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How does the daily life of a video game designer look like?

I've always been interesting in game design , but I don't know much of what happens on a day-to-day basis.

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Steven’s Answer

Video games are a huge collaboration between programmers, graphic designers, game designers, artists, product managers, and producers—each of which makes a very specific type of contribution to the final product.

In the development of a large game, the game designer doesn't do programming, but focuses specifically on creating concepts and designs for game mechanics and systems. This might involve, for example, balancing unit types (e.g How many hit points should each unit have? How much damage should this unit inflict? How fast should it move? How do I keep this unit from being overpowered compared to other units? How much time should this unit take to build? etc.). On a very large AAA game, a game designer might sit on a team that designs only one small piece of a larger game (the trading system, the attack system).

In a smaller game team, the game designer role may overlap with other job functions, such as graphic design, programming or production.

In any case, much of the designer's time is spent meeting and coordinating with other members of the team to make sure they have a shared vision for the game; creating documentation and technical requirements for the systems they've created; making sure those systems are implemented correctly and work as expected; and testing/modifying their designs.

i am very interested my career because of your career advice Sarumathy S.

i am very interested my career because of your career advice thank you janani S.

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Wes’s Answer

Hi there! My daily life as a Game Designer varies greatly, depending on a few factors. The main factors are: 1) what type of game I'm on 2) team size, and 3) what stage the game is in (of its life-cycle). Generally, game designers are responsible for defining all the "rules" of how a game works. Hopefully when all the rules are put together, the resulting game is fun!

One designer usually isn't responsible for the entire game. Instead, the areas that need game designer input are broken up into different sections. Depending on the size of the team, a designer may be working on one or many of the below areas:
- Story/Fiction
- Systems Design
- Level Design
- Economy/Tuning
- Game Mechanics
- Individual Features
- Meta-Game

My day may be spent in many meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page and/or working directly with artists, engineers, product managers, producers, and other game designers. Once everyone is on the same page, details need to be written up in game design docs and/or prototyped to "find the fun". After details are defined, the game designer will need to be very hands-on during development to make sure things get implemented correctly as well as to navigate unforeseen issues that may arise.

Brainstorm -> Problem Solve -> Document -> Work with others to Build Software/Prototype -> Polish -> Release -> Repeat with a different feature

Thank you! Sami P.

i am very interested my career because of your career advice Sarumathy S.

i am very interested my career because of your career advice thank you janani S.

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Holly’s Answer

Manuel, Hi thanks for the great query.
I attend a college that places 3D animation, game creation software etc. At companies like Disney, Dream Works so yes the market is there. This depends on how well you can create, what you bring to the table and how hard that you are willing to work to accomplish all your goals in the field of game creation. We also have accounts with Revel gaming. So I do know people from colleges are being placed in these positions. Summary multimedia artists and animators image Multimedia artists and animators create animation and visual effects for television, movies, video games, and other media. Quick Facts: Multimedia Artists and Animators
2012 Median Pay $61,370 per year
$29.50 per hour

Entry-Level Education Bachelor’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2012 68,900
Job Outlook, 2012-22 6% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 4,300

What Multimedia Artists and Animators Do
Multimedia artists and animators create animation and visual effects for television, movies, video games, and other forms of media.
The outlook predictions are slower than average so I may want to major in something more and do this as a minor. Depending on how quickly you want to start working. Your other options are to begin working in this field as an assistant when you go into college part time if at all possible so you can get ahead of the GAME. If this is something you are passionate about go for it. It may take a while, jobs do open up and you can do related occupations while you are looking for a job if the job growth is still slow. I do know people are getting jobs that I know in this field. So do not let that detour your dreams of being a developer. You may want to do programming java, JavaScript, coding and related software for gaming. Take all the software classes that you can and you will have a great amount of certifications on your resume, which will help you, find and keep a job. Once employed stay where you are for a while give yourself a chance to build from the bottom up. You can do it. Good luck with this a great career choice, you will do well.

Thanks for all the info! Andrea H.

that helps so much thanks Samuel.kendall S.

Thank you! Sami P.

i am very interested my career because of your career advice Sarumathy S.

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Harold’s Answer

I loved being a Designer. At one time or another, I have designed everything from a console RTS, console and PC First Person Shooters, third-person action title, and several MMOs. In every case, my responsibilities and daily tasks were different.

Giving you an example of the FPS I worked on:

I prefer working early, to get my focused time while everyone else is driving in. Each day I started by playing the maps I had built overnight (Dev consoles were SLOW) to see what changes needed to be made. Mostly, this was about lines of sight, movement flow, cover and concealment, and scripting for destructible environments. That usually built a list of work that ate 2-3 hours.

From about 11 to lunch, I would sketch ideas for additional maps/levels and present them to my Lead. Good ideas moved forward to design stage and the rest (you generate at least 4 times as many bad ideas as good ones, if you are pushing for the next great idea) got revision notes or trashed. You develop a very thick skin and learn to kill your own ideas if they are bad.

At that time, we were frequently crunching, so lunch was at my desk, peer-reviewing scripting and layout from other designers or in a focused play test of the latest build.

After lunch, I would sometimes jog a couple of miles with coworkers to get the blood pumping.

Level building, collision polishing, quest scripting, and environment decoration took the rest of the afternoon. The best days were when people forgot I was there and I got to go deep into the creative and mental parts of Design. Other days, the actual design work was shelved in favor of meetings.

When I got home, I would usually play competitive products until midnight. Research!

Crunch happened a lot, but is becoming less the norm. More managers worked their way through the crunch frenzy of the early 2000s and have decided (as I have) that it is a poor tool. Instead, companies work to enable employees to be WHOLE people, with a healthy work/life balance. The quality level of people who are driven with passion for their work beats the tar out of work that is forcibly extracted through 16 hour days.

Design is not for everybody, though almost everybody THINKS they are a designer. There is a reason each Game Industry career exists. Pick the one that sings to you.

In the end, there are crappy days (weeks, months) in any career. If you have the character to weather those, Game Design is a fantastic career. I remember stopping in mid argument at my first design gig, astonished that I was being paid to hotly debate how many goblins it should take to kill a troll. That was work. Seriously.

Thank you! Sami P.

i am very interested my career because of your career advice Sarumathy S.