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  • Level-Up As A Game Designer: Improve Your Technical Skills

    [05.15.18]
    - Karl Morley

  • 4. You can tackle tricky designs!

    Some of the more impactful features in a game are often the hardest to design. Consider the following features/systems and how technical skills can help you design them:

    • Random world generation - If a game contains random worlds/levels, then it is often core to the game experience. For this reason, being able to prototype a design early in development is essential.
    • Weapon / projectile design - Basic vector maths and physics knowledge will help you prototype weapon ideas. You will also have a better understanding of what variable values you might need exposing by your programmers when designing complex weapons.
    • Progress / ranking systems - Being familiar with probability distributions and using spreadsheet software will greatly aid in designing such systems. These tools allow you to more easily visualize and iterate on your designs. They allow you to predict outcomes and calculate best and worst case scenarios.

    5. You will stand out from the crowd (especially helpful for getting that first game design job)!

    If you are coveting a job title such as "Game Designer" at an established studio, then this point is the most important! Most job postings will receive tens, if not hundreds, of applications. You have to find a way to stand out!

    Having the technical skills to be able to create prototypes and games by yourself allows you to SHOW your skills to employers. By showing what you are capable of, you are reducing the risk that the employer would be taking on you, as a first-time game designer.

    So what are you waiting for?

    Game development has never been more accessible. Here are some useful links to help get you started with improving your technical game design skills:

    Unity is an excellent game engine to help learn how to code (using C#). Unity's official website has lots of great tutorials to follow - https://unity3d.com/learn

    Unreal Engine (UE4) is another great game engine. UE4 offers "Blueprint" visual scripting - a good way to get familiar with the basics of technical game development while not requiring you to learn the written syntax of a traditional programming language. - https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/what-is-unreal-engine-4

    Matthew Palaje - UE4 video tutorials - An amazing source of UE4 Blueprint tutorials! His "Lets Create..." series is especially good - teaching you how to recreate the game mechanics of popular games. Highlights include recreating the recall ability for the "Tracer" character in Overwatch and recreating the time manipulation mechanic of "Super Hot!" - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLU5bW3o0bUgQDwayV-EnLRTUTiRVuyT9r

    3Blue1Brown - Mathematic / Statistics video tutorials - This YouTube channel does an amazing job of breaking down various mathematic and statistical ideas. Get started with Vector maths - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNk_zzaMoSs

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