Designing your games on paper first

One of the most important things you have to learn when learning how to make video games is that there is actually a lot of work to be done away from the computer. Although today's software is fantastic and it does a lot of work for you there is still a lot that you cannot do anywhere else except on paper.

You really need to learn how to do some of your video game design work with paper and pencil and there are four very big reasons for this:

  1. Speed - Paper and pencil is very fast - You can quickly sketch out many ideas and transform the kernal of an idea into something workable that you can make on the computer.
  2. Creativity - there is simply no better way to experiment with your creativity than with pencil and paper. you will see things in many different ways and you will be able to get very creative. It only takes a matter of seconds to draw out several rooms then redraw them as ideas flow. T
  3. History and Notes - Your sketches and written ideas become a history you can keep. Often times you will remember a certain room sketch or a certain layout that would be perfect and having all these drawings on paper will allow you to quickly look back.
  4. Growth of your skills - When you work just with the computer programs you tend to fall into patterns that are easy to do with the software. Things tend to be more square and more uniform. But when you draw things out on paper they tend to be more complex and then when you try to build what you drew you have to work harder and get more out of the game design software.

You can make video games without ever putting anything on paper but I hope I have convinced you that you will be a much better designer and your games will be much better if you add the skills of drawing on paper to your repertoire. IT will make you much better!

Let's Go ahead and Do a little Designing of a video game on Paper


A Dark Temple -

Here is a drawing I have done of a dark temple. It looks pretty good so we are going to go ahead and build this. Let me point out some of the highlights.

The eight circles represent columns in the main room. The reflecting pool is going to have water in it. The altar is on a raised platform and there are two rooms in the back of the structure.

This is a good little practice session because you are going to get to do some things you have already done and you are going to learn some new things like how to add water and how to add doors to your game.

This dark temple was very easy for me to create on paper but it would have been hard on the computer because of the time it takes to create individual objects. The first big room then the small rooms then the columns etc all take time and I might have lost the overall vision.

Okay, so before we go on to create this little game level on the computer I recommend you get some graph paper and do some level creation on your own. And remember to save everything you do because all of your drawings will be ideas you might want to turn into a reality in the future.

About the paper: I use graph paper for my level designs and I highly recommend you use graph paper too. The little grids of squares makes it very easy to draw everything straight and it will be a big help when creating the computerized versions. You can count out squares on the paper and then count our grid squares in the software.



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