Game design questions are more closely related to the experience when playing the game.

I was wondering how to address effectively, questions like the following, using the Stackexchange platform.

Who to get the adequate mood? How to chose the right soundtrack? The game pace, and so on.

  • \$\begingroup\$ As it is, our current set of active moderators are fairly strict about subjective-style questions and what belongs on the site. If a question doesn't have a real possibility of a strong, well supportable answer then it will probably be closed. But I agree with @Byte56 -> Lets try it out. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex Shepard Dec 27 '12 at 23:45

See the FAQ about subjective questions.

All subjective questions are expected to be constructive. How do we define that? Constructive subjective questions...

  • inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”.
  • tend to have long, not short, answers.
  • have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone.
  • invite sharing experiences over opinions.
  • insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references.

The example questions you list are iffy. I would find it difficult to answer those questions with facts and references because those are mostly "it's up to you" type situations to me. But You can always try asking and see where it goes. I believe the answers will be something like: Playtest.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I wonder how many game design professionals we have on the site. If we have at least a few, I can imagine some really interesting community wiki-style "let's share our experiences with design topic <x>" questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor Powell Dec 6 '12 at 4:38

I agree with Nicol Bolas, the questions you gave as example are too broad, I don't know where on this site game design related questions belong, but if you are too ask questions about game design anywhere, they would need to be very specific in order to inspire useful answers.

Also, a big part of the problem with questions related to game design is that the majority who ask questions about it seem to not understand what game design actually is. It has less to do with the "mood" of a game or "choosing soundtrack", and more to do with gameplay rules. Game design is very technical.

If an official definition of "game designer" existed I'd like it to be something along this, which I copied from Wikipedia: "A game designer is a person who designs gameplay, conceiving and designing the rules and structure of a game."

Since game design is of course a big (and crucial) part of any game development, and can be very technical, questions about it should actually be well-suited to gamedev.stack, but it's a subject that probably would need heavy moderation, more so than most topics asked about on gamedev.stack. On the other hand a lot of game design decisions has to do with which technology to use, and again, those questions are not allowed here (I learned that with my very first question).

It's difficult trying to come up with some random examples of what I think would be valid questions, as like I said earlier they would have to be very specific. But when talking about game design you can touch on a number of interesting subjects like game theory (no, not the theory of making games), chaos theory, algorithms, game complexity, emergence, decision trees, fuzzy state machines, etc, etc.


At the end of the day, a question like "Who to get the adequate mood?" (I'll assume you meant "how", not "who") is just too broad. Adequate mood for what kind of game? Where in that game would you want that mood?

If you have a specific set of circumstances, including game genre, the intent of the designer, and the circumstances at that point in the game, such a question could be very reasonable. However, if it's nothing more than just "How to get the adequate mood?", it's insufficient.

The classic "Good Subjective, Bad Subjective" post covers this topic in greater detail. A good subjective question needs to provide details, so that it doesn't just become a list of stuff people think. Generally speaking, if your question is not several paragraphs long, if it can be summed up in a single sentence, then it's probably "Bad Subjective", seeking general opinions about a subject rather than solving a specific-though-subjective problem.


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