Our guide to computer games design
Kristina K

Our guide to computer games design

First published date January 14 2014 Amended date January 15 2016

The games industry is one of the largest in the world and any computer games enthusiasts will undoubtedly have at some point dreamt of working in it. Playing Call of Duty for a living? Sounds like a dream right? With a computer games design course under your belt it could actually be a reality. From building a strong foundation to gaining a degree or a postgraduate qualification in the field, find out how ideas can be transformed and conveyed through computer graphics and storyboarding techniques.


Got the talent?  Get better with a qualification

Having the talent is one thing, but it’s also important to shape that talent into something better with the right computer games design qualifications. Before working in this complex industry, knowledge of graphic design, computer animation and software development is necessary, and computer games design courses will usually aim to equip you not only with skills in these areas but a recognised qualification that employers will be familiar with. You might also develop a portfolio during your studies, which will help showcase your work in interviews.


Become a video game designer

There’s a high demand for computer game designers and this has steadily increased throughout the years. Whilst video game design schools have since been inundated with students pursuing a computer game design course, more fun, exciting and visually appealing games have since been created. Top favourites like Sims, Warcraft, Counter Strike and Grand Theft Auto have spawned cutting edge gaming designs that are creative and innovative.


Specialist courses

There are loads of avenues to explore if you’re genuinely interested in computer games design. Consider games development for iPhone/iPod Touch. You’ll use Objective X and Open GL ES, understand computer programming particularly C or C++ and get comfortable using Apple Macs and PCs. Alternatively, character animation and modelling courses are designed for you to get into animation within the games and VFX industry. Learn to design characters and animal art, human anatomy, biped and quadped animation. Video game popularity and complexity is exploding, and so are the opportunities at game companies and studios, depending on what area of computer games design you want to specialise in.


What do you learn?

At the end of most computer games design courses, you will have learnt a variety of things such as how to generate ideas for a game concept, prepare game design documentation, present to stakeholders, test and document computer gaming platforms, develop digital graphics and web animation for interactive media, work with graphic images and graphical file formats through manipulation, devising 2D production, and applications and features.


Funny truths about game designers

·         Everyone thinks you have the coolest job. Imagine going back to a school reunion and you meet an old friend, ‘Oh you’re a financial analyst? Lovely! Oh me? I’m a game designer.’ Understated awesome!

·         No one understands what you do. People will ask questions like; ‘Do you program?’ No. ‘Do you make the art?’ No. ‘Do you design levels?’ Sort of. ‘Do you write the story?’ Sometimes. Explaining what game designers do is a rabbit hole that just ends in confusion on all sides.

·         Your mum thinks it’s not a real job but she’s totally proud of you.

·         What you design is only the beginning of a lot of pieces – art, voiceover, programming, game mechanics, level design, marketing and monetisation. 99 times out of 100, the amazing games are made by very cool teams of people – collaboration is an important part of the process.

·         Games design brings out the best of your obsessive compulsive side. Every detail must be accounted for, bringing out the perfectionist in you.

·         As a game designer, you live and breathe the content for the entire design process. After all, you did research the idea, iterate on it and test every possible way of interacting with it, so it’s only natural that you have an in-depth knowledge of historical facts and made-up content that no one will ever know.


Funny truths about gamers

·         Gamers do better in jobs that are active. Gamers have great hand-eye coordination, so playing each week helps keep them sharp at work. Research has even shown that surgeons perform better when they regularly play video games.

·         Gamers are better at jobs that are intellectual. They constantly gather information online about the game to be better players.

·         Gamers are happier in the long run. This probably has to do with the fact that gaming is social and gives people a sense of belonging to a community. 

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