A game designer is a director, an engineer, and a producer of a computer game at the same time. He faces a difficult task: to turn an idea into a sought-after product
Computer games have long been a part of our lives. They help to relax, escape from everyday affairs and just pass the time. There are educational games for mastering the skills and simulators for pilots and drivers. Extensive functionality, realistic design, interactivity – all this made a real art out of video games, which is being born right now by talented game designers.
Many mistakenly believe that behind the profession of a game designer is a person who comes up with the locations and appearance of game characters. However, it is not.
Who is a game designer?
A game designer is a specialist who develops the rules, structure and content of computer games. His responsibilities include a wide range of tasks. He comes up with an idea based on the analysis of the target audience, describes in detail the mechanics of the game in a design document, controls the development process, takes part in testing the game. But even after the release of the product, the game designer can support his offspring by fixing bugs and installing patches (from the English “patch” – a patch).
Pros of being a game designer
If a specialist succeeds in showing himself well in the profession of a game designer, foreign studios may be interested in him. The opportunity to get a profitable job offer is not the only plus of this specialization. There are other significant benefits as well.
This profession is an opportunity to fully use fantasy and imagination, turning your favorite creative work into a profitable job.
Game designers’ fees exceed the average salary in Russia.
There is high competition between game studios for experienced game developers.
Disadvantages of being a game designer
However, not everything is as simple as it seems at first glance. The profession of a game designer has its downsides.
Game designers who want to develop in the profession incur large financial costs for self-development and training in courses.
Irregular work schedule, rush mode and strict adherence to deadlines are common for game designers.
Where to study as a game designer
The profession of a game designer is very young, and until recently there were no special educational programs in the field of game development. However, the demand for specialists has increased, and today applicants in some Russian cities can choose a university program aimed at the profession of a game designer.
But this does not mean that if there is no university nearby with a program for a future game designer, then you can say goodbye to the dream of getting a sought-after and interesting profession. There is another way: an applicant can enter a university or secondary specialized educational institution as a software developer, and then take specialized courses.
The basic principles of game design can be learned in courses.
10 Free Online Courses for Game Development and Game Design
- Visual Storytelling for Film and Video Games Ringling College of Art and Design via Kadenze
- Creating Video Games Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- CS50’s Introduction to Game Development Harvard University via edX
- World Design for Video Games California Institute of the Arts via Coursera
- Unity 2D and 3D Game Development Tutorial Series Daniel Wood Code Mahal
- Business of Games and Entrepreneurship Michigan State University via Coursera
- Godot 101: Game Engine Foundations ZENVA Academy
Employment and career as a game designer
Where can a game designer work? There are two options here. The first is to call the same enthusiasts and create your own game together with them. The idea is inspiring, but in reality it is very difficult to assemble a team of experienced developers. Often newcomers come to such projects who do not have enough skills and experience to implement their plans.
The second option is to get a game studio. This path is quite promising, since even a beginner will immediately become part of a streamlined development process and will be able to learn from more experienced colleagues in practice.
The career stages of a game designer are indicators of his knowledge and experience. A beginner is junior, then comes middle. More experienced developers get senior status. The development team is led by a leading specialist.
In addition, a game designer can create his own game studio or become a game design teacher.