I've made a couple of games now.

Starting from basic hobbyist projects like snake , I advanced into platform based games, board games, turn based games. While doing the latter of these projects I had to spent a lot of time redesigning certain concepts, sometimes even throwing away certain logic. So always I've felt the time wasted could have been avoided or at least reduced, if I had properly planned each and every stage of my game.

Though i can try to do it on paperwork or by a word file with bulleted points. I think there ought to be some other way of game design.

Do help me with suggestions and other game design patterns being followed, either as an indie-game developer or as a game company. I can learn from both. I am not looking for game design e-books, since there is already a thread for that. I would like to get suggestions and game design patters. Thank you.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Should probably be a community wiki? \$\endgroup\$
    – bummzack
    Commented Aug 21, 2010 at 9:07

2 Answers 2


The time spent eliminating false paths is not wasted. It's time well spent, learning about what the right design is for your particular game. If you're willing to throw that out, that puts you WAY ahead of the game compared to most novice designers.

Think of it this way. When you first set out to make a new game, you either know EXACTLY what mechanics work to make it the best game possible, or you don't. If you do know, it means you're making a clone of an existing game, because the only way we have so far to "prove" that a set of mechanics is good is to actually play the darned thing and see for ourselves. If you don't know, then by definition you're going to get it wrong sometimes. It's like the adage from science: "hey, if we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be 'research'!"

Beyond that, the best I can offer is that you get a better feel for what will and won't work through experience. Keep making games. Every time you follow your instincts, whether you're right or wrong, your instincts learn from the process and get a little bit better.

But if you're looking for shortcuts to the process... I don't think there are any. If it helps, all creative fields are like that. You don't become a master painter without spending decades painting. Authors have a saying that you should prepare to throw away your first million words and chalk it up to practice. So, it sounds like you're on the right track to being a master game designer; just make sure that each time you throw out a feature, you sit back and reflect to understand why, so that you get that much better at it in the future.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thinking about it some more, one thing I'd add: since a lot of ideas are going to fail, find ways to fail faster and more cheaply. So, one skill that does help is learning how to do rapid prototypes, in paper when possible and with quick-and-dirty mockups if absolutely necessary. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 20, 2010 at 19:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Fail early, fail often" (plenty of links on google) \$\endgroup\$
    – Calvin1602
    Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 8:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, one thing I'd like to ask is, "What is this "prototyping" thing, everybody is talking about". Could you explain that,please? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vishnu
    Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 6:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ A prototype is low-cost model of something you're going to build later in earnest. An analogy is: a sketch is a prototype of an oil painting. \$\endgroup\$
    – willc2
    Commented Oct 11, 2010 at 2:41

Just a list of things I find that helps me:

  1. Play more games

  2. Research related topics on your game from developer blogs and gamasutra.

  3. Participate in discussions be it online or local, about your design or other games (I find this helps me collate my thoughts as well as get good feedback). Double edged though as it could lead to prolonging the design phase as well.

  4. Write down your design, reread a couple of times.

  5. Know your target player


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