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On Game Design with Dan Chao

The following are excerpts from a conversation with Dan Chao, Lead Designer at Funzio.  Dan’s work runs the full gamut of design, including releases in the Core, Casual, Social and Mobile segments of the industry.  Dan has worked as gameplay engineer on Xbox launch title New Legends, lead designer on the casual game Wandering Willows, and most recently lead designer on social/mobile games Crime City, and Kingdom Age.

EL: To start with, what is game design?

DC: There are so many different parts of it. I feel like it goes down to the talents of certain types of game designers. There are obviously people that are good at writing story and coming up with characters. There are people that are just great with the numbers, tuning, the economy.

Then, there’s the system level design; how the game actually works. I guess calling it “defining the core loops” has become the fancy term that people throw around.

But to me, that’s really at the heart of everything is designing how all those systems work together, to make a cohesive, clean and consistent design.
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