The work of a games designer typically involves:
Coming up with new and appealing game ideas
Developing gameplay ideas
Experimenting with themes and genres
Developing plots and storylines
Developing maps, scenarios, and levels of difficulty
Coming up with ways of winning and losing the game
Developing user interface (menus and controls) concepts
Improving existing games
Creativity, innovation and technical know-how and experience are all-important in the games world. While games are primarily made for entertainment, there can be real-world uses for some of the software and hardware developed, such as:
UK-based studio Glitchers developed a mobile game that is being used to help scientists gather data to diagnose dementia
The US Navy has used Nintendo’s Wii Fit game for physical therapy
A number of applications and scenarios are being developed for Microsoft’s gaming peripheral the ‘HoloLens’ including the trading floor at stock markets and jet propulsion design at NASA
Salaries for those working on graphic design and animation will be relatively typical of that profession (starting around £18,000) although this may progress with years of experience or particularly well known projects. Find out the typical starting salaries for graduates in IT jobs here.
Typical employers of video game designers
Video games developing companies (also known as video game developers, publishers or studios)
Qualifications and training required
There are routes into video game development for university graduates and other posts in related fields may be open to school leavers.
Graduates typically need a degree in computer games design, graphic design or animation. Work experience and a portfolio of work will become absolutely essential early on in your career in this very competitive industry.
School leavers may progress to video game development or design by undertaking an apprenticeship in graphic design or another related role. To find out about how you can get into this career via a school leaver route see the media section of TARGETcareers or the IT section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.
Key skills for video game designers
A passion for video games
Wide-ranging knowledge of gaming trends
Strong analytical frame of mind
Excellent programming skills
Ability to work as part of a team
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