The creation of the video game requires the work of many specialists – developers, testers, artists and many others – and can take months, if not years to finish. The game designer works with those various experts to bring their concept and vision to life! From brainstorming ideas to building code and testing the work in progress, the game designer is involved in all aspects of development.
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What is a game designer? Learn more about game design
What is game design?
A part of the video game development process, game design is the concept and design of a game that guide its creation. The design of a game covers elements such as the storyline, different characters encountered by the players, the objectives and the methods to reach them, and many more.
A great game design will bring a concept to life and offer the users a seamless and fun experience when playing. The mastermind behind any game design is the game designer.
What is a game designer?
A game designer oversees and creates a video game’s concept and world. This includes a variety of elements such as the storyline, the different levels and environments encountered by the player or players, the characters and so forth. But it also includes the difficulty levels, the user interface and the creation of a great overall user experience. With millions of lines of code for every element of a game, creating a new game is a colossal job.
What are the roles of a video game designer?
A game designer involves a mixture of creative, managerial and technical roles. Acting as the middleman between different teams working on a video game, the game designer is responsible for the efficient work of the group. As communication and cooperation is essential to develop the final product, the designer works to improve them and ensure delivery dates, deadlines and budgets are respected.
Some game designers will specialize in a specific genre or type of game, while others can work on various projects. When playing a video game, every action, character, event and detail is a choice made by the designer:
- Construct level structure
- Write storyline, character bios, dialogue, plot points, game objective
- Storyboard the action of the game
- Rules, setting, objects, vehicles, weapons, flora, fauna, etc.,
- Direct action sequences
- User interface, menus and controls
- Sound effects, dialogue, musical score, sound mix and sound edit
The game designer is responsible for overseeing the choices made on all these aspects to provide the end users with a game they will like. This involves a lot of creativity but also extensive research on your players, what they are looking for in their games, what they like and dislike. Designing a game for the right people is a job where a game designer’s experience will be invaluable!
What is the background needed for video game design?
Although not all employers require a diploma or formation, many game designers have a background in computer science or relevant fields such as game design and game production. Some positions will require specific Bachelor level studies in either Arts or Science.
Great candidates will differentiate themselves through a strong portfolio, experience with game engines such as Unity, Unreal and others, a good understanding of data and coding as well as a creative mind! With the ever-increasing popularity of video games, demand for game designers is expected to keep rising!
What skills are needed for a game designer?
As it is a multifaceted role, game designing requires a broad range of skills that cover the encore game development process. Understanding all aspects of the game is the only way to see the bigger image and make the right development decisions for an amazing user experience.
What game design skills are employers looking for?
- Programming skills and software knowledge: understanding code and software is essential as game development requires many tools and different programming languages
- Communication and leadership: being in charge of collaboration between different technical and creative teams, the game designers must ensure good communication and cooperation
- Analytical and problem-solving skills: the game designer must be able to manage budgets, deadlines and make the development decisions for the game based on data and information. Continuous testing and correcting errors rapidly are also expected from the designer candidates
- Creativity: a core aspect of game design, the designer develops the concept, functions and look of a video game to make it a unique experience.
What is the difference between a game designer and game developer?
While game design and game development are similar, they differ on a few aspects. Essentially, while the game designer concentrates on the conception and the development of a great user experience, the game developer is the one that transforms this concept into a reality.
The game developer takes care of the daily coding and development of a video game following the vision of the designer, meaning he should master at least one coding language. He represents the technical aspect of the game, making sure the concept is well represented in the game. A great game developer will lead to a seamless user experience!
The game designer brings value to a project through his creativity and problem solving capabilities. Working closely with all involved teams, he solves issues and ensures good cooperation and coordination between the creative and technical sides.
What are the salaries of a career in video game design?
Game designers had an average salary of USD $66,501 in the United States according to Payscale, with entry-level positions at USD $41,000 and higher salaries going up to USD $103,000.
Where do video game designers work?
A video game designer’s workplace can be a hectic and stressful place, especially when dealing with deadlines of large projects. However, for those with the right mindset and knowledge, it is a highly stimulating environment where workers are constantly challenged and has room for growth.
The biggest employers of game designers are large corporations operating in the video game industry, such as Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and many more!