I first realised that Gaming is a career when a Gaming company approached me for an offsite training event. I remember that I asked them a couple of times exactly what they did and what type of people they employed. Okay, it may have passed as the genuine need a trainer has to understand her client.
But when I put the phone down, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it. I searched for the internet for other Gaming companies in India – and abroad - and Google spilt over with information. And I knew then, quite clearly, that the world had changed. People today can really do what they love – look, they have so many jobs in Gaming, I thought!
That was two years ago. Since then I have researched the field, met professional gamers and unearthed what the job roles are.
Game designers create the concept and structure of a game – the setting, story line, gameplay, characters, levels, scoring…
are highly experienced gaming professionals who have worked with varied gaming teams and on multiple games. They take on the most basic part of the process i.e. World Design. This means creating the backdrop, theme and storyline of the game.
Lead designers also manage the work of other designers on the team such as
create the rules of the game, the scoring systems and the basic mathematical logic making sure that it is consistent and workable.
create the layers of the gaming by defining levels, adding complexity in its feature and storyline, defining missions and puzzles, refining the logic with which it works and working out the increasing difficulty at each level.
design the menus, displays, instructions and ease of understanding and handling the game for the users. They work out how and when to offer information and guidance, what critical instructions to hold back for later levels and how to provide/conceal information.
Each game presents the potential to create a whole world. Environments, layouts, buildings, furniture, vehicles, characters, costumes, expressions and movements.
manage teams as well as create the first-level concept art – the basic idea of the game and how it looks. How realistic is it, what are the elements of style being used, what is the basic color scheme, lighting and mood of the game. Concept artists will also lay out the overarching look of characters, objects and the whole world in which the game is played.
use software to build characters and other life forms like animals and trees, objects and environments such as furniture and vehicles. They need to work in careful balance between their creative ideas, the game theme, the need for create a rich visual environment that makes players lose themselves in this game and the technological constraints of the game as shared by programmers and animators.
refine the work of the team and make it as life-like as possible. This means creating and applies “textures” to walls, floors, environments, characters, and other objects. This demands expertise in lighting, perspective, materials and visual effects.
write everything from the intro text, the instructions, the dialogue during the game and the script of each level and mission. This could be as simple as the exclamations of surprise, victory, defeat, frustration and joy or as detailed as instruction manuals, background story or level descriptions.
use computer animation software to create multiple motion controls for each of these characters and objects and build a bank of actions, behaviours and movements that can be used across levels and plots in the game.
create the soundtrack for a game, including music, sound effects, character voices and spoken instructions. This involves recording music and voice with live artistes, using music production and editing programs.
manage the whole programming team that puts together the software and code that makes the game work as planned.
create the base engine of the game that governs the principles of motion and graphics – how does gravity work in the game? How does water flow? How do the objects and characters move? They apply concepts from Physics such as gravity, laws of motion and vectors to create a predictable environment that game designers, artists and animators can use to create a believable simulated game environment.
are soon becoming a specialised breed who creates ‘intelligent’ characters that can respond to new and unplanned or new situations. They program the game to learn from gameplay as more and more users play the game. They apply AI techniques to building strategies, learning enemy strategy and finding new paths in the game.
is a vast term that encompasses the role of writing code to make the game work as planned and optimising the user interface for the player to make the game easy to understand and play across platforms such as games consoles, PCs, handhelds, mobiles.
work on multi-player games which are becoming the new norm. They build and manage system software that allows players to collaborate or compete play across across cities and countries.
One must mention the intrepid warriors of this world who have made gaming their core profession. Successful gamers choose a platform (computers, Xbox, Playstations and so on) and often a genre of games to play. Gamers could focus on entertaining or competing
record and broadcast their gameplay on YouTube and other video sites. They discover new games in their genre and demo the game, its best features and fun ways to play with friends. They build a following of amateur and professional gamers by engaging in conversations on social media, leading trends and discussions on gaming forums.
compete in regional and international tournaments in the games they specialise in and aim to be ranked in these. Game tournaments often have prize money to compete for. Gaming professionals practise their game, learn new strategies, watch gaming channels, read up on the game – online and offline – and play with regular game schedules much as professional sportspeople in offline sports!
play games to test for flaws and enhancements and provide inputs to UI designers, gameplay and AI programmers and animators.