Jump to content
  • Advertisement

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Gaiiden

Role of the Designer

This topic is 6114 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

I'm bringing this up because we have a similar discussion going on in the IGDA forums, and I wanted to see what all you thought. This is the original post: Originally posted by Warden As the industry evolves and molds, we're seeing a change of genre, a change of jobs, a change of termonology, technology, as well as many other changes. One thing that has changed very little is the fact that the title of "game designer" is in many ways (at least as I've seen it) very anomolous. For adventure games, the designer was the person who worked on the story, puzzles, and script. For games like Civ, the designer was the person who made the rules and the interface, or comes up with the basic premise. For first person shooters, the designer is the groups of people that do the level design or plot design. Some genres mix any of these jobs or even all of these jobs. So my question is, what is the job of the designer, and what will it be in the future? Will we see the designer as the man who came up with the idea, the person writing the script, the person designing the levels, the peron in charge of the interface, or none of these? Current designers in the industry, what does your job entail? What do you do all day ? And what could you see yourself doing in the future, and what would you rather have other people do? What would you like to focus on? Those of us that want to be designers, what would you like your job to be, and how does this compare to what the reality currently is, or what it will be? My response: Originally posted by Gaiiden I'm a designer, and these are my thoughts. I see the designer as an active player in everything. Most of the time it's the designer who came up with the game idea, so it's his baby, and it's his job to see that it's made correctly. However I see the designer not as a do-it-all, but an overseer. For example at one time the designer may have scripted out stories and such, but these days it would probably be better to bring in an experienced writer and the designer would oversee the work and approve it to his liking. This would be the case for everything else, artwork, gameplay issues, control, music. All these would be done by other people as the designer watched over them, making sure what they created fits the image that is in his head. So in short the designer is the inspiration, nothing more. He lays the groundwork (general stuff, not nitty-gritty details) that a team then starts to build upon as he looks over every step to assure that things are coming together as he wants. Again, in other words, the designer creates an idea, and then hands that idea over to people with greater experience in individual fields, and lets them run with it, tweaking things here and there to fit his image, while a majority of the game ideas themselves (storyline, music composition, artwork) are coming from people who know what they are doing. This approach to game making requires a very general yet specific design document (gotta love the oxymoroness of it all) as well as a team that communicates well together, because they will have to constantly hold meetings to brainstorm ideas and the designer will have to be able to tell people what he wants changed or different and people will have to listen to the designer and not argue with him (unless he is making an obviously anal mistake that he doesn't realize due to lack of knowledge or inexperience in a field). So basically I see the future of a Designer as more of a film Director, or the guy that oversees the work of other people and tweaks it to his vision (George Lucas is an excellent example, if you've ever read or heard about the way he makes his movies). I know that this makes the games industry even more similar to Hollywood and some people may resent that in favor of their own "industry style" but tried and true methods are best. Hmmm.... does anyone think all this expanded would make a good paper? I like the ideas I came up with Let me know what you think. Then I also outlined my idea of what a Producer does: Originally posted by Gaiiden To me, the Producer is the guy who keeps the Designer grounded in reality As far as i'm concerned it's the designers job to come up with all these wild ideas that sound great, and then the Producer comes in and says "Oh well we don't have the time..." or "Sorry, but the budget is too tight..." and stuff like that - "The technology just isn't feasible...". Of course I'm not saying that all the Producer does is shoot down the Designer But that the Producer simply grounds the designer in some cases and if not totally rejecting the idea, then telling the Designer why it won't work so maybe the Designer can rethink it and come back with a revision of the idea that [i]would work. Also the Producer would be in charge of publisher relations and scheduling and working with the marketing department... all those things that a designer shouldn't have to worry about as he crafts his game, or "masterpeice", if you will. And also I would use the methods I've defined for these roles (Designer and Producer) in like a small independant company-type environment. In a larger corporation of course the job profiles would probably be more constricted... prob why I hate large companies Let the festivities begin! Drew Sikora A.K.A. Gaiiden ICQ #: 70449988 AOLIM: DarkPylat Blade Edge Software Public Relations, Game Institute Staff Member, GDNet Online column - Design Corner at Pixelate 3-time Contributing author, Game Design Methods , Charles River Media (coming GDC 2002)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
Is that a little better. You''re right, reading large quotes (specially late at nite) is nothing if not hard on the eyes, but I kept the italics so you could seperate my posts from the other board. You can also just visit the thread over on the IGDA board

Drew Sikora
A.K.A. Gaiiden

ICQ #: 70449988
AOLIM: DarkPylat

Blade Edge Software
Public Relations, Game Institute
Staff Member, GDNet

Online column - Design Corner at Pixelate
3-time Contributing author, Game Design Methods , Charles River Media (coming GDC 2002)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey, Gaiiden!

Yes, I think this would make a good paper. Actually, I''m very interested in hearing about your personal experiences as a designer as well.

I know what I would like a designer to be, and how I would like to work on a game. But, not being an industry professional, I really lack a full understanding of how things actually work. (Sorry about the funky text!)

I would also like to hear any stories of problems you encountered while working on a project, and how you overcame them (or how you failed miserably. )


Jonathon
quote:
"Mathematics are one of the fundamentaries of educationalizing our youths." -George W. Bush

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It seems to me that the Designer will indeed be taking a role more like a Director in a movie, but the Producer could go ahead and receive a change of title to "Project Manager." And that would be the guy handling the task of keeping everyone else on task and keeping the Designer grounded. In the meantime you have the salesman who handles the job of maintaining publisher relations and acquiring project capital. Then lastly you have the marketing department responsible for ad creation if that''s not being handled by the publisher.

That''s my slant, anyway.

Charles Galyon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It might hurt the games industry to consider games more like movies and less like little (or possibly huge) team projects.

Granted, I''m generally not inside the development team itself, so I could be wrong. My understanding is that there is no translation between making games and making movies, moving from passive to active entertainment is not without a step in a completely different direction.

At least one of the teams I''ve worked for has programmers contributing to design and vice versa, it seems that the best people for a game creation job are those people who can do it all. Because they really know what is needed and what is possible. Which is why it helps to study both computer science and art before trying to move into a design position. Psychology is also a plus.



- God created the world in seven days? I think I can one-up him!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well... I think the script should be the job of a writer, first of all.. and I think people who disagree suck. Its no fun trying to be a writer and work in the game industry, because no one really cares about the script, just the gameplay. Therefore, you could hire someone with down syndrome for 25 cents and have him write the script, and your game will sell.

Anyway, the designers job should be to organize the development of the game, basically. You should provide a short but detailed explanation of the game that will allow the team to start and finish the game with little trouble.

Thats the basic purpose for a designer... but right now, Dragon ball Z is on so I need to go watch it

"He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster... when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you..."~Friedrich Nietzsche

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dammit I''ve gone too far again and sounded too professional Do you have any idea how many people misconstrue my ideas and thoughts to be that of a professional developer? Hey - maybe that''s a good sign

Anyways I was thinking of discussing this topic in my next issue of Design Corner over at Pixelate (see my sig), so I wanted some opinions.

Drew Sikora
A.K.A. Gaiiden

ICQ #: 70449988
AOLIM: DarkPylat

Blade Edge Software
Public Relations, Game Institute
Staff Member, GDNet

Online column - Design Corner at Pixelate
3-time Contributing author, Game Design Methods , Charles River Media (coming GDC 2002)

IGDC - the International Game Developers Chat! irc.safemalloc.com #igdc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Seems to me that your idea of what a designer should be is more like your idea of what you''d like a designer''s job to be. Sure, the designer is tasked with coming up with the storyline, puzzles, units, world, etc., but I don''t think their role is quite as ''managerial'' or ''authoritative'' as you suggest in your post.

As with any large-scale creative project (and by large scale I mean a project that involves more than just one person...a sole writer composing poetry or an artist painting something, etc.) the process is a team effort. The designer is there as a resource, to set down the initial concept for the game (derived through team work) and by the custodian of that vision across the different components of the team. But the designer is in no way the overseer of the project with coders and artists as his subserviants to "unless he is making an obviously anal mistake that he doesn''t realize due to lack of knowledge or inexperience in a field". If the designer lacks the knowledge or experience than why should they be holding such a vital position as you describe?

I think it would be interesting to read more on the typical role of a designer in a team setting, as a component of an overall team effort. There are books on game design that outline this dynamic very well. But I would appreciate gaining this knowledge through interviews with people who are actually active and established in the industry. Don''t mean for this post to seem nasty...I just would prefer to learn from experienced people who actually come from within the industry.

Just my two cents...

R.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Heya All, good thread going here.

Just a disclaimer: I''m not employed in the game development industry currently but I have been a project technical lead for an accounting software company in the past and I am currently an operating systems programmer for a large corporation. So take my advice with a grain of salt because I''m not familiar with the game industry''s usage of software engineering.

My undergraduate honors thesis in college was titled "A Case Study In Software Engineering." It was an analysis of the software engineering that took place in the accounting software company where I worked as project technical lead.

What I found from this case study and from analyzing other first hand accounts of other people''s experiences is that the usage of software engineering is very rudimentary in most dev shops and its usage industry wide is sporadic. You never know where you''ll find good practices being used.

So what does this have to do with this thread? Well, responsibilities and job management is part of software engineering. From my research and my personal experience this is how I''d characterize the roles

Producer: Oversees all aspects of production. His immediate subordinates are: Project Manager, Sales Manager, Distribution Manager, and Marketing Manager, Financial Manager.

Financial Manager: Manages the money involved with the project.

Sales Manager: At this point this is out of my realm, but I''m sure they have subordinates, such as the sales team.

Distribution Manager: Manages distribution issues such as hardware and packaging, etc. He has a team as well.

Marketing Manager: He has a team that works closely with artists and the project technical lead.

Project Manager: He is responsible for schedules/timelines at project level, resource acquisition, organization, communication facilitation. His major responsibility is the coordination of all of his subordinate''s timelines and schedules. His subordinates are: Project Technical Lead, IT Lead, Website Team Lead, Design Team Lead, and Documentation Lead.

Project Technical Lead: He is responsible the main technical decisions on the project such as, technology usage, major design decisions, problem decomposition, resource allocation, resource acquisition (hardware, software,) timelines/schedules at software level, design documentation, meeting coordination, technology exhibitions, design cost analysis, etc. His subordinates are: Test Team Lead, Programming Team Lead, Tech documentation Lead.

IT Lead: Responsible for handling project hardware and software resources such as desktops, servers, source repositories, etc. He has a team of IT people under him such as system admins, etc.

Website Lead: Responsible for website design, customer communication, schedules/timelines. He has a team underneath him.

Design Team Lead: Responsible for schedule/timeline for concept design responsibilities, Managing concept design teams, art teams, writing teams, music team, and user interface design team. Final decision maker on design issues and initiates first level of design. Communicates with customers about design. Subordinates: Design team, writing team lead, art team lead, music team lead, and user interface design team lead.

Programming Team Lead: Traditionally the strongest programmer on the team. Responsible for laying down major infrastructure pieces of code and tackling the most difficult elements of coding. Helps project tech lead distribute team responsibilities. Helps other programmers with problems. Helps project tech lead with major design decisions.

I could keep going with the others but I won''t. In my current job we have all levels of what I have described but on an even larger scope. This is what I think an ideal team layout would be based upon my experiences and research.

RandomTask

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!