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lajoseph

define being a game designer please...

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hello ya'll! I'm just a young, daring, adventurer planning on studying something whitin making games, I haven't made up my mind yet though. in my search of which of the many jobs I could have within making games, I've gotten somewhat confused. anywho... I think what I want to be is a Game Designer, but I think I've misunderstood what a game designer does, I think I'm confusing it to be what a Game Programmer does. as far as I've understood, a game designer takes care of the geeky programming (thus a programmer is just a sub-genre...) and also takes care of details in the game like personalities of NPC's, characters, animals and so on... Please correct me if I'm wrong!

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Game design is like software design - it's fairly high-level stuff. That is to say, before you can start making a program, you need a design for the program, and the software designer gets you that design. He figures out (likely with input from customers) what the desired inputs and outputs are, and then comes up with a set of systems that will satisfy those requirements. He doesn't necessarily also implement those systems - that's implementation, not design - but he needs to understand what is required to implement them, so that he doesn't make stupid decisions.

Frankly, it's easy to be a game designer, but it's very hard to be a good game designer. That's because a game doesn't have a desired set of inputs and outputs like a normal program does. There aren't any customers you can trust to know what they want (customers almost never know what they want). Instead, you have to look at other games and your own experience, try to figure out what works and what doesn't, and then figure out how to make a game out of them. And then you need to figure out if the game idea you've come up with is even feasible! For example, a massively multiplayer street fighter game might be a lot of fun, but latencies alone make it almost totally unfeasible right now. Just about anything that's massively multiplayer isn't feasible for an independent developer because of the resources required. 3D games aren't feasible for you if you can't make 3D models. And so on. There's no point coming up with a game design that you aren't capable of implementing. That's why the first rule of game development is to start small.

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thanks, Derakon.
That was a pretty thorough definition of a game designer (or actually a designer in general). it helped me alot in understanding and managing to seperate it from the others...
now that I know what a game designer does, I also know that exactly what I don't want to do! :P
but thanks, man! it helps putting things in perspective.

another question, though; I'm into programming and story making, is there any spesific job that takes care of both? could you tell me anything about this? I'm not really sure exactly what I want to know...

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Well, never mistake the growing inde scene. If you dont care to work on big named games, start working on a game that interests you (or preferably , join a hard working team). Explain what it is that your interested in doing, and start DOING IT. Members of inde development teams are oftain multitasked as much as possiable, and you can use a variety of skills such as story design and programming. In the big market though, that frankly rarely if ever happends. They tend to keep the artists and programmers apart, and the only story sudgestions you might be able to get across would be at a meeting or something.

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I do want to point out, you MAY want to consider a LEVEL DESIGNER if your looking at hitting AA-AAA games. You wont get to touch the "story" as much, but you will get to play with designing levels (artistic) and scripting them (programming).

EDIT:
My cousin is a level designer for a smaller firm belonging to Valvandi that they bring in for a variety of games. From the long talks with him, at least at his firm this job can actualy be quite the bitch. Basicaly, your going to need to constantly accept reports from testers and artists, and make adjustments. Sometimes rewrites are necessary even late in the game.

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hmmm... PaulCesar, a level designer is another thing I'm kind of confused over, I've got the impression that they make the levels or "maps" for FPS games like the quake games.
am I wrong? can a level designer work with all game-genres?

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Quote:
Original post by lajoseph
hmmm... PaulCesar, a level designer is another thing I'm kind of confused over, I've got the impression that they make the levels or "maps" for FPS games like the quake games.
am I wrong? can a level designer work with all game-genres?


any genre that has levels or some form of world/enviroment. (Tetris is one of the few games i can think of that doesn't include any level design)

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hmm, interesting :P
so what kind of programming would a level designer be doing?
I can only imagine he'd be integrating the levels into the game, and therefore need to know programming... correct me if I'm wrong!

well thanks guys! :D
I can draw a conclusion already! I want to be a game programmer! all thanks to you, give your selves a clap on your shoulder =)

over to the next phase of my carrer, finding a college/university that has computer programming, preferably game programming, as major.
does anybody know about a university like this is Spain? that's where I'm going to take on my studicum...

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Game development majors are pretty rare still, but given what you've said you want to do, an ordinary computer science degree will do you just fine. In your spare time you can work on making your own games. Start by reimplementing Tetris or a similar simple game. Having such things in your portfolio is a big help when you start job hunting.

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