I suck at Game Design

I’ve been enjoying working on Tub. Learning and growing.

Even though it’s kind of my job, I’ve always doubted that I’m a game developer. Just because I don’t feel like I’ve made a real game. I did Facewound when I was in my early 20s, I did Garry’s Mod (which isn’t strictly designed as a game) and I coded a lot of Rust (which Helk designed).

Programming isn’t game design. I have to keep that in my head and try to minimise my focus on it. Yeah it would be nice if I rewrite all these systems, and try this new technology, it’d make me feel like I was achieving something.. but the end user doesn’t see that. If I spend 2 months re-coding a system and the end result is that everything is the same then I’m a cunt, because it doesn’t matter.

So I’ve been trying to push into other things. Things like level design, user interactions, game systems, flow. Things that the player actually touches and experiences. And it’s not easy, but I feel that it’s like anything, you become good at it by doing it. And I want to get better.

I even bought a some game design book. I lost a bit of faith when I started reading one and Garry’s Mod was on page 17. The biggest problem with these books is that they’re so wordy. Like they had to hit a certain word count.

So any recommendations on things to read is appreciated.


10 thoughts on “I suck at Game Design

  1. Obligatory “The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses” by Jesse Schell comment. Total joy to read, both super practical and convincingly philosophical, and comes with a deck of lenses useful for all kinds of brainstorming.

  2. Maybe that’s why all your games are more about creating tools and structures for others to make their own designs. In Gmod there isn’t any game design at all, just tools for people to create things; on rust the player chooses their base idea and how to survive on the game (clan, solo, explorer, farmer, raider, etc). And now in tub you’re letting other developers create their levels while providing fun mechanics to experiment with.

  3. The ones I’ve been reading are mostly about different sections on creating a video game like one for music, one for controls, one for camera and so forth. I don’t think one will actually make you a good designer. Personally I’m trying to not give a shit about programming whatsoever, ignoring what would be nice to refactor or optimize, and just push those unpolished features in there as fast as possible. When a big enough chunk of the game seems finished, you can start polishing, optimizing, juicing and so forth. Fun focused development

  4. Thats amazing that you started reading a book to learn game design and your own creation was cited as an example! So really you may think that you suck at this but the world clearly doesn’t :D

  5. I read those first two paragraphs and I thought this post was going to be about you doubting your potential as a game dev, but instead it was about how you recognize your weakness, and now you are putting some focus to it and laying a foundation for skill. Thank you for that bit of positivity, if everyone could give more like that we would all perform better. You inspire me.

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