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What are the Different Game Designer Jobs?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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Playing games is an important aspect of social interaction and building communities. A game designer is someone who is responsible for coming up with new ideas for games. These games can be educational, board, video or physical in nature. Game designer jobs can be divided into four categories: creating game specifications and story lines, writing a proposal or business case, working with programmers and testing games.

There are no specific academic credentials required to become a game designer. Inventors, teachers, artists and business owners are just some of the people who have designed successful games. The primary criteria for a game designer is creativity, dedication and passion. Most game designers are inventive and enjoy playing games, usually in the same genre and type of game that he or she designs.

One of the most creative game designer jobs is the actual development of a game story line. The designer must consider the target audience's demographics and have a clear vision of the purpose of the game. Once these two items are finalized, the game designer then develops the specifications for the game, such as the format, number of players and genre. Based on these decisions, the game designer can start to develop the basic outline of the game.

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The least-enjoyable of all the game designer jobs is the development and presentation of the business case for the game. Funding and investors must be secured before work can begin. The business case and proposal is a written documentation that clearly identifies the target market for the game, a proposed price point and estimated sales volume. Many game designers hire professional proposal writers to improve the chances of securing financial support.

Once the financing has been arranged, the game designer works with programmers and developers to create the actual game. The skill set required depends on the game type. For example, an educational board game requires visual artists and educators. A video game requires computer programmers skilled in multiple languages and graphic artists.

When a prototype of the game is finished, user-acceptance testing beings. A focus group or sample of the target market is invited to play the game and provide feedback. These sessions usually are recorded, so that the developers can identify any areas of confusion or points in the game where the activity was the most enjoyable for the participants. Changes are made to the game design, based on the response of the focus group.

This process of testing, change and re-testing is repeated multiple times, until the users are happy with the game and the game designer is satisfied that all the problems have been resolved. Games that test well with the target market have a higher chance of financial success than games with which users were unhappy. Ensuring user satisfaction is the most important of all the different game designer jobs.

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umbra21
Post 3

@Iluviaporos - I think what is going to happen in the next couple of decades, if not sooner, is that making video games is going to become easier and easier until most people can do it at home without special training.

Which will mean a lot of mediocre games will hit the world (a process that has already started) but also a lot of great ones.

So if someone is planning to go after video game jobs, I would take that into account. The industry is not a static one and you have to be willing to change with the times.

lluviaporos
Post 2

@KoiwiGal - Well, the success of a lot of different independent games will show them different. Several break-out video game designers of recent times were essentially working as a one-person-show and that really allows them complete creative control so that their games don't get lost in committee planning.

With that said, if anyone is looking for a job in the gaming industry, it's still a lot of work and you're better off trying to get into an established company rather than seeking to make a hit yourself. Most of the people who do manage to found independent companies have already got a lot of experience as game designers (or the money to hire others who have it) and even then those companies often go broke or don't manage to make enough to justify the expenses.

KoiwiGal
Post 1

Video games are becoming more and more interesting as time goes on and they get more diverse and inclusive. I'm really looking forward to more video games that have denser story-lines and not so much emphasis on repetition in order to reach an arbitrary goal.

Unfortunately, I feel like the main game companies at the moment are still stuck in the mentality that they really just need to put a guy with a gun in the lead and change the surroundings when designing a new game.

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