10 Video Game Industry Careers
Most video game companies have an extensive development team and staff that address all levels of game design, from conceptualization to the shipped finished product. Each department plays its own specific role, with all the moving parts working in tandem to ensure a seamless gaming experience for players:
- Game designer: Video game designers develop the concept, storyline, characters, dialogue, as well as all the rules of the game. Designers determine how difficult the game should be, as well as what kind of obstacles the player will encounter.
- Concept artist: Early in the development cycle, concept artists work with art directors to shape the look of a video game before it enters production. Concept artists use photographic research, 3D modeling, and digital painting to create the initial look and tone of the video game.
- Producer: A video game producer is in charge of the business and marketing sides of game development, including managing the budget. The producer will oversee production, manage the development team, and helm the schedule, making sure all deliverables are completed on time.
- Project manager: A project manager oversees all of a game’s developmental processes, ensures milestones are met, and serves as the liaison between the design team members and the executives. Project managers anticipate potential problems or risks they may encounter, and already have solutions ready to deal with any obstacles that may occur.
- Game programmers: Game programming involves writing the code for the game and producing playable versions for prototyping and eventual release. Programmers implement the game mechanics, create the user interface, and add music and graphics while developing necessary algorithms that help the game run smoothly.
- Game artists: Animators, 3D artists, and visual effects (FX) artists are all responsible for developing the look and feel of the in-game assets. Sound designers and audio engineers are also integral to the process, as they will create all the sounds that are heard in-game, from the opening theme to the sound effects of the menu.
- Writers: Scriptwriters write the narrative and dialogue for the game’s plot and story advancement, while technical writers will focus on creating instructional manuals and supplemental documents that go with the game.
- Localizers: When a game is shipped to another country, localization specialists must translate the game script and dialogue into the country’s target language. Localizers are also responsible for noting any cultural sensitivities and making adjustments to the game to fit within a country’s censorship laws.
- Level designer: A level designer creates the levels and missions in a video game. Level designers draw inspiration from the concept art and the game design document (GDD), to create a believable environment, establish the boundaries of the game, and maintain a style consistent with the game’s objectives. Level design is where the physical limitations of the world are established.
- Quality assurance (QA): The quality assurance team tests a game over the course of its development. Quality assurance testers, also known as video game testers, will play through a title multiple times, making detailed reports of any bugs or crashes they experience. Quality control tests ensure that gamers will not encounter any glitches or issues which may negatively affect their playing experience.
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