Relic Entertainment (Company Of Heroes
) studio design director Alexandre Mandryka sets forth a framework for game design in his new Gamasutra article
, saying designers are "are trapped in a vicious circle of being at the same time paramount and overlooked."
Mandryka, who also worked at Ubisoft as studio design director, says that "Because game design is such a young discipline, and also probably because games are generally viewed as not serious, its essence is not clearly established, making it a confusing path to follow, and grow in."
He explains, "Like most things related to creativity, game design has always suffered from a lack of understanding. Most of the public thinks game designers just play games all day long."
"Executives tend to think they are the best game designers in the room or simply do not understand the designer role -- besides the fact that they need some on the payroll," he says. "A game enthusiast even once asked me if I was designing clothing for characters in video games…"
"Designers or aspiring designers I have met and worked with are rarely at ease," continued Mandryka. "Most of the time, they feel that they are not heard or taken seriously, that they don't have the tools and support they need, that the complexity of their work is not acknowledged, nor the value of it understood."
He argues that by more carefully examining and codifying it, game designers can both work towards better game designs that align with the aims of their projects, and also develop skills to further themselves.
In his feature, Mandryka breaks down game design into System Design, Interaction Design, and Motivation Design, laying out a path for all three sub-disciplines. He also suggests that further work could be done examining level design.
The full feature, Lifting The Designer's Curse, which examines the topic in great depth, is live now on Gamasutra