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I plan to start with a hobby game project. So while doing the research about the same, I learnt about two activities mainly of game design & game development. Now this being my first game I am not sure which of these activities will take more time.

Just a little background about myself : I have been programming for nearly 10 years now and am quite adept in C++ and can code decently in Java as well.

I am currently collecting reading material for both game design and development. So my question is, which should I study first : game design or game development? Which of these if learnt first will help in the other activity?

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closed as not constructive by Byte56, John McDonald, Trevor Powell, Tetrad Dec 21 '12 at 4:37

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Please let me know the reason for down voting this. – eminemence Dec 20 '12 at 18:38
(1) Welcome to GameDev.SE (2) This question is offtopic; we try to limit our scope to focussed, objective questions, and specifically stay away from "which should I do" questions (3) Do whichever you are interested in. You can design games without programming engines, and vice versa. If you want some directions on beginning programming games, check out or see this question for some ideas on what games to make. – Jimmy Dec 20 '12 at 18:41
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I'd say game design might cause You more trouble as You're an experienced programmer. I suppose, in the field of development You might just need some time to learn frameworks/libraries and get some experience with those elements of programming specific to games.

If You intend to write some very simple games just for fun, You might not notice that You need to design something heavily. E.g. if You'll write pong or snake or something similar, that shouldn't be hard to design. Probably You already know how would the gameplay look like.

However when You get deeper into this and start making some even slightly more sophisticated games, then You'll notice, game design will start to be more and more demanding.

So, in my opinion start with some easy games, try to use some simple libraries frameworks but focus on design even if it's trivial. Try changing some game rules for well known simple games and see how they change the gameplay.

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In case my definition of design/development aren't aligned with the OP and are more aligned with what Grzegorz has outlined, then consider this... Focus on making a game first and less focused on crucial design issues. I've often gotten sidetracked on trying to design some overly engineered solution that could have easily been implemented with a basic language construct to start and later refactor as needed. It's a hard lesson to learn but pays off when you adhere to it. – Naros Dec 20 '12 at 19:03

It's really a matter of whether you want to learn high-level, abstract concepts to games or whether you'd rather get down and dirty with a lot of the code basics that make up games.

I usually consider game development to be focused on the design and implementation of tools and platform solutions that aid designers in creating games. Game development isn't as much about creating the game as it is to creating the foundation that games can be built and managed. This is essentially your programmers.

Game design is on the receiving end of this foundation & tools. This group is often what drives requirements to the programmers and this is the group that takes those tools and creates an virtual world filled with interaction and fun packed adventure. These are often the creative types, ones who may have some minimal technical skills to write simple scripts in UnrealScript, Lua, Mono, etc. But these guys aren't the ones programming in C++ and concerned with engine code, network code, and how all the nodes of an MMO process hierarchy communicate in a distributed fashion.

Both have advantages & disadvantages to going into one or the other first, as with any choice in life. What drove me to development was the fact I enjoy programming, and so the choice was clear. If you're on the fense, then consider which avenue appeals to you more and start there.

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