This text is a transcript with translation of the video, recorded for the Scream School by Alexander Pankov, creative director of Skyforge. So the article will describe, what is the role and work of game designer.
Many, coming to the industry, want to develop games and have their own idea of what it is. Once everyone thought that games are made by programmers. That is, the game designer is the one who programs the games.
In fact, this is not so. A game designer does not program games or draw them.
Who is a game designer and what does he do?
When we talk about a game designer, we always use the word design. Or his Russian analogue – the word projection. The designer is, in fact, an engineer. But he is an engineer of the game experience – how the user will play the product and what he will play. If you look for analogies, then the game designer in games is the same as the director in the movie.
If we detail the work of the game designer and see what he does during the day, then we will understand that his life consists of repetitive stages.
First game designer receives Vision [of the producer]. That is a vision of what a game should be. He then collects the key people needed to implement this Vision (artists, programmers, and so on). Following the meeting, the game designer has a common understanding of what needs to be done. All this is done in a design document. Further from this documents are formed “orders” to the team.
When each participant did everything that depended on him and the elements became enough to assemble them into the original product, the game designer makes the final assembly and for the first time watches with the testers what happened. If necessary, sends the elements for revision and brings the product to the “ideal”. In the end, he is the person who puts the work of the whole team into the game.
How did the game designer appear?
The designer has appeared, so to speak, from “dampness”.
The first games were created without a game designer. All functions were performed by the programmer and he was responsible for the final result. Over time, games became more difficult and programmers no longer had time to do anything, except writing the code itself.
Then they began to hire people for graphics, for sound, for people to write scripts. And at some point a person needed to collect all this into a common structure.
Initially, these responsibilities were taken by students, trainees who have no expertise in any of the blocks. With the growth of the industry, more and more “advanced” specialists were required.
So there was a game designer who, in the course of evolution, from a specialist of “support”, working at a minimum rate, turned into a key specialist who has expertise in all stages and elements of creating the game.
Now the game designer is a person who can tell better than others what the project is and how it should be.
The place of the game designer in the industry
When talking about the face of the development team, it is usually either the owners of the company, or game designers. If you google almost any branch of the game industry, those people who speak for it – it’s game designers. And it’s no accident. Throughout life, the game designer communicates with people of absolutely different categories: programmers, artists, writers, customers.
He can communicate, he can find a common language with anyone. A designer is an interpreter from any language to any language.
How does the industry educate a game designer?
A game designer is a person who, by virtue of his work, should not do the task, but do the result. And he will not get away with it if every participant in the process does his job well, and then this work does not come together in one successful project. Thus, he becomes a professional in many ways. A designer can make a game of anything. This is the essence of a good game designer.
The consequence of this, is the fact of high demand in the industry of intelligent designers. And the industry itself is designed in such a way that it develops game designers. With each step and with each project, the designer becomes more and more self-sufficient specialist.
What you need to be able to become a popular game designer?
A good game designer has four key qualities. The main thing is love for games. He should be a gamer. On the second and third places – logic and common sense, without which possession it is impossible to create a successful project. And an important quality is communication. Most of the designer’s job is to communicate.