Making great games begins with novel ideas and concepts, from gameplay to visual style to finding your hook.

Ideate  Design  Build  Test  Launch  Monetize


All good concepts begin with an idea. Games should be built on a strong, solid idea—an abstract concept that transforms into something that is playable and compelling to players.

Designing Video Games

For Dummies presents an overview of the game design process, tips on storyboarding, and the importance of a game design document.


Games are meant to take you to another world, another place. Think about how you want this new world to look and feel.


The mechanics of a game define the genre and the gameplay. From racing to exploring to shooting, the mechanics of your game determine how the game tells the story.

Defining Game Mechanics

Miguel Sicart, who has a PhD in game studies, describes and defines game mechanics and provides a comparative analysis.



Brainstorm an Original Idea

Game design begins with an idea. Think generatively, write down your ideas, and bounce them off peers and prospective players.

Generative Thinking
Crash Course in Design Thinking
Tools for Game Design: Brainstorming
Why Brainstorming is NOT Game Design

Pick an Unforgettable Theme and Setting

Will you opt for deadpan humor or deadly serious? The theme and setting of the game will determine how the game should look, how it will play, and how the audience will respond to it.

Choosing Game (Jam) Themes
How to Choose a Theme for Your Game (Video)

Determine Your Gameplay Concept

Concepts evolve as an expansion of your ideas. Think about where you want the game to take players. What is the goal of the game, and how will the goal be solved?

Create Imaginative Games
Defining the Art and Concept of Your Game Design

Decide Which Features to Include

Deciding which unique feature to include in a game is an artistic balance. There are plenty of features that, while great, may not be necessary. Focus on the best ways to delight your players.

Five Video Game Features We Could Live Without
Video Game Features That Players Won’t Miss

Create a Visual Identity

Once you have the concept, you need to determine the look of the game. This begins with concept art, and proceeds from there. Also, consider color schemes to maintain balance and harmony throughout the design.

The Role of a Video Game Artist
Picking a Color Palette for Your Game's Artwork

Select an Art and Animation Style

Will your game be photo-realistic or cartoony? How will the characters move and interact with the environment? Unlike animation in movies and TV, video game characters often need to be developed and animated in 3D so that they look good from every possible angle.

The Aesthetics of Game Art and Game Design
How Animation for Games is Different from Animation for Movies

Set the Tone with Sound

Music and audio are vital to creating an immersive game experience. Will your game feature basic audio or a complete recorded musical score? Will it rely on voice acting or simple audio cues?

How to Make Video Game Music
How to Make Video Game Music For Beginners (Video)
An Insider’s Guide to Making Video Game Soundtracks in 2014
How To Be A Video Game Music Composer - Tips From The Pros

Evaluate Different Gameplay Options

As the mechanics are determined, it is important to consider how these will work within the context of the game.

Design Flow in Games
David Perry on Game Design: A Brainstorming Toolbox
Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design

Craft Killer Play Interactions

Interactions are what the characters and other components within the game can do or what is done to them. Think about the constraints different interactions put on the player, and how they influence the fun and difficulty of the game.

Defining Game Mechanics
Five Basic Elements of Game Design

Merge Ideas with Interactive Elements

Games are unique among other forms of entertainment because of their interactivity. Consider integrating interactive elements to your game so that it is rewarding to play and adds an element that can't be done in other art forms.

Five Core Elements of Interactive Storytelling

Find Your Originality

Every genre is filled with similar games—many are good, but just as many aren't very memorable. What makes your game stand out in a crowd? How are you raising the bar?

Four Most Important Aspects Of Video Game Design To Take A Game To The Next Level
How to Become a Video Game Designer
So, You Wanna Be a Game Designer?