Lighting in Level Design: Helping the Player to Navigate

Placing lighting and learning how to correctly light a level when beginning level design may be considered boring to novices, but lighting in levels can be very important.  If used correctly lighting levels in specific ways can be used to aid players when navigating difficult levels and also create interesting gameplay experiences.

Lighting, like colour, can be used to draw the players attention to useful objects or paths to take especially when the light is coloured in certain shades.

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Game Design Concepts Lessons now available via PDF!

Last Summer Ian Schreiber, an experienced video games programmer and designer, held an online game design course. The course proved to be quite popular with over 600 participants taking part in the experimental course.

There is no information available currently regarding whether Schreiber will be conducting another Game Design course during the coming months however, for all those that are interested, the course lessons from last Summer are now available via PDF here for all to download.

Knowing when to quit or stick with your designs

Have you ever got a point in any project that you are working on whether it be a new game or an assignment where you start to lose faith in the project?

May be it’s not turning out how you expected or wanted it to be and you’re starting to doubt that it was ever a good idea in the first place.  Everyone gets into this state of mind at one point or another.  The trick is to ride through this state if the project is really worth it or to learn know when to quit that project, learn from your mistakes and move on. Continue reading

Colour within Game Design: Text and Colour

A wide variety of colours are available for use when presenting information. But what are the best colours to use to appropriately present your information. The truth is that this cannot be answered simply. It all depends on your audience.

There are a few options you can use when deciding what colours to use when designing your game’s menus and screens: Either: dark text on a light background; light text on a light background; light text on a dark background or dark text on a dark background.

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Colour within Game Design: Creating Different Atmospheres

Black and white Vs Colour

The majority of current generation console games use colour to attract their chosen demographic and convey the type of environment that their game is based within. Although using colour can convey a lot of information to the player just by looking at it, some games chose to restrict their colour palletes to black and white only. Some games do this to create a more old-fashioned feel to the game like in old films before colour crept into every type of media we have.

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Colour within Game Design: Colours with Meaning

Colour is a very powerful thing. From a young age we are taught to associate colours with certain feelings, thoughts and meanings, even subconsciously. In games, designers use these associations to connect with the player and communicate with them subconsciously telling them that i.e. their health is getting low. By choosing to colour health green when the players health is between 75% – 100% in the health meter, and slowly changing to red when the health decreases from 75%, this will tell the player that when their health level is green this is ‘good’ and when it’s red that this is bad.

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The Game Design Document

What is a Game Design Document?

A Game Design Document (GDD) is a fully comprehensive, constantly evolving document that details every aspect of a specific game so that the team knows everything about how to create the game.

Who creates this document?

The responsibility of creating the GDD falls to the Lead designer on the project, however, it is very important that the entire team has some input into the various sections. After all, input from programmers for the Technical section would be extremely useful as they will have a greater insight into this section than the designer.

How long does it have to be?

The length of a GDD will depend entirely on the project being developed. Some can be 400-600 pages long but it is possible to write a concise GDD with 50-100 pages. The length may also depend on the intellectual property (IP). If the IP is original, then a longer document may be required in order to detail all aspects of the game for the first time for clarification for the rest of the team, but if you are developing for an existing IP or a sequel the GDD may be significantly shorter as most of the details would already have been defined in the previous game’s GDD.

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Changing your present to Change your Future: One Project at a Time

The advice given over this series of few articles will help you to find more time in the day in order to improve your portfolio and your skills, how to use that time effectively and make sure you produce complete projects.  By the end of this article you will understand the importance of focusing on one project at a time and how working towards milestones will help you complete projects.

One Project at a Time…

I, like most who have been a student at one point in time, get used to working on multiple projects at once.  Mainly due to the fact that we take more than one subject during one term so obviously we’ll have to juggle our time and split our focus in order to work on these different projects.  But is this the way to approach developing skills for your portfolio?  If you work full-time or don’t have the time to dedicate eight hours a day to the development of your portfolio you may think that by working on multiple projects at once will help you learn new skills and produce multiple projects quickly. But what you’re actually doing is starting a number of projects that won’t get your full attention, so you won’t be learning a lot of new skills and worse than that, you’ll have a number of unfinished projects that probably won’t ever get completed.

So how do you avoid this in order to effectively learn new skills and produce complete projects?  Focus on one project at a time.  It seems simple and it is, but many people still don’t take use this method.  I admit, in the past I’ve even been bad at sticking to this rule, but over the past three months I have focused on working on one project and (to my amazement) not only have I nearly got a finished project developed but I’ve learned a lot about the game development process and how to use a new tool as well. Continue reading