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"The Toilet Problem"

by Steven Harmon

What does a designer actually do? What is design? While Liz England (designer at Ubisoft Toronto) would answer this through “The Door Problem”, I prefer using toilets as my reference point in embarking on the questions a designer would ask themselves when working on a game.

Questions a game designer would ask when approaching adding toilets in-game

In summary

A designer’s job is to think of literally everything and how everything creates and influences the overall play experience. To pay attention to not only the minute details, but the big picture, the gestault of the game. “The role of the game designer is, first and foremost, to be an advocate for the player.” - Tracy Fullerton, Game Design Workshop. By putting thought and care into toilets, designers show their advocacy for the players. If a player wants to flush a toilet, why dissapoint them? So if that means paper prototyping the handle, laying out the floor plans of toilet placement on a grid, or rapid prototyping and iteration... design is design. As long as your design communicates the gestault to the engineers, artists, and players, then you've done your job.