“……这个想法会提升游戏体验……”你不是要告诉团队需要去做什么，你要努力让他们能够感受到自己构想出的体验。以Martian Flytrap工作室为例，程序员Bas往往会批判性 地思考我提出的想法。他应当这么做，因为如果这些想法很糟糕，会让他浪费时间和金钱！我必须向他展示想法的背景和使用，这样我们才能在真正的执行上达成一致意见。有时 ，对想法做出的只是叙述层面上的修改。“不，角色不是跳跃，而是使用火箭飞行器”，这也算是对游戏设计的不同观点，但机制保持不变。
体验得到团队认同后，你让美术人员和程序员执行游戏想法。但是，游戏开发的完成并不意味着你的工作就此结束。重要的工作才刚刚来临。游戏设计师应当寻找玩家来测试游戏 ，根据他们的反馈对游戏进行修改。这个过程需要大量的工作，会耗费大量的时间。尤其是在开发过程的润色阶段，你需要不断循环测试和修改这个循环。修改的幅度从改变些许参数到完全改变玩家获得体验的方法不等。有 时候，你会回到职责1中的工作，也就是制造体验。在这种情况下，应当称为“重新制造”。而且，应当大胆舍弃无用的内容。对于那些无法修改的内容，我们应当将其取出，然后努力修改剩余内容的问题。不要对内容舍弃感到担忧，这也是开发过程中的重要环节。我们鼓励你尽快和频繁进行游戏测试，这样你就能更早且更容易地修改游戏中的不当内容。
* 创造机制和构思：假设你想要创造的是款超级英雄游戏。关于超级英雄应如何在游戏中前进，及如何将boss战斗变得精彩非凡，你有很棒的想法。这非常不错。有效运用创造性 ，这是个有趣的过程，遗憾的是，这只是游戏设计过程的一部分。
* 提出问题：这听起来有点可笑，但你越擅于就游戏机制和构思提出问题，你的构思和机制就会越完善。这是利用创造性形成新视角，发现新问题。和糟糕设计师的沟通通常呈现 如下模式：
转变视角是游戏设计的重要组成部分，这促使富有创造性的人员能够提出新看法，基于这个角度发现问题。你的原始机制定存在不足，我们需要反复地去粗取精，方能呈现出优秀 的设计。运用创造性思维发现设计新视角及新问题能够有效提高你的“蒸馏”速度，进而让你能够进行更多次的迭代操作。根据循环规律，更频繁的迭代过程意味着我们将得到更 杰出的产品。
* 创造合理的解决方案：既然你已通过自己的创造性发现新问题，我们是时候该运用创造性想出合理的解决方案。我所指的合理解决方案是指不会提高游戏复杂性的方案。你的游 戏可以很复杂，但应该是因为游戏原本就以复杂性作为设计目标，而不应是：“这里存在某个问题，我们唯一的解决方案就是添加更多规则，应对此异常情况。”这听起来很简单，但要找到不会带来更多奇怪异常问题的解决方案要比表面上看起来困难很多。若你能够创作出不受视角变更影响，同时又不会显得特别臃肿的设计，那么你就将创造性技能发挥 得很好。这是相当于程序员“整齐编码”的游戏设计。
我们会通过很多方式“训练”移情技能。首先，他们进行提问和倾听，进行仔细倾听。若玩家在游戏的跳跃过程中受挫，那么他会说：“此跳跃内容糟透了”这和“我似乎无法顺 利完成此跳跃操作”截然不同。你也许会认为，二者都代表跳跃机制不够顺畅。但在第一种情况中，玩家责备的是游戏。而第二种情况中，玩家责备的是自己。若玩家觉得跳跃内 容糟透了，那么他就会形成和目标体验相抵触的消极游戏过程。但在第二种情况下，游戏不见得就是个糟糕体验，因为玩家觉得自己处在控制地位。有些游戏采用逐步提高玩家操 作水平的模式，即便控制装置处于一流水平（游戏邦注：设计师要仔细倾听玩家的意见，识破他们的语言）。
* 体验塑造过程：还记得前面提到的，运用自己的创造性探索新视角？移情技能能够帮你感受这些新视角。从根本上说，你是在同另一个自己形成共鸣，试着体会不属于自己的情 感。
* 沟通：移情是沟通的核心。理解他人的观点及动机对于进行有效沟通至关重要。同样，若你能够进行仔细倾听，同团队成员形成共鸣，你们你将发现自己从未遇过的新视角、新 问题及新解决方案。倾听团队成员的看法与同他们进行沟通一样重要。
你知道这一行的前辈常说的一句话是什么吗——游戏开发与玩游戏一点关系都没有！但是这却是最大的谎言啊！这是你的对手们为了防止你这名优秀的游戏玩家超越他们而使用的 手段。那么真相到底是什么呢？是否制作游戏与玩游戏具有深刻的联系？如果你曾经尝试过各种不同的游戏，你便会发现游戏中存在各种不同的机制。这时你便会好奇游戏是如何 运作的？为何有些游戏具有乐趣，有些游戏却很无趣？游戏的主题是什么？其它游戏内容是如何支持这一主题？还有哪些内容需要提高？如果你喜欢玩那些时间段较长的游戏，如 大型多人在线角色扮演游戏或竞技游戏，你就需要学会保持游戏的平衡。尝试各种游戏并学会分析它们能够帮助你更好地解决自己在游戏中所遇到的问题。如果你正在制作一款与 现有游戏类似的游戏，你便可以有效地避开现有游戏所遇到过的陷阱；如果你现在所面临的问题已经被其它游戏所解决了，你就无需自己再趟一次浑水了。只要你能够重视别人的进步，你自己定能够获得更加快速且稳步的进步。
你需要记住，你为自己的游戏定位的体验可能与你玩过的游戏体验不同，所以不要只是出于喜欢而盲目地复制那些你不需要的内容，更不要复制别人的经验！就好比《魔兽世界》 吧，这是一款极具名气的游戏，其开发者拥有游戏开发经验并且也享有优越的开发时机（如果他们遗漏了其中一点优势，特别是名声，那就真的只能说明他们拥有绝对强大的商招 ）。你需要好好分解任何一款你所玩过的游戏，修改并使用游戏中的解决方法使之适合自己的游戏。每个人都在这么做（游戏邦注：就像现在大家都在使用方向键机制一样），你 又何必“拘谨”。
你是否希望得到团队中的开发者的青睐？那就努力学习数学和计算机科学吧！数学将帮助你更好应对游戏开发中的众多难题，因为大多数游戏都需要牵扯到经济，而经济中的某些 内容又是以数学形式呈现出来。角色扮演游戏和策略游戏最为明显。任何游戏都拥有自己的均衡点以及特定的数学模式，它们的开发团队也知道如何基于这些内容去加速自己的开 发过程。除此之外，机会也是不容忽视的一点，它是游戏中一大基本内容。机会就像是一种纯粹的数学魔法，正因为我们喜欢魔法，所以我们便选择使用它。掌握了数学的基本原 理你便能够快速且轻松地创造出平衡的游戏。数学原理同样也能够有效地帮助你进行编程。
了解如何编写脚本和程序对于设计师来说很有帮助。这样你便能够较容易地修改任何内容，并进一步明确游戏中的任何发展潜能。同时，这也能够缓解程序员的压力避免他们花费 更多时间去解释事情的发展，并让你不会觉得自己像个傻瓜似的。同时你也需要记得，清楚自己团队的工作事项能够帮助你更好地进行定位与讨论。就像你需要知晓团队中的开发 者在做些什么，如此才能够加速你的修改过程并推动你们之间进行更好的交流——这是游戏设计师工作中最重要的两大内容。
你也许知道这是Malcolm Gladwell所提出的理论（游戏邦注：即1万小时成功理论）：花费1万小时去实践某件事，你便能够成为这个领域的专家。我并不想在此详细讨论这一理论 ，只是想证明，它完全适用于游戏设计。游戏设计是一个广泛的领域，伴随着人们所创造或经历过的体验而不断发展；并且人们需要在此面对各种观点，问题以及人员。所以不存 在任何能够帮助你“半路出家”的理论。我知道，“实践”并不属于一种技能，但是游戏设计又太过广泛，所以仅依靠3种技能还不足以帮助你征服这一领域。
所以你需要继续创造游戏！创造更多游戏。创造各种不同类型的游戏。如果你不知道如何创造游戏图像或编写程序，你就需要先学会这些基本技能或先尝试着制作一款桌面/纸牌游 戏。你将能快速了解到机制样式，设计陷阱，以及各种你需要与之交流的人。除此之外你也能够学习到那些对你所选择的游戏类型有帮助的技能（也许是生物学或历史等知识）； 并且你将更加明确哪些技能能够真正推动自己游戏设计的不断进步。（本文由游戏邦编译，转载请注明来源，或咨询微信zhengjintiao）
Game Design : The Designer Class – What does he do?
After finishing your favorite game, you may have stopped and thought: “Wow, what an amazing game! I wish I could make a game as awesome as this one!”. Then it hits you. Why not? But how can I become a game designer? Which skills or talents do I need? What does a game designer actually do anyway!? There are many important questions to be answered before, so I decided to make a series of blog-posts about them! Because we’re talking games here, and because it’s fun,
let’s treat these blogs as an RPG character creation guide, shall we? The different “chapters” are:
Role: What are the tasks of a game designer? (This chapter!)
Passive Abilities: What are favorable character traits?
Powers: What are important skills?
Weaknesses: What are the biggest pitfalls?
Of course, these are just my humble opinions, mixed with some wise words of Jesse Schell, local hero Joost van Dongen, and the guys from Extra Credits. So, to the first part: What are the tasks of a game designer? To keep it simple, I’ll just talk about 3 of the activities that I do the most.
Role 1 – Crafting the Experience
A game is actually an experience. The experience of being a medieval hero, the experience of being a soldier or any other kind of experience. Even the most basic game is composed of strings of experiences. Take Pacman. You experience what it’s like to be a collector (which is a low paced experience), and switch between the experience of being hunted and the experience of being a hunter(Which are both more exciting). The player is having fun because he’s experiencing something he likes, and it’s YOUR job to make sure those experiences are top notch! Note that you’re not necessarily the one coming up with the core experience. If you want to make an eel-adventure-party game and one of the techboys comes up with a brilliant rpg where you play a witch, the team is probably going to agree to make the second game. It’s your task to make sure that the player is going to feel like a scary, powerful and mysterious witch.
Let’s say we’re making a game where the player is a superhero. That’s a compelling experience! Everyone has wondered what it’s like to be a superhero.
You’ve got the initial attention of the player, but that doesn’t mean the experience is already done.
What if there are no challenging baddies? This greatly interferes with the experience of being a superhero, because a part of being a superhero is the superhero-drama! Think about your favorite superhero going down to the baddy in that one episode, and just completely kicking his ass in 3 or 5 seconds.
There is no tension in that! Superheroes come in just in time, and win by just an inch.
We have to make sure the player experiences that!
What if there are only challenging baddies? So a lot of tension right? Ok, so we put in some arch-nemeses, and we’re done! NO! What is a superhero, if he can never distinguish himself from the common man he protects? You need to show off your power! We need the 500 goons to show the player that he’s a superhero that can take on 500 goons easily. Being a superhero is being powerful, and the player must feel it!
What if the controls are buggy? This seems a bit out of our lane, but it’s really important. How would you feel being a superhero, and not being able to control your body as you wish? You would look totally lame crashing into that building, because you couldn’t get the controls right. It interferes with the player’s experience of power and awesomeness, so it must be fixed.
I could go on hours and hours about experiences, but let’s keep that for another time. The point is, you create the experience. You try to make your experiences as convincing as possible using mechanics, timing, story, possibilities, controls, game properties, rewards, punishments and to a lesser extend art-style, animation, and sound (this is more like the artists/sound designer’s job). This brings us to…
Role 2 – Pitching & Communicating
You’ve got an idea, now its time to bring it to the team! This aspect seems easy. Just tell em, right? But you have to do so much more. You have to convince the team that this idea will enhance the experience and is worth the time and effort to implement. See how many things are already in that sentence?
You have to convince the team… This means you need to take time to have a clear conversation together. Organize stuff, anticipate on questions and make sure that everything is clear. A good game designer designs his pitch.
…that the idea will enhance the experience… You don’t tell the team what to do. You try to make them experience what you have in mind. Here at Martian Flytrap for example, Bas (the programmer) often thinks critically about the ideas I present. He should, because if they suck, he’s wasting time and money! I have to show him the context and use of the idea, so that we share the same view on the game. Sometimes, small narrative changes are all it takes. “No, that
character isn’t jumping, but using a jet-pack”, gives a different view on the game, while the mechanics might still be the same.
…and worth the time and effort to implement. This one is easy. Know what your team does, and know how hard it is to implement your idea. You’re not the expert, but you can get a good hunch. If you know the costs of implementing your idea, you know if it’s even worth bringing up.
Naturally, this is not a one way street. You have to listen carefully to the team as well! If you’ve discussed your idea and the team still thinks it stinks, two things could have happened. Either you didn’t do the pitch well enough, or your idea just stinks. The latter is 100 times more likely to occur, especially if you’re working with open-minded, listening people. Keep in mind your ideas could not be as good as you thought! It’s part of the process!
By the way, writing game design documents is also a form of communication!
Role 3 – Testing & Tweaking
So, you got your experience set, and you asked the artist and programmer to implement it. The game is done, and so are you! Hahaha, no. Now comes the big part. The game designer should test the game on people, and tweak it according to their feedback. That’s just a lot of work, and it takes up a lot of time.
Especially towards the polishing-stage of the development process. You’re going to test, tweak, test, tweak, test, throw away, test, tweak, etc. forever and ever. Tweaking can range from changing a few parameters to totally changing the way you approach the experience. You’ll be set back to role 1, the crafting of the experience, often. Re-crafting, in this case. Also, note the “throw away” earlier. Sometimes, something is just plain off. We take it out, and try to fix the problem with something else. Don’t be afraid to throw things away, it’s a vital part of the process. This also encourages you to test soon and often, so you can change things earlier and easier.
It’s also important to get the right people to test your game, and inviting people is part of the game designer’s job as well. You have to think about the right audience, right game experience, and the right knowledge of your game. Sometimes, it’s better to test the game multiple times on one person, and sometimes it’s better to test it on new test subjects.
Last week, I started with a series of blogposts about what it’s like and what it takes to be a game designer. Because we’re talking games here, I’m approaching these posts as an RPG character creation guide. The series consists of the following chapters:
1. Role: What are the tasks of a game designer?
2. Passive Abilities: What are favorable character traits? (This chapter!)
3. Powers: What are important skills?
4. Weaknesses: What are the biggest pitfalls?
So this week, I’ll talk about the passive abilities of the gamedesigner: the character traits. We all know some favorable character traits for a lot of professions. A good firefighter is brave and vigilant, and a good nurse is often sympathetic and caring. As with any profession, game designers have favorable traits too. Here I will give my take on the traits that will improve your game design capabilities. Traits are more like naturally born talents, that can be developed, but hardly learned. For example, you are either brave or not. There is no such thing as a brave school where you learn to be brave.
Becoming brave is a difficult task, one that requires a character change. Note that these traits I mention aren’t requirements for being a game designer, but traits that, in my opinion, will give you a significant head start.
Before I start, I need to credit Jesse Schell, Extra Credits and Joost van Dongen again, for their words of wisdom that have influenced my view on game design. Some viewpoints here might be shamelessly copied from them.
Obviously, if you’re going to communicate a lot, you’ll need to be able to communicate well! You’re going to talk or write to other designers, programmers, artists, business-guys, publishers, and sometimes, even your target audience! If the way you communicate is boring, you’re bound to lose the interest of others. Say you’re having a team meeting where you’re going to pitch a mechanic to the team. When you talk as passionate and interesting as a bag of potatoes, you run the risk that the people will stop paying attention. They’ll misinterpret your idea, or worse, they’ll just won’t think your idea is fun because you’re not fun!If your way of communicating is unclear, you’re going to sow a lot of confusion and misinterpretation. When you’re communicating with the team, like writing a gamedesign document, make sure to be clear and explicit. If the reader get’s it right away, it will shorten the test loop.
Having a knack for reaching people with your words is a great talent for a gamedesigner. You’re the only one that can explain the team what has to be implemented. So make sure you do it well! If ideas don’t get implemented, you want them not to get implemented because they weren’t good enough, not because your talk was uninteresting. Also, if ideas get implemented wrong, you didn’t do your job of communicating good enough.
A nice plus is that designing a good talk has a lot of similarities with designing a good game. If you have a talent for interesting people with words, you’ re more likely to interest people with games as well.
Well duh. Of course you have to be creative! You are trying to craft an exciting new experience! Making something new of high quality is the practically the definition of creativity! So we’re done here, right?
…Not entirely. People often come with:”I have an awesome idea for a game or a mechanic!”, and it seems that creativity stops there. While composing new ideas for experiences are a very valid use of creativity, they are probably the least frequent one. Remember “Experience Crafting” from the last blog? Look closely on how creativity is used there:
* Creating mechanics and concept: So you want to make a superhero game? You have great ideas for how a superhero should progress through the game, and how to awesomify the boss battles? Great! Valid use of creativity, very fun to do, and sadly, just a small part of the game design process.
* Creating problems: This sounds very silly and stupid, but the better you are at creating problems for your mechanics and concepts, the better your concepts and mechanics will be. This is creativity used to create new perspectives and finding new problems. A talk with a bad gamedesigner will go something like this:
—Game designer: I have an aaaawesome idea X!
—You: Sounds cool! But… how will the player do Y?
—Game designer: Uuuuh… I didn’t think about the idea that way….
While a talk with a good game designer would end with:
—Game designer: I already thought about that problem, and the player just needs to do Z!
Changing perspective is an important part of game designing, and it takes a creative person to come up with new perspective and seek problems from that point of view. Your initial mechanics are never perfect, and it will take many iterations to distill out the best design. Using your creativity to find new perspectives and problems in your design will improve your distilling-speed, and thus allow more iterations. By the rule of the loop, more iterations means a
* Creating elegant solutions: Now that you used your creativity to find new problems, it’s time to use that creativity to come up with elegant solutions! With elegant solutions I mean solutions that don’t add to the complexity of the game. Your game can be complex, but it should be complex because you choose to make a complex game. The reason shouldn’t be: “There was this problem and the only way we could fix it was to add more rules to catch this exception.”
It sounds easy, but finding a solution that doesn’t add more strange exceptions is harder than it looks. When you can make a design that is resistant to change of perspective while not becoming increasingly bloated, you’re using your creativity well! It’s the game design equivalent of the programmers “neat code”.
So be creative, but don’t forget to put that creativity to good use after the concept has been thought out!
Wait, what? Empathy? We’re not trying to comfort anyone! Why would a game designer need empathy more than any other human being to excel?
When you think about it a little bit longer, it makes a lot of sense. Look at the definition of empathy according to the Collins English Dictionary:
the power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person’s feelings
When someone is playing a game, he’s entering an experience that will give him certain feelings. The feeling of power while being a superhero, or sadistic pleasures when playing an evil overlord. The point is, you as a game designer must maximize that feeling. What better way is there to understand the player’ s experiences, than entering the state of the player himself? When you’re playtesting, and people do not enjoy the experience, it’s your job to figure out
why. It helps a lot if you’re able to let your premises go, and identify yourself with the player.
People use many ways to “practice” empathy. First and foremost, they ask and listen, listen very closely. If the player is frustrated by a jumping course in your game, and he says: “The jumping sucks!” it means something different than if he would say “I can’t seem to get the jumping right…”. You might think that both indicate that the jump mechanics aren’t smooth enough. However, in the first case, the player is blaming the game. While in the second case, he’s blaming himself. If the player thinks the jumping sucks, he’s having a negative experience that is probably interfering with the target experience. The second case is not necessarily a bad experience, since the player feels he’s in control. There are games build around the experience of improving your mastery level, even while the controls are ace (Like Super Meat Boy and VVVVVV). Listen close to your players, and see through their words.
A second way to empathize with a person, is to look at his or her body language. Facial expression, posture, focus of attention: all these things reveal motives and feelings the player doesn’t even realize he has. It’s not uncommon for game designers to record their playtest session to have more time to analyse the player’s body language. Understanding and entering someone else’s experience is a very useful talent to have as a game designer!
Now it seems that empathy is used for testing purposes only, but in my opinion, it’s used in every aspect of game design:
* Experience Crafting: Remember to use your creativity to find different perspectives? Empathy helps you experiencing those perspectives. Basically, you’re empathizing with another fake version of yourself, trying to experience feelings that aren’t really your own.
* Communicating: I don’t think I even have to mention this, but empathy is at core of communication. Understanding someone’s views and motives is vital for good communication. Also, if you listen well and are able to empathize with your teammates, you might hear and understand new perspectives, problems, and solutions that you would have never encountered yourself. Listening to your team is just as valuable as talking to them.
* Testing & Tweaking: As mentioned above!
Someone who has difficulties understanding the motives and experiences of a person, will most likely have difficulties creating a beautiful experience.
That’s it for now! Naturally, there are many, many other traits that will help you, but I think these three are the most valuable. If you have all of them, I think you’ve got a great talent for becoming a good game designer! If you miss any of them, well, there are many roads that lead to Rome, but it will probably hamper you somewhere along the way. Next time, I’ll talk about important skills for a game designer. Thanks for reading!
A few weeks ago, I started with a series of blogposts about what it’s like and what it takes to be a game designer. Because we’re talking games here, I’m approaching these posts as an RPG character creation guide. The series consists of the following chapters:
1.Role: What are the tasks of a game designer?
2.Passive Abilities: What are favorable character traits?
3.Powers: What are important skills? (This chapter!)
4.Weaknesses: What are the biggest pitfalls?
This week’s subject is about skills. When I talk about skills I mean things that you can learn and develop by going to school, reading books, analyzing stuff etc. To be honest, it’s a though subject for me to talk about. The most important reason for that is that the skills you need to learn depend strongly of the kind of game you wish to make. The game designers from the Civilization series probably learned a good amount of history to enhance that feel of
progressing through the ages. I don’t think that the game designer working on Mass Effect did the same. One thing, however, is certain: the world with all its information and possibilities is a massive pool of interesting perspectives and experiences. The more you see, do and learn, the more perspectives and experiences you gain. Being curious will certainly help you in making great games! Basically, I’m saying: “Do everything!”. But since that’s not
feasible, I’ll just list the 3 things that I think will help you the most in general…with one side note. I think I hammered on communication enough by now, so I’m going to leave that one out. BUT IT’S THERE SO PRACTICE YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS!
Again, big thanks to Jesse Schell, Extra Credits and Joost van Dongen. If you want to learn a lot of game design, I recommend to start with Jesse Schell’s the art of game design. After you read this of course!
You know how often wise old man say: Game development has nothing to do with playing games! Well, that’s a lie! It’s propaganda from the elite to keep you, the fanatic gamer, from forming a competition for them! Ok, that’s not entirely true, but what is true, is that making games has a lot to do with playing games! If you have played a lot of (different) games, you are likely to have seen a lot of different mechanics. Be curious about how a game works. Why is it
fun, or not fun at all? What’s the theme? How does everything reinforce that? What could be improved easily? If you like playing a more “long term” game, like an MMORPG or an arena game, try predicting the patches to get a hang of balance. Playing a lot of games, but also analyzing them, gives you the best possible pool of answers for the problems of your game. If you’re making a game that has similarities with another game, why fall for the same pitfalls? If you face a problem that is already well handled in another game, why re-invent the wheel? Progress is made faster and better, if you don’t ignore the progress others make.
Just remember that the experience you’re targeting with your game is probably different than that of the games you played. Don’t copy stuff you don’t need, and for the love of everything that is holy, don’t copy the experience! Making World of Warcraft, but better is, most of the time, just a bad idea. They have the name, they have the experience of the development and they have a good time advantage. (If they’re missing those though, especially the name, it might be a smart business move. Not very noble, but smart nonetheless) Pick apart the many games you’ve played, and use and modify their solutions to fit yours. Everyone does it (Who came up with the brilliant WASD?), and so should you.
Math & Computer Science
Want to be loved by the developers on your team? Learn some math and computer science! Math will help you in most game anyways, since most games have an economy and economies are partially mathematical models. The RPG’s and strategy games are obvious shots here. Any game that has balance in them, has a mathematical model in it, and having a good grasp on how these work will surely speed up your development progress. Another point not to forget is chance,
often a fundamental part of games. Chance is pure math wizardry, but hey, we like magic so let’s use it. Knowing the basics of math will allow you to make balanced games faster and easier. So try to get a grasp on that. Math also helps with programming, which is awesome!
Because knowing how to script and program is very handy for a designer. You can tweak and change things easier and it gives more insight in the possibilities of your game. It also saves your programmer stress and time explaining how things can’t work this way and thinking what a moron you are. Remember that knowing what your team is doing is important for good pitches and discussions? Well big shock, your developer actually programs! Knowing how his job works
speeds up the tweak loop, and betters communication, two big parts of the game designer’s life.
Now math & computer science are arguably the “least important” of the 3 things I’m listing here as most useful in general. Don’t get discouraged if you’ re a disaster at math. But I mention it for one important reason: If you know some scripting or programming, you can’t pull the “eeeeh, but I don’t know how to make a computer program!”-excuse on yourself. It’s the worst thing that could happen to an aspiring game developer, because you know what’s the most important for being a game designer…?
10 000 hours
Maybe you know this rule set up by Malcolm Gladwell: Put 10 000 hours of practice in something, and you become an expert in it. I’m not going to discuss the rule in general, but for game design, it’s spot on. Game design is a vast area that keeps growing with every experience a human creates or goes through. There are so many perspectives, problems and people to work with. There is no way that studying any theory will get you even half way of using your full potential game design powers. I know, “practice” isn’t really a skill, but game design is to broad to be captured in 3 skills, so I’m going to cheat it into this list anyway!
So just make games! Make loads of them. Make any kind of them. If you can’t make art or write a program, learn their basics or go make a board/card game. You will learn patterns in mechanics, pitfalls in design and what kind of people you can communicate with quickly. You will also learn which other skills seem more useful for the type of games you want to make. Maybe it’s biology or history. You will surely get more insight in what skills are required for you
to progress your game design. I don’t even know why you’re reading all this crap if you could be making a game. Go make one right now（source：gamasutra1 ，2，3）