In Summary - Games Designer
Games Designers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
Videos on the Web
- Games Designer- from: Youtube Search
- Computer Games Modeller - from: icould [UK] Video
- Computer Games Release - from: icould [UK] Video
- Creative Design Lead / Lead Game Designer - from: iCould [UK] Video
- Games Developer - from: icould [UK] Video
- Halo's Master Chief (Voice) - from: YouTube Video
- Head of Game Development - from: icould [UK] Video
The Work - Games Designer
Games are developed for a number of different 'platforms' (types of computer). The most important are PCs (personal computers) and consoles (dedicated games machines). A growing number of games are now also played online via the Internet and on mobile devices.
Computer games designers may devise the basic outlines for these games. The original inspiration may be a sport, a celebrity, a book, film or short story, or it may come entirely from the designer's own imagination. Games can be oriented to different audiences.
Typically, they begin with an outline that sets out the story of the game. However, because computer games are interactive (the player's actions play a crucial part in determining how the story unfolds), they develop from this complex specifications, showing all the options a player might take and the consequences, leading to one or more different conclusions. To do this, they use tools such as flowcharts, storyboards and index cards. Many of these tools are available in the form of computer programs.
In association with the art director, computer game designers are also responsible for the overall look of a game. To this end, they may produce sketches and storyboards, and design the 'interface', which is what a player sees while actually playing the game. The interface is a crucial part of any game design, because it determines how it feels to play the game and the kind of choices that a player has available at any time. Games designers also specify the sound and the graphics that will be used in the game.
Games designers also increasingly use 'level editors', which provide a user-friendly interface between 'old-fashioned' coding and a standard graphic design program. Level editors are used for building up a game's 2D or 3D world. Level editors often come packaged with the game at retail, allowing players to design their own levels for games. This can be a good way for aspiring designers to improve their skills and build up a portfolio of work.
Computer game designers work in a tightly-knit team, which also includes graphic artists, writers, musicians and programmers. The team is led by a product manager. Different designers have different skills and strengths, some leaning more towards the writing, others more towards visual aspects of the design.
A part of this job may involve convincing managers that the game is worth developing. The designer may compile a list of the game's features, explaining how these features will help to sell the game. They may have to present their argument verbally or in writing, perhaps with the aid of trial screen shots.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Balance and adjust gameplay experiences to ensure the critical and commercial success of the product.
- Provide feedback to designers and other colleagues regarding game design features.
- Create core game features including storylines, role-play mechanics, and character biographies for a new video game or game franchise.
- Devise missions, challenges, or puzzles to be encountered in game play.
- Guide design discussions between development teams.
- Develop and maintain design level documentation, including mechanics, guidelines, and mission outlines.
- Create and manage documentation, production schedules, prototyping goals, and communication plans in collaboration with production staff.
- Present new game design concepts to management and technical colleagues, including artists, animators, and programmers.
- Conduct regular design reviews throughout the game development process.
- Solicit, obtain, and integrate feedback from design and technical staff into original game design.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Interests - Games Designer
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
As a computer games designer, you will need an enthusiasm for, and good knowledge of, computers and computer games.
You need a strong visual imagination, and the ability to work with highly complex, multi-stranded specifications and programs. A logical, methodical approach is therefore essential. You will also need to be patient and painstaking, as developing a new game from scratch can be a lengthy and demanding process.
You will need to be a good team worker. Artistic/design skills are essential, and for some types of computer game, scriptwriting skills are also important. Some programming knowledge/ability is desirable. However, computer games designers do not necessarily have to be expert computer programmers. You also need to be commercially aware for that what you design will be popular in the marketplace.
A constant willingness to learn and develop your knowledge is also important as the industry is constantly changing and improving.
Entry Requirements - Games Designer
Pay & Salary - Games Designer
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 24k - 60k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.