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The Art of Game Design

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It has been 50 years since the very first video game was ever released on any platform, and video games have evolved much since then. One thing has stayed the same throughout all of video game history. The successful games are the ones that used proper game design. Many people believe that anyone who can code can make a game, but despite what they may believe, making a successful game is far harder than it looks.

Game design is just a term used to describe the steps to developing a game. While it is true that throwing together some walls and a player makes a game, it would be a very boring one. At the same time, putting together a one hundred level game with thousands of spikes, enemies, and a player who can simultaneously shoot, would be far too complicated. Unless that is the kind of game the developer intends to make, and if people were interested. Usually, a game like that wouldn’t be a very good one. First off, to build a game, the developer has to get the basic mechanics down first. If it is a top down RPG (role-playing game), then the player should be able to move in all four directions. If it is a 2D platformer, then the player should be able to go left and right as well as jump.

After getting down the basic controls, it’s up to the developer to decide what will make it special. A game where you just move a player around to get to the end wouldn’t make a very exciting game. Most games consist of a special mechanic, such as reversing gravity instead of jumping, or a gun that clones the player instead of shooting bullets. Other games are purely unique because of their story. Some games even make a genre of their own. Whatever it may be, if the developer wants their game to be popular, then it should have something that makes it unique.

Now that the developer has something unique about his or her game, it’s time to think about what should go in their game. Having too many features can make a game overwhelming, but having too little can make it boring. Certain game types have different standards of what should be in them. For instance, puzzle games should have plenty of features to keep the puzzles unique, while rage games should only have a few enemies and obstacles, because the level layout is all that really needs to be different.

The final step to making a popular game is level layout. Contrary to what some developers think, not very many people want to play a game where you try to dodge millions of enemies while you try to get to the end. Of course, if that’s what makes the game unique, then its okay for the developer to do so, because the audience getting the game already expects it. Another important thing to think about is that levels should progressively get harder, instead of starting out hard and getting more complicated as the player goes. Complicated levels don’t make the game better.

Once the developer has thought all of this through, they are ready to put together their game and release it publicly. He or she can alter how the game plays out based on the audience’s reaction to the game, and craft the perfect game that everyone wants to play.

 

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About the Writer
Colin M., Co-Editor in Chief

Colin M. is an 8th-grader at Kraemer Middle School. He has an older brother and sister as well as a dog named Chloe who he loves very much. His brother...

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The Art of Game Design