Explore the Variety of Careers in Game Design

Learn about the roles in a game design team.

game designer at work

Creating one of today's video games is a lot like making a feature film, bringing together many different talents of people in specialized careers. In game design, shooting a movie may even be simpler, since a high-end game can have hundreds of characters with tens of thousands of lines of dialogue.

It should come as no surprise that the jobs within a game design team are similar to those in film production. Making a top-notch video game requires many skills and careers, offering you plenty of ways to contribute to video game design.

Careers in Game Design

  • Game Designer: In a leadership role, game designers are like movie directors, defining the style and ensuring consistency of the game's look and feel. They are the visionaries, but they also have to come up with an exciting story that will produce good gameplay. Game development careers often challenge designers by stretching their imaginations and come up with new ways to play video games as the technology continues to offer new possibilities, such as motion sensing and full-body recognition.
  • Scriptwriter: To help drive a game's story, a scriptwriter constructs compelling scenarios and dialogue for the video game's cutscenes and during gameplay. The goal is to create a story that draws you in, with escalating action that gamers will find challenging.
  • Artist / Animator: A video game artist creates the graphical elements of the game, from the backgrounds and scoreboards, to the characters. The game artist uses various computer-based tools, including paint programs and 3D modeling packages to create richly textured elements that the programmers can integrate into the game.
  • Programmer: The video game programming team realizes the vision of the game designer by integrating the art and sound assets into a playable game. A lead programmer, usually the most experienced member, directs the other members of the team who each focus on a particular game level or technology within the game.
  • Producer: The producer of a game development team acts as the project manager, making sure that all of the different contributors on the team are able to complete a quality game on time and within budget. Producers create and manage schedules, assure the availability of resources and drive the team to success.
  • Tester: As the video game is developed, testers verify that the programming is free of bugs and complies with requirements for certification on the game device. This can be done by repeated playing of the game's different levels, but also by using automation tools to recreate different scenarios systematically and repeatably.