Animators in the games industry are responsible for the portrayalof movement and behaviour. Most often this is applied to give lifeto game characters and creatures, but sometimes animationsare also applied to other elements such as objects, scenery,vegetation and environmental effects.Animators work for development studios, both publisher-owned and independent, and also for specialist outsourcingcompanies. Unlike other sectors, where work is often on aproject-by-project basis, Animators in the games industry areusually permanently employed.Animation is painstaking work requiring patience andattention to detail. Animation for a game also requiresworking in a technically efficient manner, taking intoaccount the constraints of the game engine.
Artists create the visual elements of a game, such as characters,scenery, objects, vehicles, surface textures, clothing, props, andeven user interface components.Artists also create concept art and storyboards which helpcommunicate the proposed visual elements during the pre-production phase.Some Artists specialise in the design of human figures andcharacters, others in buildings and landscapes, and some intextures for 3D objects. Artists must be aware of the technicalconstraints and capabilities of the platform that the game willbe played on.
The Assistant (or Junior) Producer works with a gamesproduction staff to ensure the timely delivery of the highestquality project possible. Typically, they will focus on specificareas of the development process.This could involve handling the communications between thepublisher and developer, or coordinating work on some of theprojects key processes such as managing the outsourcing ofart assets.The Assistant Producer assists the production team withthe day-to-day running of projects, as well as internal andexternal communication throughout the gamedevelopment process, ensuring the highest qualityproduct is delivered to the agreed schedule.
The Creative Director is the key person during the gamedevelopment process, overseeing any high level decisionsthat affect how the game plays, looks or sounds.Creative Directors are employed by developmentstudios, both publisher-owned and independent, but not allgame companies employ Creative Directors. However, somecompanies prefer to continue to split the duties between agames lead artists, programmers, designers and producers.The Creative Director is responsible for the overall lookand feel of a computer game. The position is a relativelynew one within the games industry and has evolved outof the producers role as this has shifted towardsmanaging the process of completing a game on timeand on budget.
Game Designers are responsible for devising what a gameconsists of and how it plays. They plan and define all theelements and components of a game: its setting; structure;rules; story flow; characters; the objects, props, vehicles, anddevices available to the characters; interface design; andmodes of play.Game Designers formulate the concept and vision for a game.They devise the world, setting, story, characters, and all othergame elements and design details, and then communicatethis to the rest of the development team who create the artassets and computer code which allow the game to be played.
the External Producer is responsible for ensuring thesuccessful delivery of a game, while working externally fromthe development team.External Producers are almost always employed by a gamepublisher. Working out of the publishers head office, they willliaise between the publishers sales and marketingdepartments and the game developer, which may be locatedhundreds of miles away. Large developers may also employExternal Producers; for example, if they are subcontractingprojects to smaller developers.The External Producer works closely with the games internalproducer, who is part of the on-site development team. Whilethe internal producer focuses on the man management tasksof getting a game finished on time and on budget, the ExternalProducer is concerned with broader issues.
The Lead Artist is responsible for the overall look of the game.A Lead Artist’s day to day work can vary greatly according tohow far down the development path the project hasprogressed.The styling is often communicated through concept art, andthe Lead Artist will supervise, if not actually undertake, theproduction of illustrative material which indicates the visualatmosphere and graphical design for the game.
The Lead Programmer leads the programming teamresponsible for creating all the computer code which runs andcontrols a game. Programmers have various roles andspecialisms including AI (artificial intelligence), game enginedevelopment, user interface, tools development, and physics.These are all overseen by the Lead Programmer who isresponsible for the technical specification of the game andmanages the overall code development process. It is also theirjob to make sure that everything happens effectively and ontime. Lead Programmers are employed by developmentstudios, either independent or publisher-owned. This is one ofthe highest paid roles in the games industry, reflecting theresponsibility that goes with the role and the skills andexperience required. This high pressured job can involve hardwork and very long hours. The Lead Programmer must alsoinspire the creativity and technical excellence at the heart ofgame development.
The Level Editor defines and creates interactive architecture for asegment of a game, including the landscape, buildings, and objects.They must be true to the overall design specification, using thecharacters and story elements defined by the Game Designer, but theyoften have considerable scope to vary the specific look and feel of thelevel for which they are responsible.The Level Editor also develops the game play for the level, whichincludes the challenges that the characters face and the actions theymust take to overcome them. The architecture helps to define thosechallenges by presenting obstacles, places to hide, tests of skill, andother elements to explore and interact with.The setting and atmosphere devised by the Level Editor can also givethe player clues as to different ways of progressing though the leveland the game as a whole
The Product Managers role is to help create and implementmarketing campaigns to maximise the sales of the games they areworking on. Operating as a part of a marketing team, they supportthe senior marketing managers who organise international or globalcampaigns.The Product Manager may also work with a Brand Manager, who isresponsible for developing long-term plans for individual gamefranchises and provides a strategic overview of how a game brandshould change over time. The tasks carried out by a ProductManager are varied and change as a games release approaches. Inthe earliest stages of game development, they may liaise withdevelopment staff to provide some input into initial decision such ascharacters and scenarios.
Programmers work at the heart of the game development process.They design and write the computer code that runs and controlsthe game, incorporating and adapting any ready made codelibraries and writing custom code as needed. They test the codeand fix bugs, and they also develop customised tools for use byother members of the development team. Different platforms(games consoles, PCs, handhelds, mobiles, etc.) have particularprogramming requirements and there are also various specialismswithin programming, such as physics programming, AI (artificialintelligence), 3D engine development, interface and controlsystems.The Lead Programmer translates the design into a technicalspecification for the game and then delegates tasks to theprogramming team. Some work as general Programmers on awhole range of tasks, often working with code that otherProgrammers have written.
The Project Manager is responsible for ensuring the successfuldelivery of a game, on time and within budget.They control the financial and other resources needed for aproject and co-ordinate the work of the production team,making sure that the quality and vision of the game ismaintained, whatever problems may arise.Project Managers ensure that a game project is completed ontime, within budget, and using the right resources. Prior toproduction they carry out a detailed analysis of the game designspecification and work out the project ‘milestones’ (specifictargets that have to be met by certain dates), agreeing thesewith the key technical and creative managers, such as theGame Designer, Lead Artist and Lead Programmer.
The Technical Artist acts as a bridge between the artists andprogrammers working on a game. They ensure art assetscan be easily integrated into a game without sacrificingeither the overall artistic vision or exceeding the technicallimits of the chosen platform.The role is a relatively new one for the games industry, but isbecoming increasingly important as consoles and PChardware becomes more complex.Despite their technical knowledge, the Technical Artist workspart of the art team, and coordinates closely with the leadartists and the art director, as well as the lead programmers.The main areas of responsibility for Technical Artists includesetting up and maintaining the art production workflow aswell as making decisions about which art packages andtools a studio should use.
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