Ryan Sutherland is one of the top up-and-coming game designers in the industry and lucky for me, he works at Stone Blade. Ryan was one of the lead designers on the newest expansion to Shards of Infinity, called Shadow of Salvation. In this episode, we speak about his journey into game design, developing games at Stone Blade, and what it’s like to work on digital games versus physical games. Ryan has a lot of awesome insights that can help anyone who’s looking to develop their game design skills.

Check out this episode and the previous ones here:

“At some point, you have to have faith in your own instincts, and I felt like my instincts were good, and this [game design] would test them.” (5:00)

This is an incredible lesson. If you want to realize your dreams you need to get some skin in the game. Take a leap, test yourself, and learn from the inevitable mistakes. Here Ryan and I talk about how this mindset led him into a career in game design.

“I think having the marriage between mechanics and theme is one of the most important things for me as a designer.” (42:50)

Here Ryan talks about his love for mechanics that alter the feeling of different aspects of a game. This is a challenge for game designs, especially role-playing games, where something has a mechanic that makes what you’re doing feel different to simulate a particular action. Too much can bog a game down, too little and the game can feel bland.