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Job Description of a Video Game Designer

Omkar Phatak
Being a video game designer is not only cool, but also creative and challenging. To know more about the opportunities in this field, read on...
Video games have been a rage, right from their introduction in popular culture. Everyone invariably enjoys playing video games. We simply love getting lost in the virtual world of a game with all its intricacies.
Are you a gaming freak and follow gaming absolutely, not just for fun but also for aesthetics, plot and coding expertise? Are you an expert on video gaming? Are you a graphic artist who loves creating characters? Is creating games one of your coding past times? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then video game designing is the career for you!
The gaming market is booming with possibilities and opportunities! With gaming devices like Xbox One X, PlayStation 4 Pro and Nintendo Switch released, the demand for games and game designers has risen exponentially.
Video gaming is now a multi-billion dollar industry in need of creative minds who can deliver within tight deadlines. Creating virtual worlds and simulated environments is an art and a very interesting job. It even has applications beyond the gaming world.

Training to be a Video Game Designer

Today, there are a lot of institutes all over the country, who offer specialized courses catering to all aspects of game design. The core aspect of gaming, other than the graphic design and artwork, is the programming. So many institutes offer core courses in programming, created especially to prepare you for designing gaming environments.
This is a very deep field indeed and specialized courses offered range from artificial intelligence applications in gaming, game mathematics, programming special effects and many more. Game programmers are expected to have a first-class degree in computer science.
Graphic design and animation is also a very important and enjoyable part of the course syllabus. Another aspect is creating sound tracks for games. The main thing is to learn to integrate the programming logic and graphic environments. Specialized courses in specific areas of graphic design like environment rendering and animation are also available.
In gaming, you will create virtual reality and therefore, you need to understand the dynamics in real world very well. Especially while designing special action effects, you need to understand the physics of the real world. Only, then can you recreate it in the virtual world!
Another important aspect of video gaming is the hardware part of it. Especially, designing the consoles and the overall hardware for a game. Electronics engineers can take special courses catering to this special need.
Ultimately what makes a good game is a good story line too! So writing creative story lines that can hook people to gaming, is an interesting profession and there are courses which cater to just that. So, if you are not that good at drawing or programming, but have a flair for words and writing great scripts, there is opportunity for you!
There are many training institutes that offer three year bachelor degree courses in game and simulation programming like Devry, Westwood college and the ITT technical institute. Many private companies like Sega and Disney, also offer courses in this field.

Job Description

Whatever you are trained in, programming or graphic design, to work on the job as a programmer, you must have an idea of the big picture. As a programmer, you have to be good at solving problems of gaming logic and design.
You need to have a good gaming, gut sense of what would look good in a game. For that, it's absolutely essential that you love the concept of gaming. When you are in love with something, it's no longer a job, ideas just flow out uncorked! Still it can be a 'job' at times, in the sense that there are deadlines to be met and it can be hectic at times.
As a game designer, you are responsible with every aspect of the game development process. Your prime job is the creation of the game blueprint or 'Design Document', which includes information about the game plot, artwork, graphics, programming, sound design and every other feature.
Experienced game designers, who head entire projects have a team of visual artists, programmers, graphic designers, animation artists, music composers, script writers and many other professionals, working for them.
Through the design blueprint, they need to outline what is expected from each member of this team, as part of the overall design. Ergo project management, planning and ensuring every part of the process stays on schedule, is a part and parcel of a game designer's job.
After the beta version of the game is ready, a designer must oversee the testing phase and implement a debugging exercise to remove any kind of flaws that may have been left over.
Most game designers who make it to the top, work their way up by starting as game programmers, graphic artists, script writers or multiply skilled people who can handle more than one aspect of the game development process, at the same time.
Surveys reveal the annual salary range of video game designers to be around $43,000 to $55,000 at the entry-level. With more experience of course, the pay packets rise, going near $140,000 per year.
These professionals get to work in a highly creative atmosphere with standard software industry work schedules. There is plenty of creative freedom, to ideate, conceptualize and construct complex and intricately beautiful plots and virtual settings. They typically work for 40 hours a week but the work hours may extend when nearing game launch schedules.
Game designing is totally a team effort, as to make it a success, the game should be excellent in every aspect. Graphic artists can give a total free rein to their imagination.
Besides the gaming industry, designing simulated environments has real applications in the defense and space industry. Jet pilots and space pilots require training for which you can design a tailor-made virtual environment. The advantages of such an environment are that, they can learn to handle real life situations without the danger of crashing out.
It is quite a challenging job. So go for this opportunity, have some serious fun and make yourself indispensable in the gaming world!