Computer game designers are some of the most talented people on the planet.
There is a lot that goes into creating a video game and we cannot appreciate the people behind it enough.
For an aspiring video game designer, there is a relatively short amount of information regarding a video game designer’s life.
We must understand a few things before getting into this topic.
First, what do we actually mean by video game designers? What do those guys even do?
What a video game designer does?
First things first, there are a lot of things that go into creating video games. It’s not just the concept of the game, the storyline and the art.
There are things such as:
- and tons more.
Honestly, when it comes to video games, anything you see is just the tip of the iceberg.
There are tons going on behind the scenes and a lot more going on in the studios when creating the game.
It’s estimated that the average video game designer spends up to 35 hours in the studio.
Whether the studio is a small apartment with a dozen game developers or a multi-million-dollar studio with a hundred developers, creating video games takes time.
Here are a few components of a computer game designer/developer. They have to develop:
- The setting of the game, which is the basic plot or premise of the game
- The rules of the game based on what the game will be played
- The storyline of the game, weapons, vehicles, characters, etc.
- Gameplay styles and optimizations
Remember, it’s not only the part of a designer’s job to do their own job correctly.
It’s also part of their job to keep everyone motivated, work together with various parts of the designing team and create a game that is satisfactory for all parts of the team.
This may be easier said than done, considering the fact that video games usually take hundreds of thousands of man-hours and up to a few thousand cast members working on a single game.
Abilities a video game designer should possess/adopt
Working on a video game isn’t a one-man task…
…even for little things like a droplet falling into water, there are tons of things that go into it.
The process is actually something out of the ordinary when it comes to teamwork and video game design.
Everything needs teamwork, coordination and at least some sort of plan to pull through and execute.
We know, for a fact, that video games don’t just come out of the blue, they’re created after hundreds of thousands of man-hours…
…and the ability for a video game designer to have:
- extremely high levels of social interactive-ness,
- social skills,
- communication skills,
- professional communication
- and more
is off the charts.
Video game designers also need to possess a willingness to sit and work indoors for extended periods of time.
- fill their work routine,
- fill their deadlines
- also get a proper amount of food, nutrition, and exercise while they’re at it.
When creating video games, everyone is responsible for everybody.
Not only is the person creating one part of the video game responsible for another, they’re also responsible for the end-result of their peer’s work in-case their own work isn’t as great.
Creating games is also quite a strenuous task; you need to understand that as a video game developer, each and every action is actually multiplied and increased by many folds.
Understanding this, a designer needs to not only work cautiously in order not to disrupt any sort of creative flow of the team but also not to get into conflicts with the rest of their teammates.
Communication is the key when it comes to creating video games.
Just like how things pop together much better when they’re well-built and designed, video games are similar and have the same concept.
As a video game designer/developer, getting the right amount of work into a video game and working as a team for every step of the way is crucial.
Without the proper team spirit, moral, encouragement and a lot more, creating a video game will be tough.
What are the physical working conditions?
- As a video game developer, you’ll be consistently indoors.
You must learn to live your life being packed away in a relatively small space.
Also, since you’ll be spending your time in front of the computer a lot, you need to take advantage of any time that you may go and exercise in.
You must also take good care of your food intake unless you want a rapidly deteriorating health.
- Programming must be accurate and exact.
You need to know what does what on screen and what goes where.
There is no guessing involved, there is no making it up as you go.
You need to create a video game which has the least number of errors and bugs which can otherwise result in a very unoptimized and unhappy experience for a gamer.
Remember, the end-code of the game and the number of bugs that are present will negatively impact the final product’s sales.
Remember, there have been games that have cost upwards of 50 million dollars and still flopped because of lack of optimization, bugs, errors and a lot more.
- Designers should also have the mental capacity to repeatedly do the same tasks over and over again.
Often times, this is a requirement for designers especially when designing stages, characters, move sets and a lot more.
Starting the design of the game
The designer reveals these ideas in a ‘principle doc’ or ‘primary design treatment’ which helps other associates of the team to choose if to just do it with developing the overall game.
Before companies make investments money and time in new video games, they need to be convinced that folks would want to buy the done product.
So, they execute general market trends and consider other factors such as timing before supplying permission for even more development.
The next level is designed for the developer of the game to utilize a team of designers and programmers to make a prototype.
That is a small-scale, playable version of the overall game, designed to demonstrate that the theory will work.
At the same time, the designer places together the entire game design doc which describes at length every aspect of the overall game and how it operates.
This document will probably change as time passes as the overall game evolves.
Through the development of the overall game the game artist is in charge of:
- Ensuring all of those other teams (including developers, artists, animators, manufacturers and sound designers) understand the idea of the game
- Making modifications to the initial specification to represent specialized constraints and new encoding or artistic trends from the team
- Training testers to try out the overall game – they ensure that it works in the manner it is intended to
- Making sure the overall game experience meets the initial vision.
When working in small to medium-sized studios, having the budget to do things is a blessing.
A video game designer needs to understand that each mistake can cost the studio money it doesn’t have.
So, for a working video game artist, it is crucial to have a very cautious attitude about video game design.
Caution does not mean not doing new things, but it does not mean taking risks that can easily be averted otherwise.
An aspiring video game developer needs to understand one thing…
…there are tons of different options to go from when it comes to video game design and taking risks can mean either a success or a complete wreck.
You will also be consistent in a time crunch to fulfill deadlines.
It may seem that working for a company developing video games may be the best use of the time you can have, and you won’t have to worry about anything after you’re in one.
But the fact is that filling deadlines constantly is just the way games are made.
You need to understand one thing, when it comes to creating video games, and creating expensive video games that release every year (perhaps the Assassin’s Creed series, COD series, etc.) you need to constantly:
- get work done,
- fulfill deadlines,
- work around the clock, overtime if need be and a lot more.
Other than the scheduled work hours, you may need to work a lot longer than average and maybe even without pay depending on the studio or team you’re working for and follow your organizer and team manager and fulfill their set limits and tasks.
Over half of most men and one in four females play game titles regularly, and the marketplace will probably increase as new technology are introduced which will make games more thrilling and natural.
Development studios are enthusiastic to employ video games designers who understand market segments and target followers and also have the creativity and creative imagination to excite existing players and reach new people.
Working in small indie teams
Indie games are slowly starting to take over the gaming market with so many amazing and absolutely stunning games hitting the market each year, selling millions of copies worldwide.
However, the development process for small-scale indie games isn’t easy, especially for the developer.
Since often times, the teams are working together in small, extremely grouped together offices and often times without a strict set of rules, there can be days of high productivity and days of low productivity.
It really just depends on the team mood.
However, if a team is hired by a singular person, then the amount of work done can actually be monitored.
It’s important to note that it is not all of the time that indie developers will be able to receive payment for the game.
Many new graduates get into non-paying indie game development teams just to get experience.
Even if there is a finished product, an indie game needs to prove itself to the crowd before actually coming out and making the developers money.
The general attitude of indie teams can range from being absolutely chill and productive to chaotic and non-compliant.
Remember, working at an indie studio can be both amazing and a complete disappointment.
It depends on which studio and what kinds of games they make.
At the end of the day
It’s really cool being a video game developer.
You not only get to create the very things most kids will spend their entire childhood grueling over, but you also have the ability to:
- create new worlds,
- tell stories
- and create interactive environments that will create memories for millions and millions of people.
However, being a video game developer/designer isn’t what it’s cracked up to be from a job’s point of view.
The thing is, most of the time, a video game developer needs to have:
- amazing communication to get jobs done,
- the ability to work extensive hours indoors working on monotonous projects,
- the ability to do all this without making too many mistakes.
Video game designers are constantly working in a competitive environment and people that are aspiring to become developers themselves must also mentally prepare themselves…
…for what they will face.
This article has been created to provide aspiring video game developers on the basis of what their job will look and feel like.
Not all jobs are as cool as this.
But just like every other job, being a video game designer will be strenuous and will depend heavily on how much you love what you love doing.
So, if you’re a fan of video games and love creating them too, a video game developer may be the job for you.