Tips on Creating a Great Game from Former Final Fantasy XV Game Designer

By Muhammad Bilal Syahrir

“At the end of the day, humans make the game, humans play the game, and you are human.”

During BEKRAF Game Prime 2018 business day, Wan Hazmer shared how to create a beautiful and engaging game design.

Who does not want their game to have a beautiful and engaging game design? If you are a developer and wondering how things can go well with your game, these tips from Wan Hazmer might help.

Let’s start by introducing Wan Hazmer. The Malaysian native had previously worked at Square Enix for seven years and was the game designer of Final Fantasy XV. His company now, Metronomik, will create original IPs that seamlessly integrates music with gameplay; a gameplay that he stated will be enjoyable for everyone. But it is not in form of rhythm games.

Beautiful and Engaging Game Design

In BEKRAF Gameprime 2018, Haz shared his experience in the “Beautiful and Engaging Game Design” panel. His 45-minute presentation was very attractive and is one of the best presentations by any BEKRAF Game Prime speakers thus far.

His communicative tone with the audience and experience working with Square Enix is a big reason why. He’s so talented we might as well say that he could become a great stand up comedian.

Putting that aside, here are his 5 (well apparently there are 6, but the 6th one he claims to be secret) tips on how to create a beautiful and engaging game.


Harness the Power of Why

Beautiful and Engaging Game Design - wan hazmer

Game designers mostly ask themselves “what” or “how” during the process of making a game, not why they are going to do it. This can become a problem because almost every game designer will think the same way. And not many game designers are successful with their games.

When creating a game, of course, there are a lot of elements involved, such as gameplay, graphics, sound etc. These elements will combine into something like a glass of water. This glass of water will be viewed differently by other people. This creates what’s called a user experience.

Wan highly emphasizes on how a company should pay attention to user experience. Because whatever they do, it will eventually go straight back to the users of the game. How do you do it? Maybe you can start by asking yourself “Why am I creating this game?”

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Utilize the Team's Strength

Beautiful and Engaging Game Design - metronomik team

“A lot of people always want a game to make and enforce them to their team,” Haz stated to open this second tip. “You have to look at your team and see what game you can make, that is much more important.”

So in this case, knowing your team’s strength and weaknesses is very important in terms of expected output.  Interestingly, when Haz created his new game studio called Metronomik, he hired some people who have not even have any experiences in creating games.

However, they are good at creating arts and advertising/marketing. “It is a risky move and I believe you shouldn’t try this at home,” Haz said. However, the fact that he trusts these people is something that can make a good environment.

It’s good to have an idea, but at the end of the day, you work as a team and work with your team.


Map Design to a 2-Page Spread

Beautiful and Engaging Game Design - wan hazmer

Another important aspect of creating beautiful and engaging game design is to map design to a 2-page spread. “If you want to convince investors or publishers, you have to have a structured presentation right?” he said.  “So, you also want to structure your 2-page spread exciting as well.”

To create a great 2-page spread, you need to consider these factors:

  1. Title
  2. Headline
  3. Features of the game that can create a great subheadline
  4. What the company screenshots of your ideas

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Aim to be Naturally Excited

Beautiful and Engaging Game Design - wan hazmer

The next tip given by Haz is to be naturally excited. “When you choose your game ideas, which one does it excite you the most?” he asked. “You shouldn’t go for the next big thing. If you want to create a battle royale game, it has to be damn good.”

“As a game designer, you need to have a strong belief that your game is better other games. This is what naturally excited really means. If you feel excited about the game, the excitement spreads.”

It’s also important to show off your team when presenting to, say, a big company. “It’s not just about you, it’s about the team.” Haz finished.


Narrate Culture with Relevance

“There are 2 mistakes: one is that they are not proud of their own culture– If you are Indonesian but you want to create an anime game, why you do that?– The other mistake is they are too proud of their culture. You have to ensure that it is relevant to their culture.

Regarding cultures, Japan is a country where the people are really creative in combining culture with creativity. One game from Indonesia that is successful in bringing culture to the game environment is Tahu Bulat from Own Games.

The direction of the game is clear: creating a game for Indonesians. Own Games also knows not many Indonesians have good phones. So they created their own engine and released the game for Android only. Even so, the reception was very high.


Apply Humanity to Your Game

Beautiful and Engaging Game Design - wan hazmer

The last tip by Wan is to try applying humanity into your game because at the end of the day, humans make the game, humans play the game, and you are human. This tip is actually a secret tip that if you look at the first alphabet in each tip, you will find the word “HUMAN”. Which is exactly what it means.

So if you want to create a beautiful and engaging game design, these tips will definitely help you in the long run.

For more on BEKRAF Game Prime 2018 panels during the business day, you can go to this link.

Edited by Devi




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My main mission: Making Indonesian Game Industry big!