Game designers or Game Developers are tasked with making specialized software. The specialized software being video games. They work on visualizing, planning, and implementing designs to produce the final product of a video game. It is a highly collaborative job involving working with other people to ensure maximum efficacy and productivity. Let’s know ‘Is Game Design a Good Career?’
Game designers work with every aspect of the game. That is, they are often tasked with designing the framework of the game, its storyline, and deciding which platforms to release it on. Since the video game industry is growing at a rapid pace, the prospect of entering the industry as a Game Designer is a good one.
How does one become a Game Designer?
While there are universities across the world that offer degrees in Game Design, having a degree is not required to enter the field. Most employers value experience in the industry, coding skills, and game knowledge. Having a degree might help you get your foot in the door, but it is not essential.
Although a specific degree in Game Development is not required, most employers do insist that one has a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Most candidates who have completed a bachelor’s degree in Animation, Computer Development, or Graphics can make an entry into the industry.
It should be noted that candidates who have a degree in engineering have an advantage over others. Furthermore, a degree in game development alone can be highly constricting. However, an engineering degree will allow one to hone in and specialize without being limited to one specific field.
Different Roles that Game Designers can undertake
- Game Designing is a job with multiple dimensions to it. Most people can choose to work with a major company or do freelance work too. Either way, there are specific roles that one can focus on and apply for.
- One such role is that of the Game Animator. The Animator is tasked with ensuring that technology, art, and imagination come together in a masterful end-product.
- Then there is the Game Audio Engineer. This job consists of being able to discern the general theme of the game and providing a background score or even a set of songs to accompany the gameplay.
- A very fundamental role is that of the Game Programmer. He acts to bring the envisioned project a reality by utilizing appropriate coding languages. This role requires the individual to be completely well-versed in software engineering.
- The head position when it comes to developing a game conventionally belongs to the Creative Game Director. They come up with the initial game concept and are responsible for making sure that the project comes out to be a good final product.
- There are Game Artists, who cover the artistic side of game development and create both two-dimensional and three-dimensional art to suit the visual elements of the game.
- All of the above-mentioned roles have to do with the pre-production phase in the game industry. After the game is somewhat developed, it goes through an immense amount of testing by QA Game Testers to ensure that the game works properly and there are no bugs or glitches.
Day-to-Day responsibilities of a Game Designer
- Although everyday tasks of most game developers might vary according to the specific role they undertake, most of what they do tends to be the same. And most roles end up doing more than their role entails.
- To begin with, developers tend to focus on building a solid foundation by having a proper storyline with plot points, creating characters and dialogue, and finally, they come up with game objectives.
- Once a solid foundation is found in a good storyline and a theme for the game is set, game developers proceed to storyboard the game. Storyboarding is a presentation method where one can present the narrative structures in a logical order.
- Game developers then work with a level structure. If a certain game is open-world, then this job becomes slightly more complicated. But for the most part, this involves deciding the environment that the players find themselves in and the way the narrative goes forth.
- In a lot of today’s games, there is quite a bit of action. Most of them might involve mapping real-world people to bring in a sense of realness to the game. And so, the task falls on developers to direct action sequences.
- Most big-budget projects take years to become a reality. What this means is that there is a lot of trial and error going on in the background. Therefore, even before the end product of a video game is out, there are a huge number of prototypes that the developers end up making to ensure maximum stability on different platforms.
- Developers also spend quite a bit of their time deciding on the nature of the user interface. This can range from something as simple as a menu, to how the player interacts with the game as a whole. With the emergence of more Virtual Reality games, this part of the job is getting to be far more interesting and complex for developers.
- Once most of the core aspects of gameplay are somewhat sorted, the developers then go on to giving more life to the game by adding in music. From sound effects to musical score and dialogue, to ensure that the game is as realistic as possible.
- The daily life of a game developer is highly interesting and requires highly versatile and flexible individuals. There is also a deep element of interpersonal communication and coordination that is quintessential to becoming successful in the game development industry.
What Game Designers are paid on average?
As with most jobs in the market, the payout in the video game industry is highly dependent on the experience that an individual has in the industry. Most beginners in the industry were found to have a salary averaging $50,300. More experienced designers could have a salary in the range of $91,200.
The salary is more dependent on what role you end up undertaking and how actively you involve yourself in the development of a project. Animators and artists can expect a salary of around $80,000. Whereas, Lead Designers can expect a salary of $150,000 or more.
Another factor is location. A broad example is that web developers were found to be paid more in Washington than in any other state in the US. So, with the present work-from-home situation running rampant around the globe, it may make sense to look for work in locations that prove to pay higher.
Again, while the career of a video game designer does not completely require a master’s degree, it does help in being able to get higher pay. It was found that individuals who had bachelor’s degrees averaged $1.9 million in a lifetime, master’s degrees had a whopping $2.3 million average, and finally, doctorate holders averaged $2.5 million.
An important thing to note here is that having a degree will help you get a really good salary earlier in your career. While not having a degree in the required field, or not having a degree at all won’t stop you from entering the industry, most people will have to work twice as hard to make a decent living and get promoted to higher positions.
Choosing to go into a career as a Game Designer is an interesting and different choice that deviates from conventional career routes. Every aspect of the job is demanding creatively and requires individuals to be well-versed in their roles and be able to work within deadlines while maintaining quality.
That being said, the ideal way to enter the industry is to pick up a general software engineering degree and specialize in the development of games. This ensures that you are not locked into the game development industry and allows you to explore a bit in case your mind changes.
Moreover, having a software degree will provide a solid foundation for working with video game development projects. This means that even if an individual does not take up a role in the industry that involves programming, it helps with coordinating with other divisions, leading to much better communication and a better-finished product.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Game Design a practical career choice?
Yes, it is. With the right guidance and hard work, most individuals can break into the industry and make a name for themselves, along with making a living.
- What is the average salary of a game designer?
The salary can vary from $50,000 to $150,000. The salary is highly dependent on an individual’s experience and role in the industry.