I'm an employed game designer; AMA

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Post » Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:43 am

Oh and look who's here, little Jesper!

Credits to my amazing gf. This is our first son so far!

Say hi!
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Post » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:05 am

[QUOTE=Gropwel] Oh and look who's here, little Jesper!

Credits to my amazing gf. This is our first son so far!

Say hi![/QUOTE]

Not sure if you're just talking about your avatar or if you're a newly father.
Anyway GG I guess
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Post » Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:49 am

Nah we only produce video games... :P
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Post » Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:33 am

Hi there, Gropwel. I am trying to get into the industry. Finished my last class for my bachelors in game and simulation programming on the same day I was laid off this past June. I would like to send you a network connect request. Trying to expand my network.

Speaking of Tom Clancy games, I recently game tested for the day the new 2012 title "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier" and we were focusing on weapons for the day and reporting any issues in gameplay. Fun game.
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Post » Sun Sep 04, 2011 8:50 pm

Hi GSPforChrist !

I have to apologize, due to some experiences in the past I keep my professional network to people I worked with or that I know personally. It sucks, I'm sorry... it there are other ways I can help I'd be happy to.

It's been a while since I heard of Future Soldier. These folks must be very eager to release that game!
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Post » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:09 am

Gropwel, you have worked on a combat system (in a Spiderman game).
Does working on the combat system include thinking about the explanation of this system, or were you only working on the system and someone else was working on how to explain it to the gamer?

2nd question about the same topic: were you able to be as innovative as you wanted, or did the producer or publisher give you limits/boundries (for example: make the combat look/play like game x)?rogerty2011-09-05 11:13:58
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Post » Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:42 pm

[QUOTE=rogerty] Gropwel, you have worked on a combat system (in a Spiderman game).
Does working on the combat system include thinking about the explanation of this system, or were you only working on the system and someone else was working on how to explain it to the gamer?

2nd question about the same topic: were you able to be as innovative as you wanted, or did the producer or publisher give you limits/boundries (for example: make the combat look/play like game x)?[/QUOTE]

That's a very interesting question!

In game design everything is about teaching. Everything can make perfect sense in your head but the real work is about making it about just as clear in about anybody else's mind. Learning is fun!

The designer is usually the best at determining what needs to be taught. Then he sets his learning curve in motion and ask production for necessary assets and HUD element, voice overs, upgrade system, mechanic distribution, etc... validate everything, keep testing with people who never played the game to see what information is getting across, and which one is just falling flat in pain on the pavement.

But the best is when you have a playtest lab at your disposal. The designer can sit with ergonomics and playtest experts to really design an experience where learning is completely blending with gameplay and the player is learning without realizing it or reading a single line of text. Then you're really having a blast.

This is not always how it goes though unfortunately but more studios are beginning to understand the value of consistent user playtesting.

Your game is usually well understood when playtests are not painful to watch anymore. :P


As for your second question the answer would be no from 99% of all designers. When making games for money I found it works best when you do the effort to forget about your own personal preferences and desires and really embrace what the product is meant to be, both as a brand of the company and towards players expectations. My goal is to provide delightful satisfaction to everyone involved with the product. I use my creativity mostly to improve system designs or wherever I need to provide an answer that my first two aspects are not providing, which is not so often.

My own needs for creativity happens in my basement, figuring out construct, drawing, writing and playing music. Actually if I can get a damn menu system to work my game would be flying by now... anybody is up 50 bucks for an event sheet?

Sorry, side tracking here... so best advice to new developers, don't expect work in big studios to satisfy your own desires of creativity, do this at home, you'll be much happier and efficient that way.

And I think we really did something great with Edge of Time combat system. See for yourself! :)

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Post » Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:31 am

[QUOTE=Gropwel]
In game design everything is about teaching. Everything can make perfect sense in your head but the real work is about making it about just as clear in about anybody else's mind. Learning is fun!

The designer is usually the best at determining what needs to be taught. Then he sets his learning curve in motion and ask production for necessary assets and HUD element, voice overs, upgrade system, mechanic distribution, etc... validate everything, keep testing with people who never played the game to see what information is getting across, and which one is just falling flat in pain on the pavement.

But the best is when you have a playtest lab at your disposal. The designer can sit with ergonomics and playtest experts to really design an experience where learning is completely blending with gameplay and the player is learning without realizing it or reading a single line of text. Then you're really having a blast.

[/QUOTE]

I agree about texts as explanation from a personal point of view as a gamer. I sometimes wanted to start with a game and didn't read all text it was giving me in the tutorial.
But abandoning text is not necessary, as long as it is not too "meaty" (I like to use this expression - I hope I used this right. Not native English myself, so excuse me if my use of language gives anyone goosebumps here ).

I guess (and I don't have much experience with game making/thinking so far) it's all about a balance between methods of teaching (as you said: voice overs, GUI-help, texts) and play testing.
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Post » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:49 am

My lecturer said that designers tend to either come from the artist side or the programming side, and work their way through to being designers. Is this true?

And if so, what angle did you come from?

He also mentioned that it's possible to move in from testing, sound, marketing or business, but it's done very rarely.
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Post » Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:49 pm

I think Gropwel is neither a graphical artist or a programming artist. He mostly designed levels and most recently (co-)designed the Spiderman combat-system. So I think Gropwel is a design artist. :)

Gropwel, did you create levels in the Quake/Duke Nukem era as a hobby?
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