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How To Become a Video Game Designer

how to become video game designer

How To Become a Video Game Designer

How to become a video game designer will require imagination and creativity. With the continuing demand for high quality and technologically advanced games, the gaming industry is expected to grow and at impressive rate. A game designer will devote themselves to exploring every possible aspect of a game, in order to master its outcome. This is a challenging position, in an industry that features a number of specialized jobs, with numerous points of entry.

Training for Video Game Designers

How to become a videogame designer will require such strong skills such as hardware essentials, video graphics and programming. A video game is a sophisticated computer software program that runs a routine while accepting data and commands from the gaming platform’s controller. The software program contains the basic computer language that will bring a video game to life. In order to work in the gaming industry a video game designer will need to be knowledgeable about writing software programs, in addition to computer programming.

Video Game Careers-Designers, Artists, Modelers & Programmers

Video Game Designer

Computer graphics and animation will also play a big part in video game design. A designer will need to have some experience and skills in this area. The graphics are what a player will see on the screen, while animation refers to bringing other aspects of the game to life by putting them into motion, such as the background, enemies and characters. Video game players will usually judge the quality of a game based on the animation, creative application, graphics and realism. If the software of a video game is considered the brains, the animation can be considered the body.

Designers will also need a thorough knowledge of all the different gaming platforms, such as the Wii, PlayStation and Xbox. Each type of gaming console has its own specific way of operating. A designer will need to be aware of these specifics, in order to ensure that their software is compatible with the console it’s intended for. This will mean that a designer will need to be familiar with chip designs and operating systems.

The video game designer will create the game’s rules, game play, controls and the interface. The duties of the designer will continue to grow more complicated as the game evolves. These professionals are also in charge of designing characters, working with other team members on the game’s story line, creating puzzles, and levels and dialogue, depending on the type of game. Having exceptional skills in grammar, writing and creative thinking are a must for this position.

Four year colleges, technical schools and universities offer advanced degree and certificate programs in such areas as software development, computer engineering, computer programming, computer graphics and computer animation. Completing an accredited training programs in this field will show a potential employer that you’re serious about this field.

Other skills required for how to become a video game designer includes writing ability, leadership and teamwork, communication, analytical thinking, organization and knowledge of the trends in the gaming industry.

A video game designer will work with a design team to create and develop computer and video games. The designer is an important part of a team of developers that works to coordinate the complexities behind video game creation. A designer will have duties such as creating puzzles, designing characters and creating animation and art. These professionals can also be responsible for using a variety of computer programming languages and writing code. Depending on a designer’s career duties, they can also be responsible for leading project meetings and ensuring that the goals of a game, such as budget and deadlines, remain on track.

Video Game Concept Artist

Working in the gaming industry can offer a number of opportunities for artists, providing them with a large range of creative freedom in addition to a variety of work in both 3D and 2D art. A concept artist will produce reference materials in order to aid all visual areas of the game’s design and help with the game development. This can include drawing up ideas for levels, characters and the background, objects, vehicles and weapons. They can also create visual arts for promoting a game and influencing customer impressions.

Working as a concept artist will require an individual to be an expert in traditional hand drawn art and 2D software programs. The concept artist will be responsible for the feel and look of the game by creating the environments, creatures and characters.

Video Game Modeler

A modeler will design 3D models for the objects, creatures and characters of a game. The game’s animator will work with the 3D models provided by the modeler, in order to create realistic animations for creatures and characters. The technical artist will work as a problem solver for all different areas of the art team. They will need to be knowledgeable in various 3D software programs, in addition to game engine tools.

Video Game Programmer

Working as a video game programmer can involve a number of different positions within a design team. The title and roles of programmers have become specialized and diversified as newer videogames have demanded more programming in order to deliver games that offer movie-like experiences. To qualify for this position you’ll need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer programming and you’ll also need to be proficient in a number of computer languages.  The junior programmer will work in an entry level position and perform smaller programming tasks.

Working as a professional in video game programming will mean finding a balance between the ability to demonstrate real world skills and the right education. According to statistics, formal training in programming is usually required by employers, due to the rate that computer technology changes. Statistics have also shown that a bachelor’s degree in math, computer science of information systems are commonly held by professionals in video game programming positions. Degrees in this field will provide the student with the option to learn advanced math, operating systems and programming languages.

A video game publisher will need to ensure that their job applicants are able to complete the tasks that are necessary for this type of position.  Many programmers will begin their careers working as a junior programmer. As they learn more about programming they will be able to choose a specific area of video game programming to specialize in. Each aspect of a video game will require a very detailed code to be used, so the programmer can choose to work on AI, physics, audio, graphics or other areas that are required to make a video game operate.

Artificial Intelligence Programmer

Working as an AI, or artificial intelligence programmer will involve developing and designing the technology within a game system that simulates lifelike characteristics and human behavior. Certain game genres, including strategy games and role playing games, will heavily rely on artificial intelligence technology.

Audio Programmer

Audio programming has always been considered an important part of the game design and development process. The majority of videogames contain audio, and many will come out with original musical scores. A number of games will utilize sophisticated techniques that will require an audio programmer to have a specialized skillset. In most cases there are two to three audio programmers in a design team, all of which will work together to create the game’s sound engine.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Video Game Design

As the gaming industry continues to grow, more schools are creating programs that support a career in video game design. These classes are typically offered within media or computer science departments. Video game designers will usually need to have the minimum of a bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer engineering. Both programs will include an internship and can take four to five years to complete. Classes in either program can include level design, game prototyping, project management and video technology and design. While enrolled in a degree program, typically, you will be required to complete an internship at a local gaming company. During an internship the student can work as a quality assurance assistant or they can be in charge of adding levels to an existing game or working on their own games that they can share and test online.

Many companies will offer internships to qualified students. Such programs can help a gaming company to maintain contact with younger individuals who are considered their key market. Internship programs will also allow a company to benefit from free labor. While most of these internships do not provide compensation, they do provide the student with valuable experience in the field.

Other Career Options for Video Game Designers

Designers will usually work in a lead role on a video game project, managing schedules, budgets and project timelines.

Often, videogame designers or web designers can work as freelancers, obtaining experience in the field before applying for a permanent position at a design firm or gaming company. The gaming industry is hard to break into and you’ll often need to begin from the ground up, working as a quality assurance tech or a video game designer assistant.