What Does a Game Designer Do? Job Responsibilities and Work Environment

Video game designers create games that run on computers and gaming consoles. They develop flowcharts and storyboards for their games, write code, and fix glitches. Video game designers usually work in an office environment.

Computing professionals with an interest in software development may enjoy video game design careers. The job is well-suited for collaborative workers, since game design is often a team effort.

Typically, video game designers need a bachelors degree. Some employers also prefer certifications in C# programming or UX design. Like other tech-oriented jobs, education can sometimes be substituted for experience.

Explore in-depth information about video game design, including day-to-day tasks, key skills, and career outlook in our guide.

A video game designer imagines almost everything about a game, including its plots, characters, visual designs, and layouts. Designers meet with different teams and create a cohesive vision.

What does a Game Designer REALLY do?

Video game designer responsibilities

Depending on the type of project they are working on or the company they work for, game designers can expect some of the following responsibilities:

What is a video game designer?

A video game designer, or game designer, is someone who works on games for computers, mobile devices, gaming systems and other platforms. They help to create the ideas for the game and use their knowledge of computer programming and computer graphics to help build it. Video game designers typically work in teams to design, create and test their products before delivering them to their customers.

Most video game designers work for video game development companies which produce games for various computer systems. These companies produce a game from start to finish, then sell it to their customer base. Once finished with a game, the video game designer may either work on updates to the game or a new project for the company. Some video game designers decide to start their own businesses. This allows them more creative freedom over which products they develop and how they produce them.

Video game designer work environment

Many video game designers work in an office environment, but some are able to work remotely. In either case, video game designers spend most of their time in front of a computer. They may spend part of their day attending meetings where they discuss project elements or provide status updates. Full-time game designers typically work normal business hours, between nine and five. As deadlines approach, though, they may work late, working overtime or over weekends to meet a deadline.

While game designers complete games in teams, they often have parts they work on individually. They spend most of their day working alone, except for the occasional meeting with a team member.

Average national salary for a video game designer

The most common educational requirement for video game designer job listings is a bachelors degree. This degree is typically in a field such as computer science, game design, software development or computer engineering. During these four-year programs, students study areas like these:

Students take a wide range of classes, most of which provide hands-on training, to give them a thorough understanding of each aspect of the game design process. Some degree programs also require an internship, which gives the student practical experience related to video game design.

Video game designer skills

Below are some of the most common skills that video game designers possess:

Creativity

Video game designers use creativity to generate new ideas for video games. They analyze the current video game marketplace and develop a unique idea that doesnt exist yet. Then the video game designers use creativity when developing the game through their knowledge of coding and the game concept. For example, a video game designer may develop a new way to write a computer program that is more efficient and allows their game to perform tasks that others cannot replicate.

Programming

The two most common programming languages for game development are C++ and Java, but sometimes designers use others. Video game designers typically specialize in one language but are experienced with several. Which programming language they use depends on the specific project or the company they work for. Video game designers know their programming languages well enough to create programs that are efficient, sophisticated and adhere to the latest standards.

Collaboration and communication

Video game designers frequently work in teams. To collaborate effectively with others, they have strong communication skills. They can communicate their ideas and strategies both verbally and in writing, and accept feedback from others. Video game designers also know how to create a program that is easy for others to add to, through practices like commenting.

Critical thinking

Its a complicated process to create a video game, therefore, video game designers regularly use critical thinking skills to gather information, analyze it and make a strategic decision. For example, after testing a game, the game designer may discover that computer systems cannot run it fast enough. The designer then looks for ways to improve game speed, such as removing parts of the game or optimizing the code. Video game designers use critical thinking skills every day to make decisions about how players will experience the game.

Research

Building a video game often requires research into things such as available hardware, the latest programming innovations or real-life events. For example, a game designer may research whether the majority of their customers have the hardware necessary to run their game or find historical facts to insert into the story of their game. Game designers know how to conduct thorough research using multiple tools and how to judge the veracity of sources.

Time management

Most video game productions have a deadline for the games release. Video game designers know how to manage their time within this deadline, ensuring that they meet project goals along the way. They schedule milestone deadlines within the project to judge whether the project is on track, then adjust accordingly. Video game designers also consider deadlines when developing the idea for their game, ensuring that they are not creating something too ambitious to finish by the deadline.

FAQ

What is the role of a game designer?

As a game designer, you’ll bring ideas, build prototypes, create interactive narration and develop the game’s mechanics. You’ll design systems that are easily maintainable, expandable and comfortable to use, while injecting fun into the user experience.

Do game designers get paid well?

What are the key skills that a video game designer must have?
  • A passion for video games.
  • Creativity.
  • Technical ability in software technologies and programming languages, such as C# and C++
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • The ability to work in teams and collaborate with others.
  • A passion for gaming.

What does a game designer do on a daily basis?

Do Game Designers get paid well? Video game designers earn a great wage compared to the national average. The top ten percent of designers earn upwards of $130,000 per year. The lowest ten percent of video game designers still earns a great wage of $40,000.

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