisson, over 9 years ago (edited over 9 years ago )

    My side project has been to redesign the campfire game: Werewolf. I wanted to create cards that were friendly and inviting along with a beautiful custom leather case that pulls it all together. Here's a sneak peek at some cards:


    2 points
  • Diesel LawsDiesel Laws, over 9 years ago

    I love games. We actually launched our game [Sinkers] yesterday on the App Store (about 35K downloads so far!) - http://appstore.com/Sinkers

    I did the design/music. I also personally dabble in GameSalad (great fun for basic learning). I found it perfect for design - simple animations with awesome design works wonders

    1 point
    • Anmol BahlAnmol Bahl, over 9 years ago

      Love SInkers, it's got really cool, intuitive interface and the sfx are top-notch. I found the gameplay to be more of a chance-based because you've got to rely on sinkers a lot if you don't get a good start. What I usually do is after I start a fresh instance and I don't get good matches of say 4-5 per color, I start a new one to circumvent the game design-to use sinkers to eliminate the empty ones.

      1 point
  • Ben LeeBen Lee, over 9 years ago

    I was a level-designer for CS 1.6/source back the day. Miss it.

    1 point
  • Nick PfistererNick Pfisterer, over 9 years ago (edited over 9 years ago )

    It's funny you bring this up, actually! As an up-and-coming independent game developer myself, I've been frustrated lately with the disparate resources out there for people like me. I check a host of websites every day. Just a few:

    • Gamasutra Industry news
    • Polygon General game news, features and reviews
    • Polycount An amazing game artist community. I visit regularly for amazing art and level design inspiration and advice from fellow industry pros and amateurs alike
    • Countless publications and Twitter feeds in an attempt to keep tabs on the companies who make the tools I use and the games I love

    It's time consuming; worse, it's frustrating when my daily check turns up nothing particularly interesting or groundbreaking and I can't have that time back. Not to mention it's difficult to interact with and discover fellow community members who share my passion.

    With that said, I've been thinking for a while now that I want to build a DN-style site for game designers and developers. I love the awesome community here and the way important stuff floats to the top. It's the one stop shop I need for my web design, development and tech needs. I want this for the game industry so bad.

    Is anyone else interested in something like this? Should I scratch this itch?

    1 point
    • Ian Goode, over 9 years ago

      I'm surprised there isn't something similar already. Some games float to the top here (like Threes and Monument Valley) but you rarely see anything more than app store links. It'd be nice to have purely as another feed of inspiration and design thinking.

      I lovedthis mammoth 'making of' post by the creators of Threes.

      0 points
      • Nick PfistererNick Pfisterer, over 9 years ago

        Wow! That looks like an incredible read. Bookmarked for sure. Can't wait to dig in!

        Thanks again for getting this conversation started. This story alone has attracted more game designers/developers/enthusiasists than I have ever seen on DN. I think I am going to post a new story to gauge interest for my DN-for-the-game-industry side project. The more I think about it, the more I want to make this happen. :)

        0 points
  • Conner FritzConner Fritz, over 9 years ago

    As far as resources go I love this site: http://gamesquares.tumblr.com/

    1 point
  • Nathan CooperNathan Cooper, over 9 years ago (edited over 9 years ago )

    I worked, as an intern, in the AAA games industry in the early 2000s as a modeler/level-designer. Since then I have worked as a designer/developer in other industries.

    Last summer a couple friends an I made a mobile game, Sheared, adapted from a Flash game I made a few years ago.

    Game trailer on YouTube

    I designed the gameplay, artwork, and sound effects. Screenshots can be viewed on my website.

    The premise of Sheared is that you have a flock of sheep you shear with your clippers to collect wool, to craft items, to earn money, to upgrade your clippers, to collect more wool. It is an action game, mixing shoot 'em ups, endless running, and crafting.

    Sheared is available for iOS and Android devices.

    We used GameClosure to develop and build the game for those platforms. That was before Unity added native-2d features. I have thought about recreating the game in Unity as there are many more features and general polish I would like to add to the game.

    1 point
  • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, over 9 years ago

    I am just starting to get into it.

    I'd love to know some good communities as well.

    1 point
  • Chris SlowikChris Slowik, over 9 years ago

    the unity forums are a great wealth of slightly platform-independent information.

    1 point
    • Ian Goode, over 9 years ago

      Hadn't thought about checking out their forums! Had looked at the price of the software and silently closed the tab :) (not for me at this point in time)

      0 points
  • Péter GombosPéter Gombos, over 9 years ago

    As I'm mostly a developer, I've done a fair shair of game jams, scoring quite high at some previous Bacon Game Jams, came 3rd and 2nd. I'm also taking a subject on Game Design this spring at my university, and we have been designing a mobile game, which we think has quite some potential. It is not done yet, and I'm not sure what we are doing with it, we have applied to some competitions, but to shortly explain it, it's like geocaching for the every man.

    What I have found to be most important in my dabbling in game design, is to always think minimalistic. A game gets really complex fast, even though you are trying to keep it to the point. If you are striving to achieve minimalism, your battle against complexity is clearer. And even a game like Flappy Birds can earn $50 000 a day ;)

    0 points
  • Account deleted over 9 years ago

    I used to work on Unreal Tournament and Half-Life mods back in high school, dabbling in pretty much everything (modelling, skinning, animation, sound effects, etc.) to see what I would have enjoyed doing as a career.

    In university I spent a couple years creating a monolithic game design document for my dream game. But my interest in game design lost to web design, so that went away.

    Now that I’ve regained some free time again, I might explore games further. I’m not sure about resources nowadays though. I would have said: find a game with a good modding community, find a project you enjoy and contribute to that like you would to a GitHub project. Unfortunately it looks like there isn’t much of a mod community anymore (most are making games from-scratch now).

    0 points
    • Ian Goode, over 9 years ago

      Unfortunately it looks like there isn’t much of a mod community anymore (most are making games from-scratch now).

      This is true, I think it's a mix of the way the 'indie game dev' has portrayed in culture over the past few years and also the fact that the industry as a whole seems to be really supporting it.

      0 points