Friday, March 25, 2011

The Ideas Guy

Game Designer is the guy who gets paid to sit on his bum (where else? but still catchier than just 'sit'), stretch his legs over the table that is overflowing with toys, distant look in the eyes, slowly chewing on the pen, occasionally sipping coffee and million dollar ideas popping up in his head like an animated Disney film. Everyone knows him and respects him. And though nobody actually salutes him, their feelings are no less. He is the guy who makes the big decisions. He is the guy who comes up with the best of the ideas. Nobody can touch him in intellectual might.And nobody dare contradict him....

Huh! when I read that a couple of times, it actually reminded me of a jackass from the games industry who I worked with and who really thought of himself as the guy described above. He isn't a game designer. He's from some other department. (Come come, you don't have to worry that I am talking about you; for you wouldn't have been reading this blog if you were him.)

Anyway, you guys have a bad habit of taking me off track into some random discussion, so let's get back to the topic. I put that description in Italics cause as a game designer you cannot be farther from the truth than that. Cause that's what all the QA newbies, most of the GD aspirants and quite a few recruits (especially the ones fresh out of game design courses from respected Univs) like to think of.

Don't believe me? Look at the attrition rate. Look at my blog name. Look at the demoralized lot of ex-game designers.

I have been a game designer for 6.5 years now. I am not just talking the talk, having walked the walk.

The Ideas Guy facts
  1. Anyone can come up with ideas (God having provided us with brains). A game designer's job is to take the idea and make it into an enjoyable gaming experience. (Fact)
  2. That your ideas, though seeming awesome to you, might not be that awesome at all. (Fact)
  3. A game designer might not be the origin of the vision of the game, but he is the facilitator of the design to achieve the goal. (Fact)
  4. A game designer needs to have conviction about his design and decisions, but also the humility to accept more sensible options.( An absolute Rare and Raring quality)
  5. A game designer must essentially see a majority of his ideas go into a repository/wish list (recycle bin) and the ones that survive being altered by others to suit the purpose. (Fact)
  6. That ideas generation is just a fraction (1%) of the actual work that a game designer has to do. (Fact)
  7. Be prepared to get the full blame for failed ideas and successful ideas being the result of the team effort. (Sarcastic fact)
  8. Critical analysis of your ideas is not a critical analysis of you. (Depends. Try criticizing the critic's ideas and see his reaction. Not recommended if he can fire you.)
  9. You don't need to have an opinion on everything in the world. (Mr. Know it all)

Remember that a game designer is ultimately an entertainer. Your victory lies in seeing the player entertained, not just seeing your idea making into the game.


Jayanta said...

Did I say before that great game designers are great writers!
They are also great minds as this blog shows. Like what Einstein said- "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent perspiration" - like your idea guy.

Purnima said...

The hard truth! Well said! :)

Dark Lord said...

Now that was said like it is! Truth in a concise and hard-hitting package. Specially the part about seeing lots of ideas going into the bin - very very true. But then i'll also add that if in life you can make even a single game a fun experience for the's a huge sense of satisfaction that makes it all worth it!:)