What Does a Game Designer Do?

game designerThe video game industry has blown up in recent years; it’s now considered one of the biggest contributors to the global economy. If you’re a game developer, you’re automatically part of the ‘cool crowd’. That’s why even the most respected universities around the world offer degrees in game development. James Cook University in Singapore, for one, is among several institutions with degree programs catering to game development.

Numerous positions in the game development field pique almost anyone’s interest these days. For instance, if your job title spells ‘Game Designer’, people are likely to think that you’re the person behind a game’s development cycle. But, are they right?

Game Designer: Job Description Basics

All video games begin with a single concept. Such is drafted by a team of game designers, whose jobs include identifying the target audience, software and hardware requirements, deadlines, and overall budget. Game designers are in charge of determining a video game’s most important aspects, including (but not limited to):

  • Story
  • Characters
  • In-game scenarios, maps, and difficulties
  • How players lose or win the game
  • User interface
A Game Designer’s Role

Game designers are much like level designers. The latter does what their name suggests: they design levels in the game by using art assets and putting them altogether to create a digital world that the player can interact with. Now, the main difference between these two is that level designers only focus on one or a few aspects involving the game world. The designer is in charge of literally everything concerning the game world.

It is the game designer’s job to create the world and think about when and what players should learn from interacting with it. Largely, a game designer is responsible for instituting the game’s pacing (how the game progresses). Game designers also decide which ideas would make sense in the game world; weighing each proposal’s feasibility with whatever the team has currently come up with.

Skills Required

Game designers can’t be all creativity and no technicality. Among the foremost skills required is ample knowledge of computer programming (including familiarity with multiple programming languages), coding, critical thinking and problem solving, and excellent written and verbal communication. Of course, perhaps the most important quality that a game designer must possess is poise under pressure—deadlines are absolute killers in the video game industry.

There’s little opportunity to play around if you’re a game designer. It is, after all, your job to help create the games that let people play around. But, if you’re passionate and skilled enough to take on the challenge, then being a game designer can be a ton of fun.