If you have fantasized to be part of a game development company, then the time is ripe. Gaming has developed and grown from its simple roots and turned into a profitable business or profession today. Game development as a profitable business is not as simple as it sounds. To animate characters, keep the user engaged in the game, creating levels of difficulties, and marketing the video game is a different challenge in itself. Developing a video game involves so many different skills.
There is a team of different professionals involved in developing a video game. The roles and responsibilities of each person are different from the others. You can recruit key persons like project managers, writers, artists, designers, or even developers for your game development team. But you have to be quite selective on this part.
Developing a game, deciding the roles of each person depends on what type of game and for what platform you are designing the game. Broadly speaking, the team roles that broadly go into video game development are varied and while some may be a top priority, some maybe not that essential. But still, they very much have a role to play in the overall development of the game.
Designers are those that are involved with the overall game design. They design the basic structure of the game, are involved with character development, narration, a user interface of the game. They establish the basic rules of the game, decide on the various levels of the game, voices of the characters, the visual design of the game, and graphics in the game.
Designers have a team of Junior Designers, Lead Designers, Level Designers, Graphic Artists, whose roles are decided before the game development. Designers usually control the overall gameplay design and assign tasks such as creating the game difficulty levels and graphics to their team. While Creative Designers may oversee the game design and development, the actual task of character development and graphic design is done by the team.
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Programmer / Developer
The coding aspect of a video game is done by Programmers/Developers. They determine the overall flow of the game and develop the codebase of the entire game. Writing a program code and algorithm is necessary to build a game engine. It is the responsibility of the Programmer to debug the game, and perform beta-testing and develop the prototype of the game for testing.
Developing the game mechanics is an important part of a Programmer’s job. They work with the Game Designers to develop the user interface and building the levels of the game. They work on programming languages such as C# or C++ or higher languages like Python to write their program code of the game. Developers usually are Computer Science graduates and work on a broad spectrum of skillsets.
Game art is about developing the visuals and graphics of a game. Artists are responsible to create a visual feel of the entire game, and each of its levels and stages. Artists are the ones who create graphic design, tools, weapons, characters, game environs, backgrounds, and animations of the game.
They collaborate closely with the Art Director, 3D Renderer, or Lead Designer to develop a storyboard, animated characters, graphics, and visual elements about the world that we see in a game. Artists are generally skilled in 3D art, visual design, animation, pixel art, and other skillsets. They require a visual sense and can transform ideas into appealing visuals and animation.
Sound is as important as visuals in a game design, and the work of a Sound Designer is to creatively work with sound and design the sound to create a range of sound effects and music in gameplay. Visuals may seem boring without a sound, and sound lends environs to the scene and gives a clue as to the nature of the game.
Sound Designers work with Game Designers to understand characters and their voices, animated scenes that may require sound engineering, or lend suitable voices to characters according to their personalities. They have to do sound editing and voice mixing and are highly technical persons, who know how to play around with sound design. They use sound libraries or import sounds to be used in the game, and their skills usually are sensitive to sounds and noises around them.
A video game is about animation, and Animators are those that lend animation to a scene. Game Animators work with 3D art, character animation, and are the persons who create the visual animation that you see in the game. They may work with Game Artists, Graphic Artists, Sketch Artists, Storyboard designers, which in general, helps them to decide on the best animation for the scene or characters. It also helps them make animated moves, and different walkthroughs of the game.
Game Animators have to work with rendering, characterization, backgrounds, game modes, levels and develop animated moves at several stages of the game. They create views, rendering the scene in 3D and 2D.
Writers / Narrative Designer
A game is nothing, but a visual story with animation. It involves developing a storyboard, characters, and the world in which the game is set. Characters say dialogues, and there is a narrative that gives the game a logical structure. The Storyteller of Writer is someone who writes the script of the game, the dialogues as spoken by different characters, the plot of the story, in-game narration, text, and other content relevant to the game.
A Game Writer should be able to bring out the characters through their dialogues or narration, and the text should be in sync with the game and its nature.
A Level Designer is someone who designs the different levels of the game. They have to go through the entire cycle of the game and understand the levels and challenges involved in each level, before designing the interface and animations.
Level Designers can use various specialized animation software and create the environment of that particular level or stage. They need to have the ability to transform the 2D environment into 3D design and use animations. Understanding physics, architecture, and other concepts are essential for a Level Designer. They have to understand the complete gameplay process and integrate levels at specific stages of gameplay.
Quality Assurance / Tester
The Tester goes through the entire game and points out errors in the gameplay, bugs, and quality of the game as seen by the end-user. A Tester also acts as a Quality Assurance person, who checks the quality of the game in respect of its graphics, plot, visual design, sounds, text content, animation sequences, character portrayal, and the levels of challenges posed in the game.
Their unique perspective can bring certain points which may have been overlooked by designers or writers. Their role in the overall development of the video game is essential to the game itself, as it will decide the potential of the game.
A video game is made with profitability in mind. It has to be sold via various social platforms and channels to market them so that it creates a unique image in the mind of the end-user. It is the role of a Producer who manages the business aspects of a commercial video game. He handles and oversees the promotion, marketing, economics involved in the game, from the development stage to the end stage when it is tested for distribution and commercial use.
He is someone who asks questions such as what is the cost involved to make this game, how many experts are needed to develop this game, what is the expenditure to be made on that person, and so on. The Producer also sees over the cash flow from the game profits and also visualizes whether the game is profitable or not. He manages other agencies involved in the game development cycle such as PR, marketing, sales, third parties, advertising, etc.
A Project Manager sees the overall progress of the game and manages the entire team and team leaders. They are the one who motivates the team and supplies them the necessary resources needed to develop the game, and it may be anything from software, hardware, technical guides and so on.
A Project Manager can be elected from within the game development team or even someone specifically chosen for this purpose, one who is experienced in managing a team. He sets timeframes for particular tasks and sets deadlines for completing stages or levels of a game. A Project Manager has to have an overall knowledge about the project to be managed and should be able to motivate and guide the teams, and even go through appraisals at certain stages of game development.
Marketing / PR
Marketing is generally done in-house. The marketing team takes care of the marketing, advertising, PR, and other aspects of game design development. Marketing involves promotional events, advertising in social media channels, and preparing a marketing plan. PR agencies can also get involved and work in sync with the marketing team, to liaison with third-party agencies, newspapers, television channels, and handles the promotion of the game.
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All the roles, largely, work in collaboration with each other in order to complete the project and launch the game into the market. However, the roles mentioned above depend on the type and complexity of the project, and also the gaming company. It’s not an easy task to recruit people for each role, even if it is only to hire developers for startup. The gaming company has to keep the requirements of the project into consideration while recruiting the roles. As every team role contributes its own strengths to the process of developing a game, careful thought should go into the skills that every role above can give to the game development.
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