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Video Game Designer


What do game designers do?

A game designer is a person who designs “game play,” first by coming up with the idea, then setting up the rules and structure of the game. Development teams usually have a lead designer who coordinates the work of other designers. He is generally the person with the idea. He writes the blueprint on how the game works. There is usually a writer who comes up with the actual words used in the game, the written rules, what the characters say and the packaging.

A game artist creates the visual aspects of the game. The lead programmer usually develops the story line. There are also programmers who develop the software for the game or the code including the game engine, the sound, the user interface (what you see), the feedback system (what you see after you’ve committed some act) and the game tools. There is also a person who determines the levels of the game and testers who make sure it works properly.


What tasks does a game designer perform?

The job of the designer is to come up with the plan for the game. They need to design the rules of the game including the mission and the theme. This needs to be written out completely and it needs to show what happens in the play and all possible endings.


What skills and abilities must a game designer have?

As listed above, there are many jobs that are performed by a game designer. Specific skills are needed for each job, but generally, the following tasks are important:

  • Excellent writing skills

  • Good communication skills

  • Programming skills are only necessary if you choose to be a programmer; however, even if you are a designer, you need to understand the technology

  • Adept at problem solving

  • Flexibility in the event that stories or ideas need to be changed due to flaws with the current design


How do I get ready to become a game designer?

It is important to take college prep or college tech prep curriculum in high school. Because game designers do a lot of writing, English courses are very important. It is also important to take courses in art, computer programming, creative writing, drawing and painting and graphic design.

A college degree is not required to become a video game designer; however, many designers hold associate or bachelor’s degrees. Because game designers do a lot of writing, try to excel in English courses. Because games tell a story, you need to understand literary concepts including character, plot line, theme and setting. You also need to be a careful proofreader. As above, college courses in computer programming, art, creative writing and design are helpful. There are a few colleges in Ohio that offer degrees in computer design. Be careful when you enroll in training programs that are offered online. This is an emerging field and there are no written standards as yet.


How much does this job pay?

According to a recent survey of game designers, the average salary for designers with three years of experience or less is $46,200 per year. Those with three to six years of experience earn an average of $54,700 per year. Source: Ohio Career Information System (


How many jobs are there?

Competition is very strong in this area. While it is a new and upcoming field, there are many jobs. However, there are more people trying to enter the field than there are jobs available.


What are similar jobs?

  • Computer programmers

  • Graphic designers

  • Game testers

  • Game writers

  • Game art Copyright©2012, Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio, Inc. All rights reserved.
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