Basics of Computer Game Design

Read this article and find out some of the basics of video game design for the PC platform. You’ll find out some of the important stuff that any computer game designer should know.

The main things you’ll find out are how web-based games compare against standalone games and the important difference between concave and convex for 3D collision detection.

 Computer Game Design

Web-based versus Standalone Games First, let’s start with some definitions. Web-based games are developed to be run within a browser, such as Firefox or Internet Explorer. Standalone games are designed to run on their own with no significant assistance from other software. Now let’s get the real info: how to use each type of game best. Web-based games are, of course, best used for websites. Some of the basics described can also be applied to other platforms as well. The most common format for web-based games is flash; however, Java is sometimes used, but I do not recommend this language.


The best way to sell a web-based game is to offer a license that allows people to change the game and promote their own site or product. Selling the source code is also possible. Web-based games can also add content to your site and provide additional incentives for people to keep visiting the site.

On the other hand, standalone games are usually developed through an IDE (Integrated Development Environment).

An IDE is basically an all-encompassing development environment where the software code can be developed from start to finish. The main way of generating profits from standalone games is, of course, selling to prospective gamers.

Standalone games can also incorporate advertising from other companies to generate additional profit, though this must be balanced with the gamer’s need for actual entertainment. To develop media such as graphics, sounds, etc., for your games, you must use third-party tools and the main software development tool.

Interestingly, some tools that produce flash games can also produce stand-alone games from the same original code. Adobe Flash is one such tool.

Here’s a final tip: Always try to look for free or possibly open source tools for programming games before considering more expensive commercial tools. You’ll be surprised at what tools you can find for free or for a meager price these days.

Difference Between concave and convex for 3D collisions The objects you see in 3D games almost always use simpler 3D meshes to simulate collisions. This is to save on processor usage.

Most game physics engines use convex meshes to simulate collisions between objects as well as calculate raytracing.

Why? Because using convex meshes allows for much more optimized collision detection, rather than using concave meshes and other arbitrary meshes.

Modern engines are increasingly adding support for other meshes in collision detection, but using convex meshes always remains the fastest method.

Here is an important difference in plain language. Concave meshes have at least one “dent” or one inward curve. Convex meshes have no inward curves. As a result, it’s important to know the difference between concave and convex. How do you tell what is concave and what is convex? The simplest method that I recommend is the line test.

A convex mesh will never let a straight line pass through more than two polygons, no matter where the line is drawn. A concave mesh, however, allows a line to pass through two or more polygons. What to do with more complex objects, you ask? Using simple convex geometry for collisions is fine for simple 3D objects, but sometimes you have more complicated 3D objects that need finer simulation. The answer is simple: Use multiple convex meshes to handle collisions for complex 3D objects! I hope you have learned some of the essential basics of computer game design from this article. I look forward to seeing your creations. Damien Davidovic is the author of a recently released video course on making money from Video Games.


Alcohol scholar. Bacon fan. Internetaholic. Beer geek. Thinker. Coffee advocate. Reader. Have a strong interest in consulting about teddy bears in Nigeria. Spent 2001-2004 promoting glue in Pensacola, FL. My current pet project is testing the market for salsa in Las Vegas, NV. In 2008 I was getting to know birdhouses worldwide. Spent 2002-2008 buying and selling easy-bake-ovens in Bethesda, MD. Spent 2002-2009 marketing country music in the financial sector.