PC Games

Game Careers – Video Game Designers

A man using a laptop computer sitting on top of a desk

Video game designers are the ones who designs the overall concept, layout and how the game will be played. This is a highly competitive field, but the good news is that the more experience you have, the more money you will make. If you want to get started, then find a mentor who will work with you to finding an entry level job.

The Work

A game designer creates the main idea of the game, discusses it, and uses the ideas that are the very best and basically puts it all together. It takes a long time to put a game together. You have to test a lot, and see how various parts work together, see if it’s playable, and if not test and tweak it until it is. Game designers create a prototype, a demo to show just how how fun the game they have created is. Say for example, you are passionate about sports like skating and want to feature the action in the game with characters using Mens Inline Skates.

The lead designer is the person who makes sure the very best game is completed by the deadline set. A game designer basically takes ideas from the staff they are working with, create a great design that is improved upon until it is absolutely noticeable that it is fun and communicates by paper or speaking what the overall vision is. Other titles for a game designer in a higher position are: Senior Designer, Creative Director, and Design Manager. Entering a company as a designer, you would be considered a Level Designer, or Junior Designer.

The Skills

A game designer is a writer. If you want to design, you’re going to have to love writing. A little experience in art and programming would be beneficial, but you don’t have to have to know it. Most game designers have studied computer science, or another type of engineering. Some other courses they may have taken would be the fine arts, sociology, and philosophy.

In The Beginning

Surprisingly, nobody was selling video games. In the 60’s and 70’s games were made just for fun by college students who created games like Dungeon and Spacewar!, and engineers to entertain visitors who came to see their computer labs. Other games made during this time were Adventure, Zork and Air Warrior. These games made it into the video game industry with the ones who designed them. Game designers then were most likely the programmer for the whole game, and even for art. Coleco was the first company that separated programmers from the designers.

As technology increased, the making of games became so complex that the game designer job became separate from programming. Quite a lot of people chose to be a game designer, rather than a programmer. There are times, though that you will find where one person will do everything, like the games Bejeweled, and Tetris. For really big games like MMORPG’s , there are quite a lot of designers.

The Greatest Designers

Here are just a few of my favorite game designers, who happen to be the best.

Shigeru Miyamoto- Donkey Kong, The Legend Of Zelda, Star Fox and Super Mario Bros.
Shigeru is from Japan, and is known as the father of modern video gaming. He was hired by Nintendo, which then sold Hanafuda, to be an artist. He designed their first arcade game which Donkey Kong was the best selling game. He is now the General Manager and Director on the Nintendo Entertainment and Analysis and Development in Japan. His wife, Yasuko Miyamoto was the General Manager of Nintendo in 1977. He creates worlds with simple yet entertaining story lines where players can be free to roam and find things on their own. He’s the first designer to be included into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 1998.

John Romero-Wolfenstein3D, Doom, Quake and game engines
A well known game designer, and developer in the industry. He is one of the founders of Id Software, along with the lead programmer, John Carmack. The way he designed games using his own tools, lead to the huge popularity of First Person Shooter games in the ’90’s. Last year he publicly announced a new game for the Cyberathlete Professional League that is called Severity for consoles and PC. The game is going to be using licensed technology from Id Software.

Hironobu Sakaguchi-Final Fantasy, Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey
Another star Japanese game designer, producer and director, most known for the Final Fantasy series. He is founder of Square Co. Ltd. along with Masafumi Miyamoto in 1983. Square was a new part of the Denyusha Electric Company then. The very first games they created were not a success. Sakaguchi then began to make the final game with the last of Square’s capital and named it Final Fantasy. It was released in Japan in 1987 and was a swift hit that even surprised him. Final Fantasy, my favorite games of all time, became a hugely successful franchise, which has single games and sequels. Over time, he did less hands-on in the games, and contently is an executive producer on the franchise as well as other games like Kingdom Hearts and Vagrant Story.

Salary

A designer with less than 3 years in the business makes $46,000 a year. With three to six years experience, a designer will earn $55, 600 a year. Once reaching more than six years experience, a designer can make about $70,000 a year. Lead Designers, or Creative Directors make $45,000 each year. Once they have passed the three year mark, $54,000 a year. With more than six years experience, a Lead Designer or Creative Director makes $81,000 a year with the highest salary ever revealed for a Lead was $180,000 each year.

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