Space Invaders
Space Invaders (Source: Image by MasterTux from Pixabay)

Welcome to Game Design Ninja, bringing you my selection of the best courses, tutorials, tools and processes to help create your next video game masterpiece.

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I have always had a love of computing, game design, graphics, animation, and a general interest in all things technical. Recently I have been looking at taking my interests further, starting down the path of learning modern game design whilst incorporating my love of retro game design and aesthetics. By sharing my journey, I hope to both understand and learn more myself and to be able to share more about the game design and development process.

Modern game design and development can often be perceived as simpler than in the past due to the abundance of available game design tools; however, this also brings with it a significant amount of competition. Unfortunately, unlike other industries, it is not necessarily the best products that suceed. It takes a well rounded and engaging product and one that is successfully marketed to win in today's market. The proliferation of indie games on platforms like Steam has also made things both easier and harder. It is all too easy for your hard-earned project to get lost and even harder for it to rise above the abundance mediocre games.

Joystick Game Controllers
Joystick Game Controllers (Source: Image by Andrzej Rembowski from Pixabay)

The process of game design can be broken down into 4 key phases. These phases are not typically executed linearly and you will find yourself looping back around to previous phases. This is analogous to agile software development over traditional waterfall methods.

  • Ideation - Game design all starts with an idea. It can be as simple as extending the concepts of an existing game or inventing a completely new genre with a unique perspective.
  • Design - From sketching concepts on paper to prototyping key game elements, the design phase is where you refine and improve the initial concepts to validate that these elements can actually be built.
  • Development - You may prefer the modern drag and drop game design tools or use your favourite programming language to create your game. Both have their respective strengths and weaknesses.
  • Marketing - Designing and developing your game is one thing, ensuring that it is successful is another. Modern online game stores mean it is easier to reach a large audience; however, it also means that you are competing on a level playing field with thousands of potentially similar games. How do you stand out from the crowd?

Note that developing video games is not always coding on your computer. Actually, as with other forms of software development and artistic persuits, this may actually be the smallest component.

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