7 Common Game Design Mistakes to Avoid

How can you avoid game design mistakes? When it comes to making a game, it all can sound deceptively simple: You need art, code, music, and a game design, right? Well, the truth is, each discipline has many moving parts and challenges. What everyone is working towards, though, is executing the game’s design. Everyone on the team needs to be working towards a single vision, and quarterbacking the team is the game designer.

Here are the 7 Game Design mistakes to avoid. The world’s best music, art, engineering, and marketing can’t save a game from poor design.

Common Game Design Mistakes to Avoid

Mistakes to Avoid during Game Designing

  1. Starting Too Big
  2. Not considering How to Onboard the Player
  3. Being Too Committed To An Idea
  4. Creating An Overly Rigid Design
  5. Focusing On Story Too Much Up Front
  6. Underestimating Polish
  7. Arbitrarily adding things

Also, In this blog, we will give you game design tips from expert game designers that will ensure you save time and money and build excellent designs. These are the same tips that we’ve seen used while building more miniature games by indie game communities up to massive triple-A titles.

We’re starting with this one because it’s arguably the most consistent mistake in our industry. Having a grand vision is excellent, but one of the biggest mistakes game developers have made is simply starting too big.

1. Starting Too Big

Say you have ten features to hit and design them all simultaneously. What happens if the first feature turns out to be a dud? Would that affect the other 9? Would it render the other nine pointless? Designing too big reduces your ability to pivot or modify your ideas.

Instead, it’s better to take the opposite approach. Define what your core is and tune that until you are positive, it works. Once you’re happy with the core, you can start layering the rest of the game on top of it.

In a nutshell: Keep your game simple and add to it when you are confident in your core.

Just remember the ASK rule: Avoid Starting Kingdoms. Start with a house, then grow from there. Today’s great games started from bite-sized demos or emerged from game jams. The dev teams took a small idea, made sure it worked, and layered it from there.

The concept for Superhot, for example, was initially developed for the 7-day FPS challenge.

2. Not considering How to Onboard the Player

Designing complex systems or deep mechanics can be fun, but it’s always important to consider how the player will learn to play. As a designer, you will understand every little aspect of your game, but you also need to consider what a fresh player’s experience will be like.

If people don’t understand your game, it’s not the player’s – or the playtester’s – fault. It’s an indication of something that needs to be fixed.
Remember, you won’t always be there with the player explaining things as they play.

Here are some ways that you help the player learn: The most straightforward way is to have solid tutorials with well-explained concepts and feedback loops that teach through difficulty ramping.

You can also have an intuitive design. How do you know if it’s intuitive? Playtesting! And finally, you can have a well-designed onboarding process built into the experience.

For example, if you’re building a platformer, you can design levels that compartmentalize things the player needs to learn in a step-by-step fashion.

Do you ever wonder why Mega Man games have an intro level before they get into letting you pick which Robot Master to fight? Well, the intro levels are designed so that you’ll learn all the basics first so that when it comes time to choose one of the following levels, you’ll be prepared for any of them, regardless of your choice.

3. Being Too Committed To An Idea

Like they say: ideas are a dime a dozen. A particular design might sound brilliant during brainstorming or look excellent on paper or in your head, but the truth is, you don’t know how much fun that design will be until you execute it.

If, after prototyping it or getting feedback on your design, it doesn’t seem to be working or isn’t fun, you need to be able to iterate, adapt, or let the idea go. It’s great to champion your ideas, and selling them is a much-needed skill in this industry; don’t get too attached. Know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. One of the most famous videogame pivots in recent history has to be the story of Fortnite.

Epic’s initial vision for Fortnite was “Minecraft meets Left 4 Dead”, and it was launched as a cooperative sandbox shooter.

With the success of Player unknown’s Battlegrounds skyrocketing around the same time as Fortnite’s launch, they decided to pivot. They added a Battle Royale mode, and the rest is history.

4. Creating An Overly Rigid Design

Don’t focus too much on “what’s supposed to happen” or “how the player is supposed to play.” Games are experiential and should be fun to play.
If your design is too rigid (e., g. This is the only correct strategy), your game may be less fun.

You’re creating the experience but not controlling the experience – make sure you make that distinction. If your players follow a series of instructions precisely how you want them to, then the experience becomes akin to just painting by numbers.

To make your designs less rigid, you can add open-world elements to your environments, Provide secondary or tertiary paths through gameplay Use real-world physics. And have destructible environments that let the player decide how to advance. Broforce is an excellent example of this. In Broforce, you can play through a level like a basic action platformer, but since most everything is destructible, you can tunnel your way through a level.

And since you use a different “Bro” with unique skills each life, numerous fun ways exist to take down enemies and get through a level.

Further Reading: How to Make Games Without Coding

5. Focusing On Story Too Much Up Front

Unless you’re making a visual novel, don’t focus too much on the story up front. There may be exceptions, and the story is important but doesn’t put all your effort into writing a plot if you don’t know how the game will play yet.

Like many common game designer mistakes on this list, this removes room for you to pivot, adapt, or completely change your design if you need to do so. With a few exceptions, most core Mario games have the same basic story: Bowser takes Princess Peach.

Mario saves Princess Peach from Bowser. Even now, we all know what’s going to happen. We’re always psyched for new Mario games because they’re highly innovative, charming, and fun.

6. Underestimating Polish

Always remember how vital tuning and polish are and how long they will take. When you are working on a feature and think you are 80% done, you’re probably only halfway there. When estimating time, be sure to allocate sufficient time on the schedule for tuning and polishing.

We’ve seen countless games rush through or skip this phase and end up crashing and burning at launch. Don’t get your game skewered by rushing through tuning and polishing. As Shigeru Miyamoto says, “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.”

7. Arbitrarily adding things

When working on games, it’s easy to get carried away and arbitrarily add things.

You’ll often hear the phrase “Wouldn’t it be cool if….?”! Sure, many things sound fantastic and probably are, but you must be purposeful in everything you add to your design. Beware of feature creep and know why you’re adding something. Don’t just add a feature simply because “it could work.”

An unnecessary feature may be harmless, but some may harm good features and take away from the overall experience. So at best, you’re just eating up time that would be better spent polishing the rest of the game, and at worst, you’re adding things that ruin the overall experience. Some of the best games that we’ve played are also some of the most minimal. Take Thomas Was Alone, for example.

With great writing, excellent level design, and a game feel that’s tuned perfectly, Thomas Was Alone was able to breathe life into basic, colored rectangles.

By avoiding these common game mistakes, you can improve your gaming experience and get the most out of your favorite games. Remember to take the time to learn the controls, pay attention to your surroundings, and take breaks when needed. With some practice and patience, you can become a skilled gamer and enjoy hours of fun and excitement.

Well, that’s all 7! What are other game designer mistakes? Let us know in the comments!

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, game design mistakes can significantly impact a game’s success and enjoyment. By avoiding common mistakes such as neglecting to playtest, failing to balance gameplay, or overcomplicating the user interface, game designers can create more engaging and enjoyable experiences for players.

By planning and testing their games carefully, designers can ensure that their creations are not only fun to play but also well-received by their target audience. With careful attention to detail and a willingness to learn from their mistakes, game designers can create successful games that keep players returning for more.

Alby Abraham is an technology enthusiast, published blogger, and a content marketer who spends his time on building a career in the digital marketing industry. He also writes a blog on The Last Words for tech lovers.

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