How Do You Become a Video Game Designer?

There are many ways to become a video game designer, but most involve a technical degree and an impressive portfolio. Video game design jobs involve technology, psychology, economics and game development, so designers must be versatile and flexible. Most video game design companies treat exploration, collaboration and forward thinking attitudes as essential parts of their business cultures. Many of these companies are developing platforms and engines that leverage tools and technology to empower both staff and customers to succeed.

Software Engineering

Software engineering is a common degree for video game designers because it teaches them how to create, adjust and evolve programs. A software engineering degree teaches students how to develop and manage project workflows for software creation. A software engineering degree specializing in game development is the best degree for a video game designer. Students will learn how to import art, graphics, sound and 3D models into world generation. They will learn how to leverage user reviews and designer feedback to perform adjustments to biome and world generation activities. Class assignments may require students to work with teams to modify and adjust existing video game development platforms. Class topics may include world generation, game features, asset implementation, performance optimizations, engine requirements and environmental art.

Game Level Designer

Those who are already employed within the gaming industry, who also have a technical degree, may apply for internal game level designer jobs. This job requires the candidate to work with multiplayer developers and community leads in order to understand the game design’s vision and goals. Game level designers must engage with community players and industry experts to properly understand end users’ concerns and ideas for improvement opportunities. They may also elicit feedback through player performance data. Game level designers must be very familiar with the game theme and story in order to design and implement improved multiplayer content and systems. They will manage the tech pipeline for multiplayer updates and schedule play tests to generate feedback. Game level designers maintain detailed design documentation for each project.

Gameplay Programmer

Senior gameplay programmers will most likely have a technical degree in software engineering, programming or development. They work with the technical leaders to implement gameplay system and feature improvement initiatives. The ideal gameplay programmer will have strong design sensibilities, the ability to professionally respond to feedback and the organizational skills to manage all core game systems. These programmer leaders demonstrate ownership of gameplay features and systems by working closely with artists, animators and designers to proactively identify and deal with issues before they arise. These video game designers will need a programming degree and at least three to five years of professional experience in the video game industry. They should be familiar with a standard programming language like C++, Java or Python. They must have the ability to cope with production changes and project demands within limited timeframes without sacrificing quality.

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Anyone who wants to become a video game designer must have extreme attention to detail, excellent organizational skills and strong game design sensibilities. Potential degrees include mathematics, computer science, information technology, software development, systems design or programming.