Game Design and Game Development: How The Two Walk Hand-in-Hand

Have you ever stopped to wonder how your favorite game was made? Take the beloved and critically acclaimed game, The Last of Us, which was launched on PlayStation 3 in 2013. Developed by Naughty Dog, The Last of Us set the standard for story-centric games, emulating a traditional Hollywood format. With its sweeping cameras and use of PS3 hardware to create realistic human reactions, The Last of Us succeeded in creating a story players could invest in, all thanks to the team of designers and developers that worked on the game.

Yes, behind every great game is a team of even greater game designers and developers. But what exactly do they do how do they go hand-in-hand? Game design is the first step when it comes to creating a product and is most responsible for its success. Not only do game designers create the storyboard, graphics and features but they also establish concrete gameplay for the player.

On the other hand, game developers are responsible for bringing the designer's vision to life, transforming games from concepts to playable reality. This is done by overseeing the technical aspects of the game such as coding visual elements, programming features, and testing iterations until a game is ready for market.

Sure, there are principal differences between the two, however each play an equally important role in video games. Interestingly, this theory is not only applied in the console gaming realm. Online casinos also put this into practice. With many top developers, from Microgaming to Evolution and Hackshaw Gaming and Betsoft - all of which offer games complemented by no deposit bonuses, see examples here.

Game Design

Good game design defines how a player will play and experience a game. As such it can make or break the success of a game from the first push of a button. Sure, a game may be fun when you first pick it up but truly investing in the gameplay only happens if the game has a good design, otherwise, players will easily get bored and log off. It's important to establish a good flow and build up the difficulty of the game at a steady pace. Remember, if a game is too difficult from the start this can discourage and frustrate players, leaving them to seek out alternative options.

Players should be able to load the game and begin playing as quickly as possible, which means they should be able to learn the fundamentals of the gameplay efficiently and remain engaged. Once they get a hang of the game, then you need to ensure it gets more difficult to master.

Successfully capturing players’ attention and keeping them coming back for more, is both an art and a science, that is not easy to master. But it’s not impossible, just look at Shigeru Miyamoto who earned worldwide success after renaming his character Jumpman for Donkey Kong to Mario.

Whether you're building a simple puzzle game or a complex first-person shooter, a good rule of thumb to follow is to keep the design simple and continue to build it out from there.

Game Development

Not only does the game need to look good but it also needs to function well which is where the game’s development comes into play. Yes, it might not be the most glamorous job but one cannot function without the other. Developers are responsible for following the designer’s vision and making sure it comes together by writing the code and implementing sound effects.

They also need to identify potential technical limitations by performing tests in order to determine whether the designer’s vision is achievable. Developers will determine movement nuances, results of object interaction, and game mechanics. Some developers may even employ a game engine which is an underlying game software which allows them to create a game without writing new code. While large game studios like Nintendo use their own game engines, smaller organizations rely on open-source options.

Future of Gaming Industry

While many people may have been discussing PlayStation's success with the recent The Last of US HBO television adaptation, regenerating interest in their game, it’s Microsoft’s XBOX that has dominated the headlines as of late. Microsoft’s acquisition of gaming developing giant Activision Blizzard for $69bn shook the gaming industry, giving them exclusive access to the

Call of Duty franchise and World of Warcraft.

It will be exciting to see how the deal will pan out and how it will impact the industry for years to come.

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