Video game design is one of the many exciting careers in the video game industry. If you have a good eye for design, have some story skills, and know a programming language, you should consider this career. Knowing what a day in the life of a video game designer looks like is a great place to begin.
This article contains all the answers to the question “What’s it like to be a video game designer?” You learn about how to get a job as a video game designer, the average video game designer salary expectations, and the job outlook. These details will help you decide whether video game design is a futureproof career that you should consider.
What Is a Video Game Designer?
A video game designer is heavily involved in creating the visual and storytelling aspects of a game, like the characters, plots, environments, and other visual designs. Video game designers usually work with a team to reach a common goal. They liaise with artists and programmers to make sure that the design concept is achieved. They also test concepts to identify and correct any errors in the game.
What Does a Video Game Designer Do On a Daily Basis?
On a daily basis, video game designers oversee design discussions between the different teams tasked with development. They create balance within each aspect of game design and make adjustments to gameplay experiences to ensure that the product achieves critical and commercial success.
- Collect and implement feedback. Designers solicit and obtain feedback about game design features from the technical and design staff and quality assurance testers, which they then try to integrate into the original design of the game.
- Design game features. Video game developers help create the visual and narrative aspects of a game. They may come up with character biographies, character designs, and character abilities. They also contribute to a game’s art direction and audio direction, and help with level design.
- Manage documentation. Designers create and manage design documents, prototype goals, and production work plans in conjunction with production staff. They also create communication plans.
- Provide feedback to colleagues. Designers provide feedback to production staff and fellow colleagues on the game design features. This makes for great sessions where ideas can be exchanged.
- Consult with stakeholders. Designers will also consult with stakeholders to implement a game’s online features and define the design requirements.
How Can I Become a Video Game Designer?
You can become a video game designer by obtaining the requisite qualifications. A college or university degree in a related field is excellent for landing this role. Aside from this, you can also go for a certificate, attend a bootcamp, and take online courses to get qualified as a game designer. Some of these qualifications can be found below.
Video Game Designer Degrees
To become a full-time game designer, you can earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as software engineering, computer programming, graphic design, or computer graphics. A web developer degree may also be useful if you’re interested in developing web-based games.
Video Game Designer Online Courses
There are a wide variety of online professional courses you can take to help you become a game developer. These courses can cover anything from development to design to storytelling. You can choose to take a general game design course, introduction to video game development, or a class on 3D animation software. Harvard University also offers a professional course on game development that you should check out.
Video Game Designer Bootcamps
If you want to turn your video game ideas into usable products, then you should consider attending one of the best game design bootcamps. Many options are available for students with talents in design and technology who want to learn more advanced techniques.
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The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
Video Game Designer Certifications
For students who intend to pursue a career in game design but aren’t ready for a degree program, getting a professional certification can be an excellent solution. Certificates are more specific than degree programs, so they can serve as the perfect tool for professional study. Some certificate courses you can take include a certificate in game design from Western Kentucky University or Los Medanos College.
How Can I Get a Job as a Video Game Designer?
Having an interest in becoming a video game designer is a good start but it is not enough to get a job. To land a job as a video game developer, you have to take some steps toward achieving your goal. Some of these steps include having the right qualifications, creating a game design portfolio, and expanding your network. We have briefly explained some of these important steps below.
Steps to Finding a Job as a Video Game Designer
- Get an Education
Getting the required educational qualification will boost your career. Most video game designers have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as multimedia design or graphic design. Some universities run degree programs that are specifically for video game designers.
- Take on an Internship
Consider completing an internship program while studying for your degree. You will get relevant experience in the industry and gain some very valuable skills. You will also get to meet new people and network with professionals in the field. This can help you get references upon graduation. You can also check for available internships at design firms or software development companies.
- Create a Portfolio
A portfolio is very important if you want to become a full-time game designer. It allows you to showcase your game design work. As a video game developer, your portfolio can do much more than your resume in terms of selling your skills. A visual representation of your work is the best way for clients to see what you can do. Remember to include former projects and a current project in your portfolio and tailor different portfolios to different design positions.
- Learn New Skills
You should always check for new developments in your field. Continue to learn and sharpen your technical skills and abilities as you work on building a video game design career. Coding languages and software continue to evolve all the time so you have to stay abreast with the changes so you don’t get left behind. Industry news and blogs can keep you up to date on the latest industry trends.
- Network and Get Involved
Try your best to link up with the right set of people in the industry. You can do this by joining an association that can help you make valuable connections. You can also register for workshops and conferences where you can learn more about how the industry works. In certain cases, you can get professional certification from some associations that show your proficiency.
What Is the Average Salary of a Video Game Designer?
According to information from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for video game designer is $77,700 per year.
Salary for an Entry-Level Video Game Designer
According to ZipRecriter, the average annual salary of an entry-level video game designer is $52,169.
Salary for a Mid-Level Video Game Designer
According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a game designer who’s a mid-level employee is $78,570.
Salary for a Senior-Level Video Game Designer
ZipRecruiter puts the average salary for a senior game designer at $119,263, with base pay before bonuses at around $100,400 per year.
Job Outlook for a Video Game Designer
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of special effects artists and animators, which is how the agency classifies game developers, is expected to grow by 16 percent from 2020 to 2030. This is way faster than the average of 7 percent for all jobs.
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It is projected that, on average, there will be about 7,800 job openings in the field per year over the decade. These openings will result from the need to replace workers who have left the workforce for various reasons and due to a need for fresh talent within the growing game industry.
Should I Become a Video Game Designer?
Yes, if you have an eye for design and are comfortable working with computer programs, like 3D design software, digital drawing programs, and UX design programs, becoming a video game designer is a good career choice. To get started, attend online courses, get certificates, or go all out and earn a game designer degree.
You’ll get to earn an attractive salary which will increase as you gain experience. You will also get more opportunities to refine your craft by networking, joining associations, and getting certified. If you don’t want to work as part of a team, you can also choose to become an independent game designer, although this type of employment is less stable.
A Day in the Life of a Video Game Designer FAQs
Designers spend most of their day planning and creating game art, making character designs, and designing gameplay mechanics. They may also write design documents or put game levels together. Designers also attend team meetings and join discussions between development teams to refine the game design.
A video game designer spends around eight to nine hours at work, five days a week. You can have enough family time if you plan well. However, a game studio usually also has several months of 70-plus hour work weeks whenever there’s a major upcoming deadline.
As a video game designer, the competition is high, so you always have to bring your A-game to the job. This is especially true if you’re working as an indie game designer. The work hours can also be long and grueling if you’re working on deadline.
Being a video game designer can be rewarding and creatively fulfilling, since you get to participate in a wide variety of tasks throughout your work day. but it can also be stressful, with long work hours and revisions. A video game designer is expected to have a knowledge of core features such as 2D and 3D design, scripting, sound design, game level design, and story development.
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