Amor, what do you do?
I play Hearthstone at my desk all day.
I work as a game designer for a video game company. It’s my dream job, and I’m still amazed by what I’m able to do on a daily basis.
When I explain what I do for a living, most people aren’t sure what to make of it. “Game Designer” is a confusing title – it’s unclear. Some ask, “Oh, so you program it?” which is the general assumption. Other people think I just play games all day.
Side note: I don’t think my parents know what I do.
I often think of what game designer, Liz England, wrote in a post of her own. She goes on to explain how a game designer addresses a set of questions . It’s a great read; and paints a wonderful picture of the type or work that I do.
But Amor, what do you DO?
I think about the game – what it should be, what it is, and how to make it. At the beginning of the project, a large part of what I do is brain storm with others on what the game will be. What’s the premise? What do you do in the game? What’s the goal? What are the rules? How do you play it? Who is it for? Game Designers figure a lot of this out.
We start with sketches, brain storms, physical prototypes, one page pitches… a number of things. We figure out all the details of the game from start to finish.
It’s up to the Game Designer to figure out what it all means to everyone that touches the game – the artists, the programmers, the other designers, and of course… the player. We transition from answering questions to ensuring the game becomes the thing we see in our own heads (and those of our team). We do this by helping with implementation and creating the content – whether it be making the layout the for a level or writing the dialog of a character. Responsibilities of a Game Designer vary based on the studio. Some are specialized in doing one thing (level design, systems design, puzzle design). Some designers do a bit of everything.
We champion what the game should feel like (I know, isn’t that subjective?) and we help shape it as the game itself grows. It’s… both a creative and technical undertaking.
I could go on and on about what I do, but I think this is a good stopping point.