GameDev Inside

What do game designers do? We tell you about interesting cases in GameDev on the example of popular games, as well as the features of the game industry.

Previously, we have already discussed the features of the GameDev industry, hiring and current professions, and today we continue to talk about this topic, but from a slightly different angle — let's talk about game mechanics and other interesting decisions that game designers make, using examples of well-known games. If you are interested in GameDev and want to learn more about what game designers work with, read our article :)

Mass Effect make your way to the stars

It is impossible not to mention two interesting points regarding Mass Effect from the point of view of game design.

Firstly, the trilogy also became one of the first to use variants of different ways of behavior of the main character, which greatly influenced the development of the story. Moreover, Mass Effect shows love relationships in detail.
Before BioWare, no one paid attention to the development of this part of the RPG, so we can say the studio was a pioneer.
Such a technique allows the player to set their priorities, compare all the pros and cons and take responsibility for their actions (this technique also perfectly engages players in the game) — is it a joke when the fate of the entire galaxy depends on your decisions?

Another interesting game solution — Mass Effect was developed on the border between RPG and action. We can see it especially clear in the second part of the trilogy, where the game mechanics of battles, as well as the combat interface, have almost radically changed (by the way, this innovation belonged mostly to a new game engineer who joined the team).

Secondly, Shepard was named after Alan Shepard, the first American to fly into space. This is a good example of character design — even with his last name, Shepard evokes associations with the conquest of space and inspires us to great travel, and it is really important in GameDev — the character must evoke emotions, a connection between them and the player must appear.

Character Design: Silent Hill and Amnesia

Nevertheless, we must not forget about the game balance depending on the genre of the game.
So, game designers note that, for example, you shouldn't make a very powerful character for horror games
On the contrary, it will add a touch of realism if the main character is ordinary and somehow understandable to most people: we can see this in Silent Hill or Amnesia, in which the "avatar of the player" is a scientist going towards the unknown just with an oil lamp in his hands.

Creating tension in games

Thinking over the design of the game, game designers look in advance, what other ways can be used to create a common value for the player and the character and how to unite them.
For example, if a character dies during the completion of a quest and this has no consequences for the player, the player will not experience any strong emotions. Also they won't remain in suspense while playing the game.
One of the ways to maintain tension is so-called "meaningful failure": when the death of a character turns into a loss of points for the player or any plot restrictions. Another way to create tension in the game is tension through the unexpected circumstances (for example, interruption of current quest with the new one).

As a rule, while completing a quest, the player believes that a reward awaits them at the end, but suddenly the process is interrupted and instead of a reward, a new problem arises.

IT professions in GameDev which are in demand today and industry features

Despite the fact that GameDev is quite a 'young' field in IT, it is developing rapidly. Foreign companies still have a large market share today, but GameDev is also getting more popular in Russia.

Today the following IT specialists are most in demand in the GameDev:
  • Game Designer;
  • Narrative Designer;
  • 3D artist;
  • Game Analyst;
  • Unity developer.
Nowadays there is an acute shortage of specialists in GameDev, as well as in the IT market in general: in our experience, game designers and game analysts are the most difficult to find — there are usually very few specialists.
The situation is also complicated because of the fact that GameDev corporations have a long stoplist of companies from which it is strictly banned to do headhunting.
Therefore, the fight for each candidate is serious :) Nevertheless, the world of games remains, perhaps, one of the brightest and most interesting fields of IT.

However, there are some limitations: for example, in the game sphere there is a fairly high financial threshold for entering the industry, and also, according to statistics, on average one out of 10 created games becomes really popular. However, GameDev is actively developing, new directions and specialties appear, thematic conferences with well-known speakers are held.

Finally — an inspiring fact for those who want to try themselves in the gaming industry, but need some inspiration

BioWare Studio was founded by two medical students who loved games very much: both computer and role-playing games based on the DnD (Dungeons & Dragons) model. It is entirely possible that we would never have had Captain Shepard and his space adventures if they had not met. By the release of Mass Effect 2, 2,000 people were already working in BioWare, and a huge number of fans around the world were waiting for the third part of the space saga. :)

Polina Barabanova
Content Manager at Lucky Hunter
Specializes in tech staff recruitment, startups, tech research, career, HR, and news topics. With her expertise, she provides valuable insights and practical advice to navigate the ever-evolving tech industry.

We regularly help our clients to fill a variety of job openings in GameDev: game designers, Unity developers, game analysts, Golang developers, 3D artists and many others. If you are looking for a specialist to join your team — fill the contact form :)

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