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Animators in the games industry are responsible for theportrayal of movement and behaviour. Most often this isapplied to give life to game characters and creatures, butsometimes animations are also applied to other elementssuch as objects, scenery, vegetation and environmentaleffects. Animators work for development studios, both publisher- owned and independent, and also for specialist outsourcing companies. Unlike other sectors, where work is often on a project-by-project basis, Animators in the games industry are usually 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 ascharacters, scenery, objects, vehicles, surface textures,clothing, props, and even 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 thetechnical constraints and capabilities of the platform that thegame will be 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 betweenthe publisher and developer, or coordinating work on someof the projects key processes such as managing theoutsourcing of art assets.The Assistant Producer assists the production teamwith the day-to-day running of projects, as well asinternal and external communication throughout thegame development process, ensuring the highestquality product 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, some companies prefer to continue to split theduties between a games leadartists, programmers, designers and producers.The Creative Director is responsible for the overalllook and feel of a computer game. The position is arelatively new one within the games industry and hasevolved out of the producers role as this has shiftedtowards managing the process of completing a gameon time and 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,and devices available to the characters; interface design;and modes of play.Game Designers formulate the concept and vision for agame. They devise the world, setting, story, characters,and all other game elements and design details, and thencommunicate this to the rest of the development team whocreate the art assets and computer code which allow thegame 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, theywill liaise between the publishers sales and marketingdepartments and the game developer, which may belocated hundreds of miles away. Large developers may alsoemploy External Producers; for example, if they aresubcontracting projects to smaller developers.The External Producer works closely with the gamesinternal producer, who is part of the on-site developmentteam. While the internal producer focuses on the manmanagement tasks of getting a game finished on time andon budget, the External Producer is concerned with broaderissues.
The Lead Artist is responsible for the overall look of thegame.A Lead Artist’s day to day work can vary greatly accordingto how far down the development path the project hasprogressed.The styling is often communicated through concept art,and the Lead Artist will supervise, if not actually undertake,the production of illustrative material which indicates thevisual atmosphere 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, andobjects.They must be true to the overall design specification, using thecharacters and story elements defined by the Game Designer, butthey often have considerable scope to vary the specific look andfeel of the level 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 actionsthey must take to overcome them. The architecture helps to definethose challenges by presenting obstacles, places to hide, tests ofskill, and other elements to explore and interact with.The setting and atmosphere devised by the Level Editor can alsogive the player clues as to different ways of progressing though thelevel and the game as a whole
The Product Managers role is to help create and implementmarketing campaigns to maximise the sales of the games theyare working on. Operating as a part of a marketing team, theysupport the senior marketing managers who organiseinternational or global campaigns.The Product Manager may also work with a Brand Manager, whois responsible for developing long-term plans for individual gamefranchises and provides a strategic overview of how a gamebrand should change over time. The tasks carried out by aProduct Manager are varied and change as a games releaseapproaches. In the earliest stages of game development, theymay liaise with development staff to provide some input intoinitial decision such as characters and scenarios.
Programmers work at the heart of the game developmentprocess. They design and write the computer code that runsand controls the game, incorporating and adapting any readymade code libraries and writing custom code as needed. Theytest the code and fix bugs, and they also develop customisedtools for use by other members of the development team.Different platforms (games consoles, PCs, handhelds, mobiles,etc.) have particular programming requirements and there arealso various specialisms within programming, such as physicsprogramming, AI (artificial intelligence), 3D enginedevelopment, interface and control systems.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 thesuccessful delivery 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 productionteam, making sure that the quality and vision of the game ismaintained, whatever problems may arise.Project Managers ensure that a game project is completedon time, within budget, and using the right resources. Priorto production they carry out a detailed analysis of the gamedesign specification and work out the project ‘milestones’(specific targets that have to be met by certaindates), agreeing these with the key technical and creativemanagers, such as the Game Designer, Lead Artist andLead Programmer.
The Technical Artist acts as a bridge between the artistsand programmers working on a game. They ensure artassets can be easily integrated into a game withoutsacrificing either the overall artistic vision or exceedingthe technical limits of the chosen platform.The role is a relatively new one for the games industry,but is becoming increasingly important as consoles andPC hardware becomes more complex.Despite their technical knowledge, the Technical Artistworks part of the art team, and coordinates closely withthe lead artists and the art director, as well as the leadprogrammers.The main areas of responsibility for Technical Artistsinclude setting up and maintaining the art productionworkflow as well as making decisions about which artpackages and tools a studio should use.