Computer Game Designer Job Description

Find out what a computer game design job is really like.

computer game design

A computer game design job isn't exactly play time; it requires some serious skills and hard work. Legendary games such as "Grand Theft Auto" and "Halo" would have never seen the light of day without video game designers putting in long hours. You have to be committed to creating a successful game; poorly received games could result in financial difficulties for a company. Being able to handle that additional pressure is a must. 

It may not be a good career fit for casual gamers. However, if video games are your passion, you'll be happy to know that "being a responsible adult" and being a gamer aren't mutually exclusive.

Everyday Computer Game Design Tasks

Your daily work in a game design job will depend largely on the specific job path you take. You can choose to focus your work on any phase of the computer game design process, from the initial planning, to designing characters and environments, to programming. The following tasks are all part of producing an enjoyable video game:

  • Brainstorming, collaborating and making revisions with teammates (writers, programmers, testers, artists, musicians)
  • Designing elements such as characters, levels and puzzles
  • Compiling game design document that describes game in detail
  • Working with artists and programmers to lay out the game
  • Focusing on user experience and game interface
  • Creating art and animation
  • Coding and programming
  • Managing projects (budgeting, time management, and communicating with other departments)
  • Testing and QA

Skills Needed

  • Enthusiasm and Knowledge – Just by playing video games, you've probably already absorbed more than you think about good game design. You've experienced first-hand which things frustrate users and which excite them. Experience and enthusiasm are definite assets for a game designer. You'll need both as you embark on a video game design career—which can require long hours and a commitment to staying on top of new developments in the game industry.
  • Computer Skills – Technology is an integral part of the computer game design industry. Whether you're writing code or creating graphics, you'll definitely need technical knowledge and an aptitude for learning new software.
  • Artistic Ability – Graphics, animation and story are crucial components of computer game design. They can make or break a user experience. Video game characters and virtual environments are more complex than ever, which means that artistic people are in demand in the video game industry.
  • Teamwork – In a computer game design job, the odds that you'll work in isolation are extremely slim. There are a lot of moving parts in a game design project. You'll be cooperating with many people to meet goals and deadlines, and you'll need to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively, both verbally and in writing.