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video game designer career

Game designers combine creative and technical skills, often working in a team, in order to create compelling worlds for players. The creator of Pac-Man, Toru Iwatani, has said that he didn’t have any special knowledge about game design. His main objective was to make people happy, but how do you do that exactly?

There are some guiding principles that most successful games follow, whether those games are first-person shooters, platformers, or RPGs. These core principles help games feel cohesive, engaging, and a lot of fun to play.

So, what are they? Here are the core principles to follow if you are learning game design!

Consider Your Game’s Core Mechanic

Most games have a main mechanic driving the game. Think about some of your favourite games and what you love most about them. From Pac-Man to Mario Kart to Portal, many games are built around one central mechanic. The core mechanic is the procedure or rule that lets action happen, and allows the player to interact with the world of the game. While there are always exceptions, oftentimes a game will have a core mechanic at its centre, whether it’s driving, shooting, or building and crafting.

video game design programYour game’s core mechanic is an important consideration to keep in mind

Establishing a core mechanic doesn’t mean you can’t change it later or add other mechanics to the game, but having a clear one to begin with can be a great starting point when building your world. After your video game design courses, it’ll be up to you to help determine what would fit best with the kind of game you’re creating!

Reward Your Player More than You Punish Them

Positive reinforcement has proven to be a more powerful motivator than punishment. Challenges are important, but if the rewards are too few and far between, players will lose motivation and interest. In a video game design program you will be given tools to produce and assist in developing design concepts and thinking about rewards will be part of that. Think about the rewards you can include in your game designs. Will you offer cool new gear, exciting new areas to explore, or unlock another much-anticipated part of your game’s story?

Keep the Player in Mind During Your Video Game Designer Career

The third core principle is all about making your game accessible to new players while also offering enough challenge to keep experienced ones interested. How do you do it? It’s all about making your game easy to learn and difficult to master. Starting with easier challenges can help players get comfortable and build up their confidence in your world. And progressively making levels, bosses, and puzzles harder helps to keep players engaged and challenged for a long time.

video game design coursesChallenging players is important, and helps keep them interested in your game

By giving your players room to become experts, you help give them the space to shine and really show off their skills and accomplishments. It’ll also keep them coming back to your game over and over again.

Are you ready to begin your video game designer career?

Find out what Oxford College has to offer.