May 30, 2024

How to become a video game designer

Imagine creating the games you love to play! Designing video games is a demanding but highly rewarding career that requires dedication, talent, and a specific set of skills. In this article, we explore the exciting field of video game design and offer expert advice on how to break into this dynamic industry.

What is Game Design?

Game design is a significant part of the creative process in video game development, distinct from the technical aspect of game programming. While game programmers use code to solve technical challenges, game designers focus on crafting the storyline, characters, rules, and gameplay environment. This creative role involves shaping the overall experience and mechanics of the game. For a deeper understanding of the differences between game design and game programming, check out our blog.

3 Types of Game Design

Game design varies based on the platform, influencing player interaction and game resolution. The three main types are:

  1. Console Games: Played on a physical console like Xbox or PlayStation, connected to a TV or monitor.
  2. Mobile Games: Designed for smartphones or tablets.
  3. Computer Games: Played on a PC or Mac, either downloaded or from removable media like CDs.

What Does a Video Game Designer Do?

Game designers are visual thinkers who bring new concepts and ideas to life. They may suggest narratives and animations for cut scenes, plan player paths, and conceptualize characters and worlds to support the story.

Responsibilities include:

  • Developing storylines, character backstories, and dialogue
  • Creating gameplay rules and scoring systems
  • Determining difficulty levels
  • Designing interfaces and environments
  • Level and world design
  • Programming and scripting
  • Documenting game processes and procedures

What Skills Does a Video Game Designer Need?

Effective video game designers combine technical and creative skills to bring their visions to life. Understanding various aspects of game development is essential.

Key skills include:

  • Understanding what makes a game fun
  • Knowledge of game level design, layout, and architecture
  • Technical skills in scripting languages and basic programming
  • Marketing and market research to gauge audience preferences
  • User interface (UI/UX) design

Helpful experience includes:

  • Breaking down complex elements into systems
  • Using data for design improvements
  • Visual storytelling through drawing
  • Proficiency in 3D art, modeling, texturing, rigging, and animation

Read more about the skills you need to become a game designer, according to video game industry veteran Troy Dunniway.

What Tools Does a Video Game Designer Use?

As a game designer, most of your work will be done on a computer, although initial sketches or brainstorming on paper can be helpful. Your primary tool will likely be a game engine like Unreal Engine or Unity 3D. Additionally, you'll need to use:

  • Spreadsheet and Word Processing Software: For documents, spreadsheets, and presentations (e.g., Microsoft Office, Google Docs).
  • Art Software: For visual design, flowcharting, and mind mapping (e.g., Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator).
  • Bug Tracking Software: To manage feedback and track bugs (e.g., Jira).

Understanding scripting languages such as Python, LUA, C#, Unreal Script, Blueprints, and C++ will also enhance your design capabilities.

3 Steps to Becoming a Video Game Designer

Ready to turn your passion for games into a career? Here's how to get started:

  1. Study Game DesignLearn the game design process from pre-production to post-production. Courses like CG Spectrum's Game Design Course, an Unreal Engine Academic Partner, cover everything from pitching game ideas to using Unreal Engine for complex AI and combat animations.
  2. Evolve Your Skill SetExpand your knowledge with additional studies in virtual production and game programming. Improve your artistic skills, play and analyze games, collaborate on projects, and build essential soft skills like communication and teamwork.
  3. Get Expert AdviceNetwork with industry professionals, seek mentorship, and gain insights from experienced designers at studios like Ubisoft and Blizzard through CG Spectrum's courses and community.

Become A Video Game Designer, Powered By Bletchley Institute

Are you ready for a fun and creative career as a video game designer? Start your career journey with Bletchley Institute, powered by CG Spectrum, and learn the art of video game design from industry experts.

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