What does a Computer Game Designer do?

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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2019
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A computer game designer creates the audio and visual effects for video games commonly played on personal desktop and laptop computers. He normally conceives the storyboards and structures for the games as well as the scoring scale. A computer game designer may work alone or with other computer designers during different stages of the games’ development.

The first stage a computer game designer typically goes through is solidifying his concept. He usually has a vision in his head of how the characters will be drawn and the best sounds effects to accompany them. Once he finalizes his concepts of these elements, he customarily proceeds to conceptualize how the game will be constructed.

Some computer games are designed to be played by one person. Others require the participation of two or more players. The designer generally decides which option his game will offer before he proceeds with a game project.

The designer must typically consider types of content and difficultly levels as well. Games are customarily rated on their content. The categories generally range from games that are appropriate for all family members to those that contain content and graphics only appropriate for adults. Skill level requirements are also generally considered important in the design of a computer game.


Once the game designer reaches this stage, he typically brings his game to life with animation and sound. He commonly draws his characters and creates graphics for each level of play. To make the game flow correctly, he must have a clear and concise understanding of how all the characters are introduced, developed and, in some cases, eliminated from the game.

At this point, a computer game programmer is frequently included in the project. Some game designers are programmers and perform this function as well. However, many designers still commonly confer with other programmers on technical application alternatives.

The ultimate test for the success of a computer game is its popularity with players. A computer game designer often has a group of game testers at his disposal to assess the features of his creations. These testers commonly provide feedback on how enjoyable the game is to play and if the skill levels are reasonable and attainable. They also usually point out design flaws and programming glitches to the designers and programmers.

Formal education for this position is not always required. If a computer game designer has a portfolio of his games that have been successful, this is often acceptable criteria for a potential employer to hire him. A number of employers still prefer a certificate of completion or an associate’s degree in a computer related field such as computer science, computer animation or computer-aided drafting and design (CADD).


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What does a computer game designer do? He or she enjoys one of the most fun careers on the planet is what.

One thing fascinating about the development of the video game industry is that games used to be conceived and programmed by one person -- that individual was the designer, programmer, artist, etc. When video games got extremely complicated and producing them became a huge industry, the job of designing a game got turned over to several people. The game designer, then, is but one person (sometimes a team) in the overall process. The role is important because one thing became clear from looking at the artwork of some of those earlier games -- programmers aren't necessarily graphic artists.

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