10 Game Design Tips from Unity for Beginning Game Developers
If I were asked to fit all the tips from Unity from the translation below into 30 seconds, then I would say something like:
Take care of your players, think about how to create maximum fun for them, but at the same time keep the interest and balance of the game. Make the game as clear and intuitive as possible for the players, let the controls be comfortable. If you want your game to be played, you will have to promote it and manage development (even one person does everything and that’s you). Under the cut are links to useful materials and video tutorials with tips on exactly how to achieve this.
By the way, Unity was recently released for free. 200 page guide to 2D art, animation and lighting for game artists.
I also run a Telegram channel GameDEVils and blog on substack I share cool materials there (about game design, development and history of games).
10. Design with the user in mind
A great user experience (UX) is incredibly important to an enjoyable gaming experience. Too difficult to navigate menus and interfaces, as well as ill-conceived ones, can frustrate players. The best bet is to keep it simple, intuitive, while designing interfaces in the style and spirit of your game.
The Inventory UX Design video has an overview of amazing UI/UX design using Zelda, Resident Evil and Doom as an example of player interaction with inventory:
For those who work in Unity, you can watch the video Simple UI Setup or START MENU in Unity. These videos show how to set up a simple and clear main menu for the game.
9. Find a feature of your game
The hallmark of your game can be the story, the characters, the mechanics, or even the aesthetics. A feature is a feature that can make players fall in love with your game. If this chip hooks the player from the very beginning, he will continue to play.
This is something that is best thought out at the beginning of a project, because it is what determines the long-term attractiveness of your game. Here video, which has tips on how to invent / find chips for your game. And in Video Extra Credits talk about attracting and engaging a new player and how to keep his interest throughout the game.
8. Hear this? Sounds like sound design
Whether you’re creating a casual mobile game or an immersive 3D game, the right sounds at the right time are an important part of the gaming experience. Sounds can serve as an implicit hint for the player, help him navigate the level, or give him signals about the outcome of his actions. More importantly, game design sets the mood and atmosphere of your game.
AT video from Cujo Sound showing the basics of sound design in Unity. But in the video below they show how they create sound design for Mortal Kombat. (Spoiler – the sounds with which the bell pepper breaks are great for the voice acting of the breaking chest).
7. Look for virality
As a game designer, you need to understand what works in the game industry. If you are planning to make money from your craft, you will have to consider the appeal of the game to the masses. Hardwiring virality into your mechanics, characters, and levels is the best way to increase the number of players who play your game.
Trending topics, memes, awards and achievements, respect for other popular media – these elements allow you to “sew” virality into your game. Here is a video with 5 tips on how to make the game more memorable and intriguing for the masses:
6. Hyperfocus on the fun
Super-obvious advice: make the game fun.
(I do not translate the word fan, because the words “fun” or “exciting” do not fully reflect the meaning, and the word fan has already become firmly established in slang)
It is important to note that there are different types of fans in the game. Fun can come from playing through an intriguing story arc with unforgettable characters, or it can come from how you interact with the game. You can create fun by provoking an emotional response or by using visual design that captivates the player.
For a deeper dive into the concepts that we have already discussed (virality, game features) check out the article Video games are fun. Here’s why, and how they hook us. Jonas Tyroller in the video below demonstrates with his game how simple three additions make his simple clicker game more fun.
5. Make controls intuitive
Your control scheme is related to user experience (UX) and affects how quickly and easily players learn to play your game. In addition, management determines the progress of players throughout the game. So it’s important to make using a controller (or keyboard and mouse) as comfortable and easy as possible.
For details on setting up character controls in Unity (and animations, to boot) for 2D projects, you can check out this tutorial. And here tutorial to create an FPS controller (from the first person). Well, for a fan, as an anti-example, you can read the article Gamings most ridiculously complex control schemes.
4. Gameplay balance
There is nothing worse than feeling separated and left out in the game. Weapons that do not have constant and expected damage; levels that visually baffle; enemy AI, which is so weak that it can be ignored – this all speaks of problems with the balance in the game.
Gameplay balance is one of the biggest challenges for any video game designer, and the reason is that balance is different in every game you create. What is an imbalance in one game can be a great solution for another game, depending on the type of game you are creating. Probably the best way to test how balanced your game is is to let other people play it and get feedback from them.
Here is a video with 10 suggestions on how to balance your game:
3. Make your game stand out
Games are fun, literally. Creating fun in the game should be your primary goal. One of the fastest ways to achieve fun is to make your game unique and therefore more interesting.
Uniqueness in games usually comes down to game mechanics and game design. Take for example Untitled Goose Game. To paraphrase Thompson, this game is too weird to live, but too rare to die. This oddity is the key to popularity.
This video walks you through Monument Valley level design features and gives you tips on how to create your own Monument Valley style levels in Unity:
2. Get organized
A game designer has enough worries. Whether you are a solo developer or part of a large team, time management and organization is what will help you work on a large project.
Trello is a simple tool for planning and monitoring your design process. Jira is a similar tool commonly used by agile teams for tracking, reporting, and collaboration throughout the development process. hack plan is a project management tool tailored for game development. During production, you can use these or any of the tools that are convenient for you to track your progress and close the main milestones of the project.
If you want to dive deeper into project management in game development, here are videos that cover such concepts as project scope, time to completion, features of project management tools and creating a project roadmap:
1. Promote your game
Business mode is activated. It is impossible to do without marketing, in order for people to play your game, they need to know that your game exists.
Luckily, there are many easy ways to promote your game. Using social networks is one option that can be completely free. Post screenshots and videos, use relevant hashtags, and make yourself known as a game designer. If you interact with people who actively promote or participate in game development or have a significant subscriber base, you can get a lot of new faces in your project.
The traditional way, like a press release and paid promotion, will get some attention and raise awareness about your project. You can take a look at this articleto learn more tips for promoting indie games. Here videowhich tells hacks for free marketing of the game.
And here is a video selection of impressive games made with Unity for inspiration:
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