No game can become a huge success in the absence of a solid design. Because to keep people playing for hours on end you need to give them a carefully created fun experience, which makes them want to return again and again. And to do this, you must design your game in a way where each element plays a crucial role and contributes to the overall experience.
Many beginners think all this requires is learning a few basic game design principles then implementing them in their game. Only when their game doesn’t give them the expected result do they question what went wrong.
Because just as important as implementing the right game design principles, it is equally as important to avoid a few common mistakes that game designers make. Below we list a few of them that you should do your best to avoid in your game’s design:
Focusing too Much on the Paper Design
Many designers spend too much time perfecting the design on paper. They pour over the design again and again and wow to only start work once they think the design is perfect.
But the truth is, that your game’s design will never get perfect. There will always be things you can improve on and changes you can make. Even after your game releases and it becomes a huge success, you’ll have that feeling.
The key instead is to go ahead once your design has undergone a few iterations, and is ‘good enough’ as opposed to perfect. And rest assured, the design and your game will change once you go ahead. You will eventually discover that some things will work better in other ways. Maybe it will be to slot a certain level in a new place or it will be to introduce a newer character in favor of an older one. These changes will elevate your game to a much better gaming experience.
Relying too much on paper design robs you of these moments. They tether you to a vision of perfection that will never become a reality. Instead, once the basics are done and you iterate it a few times, you must go ahead with the design. Your game will take a great shape on its own, once it is out of your mind and on the development table.
Not Peer Reviewing
Some game designers make the costly mistake of not letting others review the design once they finish it.
This is a mistake that robs you of the chance to make your game’s design better. For one, other game designers will be able to spot the mistakes that you have made in your design. Because despite your best intentions and repeated reviews, there will be a few mistakes that only another person will be able to spot.
Two, feedback will help you make your game’s design better.
Other designers, especially experienced ones, will offer you new perspectives and ways to see your game, which you might not have thought of. This will help you think about your game’s design in new ways and improve them with your ideas as well.
Not Keeping GDD Up-To-Date
As you move forward with your development, your game’s design is bound to undergo a lot of changes. Some things may remain the same, but a lot of things will become radically altered.
But no matter what these changes are or how radical they are, you must keep the game design document up-to-date. This helps you keep track of the design and forge the path forward for the whole development process.
Many designers make the mistake of not doing this. They don’t update the document based on the changes. This becomes troublesome once you go forward with the development process.
Documenting design changes is a hard but necessary process.
Story Over Gameplay
Game designers who are making story-based games run into the problem of the story taking the sole reins and the design taking the backstage.
This is a bad way of thinking about games. Games, even if they have storylines, are not stories themselves. Even in games that have a narrative, the audience is there primarily for the gameplay experience. The story only plays a secondary (but crucial) role. And if you prioritize the story over the gameplay experience your audience will be bored.
Instead, you must take the design in tandem with the story. The two must interplay with each other to provide an excellent gameplay experience that people will want to come back to again and again.
Designing the perfect game requires designers to not only make the right design decisions but also avoid the wrong ones. If you focus on doing only the right thing and do not focus on avoiding the bad things, your game will not be the success you want it to be.
The perfect remedy to this is to hire a top game development company like Juego Studios. We have a team of experienced designers who follow the best game design principles and completely avoid all the common design pitfalls, who create games that people love to play.