When pursuing a career in video game design, it’s important to know the specific areas of design and game creation available. Here are five different careers and positions related to video game design.
Game animators are responsible for the movement and behavior within a game. They use the game engine’s technology and platform limitations to give life to characters and creatures as well as the settings and scenes in which a game takes place. Game animators work closely with programmers and artists in order to create seamless movement and optimized performance within the game. Animators are generally part of the art department of a game design studio. They use objects, models and characters created by sculptors and 3-D artists in order to better understand and define movements. Animators have strong skills in computer animation, practical art and drawing skills. Typically, an animator has at least a bachelor’s degree in a subject like digital media and design.
Game artists create the different visual elements of the game. This includes the scenery, objects, vehicles, textures on surfaces, clothing and more. Game artists have to be aware of their own technical abilities as well as the technical abilities of the platform on which they are working. Some artists choose to specialize in certain objects within a game like characters, creatures, buildings, landscapes, textures or 3-D objects. The minimum education requirement for a position like this is a high school diploma. However, many design studios require at least a bachelor’s degree and a strong portfolio of work.
Unlike most of the positions related to video game development and design, being an assistant producer requires more administrative and leadership skills. Producers focus on the development process, which includes handling the communications between what the publisher wants and is expecting and the kind of work that the design, art and programming teams can do. Assistant producers focus on strategizing, developing timelines, tracking progress, handling reviews and approving further work. They may organize press and release demonstration games. Many assistant producers come from within the game design and development industry, though it is possible to transfer production skills from another industry.
Game designers plan out the actual game and what kind of “action” takes place. Designers consider concepts like setting, structure, rules, story, flow, characters, modes of play and more. Game designers work for video game design studios and should have a complete understanding of the different kinds of not only hardware platforms but also software technology. Game designers research, create concepts or design treatments, build a team of artists and programmers to build a prototype and put together a full design document. Game designers work with assistant producers in order to pitch their ideas to publishers. Game designers typically have a bachelor’s degree in digital media and design or a related subject area.
Game programmers deal with the technical aspects of design and animation. They design and write computer code that allows the game to run. Programmers use ready-made and custom codes to fix bugs and for use by other developers. There are different programming requirements and specializations within programming. Different platforms like PCs, game consoles and mobile apps have different requirements for programmers. Game programmers need both academic and professional experience in computer science, digital media and design and more in order to qualify for these positions.