Sponsored By

The Game Design Process

As I take my first look at game design, it looks fairly difficult.

Jamison Hebron

November 10, 2010

3 Min Read

Core mechanics are basically rules that the game is based around.  There are many different core mechanics in games.  Cover based gameplay, platforming, and collection are all examples of core mechanics.  Gears of War is a third person shooter based solely on cover shooting from walls and crates.  Super Mario Bros is based around a character jumping from platform to platform.  Banjo Kazooie main point is to collect pieces to progress further in the game.  With no story, or narrative, there can be no context on why you’re doing everything.

Narrative is what guides the story in the game.  It should give the player a clear understanding of what’s going on in the story.  The narrative should also make the audience care about the characters that you may or not play as.  Core mechanics and narrative are the main components of games.  The narrative is the background and the core mechanics are the foreground.  In order to create good core mechanics and narrative, the creators have to know what their audience wants.    

That’s where demographics and marketing come in.  Demographics and marketing go hand in hand.  There are people whose job it is to analyze and gather information about the potential audience.  They take the information and may change the game accordingly during the brainstorming process.

During this entire game design process, game designers use milestones to mark major events during game development and are used to track a game’s progress.

The five stages of development are prototype, pre alpha, alpha, beta, and gold.  Prototyping is where a great deal of the brainstorming for the game happens.  Pre Alpha is where all the activities performed during the software project prior to testing.  Alpha is when the software testing begins.  Beta is the feature and asset complete version of the game.  This version of the game contains no bugs that would prevent the game being shipped out.  Gold is the version right before the release. 

A game engine is a software system intended for the making and development of video games.  There are many different game engines. The Unreal Engine has high portability; it is used by many developers today.  The Unreal Engine supports multiple platforms such as, Windows, Mac OS, Xbox 360, and the Playstation 3.  In this engine large parts of the gameplay can be changed without getting too far into the engine.  A unique feature is the built in AI support for advanced creatures and bots.  Some games that use the Unreal Engine would be Gears Of War and Bioshock.  The advantages of this engine are easy portability between PC consoles, HDR Lighting, and gives developers ease as developers.  Disadvantages are that it’s nearly 5 or 6 years old and is starting to reach max potential.

The Frostbite Engine is a game engine for first person shooters developed by EA Digital Illusions.  Its unique features are its destructible environments.  Games that use the Frostbite Engine: Battlefield Series and Medal of Honor.

CryEngine 3 is a game engine released by Crytek on Oct 14, 2009.  It was originally developed by Crytek as tech demonstration for Nvidia.  A unique feature is its ultra-realistic models.  Games that use the Crytek Engine:  Cryis Series.  An advantages of this engine is that its technology surpassing anything seen on the consoles yet.  Crytek built nearly all CryEngine 3 tools and editors in-house.  Crytek has created an engine built for complex simulations and visual prowess.  A disadvantage is the fact it is expensive.  

I support the Unreal engine the most simply because it seems to be the most universal and most used engine.  Many of the games today use the Unreal and seem to make the creating process easier.  I will support any engine that will allow the artist to express his or her fall creativity.

The knowledge that I have acquired from the research I’ve done will help me understand the processes in the gaming industry.  If I understand the processes and procedures of any career then easily help me succeed.

Read more about:

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like