How to make a video game? Easy step by step guide

Video Games

Redacción Tokio | 21/10/2022

Are video games your passion? Have you ever considered making video game design your career? If the answer to these questions is yes, we’re sure you’ll want to know how to design a video game. You’re at the right place! In this article we’ll tell you all the secrets in the process of how to make a video game.

The design of a video game might seem simple, but many layers of complexity can be found. The job opportunities around video game design are, in fact, constantly growing. This qualified position requires specialized training but, above all, it needs talent, creativity and passion, qualities that are surely within you.


How to design a video game: the initial idea and the first design document

Just like with any other creative process, video game design starts with an idea, a couple of details of what the game is going to be like and where creators want to lead it. The idea is the first step in the whole creation process of how to create a videogame.

A good idea doesn’t always result in a videogame and, on the contrary, a bad idea doesn’t always have to become a terrible video game. On the way to the end, video game design can vary greatly. Its initial concepts aren’t necessarily what ends up in our screens.

Video game design is a complex process in which many elements are taken into account

What happens once you’ve got an idea? It then must be put into writing, as well as creating a brief draft of what the video game will look like in all its areas: playability, narratives and artistic areas. It’s not about having a complete project, but about having a basis from which to start working on the key elements in all this process: the design document.

Everything else is built from this document, including all elements that the final game will include: from how players interact with stages, NPC’s, the type of game it is, its prices or currency, world, landscapes; to what programmers and artists must take into account to be able to develop their work and complement and complete what the game designer thought of.


Bringing all video game elements together in paper

The work of a video game designer is to capture in paper everything that will make the game work. From character design, narrative design, playable systems and landscape design; to even the smallest and most trivial detail of how each element must interact to achieve the final goal.

This document developed by the game designer is what will act as a basis for programmers, artists and modelers to give shape to the final product. How to make a video game easy and facilitate work for your colleagues? Follow these steps:

Establish the goals

The first step is to determine what the project goals are. What would you like to do with the game? What’s the story you want to tell and how would you like to tell it? What type of experience will you be able to offer to players?

Establish the target audience

Once goals have been set, it’s time to establish what type of audiences might be interested in the video game. It’s different to design a videogame from the Souls saga than to be in charge of designing Super Mario. Part of the audiences might coincide, but some games can only appeal to a certain niche of players.

Think of what console/device will be used to play it

Obviously, before starting the actual description on how the video game and its systems or world will work, you must define what platform will be used to develop the game. This is important when it comes to the work of the rest of the game development team.

Consider the game’s genre

One of the key steps in how to make a video game is to consider what its genre will be. Devising mechanics for shooters is a totally different process than thinking of systems for an RPG.

Design the world of the game

The world of the game is one of the most important aspects in video game design. What does the world offer to players? What story does it tell? Does it have to be rich in details? Not all games need a world where all details have been carefully included.

Design the mechanics

The playable part is what sets one video game apart from the rest of other cultural and artistic media. 

Designing interactivity in a game is complex and requires long previous work. You must also be a dedicated player yourself to be able to know all types of suggestions and modify, combine or add to them.

Design levels

One of the many important steps in how to make a video game is the design of levels.

This step is closely linked to the design of the world of the videogame. Will it be an open world or will it be structured in different levels? If it’s structured at different levels, will they be connected?

Design the characters

This encompasses all aspects of characters. The game’s protagonist, his personality, his movements, etc. Is it an empty avatar or does it have its own personality?

Besides, we’ll also talk about secondary characters and those that act as extras. It could look like NPCs are sometimes part of the scenery, but good video game design will provide them with their own personalities.

Of course, this process also involves designing the enemies, in case they exist.

Design the content

In the process of how to make a video game, as we’ve insisted throughout this article, it’s necessary for you to take many things into account. One of these is the video game’s content.

When we talk about the content, we refer to the design of the interactive contents for players to communicate with characters that are not the main character or avatar, and also elements in the game’s world, whether these are involved in destruction or construction.


Get trained as a video game designer!

We’ve seen the whole process hidden behind how to make a video game. You’ve seen this process might seem simple but involves a lot of hard work, talent and creativity. Would you like to join a fascinating career that is brimming with job opportunities? Let us tell you how!

With Tokyo School’s online course in video game design you’ll get training by this industry’s professional, learn all the secrets and everything you need to know about the creative process behind video game design. An educational experience to match your needs and spark your creativity.

Would you like to learn more? Get in touch with us! We’re waiting for you! Step ahead and start getting trained to work in one of the most thriving industries today that is brimming with potential.

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