Welcome to a cozy new place on the internet.
I’ve started this site with these three goals:
- Help talented people get into the game industry as designers or writers
- Help designers and writers in the industry succeed and grow in their roles
- Help new design managers and lead designers feel comfortable in their roles and succeed as effective leaders
A few years back, I started writing a book about design managment and game design. This was between working at Blizzard in Irvine and the Marvel Heroes MMO project in the Bay Area.
Somewhere in there, a ton of good TV launched (Game of Thrones, Westworld and the impressive Daredevil on Netflix) and a bunch of sweet games released, so I always had more I wanted to write about.
(Speaking of Daredevil, check out the best fight scene filmed for TV. This scene is one, uninterrupted camera shot: Here)
I know people are too busy to read printed material these days, so I’ve decided to take the book content written so far, add to it, add some context and relevance for 2017, and publish it as articles on this site.
I’ll add new design topics we encountered while working on Marvel Heroes and working on the League of Legends project. I’ve had the luck to work with great designers, writers, producers, engineers, producers, artists, QA, CS and marketing folks across many game companies. I’ve learned so much from people who were smarter and more experienced than me, so I want to be useful with my life and share as much of it as possible now that I’ve accumulated a moderate amount of wisdom and made enough mistakes to be a teacher.
The goal is to help new game designers and writers who are working on their first few games and to help designers who have moved into management and leadership roles within their game studio.
I love the game industry and gaming in general. I know becoming a game designer is a dream for many gamers and I want to help at least a few people make that happen.
Some of the topics we’ll cover in 2017:
Game Designer Articles
Articles that can be useful for System Designers, Raid Designers, Balance/Tuning folks, Level Designers, Item Designers, Mob/Enemy Designers and In-Game Event Designers.
- People You Encounter as a New Designer (link)
- Designing Proof of Progress (link)
- Creating a Design Doc
- Player Investment
- User Interface Development – Game Design Role
- Making Enemies Interesting
- Item Design
- ARPG Mechanics
- Pacing an Action Game
- Pacing an RPG
- First-Person Shooter Mechanics
- Raid Design – Enemies and Mechanics
- Raid Design – Lockouts and Loot
- In-Game Events and Holidays
- Naming Game Elements
- The Game Before the Game
- Balancing PVE vs PVP
- Balancing Items and Weapons
- Working with Software Engineers
- Working with Producers
- Working with QA (and Test Plan Creation)
- Working with Marketing / PR
- Working with Executive Team / CEOs
- Working with User Interface Designers
- Working with Animators
- Working with VFX Artists
- Working with SFX and Music Teams
- Working with 3D Modelers
- Learning Game Design Tools
- How to Communicate with Peers
- Staying Positive
- Collaboration – Your Most Important Skill
- Constructive Criticism and Feedback
- Understanding the Language of Your Players
- Hardcore vs. Casual Players – The Real Comparison
- Patch Notes
- Public Test Servers – Why, When, How (link)
Narrative Designer Articles
These articles will be useful for Writers, World Builders and Narrative Directors:
- Planning Your Narrative
- Face / Heel Turns (link)
- Memorable Moments and Characters
- Enemy and NPC Naming (link)
- Story Arcs, Small and Large
- Character Evolution
- The Life Story
- When and How to Use Humor in Games. J/K.
- Flavor Text
- Licensed IPs
Design Leadership& Management Articles
These articles will be useful for designers moving into leadership positions, with or without direct reports. They will be particularly useful for Creative Directors, Game Directors and Lead Designers.
- Managing a Game Design Team
- Managing Individual Designers
- Organizing the Team
- Communicating Roles
- Maintaining the Design Culture
- Production Planning and Scheduling
- Successful Personnel Reviews (link)
- Titles, Promotions, Recognition
- Hiring New Designers
- The Perfect Game Design Test
- Integrating New Designers Into the Team
I’ve had the privilege of working with some incredibly talented and innovative designers in the game industry. In addition to the stuff I share, I’ll have some guest articles from smart people I’ve met over the years.
If there is a topic you would like to see covered, please let me know.
I’ll get started towards the end of December with a launch in January. Happy Holidays!