Game DesignersVille ”Burgeri” Vuorela• 38 and a Bachelor of Arts• 9 years in the business• 20+ games, 5 RPGs, 2 books on game design, 3 novels...• Sumea, Digital Chocolate, Rovio, Recoil Games, Casual Continent…• Now a freelancer in game design, narrative design, producing and games education (Burger Games)• Quite a bit of lecturing, really…
Game DesignersBoring Facts• Games are the second-largest branch of the entertainment industry.• Global revenue ~€50B (2011)• In Finland ~€165M (2011)• Roughly 200 companies• Most of them relatively unknown• Employs 1000-2000 people
Game DesignersGo Team!• Dev teams have defined roles• Bigger teams have more roles• Role definitions stay the same from company to company• Most roles have applications also outside the games industry• We KNOW how to make more
Game DesignersOkay, so who is THAT?• Designer roles are ill-defined or made up as you go• Every company or even project uses them in a different way• There is nothing quite like it outside the games industry• We don’t really know where they come from or how to train them
Game DesignersHow do we make a Game Designer?• Must know something about practically everything• At least basic math and statistics• Expressive skills and social ability• Wide-ranging expertise on games • Including bad games and non- digital formats• Willingness to try, fail and learn
Game DesignersPersonal Observations• Today, the actual game design is done mostly by a committee of interested parties• These parties then externalize their responsibilities by appointing a Game Designer• Game Designer is a not really part of the dev team but a contractor to a higher power• Dev Team is a subcontractor
Game DesignersThe Prime DirectiveGaming is non-profitable activity forthe user that is undertaken forentertainment and has set rules and avictory condition. -Greg CostikyanThe goal of all commercial gamedesign is to ensure that the interestsof the owners meet the interests ofthe players in the best possible way. - Ville Vuorela
Game DesignersThose Greedy ***tards!• Sufficient markets• Adds value to the brand• Within limits and resources• Stands out from competition• Easy to find• Viral, Hype and Shock Value
Game DesignersThose Whiny ***tards!• To Have Fun!• Value for money• Satisfy a need(s)• Enhance personal image• Lots of players, lots of needs
Game DesignersThe Game Designer Cosmology Players Investors Marketing Dev Team
Game DesignersThe Expert Role• Game Designer is the expert on the finished product• Which can get awkward…• Thus Game Designer gets involved in marketing and product pitches to investors• Many responsibilities overlap with those of the Producer
Game DesignersThe Social Nexus• We are an industry of misfits• Game Designer talks to everyone• ”The Creative Confessional”• No es nada personal!
Game DesignersThe Essential Skills• Not really a creative discipline• Design skills alone don’t cut it• This is an expressive discipline• Without communication skills, nothing else matters • Documentation, presentations, pitches, wireframes, one-to-one consultations, dev-build testing and iteration sessions…
Game DesignersIn conclusion…• Game design is an emergent skill• And even after nine years, every project is a learning experience• Design skill requirements differ vastly from one project to another• Yet social and expressive skill are absolutely vital every single time• Are we teaching the right things?