I get asked this all the time... let's see...
Imagine you are playing a video game and your character is inside a room with an open window and a door, locked from the other side. You must leave the room but have no key or method of getting through the door. Do you know what the answer is?
While the answer might be obvious to some, as the designer I want to make sure everyone
knows how to escape that room. It is my job to look at this room and implement as many nods to the answer as possible while not being intrusive to gameplay or insulting of the player's intelligence.
If after presenting this room to many players and a large enough percentage of them cannot figure out the solution, I would begin adding elements to the experience:
♠ Add a whistling wind sound emitting from the window
♥ Add a ray of light beaming in from the window
♣ Darken the room so that the window is the only source of light
♦ As a last ditch resort, if players are really not getting it: A giant flashing red
So, to recap, I script events with code, prototype in engine, test levels with players, cut areas that don't work, and make the experience fun for the player. I'm not just an idea guy. Everyone on the team is an idea guy. My speciality is taking ideas and transitioning them from mediocrity to awesome sauce.