Whether you’re flossin’ on Fortnight or speeding through Grand Theft Auto V, you can thank game designers and game programmers for awesome video games like those. While it may sound like they do the same jobs, there is a difference between the two roles.
First, let’s break down what each of their roles are in making the video games you love and are so fun to play.
What a Game Designer Does
Designers for video games are the creative minds behind the game. They come up with the storylines, the characters, the missions, and the overall visual style of the game. Great game designers have an endless supply of creative ideas because the creation of a new game starts with them. Game designers know how to use 2D and 3D animation software to create the worlds you play in. They might even use motion-capture software to get live-action sequences like those in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. They write the snappy dialogue, select the background music, and all the other cool things that keep you playing for hours on end. But it’s not enough to come up with a cool video game idea. They also have to know that their idea can actually work, so being familiar with programming is a big plus.
What a Game Programmer Does
Speaking of programming, these guys are the ones who take the designer’s concept and turn it into an actual game. They use their math and computer skills to create the code needed to make the game playable. Mapping out the game world, connecting sound to graphics, programming the non-player characters, and making sure the controller does what it’s supposed to do are just a few things game programmers do. They also test drive the game to make sure everything is working like it’s supposed to. Because programming an entire video game can get very complex, game programmers need to know coding languages like C, C++, and Java. And, like game designers, they need to be up on the latest gaming trends and techniques.
In order to produce a successful video game, you can’t have one without the other. Game designers are the creatives who come up with the big concepts while game programmers are the techies who make that game come to life. Because they work so closely together, being familiar with both design and programming creates a team that make some real gaming magic.
Interested in learning more about becoming a programmer or gaming designer?