What Does a Game Designer Do: Requirements, Job Description & Responsibilities
In the United States, there are currently an estimated 287,200 video game designers. Between 2016 and 2026, the job market for video game designers is poised to leap by 9.3%. The potential market increase can be attributed to the growing value of the video game market worldwide which is projected to surpass the 200 billion USD mark in 2023.
These statistics certainly positions a video game designer career as a lucrative job path and an employable game creation talent. But have you ever wondered what it takes to become one? And what exactly is a video game designer?
Today, we’ll unveil the nitty-gritty of video game designer requirements and what role they play in game porting and co-development.
A game designer is in charge of the concept of gameplay, layout, and other creative aspects. This person leads the game development processes from ideation to release, by supervising all stages and processes of the game’s life cycle.
The broad definition of video game designer is one who creates a gaming experience that is both fun and playable. This can be achieved through the mechanics, the visual design, or the storyline. And the key to good gameplay experience is making sure that all these parts work together synergistically. If even one aspect of your game underperforms, it cripples the whole process. This is when the game designer takes the reins.
Overall, a video game designer’s tasks vary by company and its focus. In porting, one of the main video game designer’s duties is to ensure that the ported game is perfectly converted for usage on another platform. For console porting, this task includes accommodating the game for all console controller configurations, as well as adjusting its look and feel for all screens. When porting a game to mobile, game designers fine-tune the control scheme, UI, and other salient components so that the game can be successfully adapted for Android and/or iOS.
In co-development, they step in as fellow game creators that are hired as a part of an extended game development team.
Depending on the scale of changes to be made, video game-designer tasks may focus on devising the concept and implementing the game on the new platform, adjusting the platform specifics, as well as creating and optimizing the tailored functionality for the platform. Documentation, prototyping, game balance, and mechanic decomposition are also among the core responsibilities of a game designer that secure successful game porting.
Also, the game logic might have to be adjusted in order to fit higher framerates. Vanquish PC glitch is a prominent example of poor porting that led to a bug causing 60fps players to take twice the damage of those capped at 30fps. It means that the game code was poorly optimized and underdeveloped for graphics performance. The latter isn’t the direct responsibility of the game designer but falls within their supervision area.
In co-development, game designers are assigned to a project as an extension of core dev teams. Depending on the stage of your idea or product, they can contribute to different stages – from concept creation to post-production analytics.For example, game designers at Pingle Studio add their expertise to complex global production teams as part of our co-development services. Within this engagement model, they can take over all parts of the creation process from full-scale video game level design services to level building, thus uniting the unique mechanics, story elements, and artistic game level designing style into a resonant heartbeat.
By this time, you must think that video game development jobs encompass virtually every area of game creation with overwhelming responsibilities and multi-skill tasks. Well, you are right. Video game designer requirements are competitive and quite demanding.
Here are some of the essential ones needed for full-cycle game development services:
- Presentation skills;
- Understanding of gameplay theory;
- Proficiency in creating technical game design documentation;
- Storytelling skills;
- Technical ability in software technologies and programming languages;
- Understanding the UI designing approaches;
- Experience with game scripting tools (blueprints);
- Up-to-date experience in Unity, Unreal or equivalent, including source control;
- Familiarity with development environments.
However, based on the specific area of their responsibility, video game requirements vary greatly. In porting, their focus field is game optimization, hence they must be well-versed in-game control design and game UI so that the latter clicks perfectly with the new platform. In Android or iOS porting, these specialists are often responsible for renovating the game monetization so that the product remains profitable.
When the porting process involves fundamental changes that affect the gameplay, for example, moving shooting mechanics from keyboard+mouse to gameplay, they are the ones who create the game from the ground up, ensuring that every aspect is carefully crafted to provide maximum entertainment value.
That seems like a lot on one’s plate. So what degree satisfies the education requirements for video game designers? Most vacancies related to video game design ask for a bachelor’s degree as the main candidate requirement. Thus, over 70% of game designers hold a BA in a related field, such as computer science, graphics, computer engineering, or game design. Another 11% percent of video game designer education includes a Master’s degree. However, two-year or associate degree programs are also up to minimum video game designer degree requirements.
As for essential job functions, a typical video game designer job description features the following duties:
- Translating designs from ideas to final implementation in the game;
- Tuning and balancing gameplay systems;
- Maintaining and developing design doc mentation;
- Developing game prototypes;
- Game metrics processing and analysis;
- Designing, developing, and customizing game mechanics;
- Gathering and analyzing game data and metrics for further advancements;
- Collaborating with the team at all stages of development;
- Improving balance, economy and monetization.
All totaled, game designers are hired to create new games and improve existing ones. From the initial design to developing a prototype, from adding graphics to testing for bugs, game designers are the backbone for any game development project. They exemplify profound expertise in overlapping areas, which helps them devise captivating experiences.
We, at Pingle Studio, know first-hand the sheer number of skills our game designers need to deliver supreme services. As a global game development partner, Pingle Studio covers full-cycle game development services, including specific areas like game design, testing, art, and animation, as well as porting and co-development.
Pingle Studio offers seasoned game designer talent to assist global publishers in making games from ideation to the last bit alignment. Pingle Studio helps design and develop multi-platform games across the diverse ecosystem of consoles, PC, mobiles, and other platforms like VR sets.
Pingle Studio’s talented team of committed game designers creates timeless interactive entertainment by demonstrating a unique combination of experience and skills, rooted in a multitude of areas. When assisting in the co-development of Undungeon, an action role-playing experience, our game designers were flexible enough to calculate game balancing within a tight deadline. As a result, our client has smoothly launched Undungeon on Steam and Microsoft Store in a timely manner.
In another project, our team Pingle Studio guided the console porting process of the Eldest Souls game. The product wasn’t meant to be ported on consoles: the whole game architecture was designed for the PC exclusively. Therefore, the porting process involved full-scale game design transformations. Our designers conceptualized and implemented the console gaming system as well as developed the whole game functionality, optimizing it to get the PC-like gameplay on consoles.
Moreover, Pingle Studios’ game designers boast exceptional control engineering skills and UX development expertise were on full display when porting Hello Neighbor to iOS and Android. As a result, our client’s audience broadened while delivering innovative procedural ai gameplay experience.
But the excitement never stops for the game development industry, which is why we’re constantly growing our game design teams with fresh talent that can stand up to challenges and deliver memorable game experiences.
So, if you’re looking to port your game to another platform or extend the in-house team with additional creative power, get in touch and we’ll take care of that.
Game design is an exciting and rapidly evolving field that positions game designers as sought-after specialists who play a pivotal role in game creation. The skills, responsibilities, and daily tasks are manifold in game design. They range from character conceptualization to game balancing to gaming protocols and quality control. Therefore, these professionals have to juggle a plethora of duties grounded in design, development, and ideation.
But no matter at what part of the game development journey you find yourself, Pingle Studio’s veteran game designers are always ready to call the play.