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FAQ - Game Design
Welcome to the Game Design Forum FAQ. This document is split up into the following sections:

1. Forum Rules
2. Game Design FAQ
3. Topics To Avoid
4. Resources

1. Forum Rules
The following rules are designed to ensure that the this forum remains a useful and interesting place to discuss Game Design. Most of these are common sense, and could be applied to any online forum.

a. Moderation decisions are not a topic for discussion inside the forums. If you have a problem with a moderator or a moderation decision, mail me at, or contact one of the GDNet staff.

b. Keep your posts constructive. Constructive criticism is always welcome, personal attacks, flamers and trolls are not.

c. Keep your posts on topic. This applies to individual threads as much as the whole forum and although the occasional joke or digression can be tolerated, it is better to start a new thread than to completely derail an existing one.

d. Make sure you post in the correct forum. If you aren"t sure which forum your post belongs in, read the forum descriptions on the forum index page and post in the one that looks like the best match. Do not post the same topic in multiple forums, and do not post the same topic more than once.

e. Communication is an important skill in Game Design, so you might as well practice good habits while you"re posting on the forum. Avoid annoying fads like AOL/Text message speak, "leet speak", all caps, etc - these only serve to make your post less readable, and make people take you less seriously. Also, bear in mind that GDNet is visited by a wide range of ages, so please try to keep your language clean.

f. Ask intelligent questions. Vague questions like "How do I design a game like Quake" suggest that the asker has made no effort to do any research for themselves, has made no effort to even phrase a decent question, and probably wouldn"t understand the answer anyway. If you ask something like "How do I design a damage model for a first person shooter?" you are more likely to get a interesting answers. Also, given the nature of the forum, you cannot always expect concrete answers - there are relatively few absolutes in game design, so most replies you get will really be suggestions or points for consideration.

g. All rules in the Main GameDev.Net FAQ apply.

2. Game Design FAQ

Q: I don"t know anything about Game Design or Development. Where do I start?

Start here.

Q: What exactly is Game Design?

A: The Game Design is essentially, the blueprint for the game. It describes the objectives of the game and the rules of play, it describes the control mechanisms and all methods of interaction with the game world, including the user interface. This information is usually organised and recorded in the "Design Document".

Q: What makes a good Game Designer?

A: There"s a lot more to Game Design than coming up with loads of ideas - nearly everyone has ideas. The difference between the successful Game Designer and everyone else, is that that he has the discipline to stand back and analyse his ideas objectively, and reject the ones that aren"t fun or are simply unfeasible. He has the ability to develop rulesets which give rise to interesting emergent gameplay. He also has good communication skills which enable his team-mates to understand his vision and help bring it to fruition.

Q: How do I get a job as a Game Designer?

A: Unfortunately, very few companies advertise for Game Design positions, and those that do almost always look for someone for several years of experience. Game Designers are usually promoted from other positions within the game industry, e.g programmers, QA testers, level designers, artists, etc. The other way to turn your game ideas into reality is to develop them yourselves.

Q: What if I send my Game Design to a development company? Will they pay me for my idea? How do I make sure they don"t just steal it and use it in their next game?

A: Most companies shred unsolicited, externally written design documents without reading them, so while you can be assured they won"t steal your ideas, you can be equally assured they aren"t going to pay you for them. If you want
your game to get made, you will either have to develop it yourself (alone or with a team) or work your way into the industry and propose it then.

3. Topics to Avoid

I don"t want to expressly forbid any particular subject of discussion. However, certain subjects invariably end up going nowhere or getting closed because of the reaction they provoke. Therefore, if your thread is likely to fall into one of the following categories I would strongly recommend against posting it. If you still decide you want to post it, please take extra care with your wording and presentation to avoid falling foul of the problems associated with it.

Are Games art? Art is a highly subjective term, therefore everyone is likely to have widely differing opinions on the subject. Finally, it doesn"t really make much difference whether it is art or not, so discussing it seems doubly pointless.

Race / culture representation in games Usually closed because some cannot resist widening the topic into an off-topic socio-political discussion, and can easily degenerate into flames.

Are computer role-playing games "TRUE" role-playing games? Debated ad nauseam in the forum, and if you"re interested in this one you"re best off searching previous topics.

Do Violent Computer game turn people into mass murderers? Debated many times, and rarely very productive.

I"ve got a great original idea for MMORPG/MMORTS/MMO*. Most of these posts are made by beginners who have very little understanding of the complexity involved in designing and developing a massively multiplayer game, and therefore these sorts of post don"t tend to be taken very seriously. If you are interested in discussing the design of Massively Multiplayer games, please take care to make it clear exactly what you want to discuss, and bear in mind that whenever people see the "MMO" prefix they tend to think "clueless newbie". Misspelled, poorly focused threads on these subjects usually go down in flames very quickly.

4. Resources

Game Design Resources on GameDev.Net
Chis Crawford"s Game Design Articles
Tom Sloper"s Advice for budding Game Designers

Also, don"t forget to use the Game Design Forum Search.

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