Do programmers make inherantly better game designers?

Do programmers make inherantly better game designers?

Postby Jastiv » 02 Dec 2019, 18:34

I want to ask everyone's opinion on this topic. Do you think that programmers are inherently better game designers than say artists? writers? music composers? bug reporters?

I know obviously game design is a complex thing and there is stuff like level design, and game design also encompasses all of those disciplines and more, but I'll be honestly, some times I come across games that don't seem to be very fun, although it seems to run okay, games art looks fine, but then when I try to play it I get sick of it real fast. I don't know if it is bad levels, not enough variety, don't know where to go or what?

I don't really want to pick on certain games and say they suck (because a lot of proprietary games suck as well) but sometimes I'm just like "what is wrong with this game is design, but its like I can't put my finger on exactly why it sucks.
The good news is I think a lot of games could be "fixed" with design tweaks. The bad news is so much isn't good because of design issues.
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Re: Do programmers make inherantly better game designers?

Postby dulsi » 02 Dec 2019, 19:24

I think game design is a separate skill from programming. Whether there is any overlap that makes programmers more likely to be better game designers I don't know. I think it is more likely that a programmer can get his vision made than others. If you wanted to look at this, I would investigate board games. In that area it is more accessible to everyone. If programmers are naturally better at game design, it should show there as well. (Unless you are talking specifically about video game design but while they are different I think the same game design skills apply to both.)
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Re: Do programmers make inherantly better game designers?

Postby anon666 » 02 Dec 2019, 22:03

id say its rather opensource that allows less commercial (or better) design/games where programmers usually presented more than in other field (such as commercial games)
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Re: Do programmers make inherantly better game designers?

Postby freemedia2018 » 02 Dec 2019, 23:31

As a programmer, generally speaking, I doubt it. Though some people are certainly wizards at what they do.
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Re: Do programmers make inherantly better game designers?

Postby Lyberta » 03 Dec 2019, 11:45

Well in some games math and logic can help make more enjoyable gameplay. But some games rely on setting and emotions where you'd need soft skills.
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Re: Do programmers make inherantly better game designers?

Postby Julius » 03 Dec 2019, 14:43

I think the issue at hand is that good game design needs a lot of trail and error. This usually requires fast iteration, and if you are the programmer implementing it yourself you can iterate more easily.

The other thing is... in my opinion "artistic vision" (unless done by a very experienced game designer) is often more of a barrier to good game design than something vital to it. Thus if your main passion isn't in the game design itself but rather the programming side of things, you are probably more willing to compromise on your "artistic vision" for the sake of better game-play.
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” - Philip K. Dick
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Re: Do programmers make inherantly better game designers?

Postby Technopeasant » 04 Dec 2019, 04:42

You need to have a good understanding of computer science to design a good computer game system. Does not require knowing coding however.
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Re: Do programmers make inherantly better game designers?

Postby Evropi » 09 Dec 2019, 12:12

I disagree, as we all well know that programming skill doesn't reflect an ability to make a great user experience.

Good designers tend to really understand software usability and may have reading in the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). They might not have formal reading in either. I personally think all developers should if they're making anything user facing - even if it's a command like interface utility.

Great designers are bold. Excellent UI and UX is based a lot on predictability, which often means playing things safe. A truly great designer must not be afraid to pursue original ideas. You might call this an artistic streak, which is yet more important in integrating narrative in the game.
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Re: Do programmers make inherantly better game designers?

Postby Ntech » 15 Dec 2019, 20:42

A programmer looks at things from a point of view which has more limitations on the result than one who has never programmed, merely because he might view some things as programatically impossible (or at least, extremely hard to do).
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