Nov 01, 2012— read in full
Careers in computer games
Want to put your creative skills to the test with computers? Check out our lowdown on careers in the gaming industry.
You can get paid to do this?!
A computer game, whether it is for a PC, console, the net or your mobile phone, can take years to produce. Each stage, from concept through design to building the software for the game involves a huge team of developers, designers and testers. Below are just a few of the roles that you could have within the industry.
Designers are the creative muscle of the industry. Senior designers develop the concept of a game, and junior designers flesh out the details: where the game will be set, the story behind it, etc. To be a designer you need to be flexible, creative and a great communicator.
Artists and animators flesh out the designers’ ideas. They put together storyboards of how the game will look, what kind of graphics will be used and the overall ‘feel’ of the game. Creativity is essential here, and many animators have qualifications in art or design, as well as a portfolio of work.
Programmers take care of the technical part. They write the code that sits behind a game, whether it is an AI programme or a physics engine, every element of the game need to have a robust code behind it to make sure there are no glitches. Computer programmers should be hard working, have great attention to detail, and preferably a degree in maths or computer science.
Testers have one of the most envied jobs – they get to play the games! It’s not all about fun, though. Testers are crucial in spotting bugs or glitches in the programming and reporting back to the programmers. They have to have a great eye for detail and also be very good at computer games! Becoming a Quality Assurance tester is a great way to get a foot in the door of the gaming industry.
What qualifications do I need?
Jobs in design and animation usually require a relevant artistic degree or HND. Some colleges offer specific courses in computer games design, but it is also worth considering courses in interactive media, multimedia design, graphic design or animation. For these you will need three A-levels, or equivalent Scottish Highers. It also helps to start building up a portfolio of drawings or animations that you have done in your spare time.
To become a programmer, you will need a degree in maths, physics, computer science or information systems. It also helps to have a strong interest in coding. Many games developers have built their own code in their spare time, or become involved in online game building projects.