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David Javelosa

Copyright © 2004-2014 David Javelosa unless otherwise stated.

Material based on Game Design Workshop
Copyright © 2004-2008
Tracy Fullerton
used by permission of author
week 01 - introduction to game design and overview

The role of the Game Designer

Goals for the Game Designer:

1. Understand how games work.

2. Learn the process of concept, prototype and testing.

3. Understand the industry and your market

The role of the Game Designer is being an advocate for the player! The designer must be the player, work from the perspective of the player, create and recreate the player's experience.

Playtesting - The only way to know a game is working; that it is fun.

Your game design must become a passion. Being a game designer is a passion. A successful designer has acquired a number of designer skills that will be discovered and practiced in the course of the class. These skills are included in designing, prototyping and playtesting.

The most inportant skill is COMMUNICATION. This is critical on all levels: the design team, selling the concept, and connecting with the player through your design.

Game design is inevitably a collaborative process requiring teamwork to succeed. Communication skills are the keys to this success.

All creative endeavours require a methodology or a process. Games are complex structures that require a balance of elements, constantly being tested against each other. Good process provides an efficient path to successful game design, eliminating unnecessary work and repetative tasks.

A game design requires inspiration. This is the source for true originality. One can be inspired by other games, but the world around you can provide inspiration for something yet to be invented.

Creativity is what you need once you have discovered the inspiration. Creativity does not require massive tools or resources. Sometimes the fewer the available materials, the more creative the result. Also, the greatest number of restrictions will force a creative solution to a problem.


Become a Tester - Observe yourself playing a game and document the experience. Observe someone else playing the same game and document the experience. Compare the notes.

Identify a game that "does not work" - Document what you didn't like; what was missing; how can it be improved?

List five areas of your life that could be a game - What would be their underlying game structures?

List ten games you played as a child - What was compelling about each game?

The Design Process:

Iterative Design - process diagram

  • game concept
  • concept is formalized: document or prototype
  • game is tested
  • results are evaluated
  • if results negative, go back to beginning
  • if results point to improvement, modify and test again
  • if results positive, iterative process has been completed

1. Brainstorming
2. Physical prototype
3. Presentation (pitch for green light)
4. Software prototype
5. Design Document
6. Production
7. Testing

Game testers are the future game producers! Testing is the entry level position for the producer track.

Remember, you are designing for the player. This is goal number one.

Whithin the interative design process lies experimentation. Let your experiences inspire your game design.

Reading Assignment

Review class notes and Game Design Workshop

  • Chapter 1: The Role of the Game Designer

Copyright © 2004 - 2014 David Javelosa