Game designers are the masterminds who conceptualize the mission, theme, plot and rules of a video/computer game. Designers specialize in story lines, character biographies, game criticism, game play mechanics, environments and level design. Many game designers act as lead project managers overseeing teams of up to 50 artists, programmers and sound designers throughout the development of a new game. Attending a video game design school prepares them for these tasks.
Most video game design schools emphasize training in the fine arts or multimedia. A strong background in drawing, painting, color theory, sculpture and graphic design is needed to keep pace with the high quality expectations of players. Graduates usually begin their game design careers in video game art, computer game programming, testing or producing.
Education Options for Video Game Design
Most video game design professionals inadvertently received their earliest training at home by playing computer or video games for hours on end. All of those hours glued to the screen weren't for nothing!
- A college-level education in fine art, graphic arts, computer arts, computer science, special effects or animation is critical due to the highly technical nature of the job.
- Depending on their exact position, gaming professionals are expected to be proficient in programming languages such as Java, C++, as well as 2D and 3D art tools such as Photoshop, Maya, Max and Lightwave.
- Internships during or after video game design school will help you get your foot in the door.
Video Game Design Salaries
A video game designer's salary varies depending on experience and reputation in this competitive field. Read more about what you might expect to earn.
Video Game Designer Profile
Read a profile of Paolo Malabuyo, a Lead Design Program Manager for Xbox at Microsoft, who has a lot to say about working in the video game design industry. An excerpt:
"Like a lot of people in the game industry, I grew up playing video games, wasting my money on arcades, playing Atari and the early game consoles. I studied art and design at Carnegie Mellon, a double major in painting with computer graphics and animation. That's where I was able to develop conceptual and visual design skills, and at the same time I wasn't afraid of technology."