What Computer Game Design Work is Really Like

It may seem like a dream job, but what is the work really like for someone working in the computer game design industry?

“The main goal of a designer,” says one long-time industry insider, “is to create something that is FUN. And since FUN is highly subjective, this can be very challenging, and is more of an art that a science.”

Video Game Developer Poses for Photo

As the industry matures, video game designers’ jobs are becoming more complex. Bringing a game to market requires a team of people working together on a vision. But, according to an industry vet, a typical day for a video game designer is “a mix between tech and art. It requires a creative vision of what will be fun.”

During the average workday, game designers, based on what is assigned, will refer back to several information sources, such as the design document, vision document, and any other information specific to their mission, or task. Then, using their technological and creative skills, designers create their mission, level layout, or character behaviors.

As work is done, it’s reviewed by others – typically the game’s lead and producer. Then, the designers may act upon any required fixes and feedback.

This is not a solitary endeavor, and the ability to work with a team and communicate with them is crucial. And as stated by the industry vet, as games become more technologically advanced, the numbers of people working on them increases, as does the money spent creating the games.

One industry veteran says that based on numbers he’s seen, the average employee stays at a game development studio three years before moving on to another company. Some studios, obviously, have better retention rates than others.

If the video and computer game industry gets you jazzed, and you have the educational and/or work background needed, then definitely check out our Film and Music jobs section too. Film jobs include animators, sound engineers, script writers, sound effects and more. There are many parallels between the video game production and film production industries.

Perks that might be found at a game development studio include an onsite gym, locker rooms, plentiful snacks, and a casual-dress environment.

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