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Game Designer at Ubisoft Kiev
11 years in game design
Far Cry 4, Far Cry: Primal
GAME DESIGN IN UBISOFT KIEV
Big AAA-projects (Assassin’s Creed, Far
Huge teams (up to 800+ people and 10
studios for one project)
You are part of the big machine and
design only certain features of the game.
Game Designer at Ubisoft Kiev worked
on PC versions (UI/Controls/PC version
“The role of all Game Design professionals at Ubisoft is to imagine and develop compelling and engaging rules for our
games.From conception to release,they design high quality game systems and mechanics that are adapted to the
audience and will enable players to live their own unique,fun and rich gaming experiences”.
WHO IS GAME DESIGNER?
Imagine and develop compelling and engaging rules for the game
Design game systems and mechanics and adapt them to the audience
Create unique, fun and rich gaming experience for players
WHAT GAME DESIGNER DO?
Design mechanics and systems within the capabilities and constraints of the engine and tools
Leverage a deep understanding and culture of all game genres and platforms to analyze,
design and improve game mechanics and systems
Use game data to tune and tweak game parameters in an iterative way in the engine or with
prototyping tools to validate game mechanics and systems
Develop knowledge of usability and learning theories to design gameplay features every player
will engage with in line with the defined game progression
Leverage knowledge of player psychology and motivation triggers to build game systems that
will foster players' engagement
Assess the efficiency of signs and feedbacks in the game and suggest solutions to design and
Structure and distribute game information for the player in an efficient way to optimize player
onboarding, workload and overall comfort
Know and apply layout and typography principles to optimize the presentation of information
on the screen
Build economic systems that are adapted to the game systems and mechanics and that will
reinforce players’ long term retention
I’ve played so many great games!
Now, I know how the games work!
I wanna be a Game Designer! BTW, I have a
They didn’t respond to my letter with so
many really great game ideas
Nobody want to teach me!
Almost no formal education (or very
expensive and doubtful)
HR STATISTICS FOR 2014-2016
1000+ CVs (I really should say “thank
you” to our HRs at this moment)
168 candidates passed CV screening
33 passed the test (~20%)
30 failed an interview
3 hires (~2%)
CV screening passed
SOLUTION:IWILL EDUCATE MYSELF!
I’ve seen an article/interview about game
design, so people can learn it somehow!
I can do this too!
…and that’s where our journey begins
“Self-education is,I firmly believe,the only
kind of education there is”.
Game culture and ability to analyze and
understand how games work
Game design theory and expertise in
No “right” answers
Test game designer’s ability to think
Test problem-solving skill
The majority of the game design
knowledge is in English
English grants you access to the learning
There are plenty of ways to learn
English, choose the way you like!
IN ENGLISH NOT IN ENGLISH
Game Design knowledge in English vs.not in English
(not an actual data)
« Game design knowledge is so hard to find!
What should I do? »
WHERE CANYOU FINDTHE KNOWLEDGE?
First 10 pages of Google/Youtube search
about “Game Design”/”Game Design
Book”/”Game Design Blog” contains 80% of
the necessary information
1st page of “Game Design” search contains:
Wikipedia article with links to several
Coursera game design course (secret:
you can also search “game design” on
Reddit thread with A LOT of useful links
Etc. (this is only the very first page)
THE SECRET KNOWLEDGE
Google it! (Game Design/Game Design
Book/Game Design Blog)
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
Fundamental knowledge (how people
think, act, make decisions, etc.).
Technologies change fast; people change
Post-mortems (look for best practices)
De-construct existing games
(fundamental knowledge will help you)
Play games! Study different
PAYATTENTIONTOTHE QUALITY OF KNOWLEDGE!
Learn how to systemize knowledge
You should be able to convince other
people that your design decision is right
Learn how to ask proper questions: your
main skill as a game designer is a
I’M READY! I HAVE SO MANY IDEAS!
I’ve read 10/50/100 game design articles!
I’ve even read a book about game design!
Now, I certainly know how the games work!
With all this knowledge, I have even more
great ideas than before!
Now, they will answer to my letters!
IDEAS SUCCESS RATE
Ideas for consideration
1 successful product
Only 1 idea out of 3000 is successful
First 50% of your ideas will be obvious
The most part of another 50% will be not
EXTENDED EFFORT PRINCIPLE
Do not stop after first idea that looks
good, generate as many ideas as you can
The best ideas will appear at the end of
So, generate MORE ideas!
« My idea is so great!
But they don’t believe me…»
GOTAN IDEA? PROVE IT!
OK, let’s assume that you have really good
idea…and then you suddenly realized that
nobody believes you!
Prove your idea!
Game prototyping tools
GAME DESIGN ISABOUT EXECUTION
You ideas will not appear in a “magical”
way – you also need a technical
Game Design is almost always about
compromises and problem-solving in
boundaries of your technical constraints
Mods, prototypes and non-commercial
projects is a very helpful way for
beginners to get the technical
GAME DESIGN IS NOTABOUT IDEAS
IDEA ≠ GAME
The game appears only after the player
starts to interact with the game rules.
The only way to prove that your idea worth
something is to make it interactive.
To make a prototype. Usually, during
prototyping, there is a very high chance that
your idea will fail.
Be ready to fail.
YOU MIGHT FAIL MANYTIMES
52nd (!) Rovio game
Hundreds of failed prototypes
Before Angry Birds, Rovio was close to
Sometimes, you have to fail many times
before real success
You will need other people to make the
game (programmers, artists, management,
You need to learn how to communicate with
all of them.
Word/Excel/Powerpoint are your best
friends. Master them.
Learn how to write well.
Learn how to speak well (also in public).
Basic artistic skills – draw your idea.
Pencil and paper work surprisingly well.
Image editors for detailed mock-ups.
Visio/Powerpoint for schemes/diagrams.
Write your idea in four short sentences.
Or less. Imagine that you have ~30 sec. to
From these four sentences, the essence of
your idea should be clearly
If you cannot write it clear enough in four
sentences or less – most likely, your idea
*Google “Elevator Pitch”
THEY DON’T LISTENTO ME!
They criticize my ideas every time!
They want to implement their own ideas
instead of mine!
They do everything in their own way!
I’m a DESIGNER, why don’t they listen to
THE LASTTRIAL:YOUR EGO
Game is collective creative process
You have no creative monopoly
You cannot know everything
Learn to listen to your team, they all have
different life experiences, play different
games, learn how to use this experience
Every member of the team has a voice
You are “listening hub”
Look for “integrated decisions” that
should include ideas, skills and experience
of your team
*GoogleTED video“How to manage for collective creativity”
HOWTO PASS OURTEST?
Not being lazy! You must convince us
Game Design knowledge (gameplay,
level design, UI/UX, psychology,
Quality of knowledge!
Technical and organizational skills
(planning, data analysis, technical
Communication skills (structure and
look of your test are important)
GAME DESIGN IS HARDTO LEARN
Game Design requires from you developing
of very specific mindset. Usually, you need
at least two years and some amount of failed
projects to develop such mindset.
You need to learn how to craft and
communicate the player experience, and
what tools you should use to create it.
In many cases, you will not start you career,
as a game designer.
First thing that you need to do is to find the
entrance to the industry:
Find modding/non-commercial projects
communities where you can get basic
Try to find internship/part-time job in the
GAME DESIGN IS PERSONAL
All the game design methods do not work
In many cases, your success as a game
designer depends on personal qualities.
Especially, on the early stage of your career.
You are in the heart of the project, develop
motivation, commitment, and ability to
solve complex problems.
GAME DESIGN IS RISKY
Game Design is the hardest and the riskiest
career path in the game industry.
Sometimes not very rewarding.
In the most cases, much more boring than
Follow this way, only if you absolutely sure
Game Design books:
Jesse Schell, The Art of Game
Design: A Book of Lenses
Brenda Brathwaite, Challenges
for Game Designers
Raph Koster, Theory of Fun for
Scott Rogers, Level Up! The
Guide to Great Video Game
Google it! (Game Design/Game Design
Book/Game Design Blog)