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Game Designer & Storyteller. Narrative + XR + location based + emerging tech. Indie game community organizer. Twitter: @marlenaabraham

Many of the best game designers I know are sponges: they absorb a little bit of everything they come into contact with. They squirrel away nuggets of information until one day, they’ll run into a particularly difficult design problem. Then, like magic, they’ll pull out a piece of wisdom or an esoteric fact that makes everything click into place. Sometimes it’s something small: an idea in a brainstorming meeting or a suggestion for a new feature. In other cases, their insight can shift their whole team’s approach to a problem.

As a designer, you have something unique to contribute that…

Fight screen overload by writing your first draft with speech to text

A Weekend Experiment

For the last several months, I’ve been stuck in an absolutely agonizing case of writer’s block. I‘ve had SO many ideas for articles I’ve wanted to write, but for whatever reason, I just couldn’t bring myself to, you know, open a text editor and write anything down. Who knows… maybe sitting at my home computer, day in and day out, for both my day job and my social outlets for the last year has something to do with it. Well, whatever the reason, I sure wasn’t getting any writing done.

A few weekends ago, everything came to a head. My…

A game designer’s job is usually a combination of three things: coming up with a design, getting everyone on board with it, and implementing it in whatever game engine (or other medium) that their team’s using. While I’ve seen tons of articles on game design best practices and tutorials for implementation, I haven’t seen a lot of specific info about the middle bit: getting everybody on board.

At a high level, you can absolutely find information about how to be a good teammate, but what about the boots-on-the-ground logistics? …

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you keep a to-do list. Maybe you keep several. Between your work trackers, your personal projects, your daily chores, and that voice in the back of your head that you should really be doing more meal prep and getting more exercise in, you consistently go to bed each night feeling like even though you got a ton done, you’ve failed somehow. You don’t deserve a break. …

Maybe you really like playing video games. Maybe you’re really interested in how games can make education more fun. Maybe you’re just curious to see what you can make. Do you… maybe want to be a game designer?

As a professional game designer, I have variations of the same conversation with lots of people who are dipping their toes into game dev for the first time. Sometimes it’s people working their way through a related degree in college, sometimes it’s established professionals in other fields looking to swap industries. …

As a professional game designer, I’ve been asked about portfolio structure dozens of times — by high school students curious about game development, by college juniors and seniors about to start looking for jobs, and by people looking to shift their career into games.

At the end of the day, a game design portfolio has a fairly straightforward purpose: to show that you understand the process of game design and can apply those skills in a team environment.

Marlena Abraham

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