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Game designer's journey 2.0

  2. 2. ABOUT ME Andrii Dotsenko Game Designer at Ubisoft Kiev 11 years in game design Far Cry 4, Far Cry: Primal
  3. 3. GAME DESIGN IN UBISOFT KIEV Big AAA-projects (Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, etc.) Huge teams (up to 800+ people and 10 studios for one project) You are part of the big machine and design only certain features of the game. Game Designer at Ubisoft Kiev worked on PC versions (UI/Controls/PC version requirements)
  4. 4. “The role of all Game Design professionals at Ubisoft is to imagine and develop compelling and engaging rules for our games.From conception to release,they design high quality game systems and mechanics that are adapted to the audience and will enable players to live their own unique,fun and rich gaming experiences”. WHO IS GAME DESIGNER? Imagine and develop compelling and engaging rules for the game Design game systems and mechanics and adapt them to the audience Create unique, fun and rich gaming experience for players
  5. 5. WHAT GAME DESIGNER DO? Design mechanics and systems within the capabilities and constraints of the engine and tools Leverage a deep understanding and culture of all game genres and platforms to analyze, design and improve game mechanics and systems Use game data to tune and tweak game parameters in an iterative way in the engine or with prototyping tools to validate game mechanics and systems Develop knowledge of usability and learning theories to design gameplay features every player will engage with in line with the defined game progression Leverage knowledge of player psychology and motivation triggers to build game systems that will foster players' engagement Assess the efficiency of signs and feedbacks in the game and suggest solutions to design and optimize them Structure and distribute game information for the player in an efficient way to optimize player onboarding, workload and overall comfort Know and apply layout and typography principles to optimize the presentation of information on the screen Build economic systems that are adapted to the game systems and mechanics and that will reinforce players’ long term retention
  7. 7. USUALWAY… I’ve played so many great games! Now, I know how the games work! I wanna be a Game Designer! BTW, I have a great idea!!!
  8. 8. …DOESN’TWORK They didn’t respond to my letter with so many really great game ideas  Nobody want to teach me!  Almost no formal education (or very expensive and doubtful) 
  9. 9. HR STATISTICS FOR 2014-2016 1000+ CVs (I really should say “thank you” to our HRs at this moment) 168 candidates passed CV screening 33 passed the test (~20%) 30 failed an interview 3 hires (~2%) CVs CV screening passed Test passed 3 hires 1000+ 168 33
  10. 10. SOLUTION:IWILL EDUCATE MYSELF! I’ve seen an article/interview about game design, so people can learn it somehow! I can do this too! …and that’s where our journey begins “Self-education is,I firmly believe,the only kind of education there is”. (IsaakAsimov)
  11. 11. OUR QUESTIONNAIRE In English Open questions Game culture and ability to analyze and understand how games work Game design theory and expertise in different areas Technical understanding No “right” answers Test game designer’s ability to think Test problem-solving skill
  12. 12. ENTRY BARRIER:ENGLISH The majority of the game design knowledge is in English English grants you access to the learning environment There are plenty of ways to learn English, choose the way you like! IN ENGLISH NOT IN ENGLISH Game Design knowledge in English vs.not in English (not an actual data)
  14. 14. FIRSTTRIAL:KNOWLEDGE « Game design knowledge is so hard to find! What should I do? »
  15. 15. WHERE CANYOU FINDTHE KNOWLEDGE? First 10 pages of Google/Youtube search about “Game Design”/”Game Design Book”/”Game Design Blog” contains 80% of the necessary information
  16. 16. NO,SERIOUSLY! 1st page of “Game Design” search contains: Wikipedia article with links to several basic books Coursera game design course (secret: you can also search “game design” on Coursera) Reddit thread with A LOT of useful links Etc. (this is only the very first page)
  17. 17. THE SECRET KNOWLEDGE Google it! (Game Design/Game Design Book/Game Design Blog)
  18. 18. WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR? Fundamental knowledge (how people think, act, make decisions, etc.). Technologies change fast; people change very slowly. Post-mortems (look for best practices) De-construct existing games (fundamental knowledge will help you) Play games! Study different genres/mechanics/business models
  19. 19. PAYATTENTIONTOTHE QUALITY OF KNOWLEDGE! Learn how to systemize knowledge You should be able to convince other people that your design decision is right Learn how to ask proper questions: your main skill as a game designer is a problem-solving
  20. 20. I’M READY! I HAVE SO MANY IDEAS! I’ve read 10/50/100 game design articles! I’ve even read a book about game design! Now, I certainly know how the games work! With all this knowledge, I have even more great ideas than before! Now, they will answer to my letters!
  21. 21. NO.
  22. 22. IDEAS SUCCESS RATE Raw ideas Ideas for consideration Small projects Developments Major developments Launched 1 successful product 3000 300 125 9 4 1.7
  23. 23. SADTRUTHABOUT IDEAS Only 1 idea out of 3000 is successful First 50% of your ideas will be obvious The most part of another 50% will be not practical
  24. 24. EXTENDED EFFORT PRINCIPLE Do not stop after first idea that looks good, generate as many ideas as you can The best ideas will appear at the end of the list So, generate MORE ideas!
  25. 25. SECONDTRIAL:TECHNICAL UNDERSTANDING « My idea is so great! But they don’t believe me…»
  26. 26. GOTAN IDEA? PROVE IT! OK, let’s assume that you have really good idea…and then you suddenly realized that nobody believes you! Prove your idea! Mods Game prototyping tools Non-commercial projects Paper prototype!
  27. 27. GAME DESIGN ISABOUT EXECUTION You ideas will not appear in a “magical” way – you also need a technical understanding Game Design is almost always about compromises and problem-solving in boundaries of your technical constraints Mods, prototypes and non-commercial projects is a very helpful way for beginners to get the technical understanding
  28. 28. GAME DESIGN IS NOTABOUT IDEAS IDEA ≠ GAME The game appears only after the player starts to interact with the game rules. The only way to prove that your idea worth something is to make it interactive. To make a prototype. Usually, during prototyping, there is a very high chance that your idea will fail. Be ready to fail.
  29. 29. YOU MIGHT FAIL MANYTIMES 52nd (!) Rovio game Hundreds of failed prototypes Before Angry Birds, Rovio was close to bankruptcy Sometimes, you have to fail many times before real success
  30. 30. THIRDTRIAL:TEAMWORK You will need other people to make the game (programmers, artists, management, business, etc.). You need to learn how to communicate with all of them.
  31. 31. COMMUNICATIONTOOLS Word/Excel/Powerpoint are your best friends. Master them. Learn how to write well. Learn how to speak well (also in public). Basic artistic skills – draw your idea. Pencil and paper work surprisingly well. Image editors for detailed mock-ups. Visio/Powerpoint for schemes/diagrams.
  32. 32. CLARITY EXERCISE Write your idea in four short sentences. Or less. Imagine that you have ~30 sec. to say them. From these four sentences, the essence of your idea should be clearly understandable. If you cannot write it clear enough in four sentences or less – most likely, your idea is bad. *Google “Elevator Pitch”
  33. 33. THEY DON’T LISTENTO ME! They criticize my ideas every time! They want to implement their own ideas instead of mine! They do everything in their own way! I’m a DESIGNER, why don’t they listen to me?
  34. 34. THE LASTTRIAL:YOUR EGO Game is collective creative process You have no creative monopoly You cannot know everything Learn to listen to your team, they all have different life experiences, play different games, learn how to use this experience
  35. 35. HOWTO LISTEN Every member of the team has a voice You are “listening hub” Look for “integrated decisions” that should include ideas, skills and experience of your team *GoogleTED video“How to manage for collective creativity”
  36. 36. HOWTO PASS OURTEST? English! Not being lazy! You must convince us  Game Design knowledge (gameplay, level design, UI/UX, psychology, monetization, etc.) Quality of knowledge! Technical and organizational skills (planning, data analysis, technical understanding, etc.) Communication skills (structure and look of your test are important)
  37. 37. GAME DESIGN IS HARDTO LEARN Game Design requires from you developing of very specific mindset. Usually, you need at least two years and some amount of failed projects to develop such mindset. You need to learn how to craft and communicate the player experience, and what tools you should use to create it.
  38. 38. FINDTHE ENTRANCE In many cases, you will not start you career, as a game designer. First thing that you need to do is to find the entrance to the industry: Find modding/non-commercial projects communities where you can get basic skills Try to find internship/part-time job in the game industry
  39. 39. GAME DESIGN IS PERSONAL All the game design methods do not work without you. In many cases, your success as a game designer depends on personal qualities. Especially, on the early stage of your career. You are in the heart of the project, develop motivation, commitment, and ability to solve complex problems.
  40. 40. GAME DESIGN IS RISKY Game Design is the hardest and the riskiest career path in the game industry. Sometimes not very rewarding. In the most cases, much more boring than you expect. Follow this way, only if you absolutely sure 
  41. 41. Thank YOU questions ?
  42. 42. FORTHOSEWHOARE LAZY Game Design books: Jesse Schell, The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses Brenda Brathwaite, Challenges for Game Designers Raph Koster, Theory of Fun for Game Design Scott Rogers, Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design Useful links: Google it! (Game Design/Game Design Book/Game Design Blog)