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What does a Game Designer do?

The gaming industry is constantly expanding, and competition is strong to produce ever better and more popular games. Game designers are needed to generate and give life to the ideas that meet the gaming industry's demands for novelty, challenge and excitement.

What is the typical job role of a game designer?

Daily tasks depend upon many factors such as the size of the team working on the game design, the type of game, its scope and budget, and the phase of the game to which the designer is assigned. As video games become increasingly complex, more and more people are generally involved in the design and production of a game. There is often more than one designer--there may be several principal or lead designers plus a number of junior designers who may work on different aspects of a game.

Your responsibilities may include:
  • Conceiving new game ideas, or adapting existing games for a new market
  • Designing game rules, structures, levels, and means of progression
  • Designing characters
  • Designing backgrounds and environments
  • Project management--managing budgets, staff, and timescales, and liaising with colleagues in other departments such as programmers, testers, and artists
  • Programming--writing code and creating graphics
In addition to your technical knowledge and creative flair, an in-depth knowledge of the gaming market is also important in order to understand the direction in which it is going and predict what gamers want.

What training and education do game designers need?

The highly technical nature of the work makes formal training a must--a broad knowledge of computer systems and technologies is essential. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes game design under the heading software engineers and reports that software engineers must be experts with a thorough understanding of computing systems and the structure of software.

A bachelor's degree is the usual requirement, although it is sometimes possible to gain an entry-level position with a 2-year degree or certificate, while other positions call for a master's degree. Training courses for would-be game designers are available at all levels so you should be able to find a program to suit your needs, whether you are just starting out or aiming to advance an existing career. Continuing education is important to enable game designers to keep pace with changes and developments in technology.

Job outlook for game designers

The BLS projects 32 percent job growth for computer software engineers plus a large number of new job creations, so you can expect excellent job prospects in return for the investment you make in your education.

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