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3 Principles of Game Design. Presented by Saljack Enterprises. Gaming. Media & Entertainment.

When you tell someone, that you design games for living one of the answers you can expect is that it sounds like a fun job. If you are a game designer, you would definitely relate to it. In fact, being a game designer is one of the most rewarding jobs in the industry, but it is also more challenging than people realize.

Understanding All That’s Involved

From layout and documentation to balancing and game play, few games make you involved in the game creation process rather than involving in the game design. Along the way, you need to make sure that the core concept remains maintained in every area, including game mechanics, level design, enemy design and more. All the while you have to make tough decisions for the game. Luckily, there are numerous video game design principles that you can use to boost your chances of success. While many designers may have their own lists for what they believe to be the basics of game design, the following are the most crucial three.

  1. Build Around a Core Game Mechanic: One of the useful ways to understand the game design is by studying other games. The more you study, the more you’ll realize that almost all the big-budget titles are built with one primary game play mechanic in mind. If this mechanic is boring or uninteresting, your design will fail. As a game designer, your aim is to come up with a captivating core mechanic and create a game around it. Even if the player has to repeat the mechanic over and over, it should be fun for him because of the cool elements you include new enemies, hardest platforming sections, and better abilities.
  2. Easy To Learn But Fun To Master: The basic rule is the game should be accessible, yet have lots of depth. It should have simple rules that are easy to understand. Anyone should enjoy the game without the need to study a rule book or take some course beforehand. The key is that players who put in more time and dedication into the games can learn new strategies and play styles. While every game need not to follow this principle to succeed, every game designer should see if their game idea is easy for players of all kinds to enjoy. Similarly, the game should have enough intensity, so that does not get bored after only 5 minutes of playtime.
  3. Reward The Player: As human beings, positive reinforcement motivates us a lot. It is in our nature to feel more joyful and confident upon receiving things like adoration, cheer, and praise. Hence, it is vital for games designers to reward players. Without scores, there would be no bragging way to know who did better, which may lead to less motivation to continue playing. But these days, it’s possible to reward players in more ways than just score. From exploring dangerous optional areas to scanning enemies during a fight, players have several ways to receive rewards in the form of exciting information, new upgrades, and more. The list of ways to excite and inspire players via rewards is nearly endless.

So there are plenty of excellent game design principles out there. Which one do you follow? Let us know in the comments section or tweet us @essjay_ent!



15 thoughts on “3 Principles of Game Design

  1. toppy says:

    there is a certain charisma to a game that has fun and easy platform but challenging as well. i think its what keeps the gamers playing. the fulfillment of having mastered a certain level or bested another player.

  2. gladys says:

    i’m not a gamer myself but my brother is. and i think one of the things he enjoys is not just the graphics and the story behind the game but also the feeling of gratification after he has passed a certain level and get rewards. i think there should be a certain degree of difficulty matching a certain reward so that it motivates the player to do better on the game.

  3. Holmes says:

    Reward that’s too easy to come by can numb the players too. I guess game balance have it’s play here.

  4. Finnian Cais says:

    The best principle that game designers should not forget is #3. It’ll make us gamers very happy and stick to the game.

  5. Popipop says:

    “Addictive” is the key in game design nowadays, the competition is too fierce out there.

  6. Jenna says:

    Must be tough to remember these principles when you get so immersed and lost in making a game. I mean, you get too detailed and all then you forget the big picture.

  7. DeShauna says:

    We always look for our reward! We do sidequests because we know we will get a reward LOL! This is so true of all video games.

  8. Those are some great mechanics! I’ll be sure to recommend them to all my techy friends.

  9. Mau says:

    The principle “Easy To Learn But Fun To Master” pretty much sums up what I want in a game but I believe this is one of the hardest principles to implement. That’s why user/beta tester feedback is important to know what could be improved on.

  10. Rain Santos-Ocampo says:

    I like the last principle: Reward the player. I get encouraged every time I’m rewarded. Whether it might be big or small, it just really helps users engage with the game.

  11. Rebi says:

    Yes this is true. I want the easy to learn, fun to master because even if it gets so challenging, you’re not gonna give up and play until you finish it!

  12. Minorka says:

    If I were to design a game, I’d always have the gamer in mind. Like in every stage of the process, I’d think, “Will the player enjoy this? What will the player think of this level? Do I need to put a side quest?” You know, things like that.

  13. Ximena says:

    It’s easy to get lost when making a huge project like designing a game. My tip: go ahead and scrutinize every minor detail, but always go back up and look at the bigger picture!

  14. Absolutely! I would only add that when you build around a mechanic, try not to limit a mechanic to a certain theme. There can be more to first-person shooters than military themes! That’s where innovative games like Portal come from 🙂 (Sorry, that was a soap box I recently stood on in my blog, so it’s fresh in my mind). These are great principles to design by!

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