The game designer job description is one of the most misunderstood in the games industry. It is the job of a game designer to create a core vision for a game and to ensure that all of the features are consistent in delivering that vision. Game designers typically work alongside all other members of the development team: programmers, artists, producers, level designers, testers, and more. It is the game designer’s responsibility to create the basic rules for a game, to ensure that these rules make sense and are balanced and that the game is ultimately fun to play.
Most game design jobs require completion of a degree in game design or a related technology field. Check out the programs below which offer free information:
The video game sector has seen consistently strong growth for many years, and projections for future growth continue to look good. This also makes the gaming market very competitive, and those seeking to enter the industry must be at the top of their game.
Game Designer Job Description
The duties of a game designer can vary greatly depending on the nature of the project that they are working on.
Most game designers will be responsible for creating and tuning the rules of gameplay. In the absence of a dedicated writer, the designer will also be responsible for creating the characters, world, and narrative elements of the game. In collaboration with a Senior or Lead Artist, the game designer will create the visual look and feel of the setting in which the game takes place.
They work closely with programmers to ensure that the features they would like to see implemented are possible, practical, and worthwhile. Also, game designer solicits feedback from testers to ensure that features are functioning properly and in proper balance.
Perhaps most of all, designers work hand-in-hand with dedicated level designers to ensure that all assets of the game create the type of experience that the game designer expected. Often, game designers will design levels themselves when other duties do not require their attention.
Game Designer Job Description: Training and Education Requirements
There is no industry standard of education or work credentials that you must possess to be a game designer. Most studios require a Bachelor’s degree or higher, as well as an impressive portfolio. Usually, game designers are hired after they have acquired some game industry experience. Some schools offer degrees specifically in Game Design or similar programs, but these are so recent that they have not become industry-standard.
The portfolio that game designers present must showcase their skills in a variety of applicable areas. Previous work creating complete games as part of a team of developers is ideal. Beyond that, it should demonstrate the game designer’s ability to clearly communicate game ideas to others and may include samples of rules explanations, game pitches, game design documents, level descriptions, character profiles, and so forth.
Because game designers interact with so many different areas of development, it is helpful to possess skills that are not strictly design-oriented. Plus, skill in programming or scripting is always beneficial. Drawing, traditional art, or graphic design skills are also useful. If the project requires it, many times the game designer will be in charge of writing dialogue and text for the game when no writer is available.
Game Designer Job Description: Salary and Wages
Recent salary surveys within the US report professional game designers earn an average of $69,000 per year—which is slightly less than the game industry average of $75,000. Within the industry overall, there has been a marginal four percent drop in average salary when compared to the previous year. However, designers’ income has grown three percent over the same time period, according to the BLS.
Game Designer Certifications
There are no formal certifications for game designers. Instead, prospective employers review a candidate’s education and portfolio. There are no legal requirements for employment in a video game design industry.
Game Designer Professional Associations
There are a number of professional associations for game designers, most notably the International Game Developers Association (IGDA). The IGDA is a global non-profit network of game developers, including game designers. IGDA has a presence at numerous industry events and has close ties with Game Developer magazine.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is a US-based company dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the video game industry. ESA is often involved in legal cases regarding the status of games as a form of entertainment media and owns and operates the well-known Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).
The Electronic Software Ratings Board (ESRB) is a self-regulating agency that assigns ratings for video game content. They also work to ensure standards in advertising, enforce sufficient privacy protections, and generally ensure that the market is safe and accessible for all forms of interactive entertainment.
Different Job Positions Within The Gaming Industry
Being a game designer is a cool job, but there are other positions available. Plus, when you get your foot in the door, there are opportunities for advancement. Check out these other gaming careers:
A level designer is someone that’s not yet experienced enough to move up in the gaming industry. They worked under the senior level designer, and are provided design documents such as guidelines, mission outlines, and mechanics from the lead or senior designer.
Since the level designer creates interactive tools within video games, they must have experience with3D modeling packages.
Senior Level Designer
Senior level designers are responsible for structuring level objectives inside of a video game and must create design documentation for that level. Furthermore, depending on where the designer works, a senior level designer has to place and maneuver gameplay elements, artificial intelligence, and other game characteristics. They also need to understand and adjust various scripting languages such as Java, Python, and LUA. Plus, the senior level must have experience working with 3D modeling packages.
The lead animator works hand-in-hand with the lead artist, lead programmer, and senior artist to create all details of the characters in the game. A lead animator’s primary roles include making the movements and environment of the characters life-like and use 2D and 3D art packages. Experience with Softimage, Maya, 3D Studio Max, Alias, Flimbox, Photoshop, and Character Studio is a plus.
The job also demands a thorough understanding of animation theory, and the ability to create animation in cartoon and life-like styles. Plus, they should be able to form 3D models and 2D texture maps from 2D concept art.
Final Thoughts On The Game Designer Job Description
There’s no doubt that being a game designer is a dream job for lots of people. However, it takes more than a little skill and a diploma from a school to land you a job. You must have grit and the persistence that it takes to get your foot in the door. But don’t let that stop you from applying for a position in the gaming industry. You never know what could happen and videos game aren’t going out style anytime soon, so the work will be there.
Hopefully, this information about the game designer job description helps you learn more about what it takes to become a gaming designer.