Jun 15

100 tips


100 tips from a professional photographer designer.

Every now and then I see these top 10 lists on how to make the best desk, cook the best roast, etc. and spin them from a game design perspective. Mostly for fun – partially because it takes your craft and lets you look at it differently, which is always good.



Some you may have seen before in the #DesignerTip series and keep in mind they’re not all going to transpose well, but here we go:


1. Just because someone has an expensive computer doesn’t mean that they’re a good designer.
2. Always take notes. Always.
3. Coding helps you learn to be a better designer
4. Design revision is an art in itself.
5. The rule of 50% works 99% of the time, every time.
6. Designing niche games isn’t for everybody
7. For capturing bugs, Iphone cameras work just as well as complex footage recording setups.
8. Go make games rather than spending hours a day on forums
9. Capture the beauty in the mundane and you have a winning design.
10. Hardcore isn’t better than Casual
11. Casual isn’t better than Hardcore
12. There is no ‘magic’ template for success.
13. A better keyboard doesn’t give you better words.
14. Spend less time playing other people’s work and more time making your own.
15. Don’t take your Vita to parties
16. Girls dig game designers.
17. Using voxels doesn’t automatically make it “artsy”.
18. Regular people will always discredit your work if you tell them you make games. Rather, tell them that you create “digital experiences”.
19. You don’t need to design everything.
20. Save often. Use asset management software. Make Backups.
21. Ditch the 1 design doc and use many smaller ones.
22. Step back from the design and see the big picture, it will make the design turn out better.
23. Be part of the team when designing, not off in a silo.
24. Writing a design with external input often makes your designs more interesting.
25. Worry less about technical aspects and focus more on how your design fits with the games vision and pillars.
26. Never reference the same title again and again – it brings a lot less attention to you.
27. Always design a feature to minimum design first.
28. The more games you make, on different platforms and IP’s, the better you get
29. Don’t be afraid to start a design document and then kill it and start again if you thought of a much better way of doing it.
30. Only submit your best designs for pitches.
31. Pen and Paper is still one of the best prototyping tools.
32. Join game development groups
33. Critique the works of others. (didn’t change this one)
34. Think before you design.
35. A good design shouldn’t require explanation other than what’s on the page.
36. Alcohol and design do not mix well.
37. Draw inspiration from other designers but never worship them.
38. Games are art.
39. Never be without some manner of note taking.
40. Simplicity is key. (didn’t change this one either J)
41. Design is an exercise in providing enough simulation of reality to be entertaining. Use reality in your favor.
42. Find your best working practices and stick with them.
43. Having a second monitor is an essential for working in game design.
44. Never underestimate the power of Excel.
45. Never stop deconstructing.
46. Never let gaming get in the way of enjoying life. You’ll learn more about entertaining players from living life than playing games.
47. Don’t hold designs sacred.
48. Perfect the art of the High Level Vision quote.
49. Design with confidence.
50. Level design and world art are best friends.
51. Print out important designs/characters/maps/concept big.
52. Share your games.
53. Advise those who look lost.
54. Add every project to Linked-in when shipped.
55. Don’t forget to take screenshots and videos for the blooper reel.
56. Play co-op games, design co-operatively.
57. Try Multiplayer only games, join a clan.
58. The right game makes a great present. Dance Central + grandma, not-so-much.
59. Designing under pressure can be thrilling.
60. Emergent >; Scripted.
61. Caffeine is not a substitute for sleep.
62. Portable games + commuting = always learning.
63. Don’t be afraid to question your designs, or those of others, when necessary.
64. You don’t always need a big meeting or endless whiteboard.
65. It’s better to underexpose in the first and over in the detailed.
66. Designing an unbalanced economy where the only way to win is to pay more is exploitation.
67. You will find that great design ideas can happen at any moment.
68. Designs are more interesting with the human element included.
69. You can’t polish poop.
70. Nowadays everyone is a player of games.
71. You don’t need a facility of User Research and Quality Assurance testers to prove fun.
72. People who feel the need to explain a point even though everyone in the room gets it may enjoy the sound of their own voice too much.
73. Games design: Half art, half science.
74. In terms of composition, level design and photography aren’t much different.
75. Game design isn’t a hobby- it’s a lifestyle.
76. Make games, not excuses.
77. Be original in your design. Don’t try to copy the outcome of others.
78. The best games tell stories that begs the player for more.
79. Using a $120 dollar pro-gamer mouse to use Visio looks awesome. No – really, carry on…
80. If you don’t get the current designs out of your head there will be no room for new ones.
81. Stories are harder to create than they seem.
82. Character’s with character are far better people.
83. Don’t look suspicious when researching real life locations.
84. Record and reduce periods of effortless action, regardless of how awesome-sauce.
85. Have fun while designing games.
86. Never delete a design.
87. Be respectful of your audience and your subjects/topic.
88. When reproducing real life locations, adjust metrics to improve immersion.
89. Experience and Design are the perfect pair.
90. Learn how to decipher others mechanics.
91. A poorly spelt design is better than a disorganized one.
92. Don’t be afraid to take notes in meetings.
93. Learn how others enjoy and utilize your prototype and build upon that rather than relentlessly trying to capture a perfect, fully formed design first.
94. Never submit files for review on an empty stomach or full bladder.
95. You will discover a lot about yourself through your design
96. Never hoard your experience – share with the team to share with the world
97. Never stop gaming.
98. The philosophy of playing games is as analogy of the philosophy of life.
99. Design the epic, memorable moment.
100. Write your own list. :)



image by - Burning Red