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What Does A Game Designer Do?

Games are one of the most popular forms of entertainment today. They’re played by millions of players around the world. But how did we get here? How did video game design evolve over the years?

Let’s take a small look at the history behind video games I don’t want to bore you too much with history stuff but in order to find out how we arrived here, we should look at the past.

What Does A Game Designer Do

History of Video Game Design

In the early days of gaming, there wasn’t much difference between arcade games and home consoles. Games like Pong and Pac-Man were simple, fun experiences(still till now) where players could compete against each other.

As technology improved, however, developers began creating more complicated games that required skill and strategy. These games were often designed for specific platforms, such as Atari 2600.

As computers grew more powerful, it became possible to make games about things like war and sports. This style of gameplay came to be known as simulation games. Sports games like NBA Jam and Madden Football also Fifa were extremely popular during this period.

The next big step forward in video game development occurred in the 1990s. Developers realized that they could use 3D graphics to create worlds that looked more realistic than ever before.

This led to the creation of groundbreaking franchises like Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy, and Grand Theft Auto, and what’s funny is in 2021 and 2022 the trend is now moving back to Retro style games as they had more fun in it nowadays its only about how realistic the game is but gives no actual experience and fun.

Today, video games continue to grow in popularity. There are now hundreds of thousands of different types of games, including mobile apps, social media games, browser games, online multiplayer games, and even virtual reality games. With so many options, it’s hard to know where to start playing which makes it hard for game publishers to find the next big hit. 

What Is a Game Designer?

A video game designer creates the foundational elements of a video game. This person is responsible for creating the core gameplay mechanics and working closely with other members of a development team to make sure it all fits together you can think of him as the main vision owner.

The designer works closely with artists, programmers, producers, and marketers to ensure the final product matches the vision of the project. In addition to designing the actual game itself, designers are often involved in the creation of balancing sheets and the general economics of the game.

Designers typically start out as developers themselves, but many eventually move into management roles where they help oversee teams and bring projects to completion. Some designers even go on to become publishers or CEOs of companies that develop video games.

As you can see a designer is a critical role in any game studio actually one of the first people that get recruited are designers because based on their initial work the idea of the whole game is written and greenlit by the stakeholders. 

If you are serious about becoming a game designer you should start playing tons of games in all mediums, take note of what you like about them, what you don’t like, how you think things can be improved, and which parts did actually annoy you.

Keep doing that for not 10 but for hundreds of games both old and new, this will shape your vision of what is fun and what works in a game.

What Does a Video Game Designer Do?

A video game designer works closely together with other members of the game development team but their main role of course writing the GDD which is the general design document.

The GDD is the main and first thing that is done in a game production this is a written form of what the game is about, and this document is usually what gets the stakeholders to give the green light to set up a team for a specific game.

Game designers also work closely with marketing and sales departments to ensure that their products match up with what consumers want. For example, if a new game has been released and it doesn’t sell well, the designer might suggest ways to improve its monetization features, or maybe fix the game’s economics.

They may also work with the art department to determine how best to represent certain characters or objects within the game. They might even design some of the levels themselves.

Another important task game designer does is scoping. Scoping is defining how big the game is, how many levels, how many characters, and how many core features and this is crucial because if a scope isn’t defined the game development will exceed the timeline given and the game will fail to publish.

How to Become a Video Game Designer

If you want to become a video game designer, there are many things you must do. You’ll probably start by making games yourself. But once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll want to expand your knowledge. Here are some tips to help you along the way.

  1. Learn how to use a game engine (Unity or Unreal). These are the most popular open-source development tools used for making video games today. 
  2. Find out what you like doing. Do you love playing video games? Or maybe you enjoy drawing or writing stories. Whatever your passion might be, find something related to it.
  3. Create a portfolio. Make sure you have examples of your work online. Even if you think you’re great at designing games, people won’t hire you unless you have proof.
  4. Network. Join forums and communities where developers hang out. Ask questions and offer advice.
  5. Keep learning. As you gain experience, keep up with industry trends. Read books on the subject and watch videos on YouTube.
  6. Play and Play and Play lots and lots of games this will shape your game design skills and make you a better designer.

What Education Does a Video Game Designer Need?

A bachelor’s degree in software development is good to have for becoming a video game designer. But experience will be essential as you move into higher-level positions. An entry-level position can help you get your foot in the door to higher levels.

I have seen designers who have unrelated degrees but they love games and created small games in their free time and then landed their first entry job, so don’t be too hung up on Degrees and certificates and concentrate on portfolios and skills.

There are many courses and tutorials on the internet that cover game design enroll in those and take notes and try to practice what you learn. This Course is on MasterClass website click here

List of Tools and Software a Game Designer Uses

The tools and software a game designer use vary depending on the type of project they’re working on. In this section, we list some of them.

  • Unity 3D – This is an integrated development environment (IDE) designed for creating 2D and 3D games. It includes features such as asset management, scripting support, physics simulation, animation, audio, networking, and much more.
  • Construct2 – An easy-to-use drag & drop editor for building 2D games.
  • Unreal Engine 4 – Create 3D games with no programming knowledge.
  • Game Maker Studio – Build games easily without any code.

How much are video game designers paid?

Video game developers make an average salary of $67,000 per year, of course, this depends on which country you are in and what kind of game are you developing, for example, AAA game designers earn more than mobile game designers and also depends on how big and famous the studio is. 

Also, the experience and seniority aspect makes a great difference when we are talking about salary and compensation a senior designer’s salary can go up to 85k per year.

Also, keep in mind as you progress into a lead designer and eventually creative director at that point your salary is well above 100k per year.

Conclusion

If you want to become a game designer, start now! You don’t need to wait until college to learn the basics. Start making small projects and build your portfolio.

The sooner you begin, the better prepared you’ll be when you graduate from college or even choose to not pursue a degree. You can do this by taking classes at local community colleges or online through Coursera.org.

Start by playing games and forming your own visions and theories of how a game should be and what makes a game fun to play.