Game Design covers devising what a game consists of and how its played. It also where the elements of a game are planned and defined. These elements include its setting; structure; rules; story flow; characters; the objects, props, vehicles, and devices available to the characters; interface design; and modes of play. Once the game is devised, it is communicated to the rest of the development team who create the art assets and computer code that allow the game to be played.
Sometimes the Game Design process includes coming up with the game’s premise. More often, most of the core ingredients are already defined and the game designers must decide how to create the best game using these elements, within a certain budget and timescale.
Game Designers are employed by development studios, both independent and publisher-owned. The game design process is usually shared between a number of different people, overseen by a Lead Designer.
During development, the Game Designer makes adjustments to the original specification for the game to respond to technical constraints which have been identified and to incorporate new programming and art creation methods developed by the team. They also train QA Testers to play the game, making sure that they understand what is expected of the finished product.
The design process goes through different stages:
After some initial research, the Game Designer puts together the concept document or initial design treatment, used to convince other members of the team that the game is worth taking forward
The development of a proof of concept, where a small team of artists and programmers work with the Game Designer to build a prototype, while the Game Designer puts together the full game design document. This document describes the intended playing experience and defines all the game functionality and associated art and animation assets required to create it. It is referred to by all development staff throughout the development process. It may require changing and updating to reflect production and technical decisions taken during the production cycle for the game.