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The Many Possibilities of a Career in Game Design

Game design is an exciting, in-demand field growing at a rapid rate. More than ever, there’s a need for talented people with artistic and technical skillsets to bring ideas to life through video games.

For most, building a career in game design means first receiving an education through a formal four-year college program. It can also mean real-world experience applying the skills and knowledge developed while in school. Once a student completes their degree and gains some practical experience, a range of career opportunities are available to them.

The following game design jobs are options for those with a game design degree. Each requires a combination of creativity, technical skills, and an understanding of what makes a great game.

Game developer

Game designers and game developers are sometimes used interchangeably but they are not the same thing. Game development can be considered a part of game design. Game developers build the base game software that the game runs on. They need to be proficient in one or more programming languages, like C++, Java, and C. The type of code a developer needs to know and apply is largely dependent on the platform the game will run on, whether it is PC, console, or mobile. With games increasingly becoming cross-platform, those with game development jobs must build versatility.

Villa’s game design program includes a curriculum for game development if you want to be a designer that works more predominantly on the development side.

Game animator

Game animators bring 2D and 3D characters to life using multimedia tools to model, animate, simulate, and render animated characters. Animation software is more publicly available than it once was but can be pricey and difficult to learn initially. Game design students at Villa learn how to animate with powerful industry-specific software, which is available in labs on campus and included for students in our game design program.

Game programmer

Programming is similar to development and design in that individuals with this role can be involved in nearly every stage of the game creation process. Programmers are educated in computer sciences and oversee the process of unifying the game’s engine, graphics, animation, and settings as a single piece of unified software. They are involved from the very beginning of the process and can develop game proof of concept and development sandboxes for continued testing and development.

Game artist

Before the designer and developer make it possible for a character, graphic, or effect to appear on screen, an artist conceptualizes and renders it as a digital or analog illustration. Intricate and cohesive world-building starts here, where developing the ‘feel’ of the game is important. On smaller teams, artist duties can be split between designers and animators.

Game quality tester

Among the final stages of the game development process is the video game tester who acts as quality control, helping perform alpha testing to provide development and programming teams with feedback. Video game testers are tasked with detecting bugs and ensuring overall playability. Game testers have to be familiar with the whole game design process in order to provide maximum value to these teams and some game testers are also exceptional players.

Game designers work as a team

Some game designers make games on their own but many do so with help. No matter which of these career paths you choose, it’s likely that you will work on a team within a formal or informal development studio. You don’t have to be an expert at every aspect of the production process to have a career in game design. When choosing a career in game design, you can pick an area that matches your personal interests and aspirations. Villa’s game design program can help you prepare for just about any of them!

Why Villa could be a good fit

Maybe you’re interested in a game design career because of its high median salary, work/life balance, industry growth, and personal fit. Or maybe it’s because you want to turn your passion into a craft. Either way, Villa could be the right place for you.

Our experienced staff and strategic curriculum help you discover what academic and career options are available. You could be a non-traditional student returning to school after a long hiatus or a student with learning differences needing some additional resources to reach your potential. No matter your story, we are here to help you reach your goals. All you need to get started pursuing a career in game design is a love of games and gaming!