What design exactly is – Changing from a programmer to a designer

What happened at the pitch on January 18th

On January 18th, I had a pitch about my game design project. This was the first time I made a formal pitch in game design area. Before the pitch, I looked at the previous recording in last year. I found that most of them pitched their game with a PowerPoint. Nearly none of them showed the game prototype. I thought the format with PowerPoint was boring. So, I came up an idea that I am going to play my games during the 10 minutes pitch. This would have a funny and easy atmosphere and catch audience’s attention tightly. To prepare for a wonderful pitch, I made a lot effort on the interaction, animation, and audio in my prototype. I dreamed that my prototype was like a stage and characters preform on that. At the beginning of the pitch, I was so excited and couldn’t wait to share my game with others. However, I was definitely wrong. This pitch was an enormous failure. Professor Jarek commented that this looks more like a programmer’s pitch, not a designer’s pitch.

This is the video recording of my pitch(Waiting for Upload)

The model for video game development

After that, I started to think about why my pitch failed and what a game designer should do. I came up with a model for video game development. In this model, a video game has been divided into three dimensions. They are program, design, and art. The volume of this rectangular cuboid is the time needed for development. My pitch is like this model. It has something on program, something on design, and something on art. Just like a small cube. All three dimensions have same length. I have pay 33% presentence effort in each part.

A model for my work

After looking at other students’ pitch on that day, I summarised the project for a game designer should be like this. It’s strength on the design part and weak on program and art.

A model for game desinger’s work

I also probably find out why AAA games are named with Triple A. It’s strength on program, design, and art. The volume of it this enormous.

A Model for AAA games

What a good game designer’s pitch should be like?

  1. A slide contains a brief of game design document

2. Some prototype videos in the slide, matching with each design point.

Analysis of the audience in a pitch

In recent year, I always watched some indie games on video platform. Their developer showed their games by displaying the whole walk-through in the videos. This influenced me and gave me a hint on pitching a game, that I need a walk-through video. However, showing the video on Youtube or Bilibili is different from the pitch. On those video platforms, the video view is the most important thing. Whether a propaganda will success on video platforms highly depends the video popularity. So, to achieve this, the slides of design, programming, art process is not necessary. It needs a funny game walk-through to attracts audience. The audience is just open this video for fun. They don’t care about the characters background, level design. Only the funny performance will prevent them from closing this video.

However, the audience for pitch is quite different from this. They listen to the content and depth of those game designs and want to buy the greatest one. They desire an attractive design work but not some funny performance. So, the pitch should show the future of this game and the ability of the designer. Though a funny video or interactive prototype are good hooks to audience, the whole pitch shouldn’t dominate by hooks.

The deep reason I valued programming in this design assignment unconsciously

There were two previous game project I have participated in. One this the CIGA Game Jam 2021. It was a 48 hours game jam. Our project was a mechanic game. In these 48 hours, I cost nearly 3 out of 2 times on programming. Before the game jam match, I had studied Unity for preparation. Though my role is designer, I helped a lot on the program. These subliminal influences the balance in my view of design and program.

Another experience was joining in a Mount & Blade 2 Bannerlord Mod teams. In that team, we have a lot of designers but no programmer. We can’t develop any functions due to this. We could only complete our design works and then pause the progress. At that moment, I always dreamed about who can be the programmer in our group. The lack of programmer become a huge regret.

Moreover, my undergraduate programme, Electronic Information Engineering, also gave me a background on regarding programming as important.

2人评论了“What design exactly is – Changing from a programmer to a designer”

  1. I like the way you wrote about your experience so much! I am this awful person “Professor Jarek” (I am not a professor though) who commented: “this looks more like a programmer’s pitch, not a designer’s pitch”. But I trust the lesson has been learnt, and now you will know both worlds! Indeed, programmer and designer are two very different jobs, and expectations are also completely different. But as you rightly noticed in your AAA diagram – the best thing would be to combine two (or even three) specialities. Your programming was impeccable in this project, and you are also quickly progressing as a Game Designer – what could possibly be better than this?

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