GameGuide Part 3: Design

Design of a videogame includes a lot of different parts. You must design the story, an artstyle, a storyboard, characters, levels, items and all of the features (such as AI) in your game. This will be one of the most difficult parts of making the game. This is mostly because this is what the entire game will be based off of what we do here. If we make a lot of errors
in the design, there is a small chance that you will have to go back to where the problem is and redesign it. To begin, we will first talk about the storyline.


We have already discussed what you should include and exclude from your storyline, but now we’re going to talk a little about
how to get a decent art style from your story. First, read through your story and try to get a good picture (I usually try to make the story into a movie in my mind). If you’re having issues trying to get an artstyle for your game, then begin to think to yourself, “is this a horror game? Is it upbeat and happy? Is it full of violence, or is it a nice, fun arcade game?” By asking yourself what the game’s storyline is like, you can start making the artstyle. For instance, I want to make a nice, simple, happy little platformer. The artstyle will be colorful, and bodyparts and other proportions will be exaggerated if you were to go for colorful, and cartoony that is.


Now that you have a basic storyline and artstyle, we can begin making a storyboard. But first, we need to learn what a
storyboard actually is. Well, to simplify it down, it is much like a comic book, but usually not as pretty looking. You take hundreds of little papers and draw different scenes on them. Then you arrange them in chronological order and start posting them on a board, so everyone can get a better picture of what the game will be like. Here’s a small storyboard for a Yogi Bear short:

In this storyboard,  Each part of the scene is sequential, and includes sounds to include and some dialogue, too. You can also add arrows to show where something should go (if moving). Really, it can be as organized as you want it. The more details you can include, the less that the development staff has to assume or ask about, which can save time, and also makes sure you get results you want to see.

Designing Characters

We have our story, an art style, and a storyboard. Now it is time to move to some of the more detailed designs. Have the artists create detailed sketches of the characters. Have a side sketch, a front, and a back sketch made. It wouldn’t hurt to add some sketches of your characters doing something rather than standing straight with their arms stretched outwards. Work on improving the character’s look, then have the sketch cleaned up and colored. This will give the modelers a really good idea of what to do with the models. Remember to do this for all of the characters (no matter how small they may be), so that modelers/animators can get a good feel for the characters.

Designing Levels 

Level design is something that can be quite tricky. You must fit the artstyle, and make it functional/accessible to the character as well. Your artists may want to draw many (and I mean many) sketches, including:  maps (arial views of the level), sketches of different parts from different angles, and anything else you can make sketches of. Again, you need to color them after all of the details have been established for the modelers/animators.

Designing Items

Item design can be as simple or complicated you want. Try to make the items feel like they fit in with the artstyle and feel
of the game. Get sketches, clean them up/keep them detailed, then color them. You starting to get the drift? This is basically what you should do for every single little thing in the game.

Designing the Features

Go through all of the little details and get a list of all of the things you want to include (Health bar, item inventory, ammo,
ability to upgrade items, talking to villigers, etc.). When you have a list of everything you’d like to see in the game, start
speaking to programmers about what they think could make, then write a list of what they can make for the game. Some
features are harder to program than others, so you need to be sure you have experienced programmers that can handle
most of what you throw at them. If they cannot do most of what you want, just try to do without those features and simplify your game to the programmer’s abilities.

What Next?

Well, there shouldn’t be much more to design, unless you have vehicles or anything that I have not talked about (which you should make detailed designs for everything), then you are ready to begin modeling and creating the game. This means that, yes, we are done with the main design process. You may see yourself going back and making slight changes to your original design, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

<<Planning   |  Index  |   Modeling>>

One Response to “GameGuide Part 3: Design”

  1. Jorge Says:

    i love this manual i would like to learn more about this matter because i’m creating a game and i’m trying to learn everything to make it the best i can thx.

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