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Video Game Designers Career

Career Description

Design core features of video games. Specify innovative game and role-play mechanics, story lines, and character biographies. Create and maintain design documentation. Guide and collaborate with production staff to produce games as designed.

What Job Titles Video Game Designers Might Have

  • Design Director
  • Game Designer
  • Senior Game Designer
  • World Designer

What Video Game Designers Do

  • Balance and adjust gameplay experiences to ensure the critical and commercial success of the product.
  • Provide feedback to designers and other colleagues regarding game design features.
  • Create core game features including storylines, role-play mechanics, and character biographies for a new video game or game franchise.
  • Devise missions, challenges, or puzzles to be encountered in game play.
  • Guide design discussions between development teams.
  • Develop and maintain design level documentation, including mechanics, guidelines, and mission outlines.
  • Create and manage documentation, production schedules, prototyping goals, and communication plans in collaboration with production staff.
  • Present new game design concepts to management and technical colleagues, including artists, animators, and programmers.
  • Conduct regular design reviews throughout the game development process.
  • Solicit, obtain, and integrate feedback from design and technical staff into original game design.
  • Document all aspects of formal game design, using mock-up screenshots, sample menu layouts, gameplay flowcharts, and other graphical devices.
  • Provide feedback to production staff regarding technical game qualities or adherence to original design.
  • Prepare two-dimensional concept layouts or three-dimensional mock-ups.
  • Consult with multiple stakeholders to define requirements and implement online features.
  • Oversee gameplay testing to ensure intended gaming experience and game adherence to original vision.
  • Keep abreast of game design technology and techniques, industry trends, or audience interests, reactions, and needs by reviewing current literature, attending workshops, or participating in professional organizations or conferences.
  • Create gameplay prototypes for presentation to creative and technical staff and management.
  • Write or supervise the writing of game text and dialogue.
  • Collaborate with artists to achieve appropriate visual style.
  • Determine supplementary virtual features, such as currency, item catalog, menu design, and audio direction.
  • Review or evaluate competitive products, film, music, television, and other art forms to generate new game design ideas.
  • Prepare and revise initial game sketches using two- and three-dimensional graphical design software.

What Video Game Designers Should Be Good At

  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

What Video Game Designers Should Be Interested In

  • Artistic - Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
  • Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

What Video Game Designers Need to Learn

  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Sun iconThis career has a bright outlook.
Median Salary: $86,510

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.