Join Brenda Romero for an in-depth discussion in this video What is a game designer?, part of Game Design Careers with Brenda Romero.
- A game designer is the architect, in a sense, of the game. If you're talking to somebody in a game world, and that person talks back to you, and they say things, it's because I said they'd do it. If you press the "A" button, and it brings up the "Options" menu, it's because I said that was going to happen. If you go like this on the controller, and the volume turns down, also me. So game designers effectively are the architects of playing.
One of easiest ways, in fact, to understand this is to open up board game, take the rules out, that's my job. I write the rules. I determine that if you finish a quest, you get experience points. I determine that if you get hit by a monster, hit points get taken away, and, well, obviously, not me for every game ever, because otherwise I'd have no life. But, there's a game designer, and usually there are many game designers. There's usually a lead game designer and working with a team of game designers, and they create that experience, which is then built by the game play programmers, artists, it's a whole team of people.
I could spend an hour naming just the jobs in the game industry. But a whole team of people often build that experience. And so, effectively, the easiest way to see it, look at a set of rules, but if something happens in game, it's because somebody made a conscious decision that that was going to happen, and they architected the game in such a way that if you did "x," "y" would follow.
Combining inspiration and hard-won advice, this course shows there is more than one way to approach game design and break into the industry.