A1 Job Roles in the Games IndustryPresentation Transcript
Game Designer - Computer GamesGame Designers are responsible for devising what a game consists 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; and modes of play.Sometimes the Game Designer is the originator of the game’s concept or premise. More often, most of the coreingredients are already defined and the Game Designer must decide how to create the best game using these elements,within the constraints of budget and timescale.Games are usually large projects and the design process might be shared between a number of different people,overseen by the Lead Designer.Game Designers are employed by development studios, both independent and publisher-owned. The current industryclimate means that most conventional publishers and developers are increasingly risk averse.Originality and creativity are valued, but a thorough knowledge of a game’s target audience and market is equally if notmore important. Game Designers should also have a deep understanding of the capabilities and benefits of differenthardware platforms (eg PC, console, mobile device, etc.), as well as familiarity with software technologies andtechniques appropriate to each platform.A lot of game design builds on what’s gone before, but as the medium develops and matures the challenge for the GameDesigner is to create new and engaging titles that will expand the current genre base and cater to new audiences.
Level Editor - Computer GamesThe Level Editor defines and creates interactive architecture for a segment of a game, including the landscape, buildings,and objects. They must be true to the overall design specification, using the characters and story elements defined bythe Game Designer, but they often have considerable scope to vary the specific look and feel of the level for which theyare responsible.The Level Editor also develops the game play for the level, which includes the challenges that the characters face andthe actions they must take to overcome them. The architecture helps to define those challenges by presentingobstacles, places to hide, tests of skill, and other elements to explore and interact with.The setting and atmosphere devised by the Level Editor can also give the player clues as to different ways of progressingthough the level and the game as a whole.Level Editors play an important role in game development, creating memorable environments and game play elementsto satisfy an increasingly sophisticated and widening games audience.They need to be inventive, and understand the design factors which contribute to an entertaining and absorbing gameplay experience.They should also keep up to date with advancing technologies. Level Editors are employed by development studios, bothpublisher-owned and independent.
Lead Artist - Computer Games(AKA - Art Director or Creative Manager)The Lead Artist is responsible for the overall look of the game. Working with the Game Designer in the first instance, theLead Artist devises the game’s visual style and directs the production of all visual material throughout the game’sdevelopment.The Lead Artist produces much of the initial artwork themselves, setting creative and technical standards and alsodetermining the best tools and techniques to deploy.In conjunction with the producer, the Lead Artist puts together and manages the team of artists and animators whoproduce the bulk of the art assets for the game (including environments, characters, objects and effects) under the LeadArtist’s direction.The Lead Artist must ensure that the art and animation team works to schedule and within budget. They also workclosely with the programming team to make sure that all art and animation assets produced can be easily imported intothe game engine.Lead Artists are employed by development studios, both independent and publisher-owned. This is the highest paidposition in the art department, reflecting the skills and experience required.The computer games market is highly competitive and subject to seasonal peaks – the hours can be long and the workquite pressurised, particularly as launch dates approach.
Technical Artist - Computer GamesThe Technical Artist acts as a bridge between the artists and programmers working on a game. They ensure art assetscan be easily integrated into a game without sacrificing either the overall artistic vision or exceeding the technical limitsof the chosen platform.The role is a relatively new one for the games industry, but is becoming increasingly important as consoles and PChardware becomes more complex.Despite their technical knowledge, the Technical Artist works part of the art team, and coordinates closely with the leadartists and the art director, as well as the lead programmers.
Artist - Computer GamesArtists create the visual elements of a game, such as characters, scenery, objects, vehicles, surface textures, clothing,props, and even user interface components.Artists also create concept art and storyboards which help communicate the proposed visual elements during the pre-production phase.Some games try to look as realistic as possible while others aim for a more stylised or fantastical look and it is the Artistsjob to model and texture characters and objects to achieve the desired result. The look of the game and its graphicaldetail is often a significant factor in a games success, second only to its playability.There are various specialisms within the art department, including 3D object modelling, character design, textures,environments, and so on. Each has responsibility for the creation of particular art assets with a game, but there is also alot of movement between roles.Artists are employed by development studios, both independent and publisher-owned. As well as producing graphics forthe game itself they might create artwork for packages, promotional materials and websites.
Animator - Computer GamesAnimators in the games industry are responsible for the portrayal of movement and behaviour. Most often this isapplied to give life to game characters and creatures, but sometimes animations are also applied to other elements suchas objects, scenery, vegetation and environmental effects.Specialist software packages are used to create the animations, which are used for both automated or ‘in game’behaviours and predefined sequences or ‘cut scenes’.Well animated characters bring a game to life – literally – giving players an increased sense of involvement andinteraction. However, as with other game development disciplines, animators must portray movement and behaviour inan efficient and effective way which makes best use of the game engine’s technology, and maximises the opportunitiesfor game play and interactivity.Animators work for development studios, both publisher-owned and independent, and also for specialist outsourcingcompanies. Unlike other sectors, where work is often on a project-by-project basis, Animators in the games industry areusually permanently employed.
Audio Engineer - Computer GamesThe Audio Engineer creates the soundtrack for a game. This might include music; sound effects to support the gameaction, such as gunshots or explosions; character voices and other expressions; spoken instructions; and ambient effects,such as crowd noise, vehicles or rain.The soundtrack helps to create a more immersive experience for the player by reinforcing the mood of the game. It canalso enhance game play by affecting the tempo and adding emotional depth.Audio Engineers work for development studios, both independent and publisher-owned. The size of the audiodepartment depends on the company, but can consist of just one or two people who are sometimes required to workvery long hours, particularly as launch dates approach.Budgets and resources vary, but the role of Audio Engineer is becoming increasingly important as game projects grow incomplexity, with some titles requiring full orchestral scores.Audio Engineers also work for specialist outsourcing companies and localisation services that re-version games fordifferent territories.
Lead Programmer - Computer GamesThe Lead Programmer leads the programming team responsible for creating all the computer code which runs andcontrols a game. Programmers have various roles and specialisms 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 and manages the overall code development process. It is alsotheir job to make sure that everything happens effectively and on time. Lead Programmers are employed bydevelopment studios, either independent or publisher-owned. This is one of the highest paid roles in the gamesindustry, reflecting the responsibility that goes with the role and the skills and experience required. This high pressuredjob can involve hard work and very long hours. The Lead Programmer must also inspire the creativity and technicalexcellence at the heart of game development.
Programmer - Computer GamesProgrammers work at the heart of the game development process. They design and write the computer code that runsand controls the game, incorporating and adapting any ready made code libraries and writing custom code as needed.They test the code and fix bugs, and they also develop customised tools for use by other members of the developmentteam. Different platforms (games consoles, PCs, handhelds, mobiles, etc.) have particular programming requirementsand there are also various specialisms within programming, such as physics programming, AI (artificial intelligence), 3Dengine development, interface and control systems.Games development is an increasingly complex process and large teams of Programmers might be involved in creating agame, some in leadership roles, some working on just one aspect. Programmers are employed by development studios –publisher owned and independent. They also work for middleware producers, an increasingly important sector providingcross platform graphics rendering, game physics, sound management, AI, and other specialist tools. Programmers mightalso work for localisation companies which translate and re-version games for different territories.The work is office based and the atmosphere is usually informal. It can also be a highly pressurised job and Programmersoften work very long hours, particularly as launch dates approach. The financial rewards for good Programmers arepotentially high and their skills are in demand not just in the UK, but also in Europe and the US.
Project Manager / Producer -Computer GamesThe Project Manager is responsible for ensuring the successful delivery of a game, on time and within budget.They control the financial and other resources needed for a project and co-ordinate the work of the production team,making sure that the quality and vision of the game is maintained, whatever problems may arise.The Project Manager has to know the value of everybody’s contribution to a game and keep an overview of the entireprocess from start to finish.This is an increasingly important role as production schedules lengthen and development costs increase. Gamedevelopment is a highly complex process often lasting up to 2 years and requiring teams of programmers, designers,artists, writers, musicians, and even actors.A typical development team might start off small but by the end of the project could involve 30 people or more, andgame projects increasingly require investment in excess of £2 million. Managing this is a big job which carriesconsiderable financial responsibility.Project Managers are employed by development studios and within publisher’s in-house development teams. The workcan involve long hours and might be stressful, particularly as launch dates approach.
Assistant Producer - Computer GamesThe Assistant (or Junior) Producer works with a games production staff to ensure the timely delivery of the highestquality project possible. Typically, they will focus on specific areas of the development process.This could involve handling the communications between the publisher and developer, or coordinating work on some ofthe projects key processes such as managing the outsourcing of art assets.Assistant Producers are employed by publishers as well as development studios. Working within a development studiooften involves managing communications between different teams such as design, art and programming.In a publisher environment, Assistant Producers will focus on liaising between sales and marketing departments and thedeveloper, and supporting the work of the publishers external producer.Game development is a highly complex process sometimes lasting three years or more, involving teams of up to 100people and budgets over £5 million. Helping to managing this is a big job. Hence the work can involve long hours andmight be stressful, particularly as a games launch approaches.
External Producer - Computer GamesAs the job title suggest, the External Producer is responsible for ensuring the successful delivery of a game, whileworking externally from the development team.External Producers are almost always employed by a game publisher. Working out of the publishers head office, theywill liaise between the publishers sales and marketing departments and the game developer, which may be locatedhundreds of miles away. Large developers may also employ External Producers; for example, if they are subcontractingprojects to smaller developers.Most External Producers handle more than one project and work with more than one development studio. For thisreason, the job can involve travel, and plans that change at short notice.Game development is a highly complex process often lasting two years or more, involving teams of up to 100 people andbudgets over £5 million. Helping to managing this is a big job, which involves a lot of responsibility, as well as therequirement to work long hours and deal with high levels of stress, particularly during the final stages of production.
Creative Director - Computer GamesThe Creative Director is the key person during the game development process, overseeing any high level decisions thataffect how the game plays, looks or sounds.Creative Directors are employed by development studios, both publisher-owned and independent, but not all gamecompanies employ Creative Directors. However, some companies prefer to continue to split the duties between agames lead artists, programmers, designers and producers.Where the position is used, each game development team has its own Creative Director, although some particularlyexperienced and talented practitioners oversee multiple projects.As a highly paid and senior role, it involves a lot of responsibility, as well as the requirement to work long hours and dealwith high levels of stress, particularly during the final stages of production.
QA Tester - Computer GamesQuality Assurance Technicians, or Testers, perform a vital role, testing, tuning, debugging, and suggesting the detailedrefinements that ensure the quality and playability of the finished game.Their job involves play-testing the game in a systematic way, analysing the game’s performance against the designer’sintentions, identifying problems and suggesting improvements.They test for bugs in the software, from complete crashes to minor glitches in the programme. They also act as thegame’s first audience, reporting on its playability, and identifying any aspects which could be improved.Testers are employed by design studios and publishers. They might have to work long hours, under pressure, dependingon the release schedule for a game, and at times the work can be hectic and stressful.
Product (Brand) Manager –Computer GamesThe Product Managers role is to help create and implement marketing campaigns to maximise the sales of the gamesthey are working on. Operating as a part of a marketing team, they support the senior marketing managers whoorganise international or global campaigns.The Product Manager may also work with a Brand Manager, who is responsible for developing long-term plans forindividual game franchises and provides a strategic overview of how a game brand should change over time.Product Managers typically work for game publishers or independent marketing companies who work with publishers.Only the largest game developers require internal Product Managers. The work can involve long hours and might bestressful, particularly as deadlines and launch dates approach.
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