As the video game industry grows, new and exciting jobs develop within it. One of the most alluring of these new positions is in video game design, but what, as a designer, would one be doing? The title does not even begin to hint at a description of how complex a job in video game design is, nor the duties and skills associated with it.
There are a number of tasks that will come with every project. First and foremost a video game designer acts as liaison between everybody who has anything to do with the project they are in charge of. Initial tasks include leading brainstorming sessions with all the creative teams working on the project, to come up with the primary concept behind the game, and pitching the game idea to the higher ups. Once the main idea and a few other basic elements of the game have been agreed upon the game designer will embark upon the next most important part of their job; documentation.
Documentation is the key to effective communication in video game design. From that first brainstorming session to the frantic last minute debugging and coding sessions just before the game ships out, a job in game design demands rigorously documented descriptions of all aspects of the project, as well as how it has changed and grown from its original concept. This is necessary to make sure the game stays on track, and lets all the teams know what has been done and what remains to do.
A major design document that will need to be cultivated over the entire course of production is the game play design document. It is a description of what the game is, what genre it falls under, how the player will interact with the world, etcetera. Basically it acts as an outline for the entire game. After the game play design document has been completed the various teams will inspect it, give the game designer feedback, and decide what their job will be in relation to the other teams.
The video game designer’s job for the rest of the production schedule will largely involve keeping track of where teams and people are, and giving everyone else status reports. A technical design document is drafted after the coders and other people in charge of building the game have seen the design document and the game play flowchart, which carefully outlines the progress the player will potentially make through the game.
Additionally, character designers, set designers, animators, script writers, and anyone else who has a hand in developing the style of the game will each require documentation of their progress through the production cycle. It is the job of the game designer to keep up with them and relate any new ideas or changes they make to other parts of the team. Knowing what the creative side of the game will require, the game designer will then need to draft asset lists that describe necessary visual and audio resources.
The ultimate description of a video game designer’s job is to nurture their staff and keep the project running through hectic schedules. Seeing the team complete a project they have worked so hard on is easily one of the most rewarding parts of a video game design job.