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|I am an independent System Developer, Programmer and Game Designer, currently living in Aarhus, Denmark. If You are looking for an experienced, dedicated and professional system developer, I am that person. Check out my sheets of awesomenes and contact me.|
Good System Design is a question of keeping it simple.
Using a set of components in the simplest possible setup, while not beeing dependent on a specific technology - That is what a System Designer should aim for.
Thinking in boxes and seeing those as building blocks for the solution. Keeping an open design and always have the possibility to replace boxes with something else, always be prepared to change the setup of boxes, because requirements for a system are everchanging.
Programming is much more than writing code.
Code is not just code, it comes in varying quality. Quality comes in many forms which can be Robustness, Performance, Readability, Extensibility. Quality takes time and not all code needs to be of the same quality, so the trick is understanding where to put in how much efford. Programming needs design, planning and the programmer should understand component based development, and abstraction (aka. Object Orientated thinking). Experience is important and a logic and systematic approach is key.
Agile development (aka Prototyping) principles should be used when programming. What Prototyping mean is quickly producing versions with basic functionality for continuous review and adjustment. Doing this enhances the chance that the product or system will reach a satisfying result. This is especially useful when programming for a customer, because the process helps synchronizing thoughts and expectations.
It takes one to know one.
One of the basics to game design is enjoying games. I am and have been a gamer for 30 years, and in that process played thousands of games. That alone doesn't count for much but when combined with the very analytic and observing personality that I have, all that knowledge can be put to good use.
Game Design is about core gameplay, features and functionality, look and feel. Targeting and understanding your audience in how the game should function. I have a great eye for details which can be very important, especially when it comes to accessibility and user experience. Actually the same applies to applications.
See also the definition of a Game Designer.