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What is a Video Game Designer?

Also known as: Video Game Environment Designer, Video Game Level Designer, Video Game Systems Designer, Video Game Mechanics Designer, Lead Game Designer, Game Designer.

The gaming industry is at full swing; video games are enjoyed by people of all ages, allowing players to step into an alternate world and become superhuman soldiers, expert tennis players, and world saviors.

Video games are extremely complex, in storyline alone, and there are millions of lines of code that develop every aspect of the game. From maps to characters, these games fulfill a reaction for every possible action that a player may choose. These worlds are courtesy of video game designers, who are responsible for the content and environment of every video game.

How to Become a Video Game Designer

Interested in becoming a video game designer? Here are your next steps.

  1. Take the Sokanu Career Test

    Would you make a good video game designer? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

    Take the free career test
  2. Get the Education

    A certificate or associates degree is required to be a Video Game Designer. A game design degree is preferred.

  3. Get Hired

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    Would you like to post jobs on this career? Find the best candidates using Sokanu's new psychometric job platform. Visit employers.sokanu.com today.

What does a Video Game Designer do?

A video game begins with a concept. A proposal is drafted by a team of game designers, who address important details such as target audience, requirements, deadlines, and budgets. Video game designers make that concept of gameplay and layout come alive, often through experimentation with several themes and genres, as well as developments and improvements on existing games.

This can include:

  • Plots and storylines
  • Characters
  • Maps, scenarios, and difficulties
  • Methods for winning or losing the game
  • User interface creation

All of this is created through computer software in which the designer will input computer scripting, which is then processed by the software to generate commands, events, objects and characters that players interact with.

There are many types of game designers who focus on a particular aspect of gameplay. Most designers will spend at least some of their time as testers, where they can experiment with coding and watch others’ mistakes firsthand. Lead designers are the coordinators of the team and are responsible for communication inside and outside of the design team, as well as making important decisions. A game mechanics designer works on the balance of the game and its rule system. Lastly, an environmental designer is responsible for creating the different scenarios and environments of the game.

A game will undergo millions of changes throughout its making, and game designers are required to constantly recheck and recode thousands of lines of code. A designer can also be called upon to develop a game to focus on a particular aspect, such as market, design, technology, or art.

Games that are market-driven are designed to make a profit, and therefore their progress is limited to consumer demand. Most games are developed in this manner. Games that are design-driven allow the designer to take full reign of the game and its aspects. Many games are not developed in this manner because of monetary restraints. Games that are technology-driven are created in order to highlight a technological achievement or to market gaming consoles and engines, such as high-quality graphic displays. Rarely, a game will be art-driven, where a game is focused on visual effects and impressive designs created by artists.

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What is the workplace of a Video Game Designer like?

Game designers typically work for gaming companies such as Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, etc. They typically work in an office or studio-like setting amongst other designers and programmers. This environment can get very stressful, especially when one is dealing with a looming deadline, or dealing with a server crash.

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Further Reading

  • Qualities of a Successful Game Designer www.ztgd.com

    Breaking into the gaming industry requires many qualifications that developers insist on when hiring. The top qualities are a genuine interest in gaming, good problem solving, analytical skills and patience, ability to manage time well, work as a team member and company loyalty.

  • A Day in the Life of a... Games Designer econsultancy.com

    Pete Low is a Games Designer at Chunk, a digital content agency based in Glasgow. Here he explains what he does for a living, and why he loves his job after 17 years in the games industry.

  • On Being a Video Game Programmer – The Perks and Pitfalls indiegamereviewer.com

    What is it like to work as a video game programmer? It is considered by many game-playing children to be a dream job. Is it actually as good as it sounds? It certainly is an interesting life. However, as with anything else on this planet, there are both positive and negative sides to working as a video game programmer.

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How to Become a Video Game Designer

Interested in becoming a video game designer? Here are your next steps.

  1. Take the Sokanu Career Test

    Would you make a good video game designer? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

    Take the free career test
  2. Get the Education

    A certificate or associates degree is required to be a Video Game Designer. A game design degree is preferred.

  3. Get Hired

      Loading jobs...

    View all jobs →

    Would you like to post jobs on this career? Find the best candidates using Sokanu's new psychometric job platform. Visit employers.sokanu.com today.