To succeed, games require competent execution – from boot up to end credits. Games fall apart when the planners fail to fill up the 10-15 hours of gameplay. There are games which would bring in nothing innovative, but excel greatly in pacing and level structure, keeping the players hooked through the gaming experience.
One of the pitfalls of game designing is placing too much importance on paper design. A designer may imagine how a level would play, but any of the interacting elements – the controls, the game mechanics, or the environment may influence the fun quotient. This is the reason one should not put too much weight on paper designs.
Best ideas are often discovered through experiments. For instance, you may notice that the AI interacting with the environment in a certain way may create a really cool experience.
Another mistake people make is to not take peer review too seriously. It is important that designers develop a habit of playing each other’s work. They often fall into the trap of getting so engrossed into each other’s work that they would simply not have the time of playing the work of others. Watching each other’s work would lead to cross-pollination of ideas, making a better game. This also helps them gain a feel how the game will play as a whole, rather than seeing it in similar perspective.
You must not allow the story to control the game design as it may lead to trouble. The script may call for levels involving close fights with enemies when the game mechanics were set up for huge firefights in large locations. Rather than overstretching the game mechanics, you must encourage the writer to be flexible enough to tweak the story to suit other factors, presenting the players with compelling interactive experience.
Not keeping design documentation up-to-date is another pitfall. Of course, keeping the documentation in line with the changes can be a chore, but the consequences of not doing so are more serious. It is imperative that a game development company put in energy in updating the document ensuring that it reflects the current status.