Games Designer – Job Salary, Descriptions and Benefits

Computer games designers devise new computer games and define the way the game is played and the ‘game experience’. They develop the rules of the game, the setting, story and characters, props (weapons and vehicles) and different setups/ways the game may be played.

It is part of the game design job to convince other members of the team to develop the game. They work with programmers, artists, animators, producers and audio engineers to turn their original vision into a working game.

35 hours a week is an average in which game designers work each week, but they may need to work longer hours as deadlines approach. They work in offices and spend long periods sitting at a desk using a computer or attending meetings about the games progress and development.

Salaries may range from around £19,000 to £55,000 a year, depending on experience and company. For example a new game designer with some experience will earn around £19,000. Gaining more experience the salary could rise to £25,000 to £35,000, and lead designers could earn between £35,000 to £55,000.

A computer games designer should always be creative, imaginative and original, fluent in a number of software packages. They must also understand the market and target audience for computer games and keep up with the times. Problem solving is also a must have and obviously love to play computer games themselves.

There are on average 6,600 people in the UK work in computer games development. They are employed by games development studios, which are either independent companies or owned by games publishers. About half of the people working in the games sector are based in London and south-east England. The games market is likely to expand, and move to different areas across the UK.

Most game designers are graduates, although there are no set requirements asked when applying for a game design job. Most degree subjects are acceptable. Employers look for people with previous experience in the games industry  and will always want to see a strong portfolio of own work, whether it be work created with another company, or own ideas/works. It is possible to begin a career in games design by starting out on an apprenticeship in QA and games production. Because of the level of experience required, most people are adults when they start this job.

The majority of computer game designers train on the job. They may attend short courses on technological developments and new software packages. It is vital to keep up to date with developments in technology and the games market throughout their career.

There is no formal promotion route for games designers. They may be promoted from junior designer to designer, and, with experience and management skills, to lead designer. Some designers move into management and marketing roles, or become self-employed.

Pixar Animation Studios

Pixar animation studios is an Academy Award winning computer animation studio with the technical, creative and production capabilities to create a new generation of animated feature films, merchandise and other related products. Pixar’s objective is to combine proprietary technology and world-class creative talent to develop computer-animated feature films with memorable characters and heartwarming stories that appeal to audiences of all ages.

 The organisations first feature film which became a massive hit reaching sales of $362 million in worldwide box office receipts, was Toy Story in 1995. Pixar then teamed up with Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and created and developed ‘A Bugs Life’ in 1998.

 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures became fascinated with Pixar and worked with them to make the movies:

Toy Story 2

Monsters Inc

Finding Nemo

The Incredibles

Cars

Ratatouille

Wall-E

Up

Toy Story 3

Pixar’s creative department is led by Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, an Academy Award winning director and animator. Under the guidance of Lasseter, Pixar has built a creative team that includes a department of highly skilled animators, a story department and an art department. This team is responsible for creating, writing and animating all of Pixar’s films. Pixar strives to hire animators who have superior acting ability – those able to bring characters and inanimate objects to life, as though they have their own thought processes. In order to attract and retain quality animators, the company founded Pixar University, which conducts three-month long courses for new and existing animators. Pixar also has a complete production team that gives the company the capability to control all elements of production of its films. Pixar has successfully expanded the production team so projects may be worked on simultaneously

http://www.pixar.com/companyinfo/about_us/overview.htm

Kuju Entertainment

Kuju logo.png

Kuju is an English based computer and video game corporation. The organisation has 3 studios, 2 located in the UK and one in Czech Republic. Each studio focuses on a certain genre or theme to gaming and computing.

The organisation was formed in 1998 after a management buyout of Simis from Eidos Interactive. The company name was created by using the Japenese letters for their English initial names Ian Baverstock and Jonathan Newth – IB and JN – Japenese KU and JU.

Kuji helped to develop the PlayStation 2’s EyeToy: Play 2, and EyeToy: Play 3, the multiplayer mode in Call Of Duty: Finest Hour, Betallion Wars for Nintendo GameCube, so has worked with alternate game console clients.

The notable works by the organisation are:

Microsoft Train Simulator

SingStar

Warhammer

Crash Twinsanity 3D (mobile)

Sensible Soccer 2006

Rail Simulator

Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest

Art Academy

Rush ‘n’ Attack

Max Design

Max Design Logo.png

 

Max Design is an Australian based game development organisation and was founded in 1991. The company started out by making their mark in puzzle games and later moved onto other different genres.

The company became well known for its challenging Business simulation games which to this very day has a huge fan base. The organisation became famous for its extensive game instructions and handbooks.

The company worked hard and co-joined with Sunflowers Interactive Entertainment to release the popular game 1602. This game went on to become Germany and Australias best selling game ever around its launch date selling over 2 million copies. The games sequel titles sold around 4.2 million copies as of April 2006.

However, an employee said in an interview that the team was ‘tired’ and needed some time for re-orientation, so now the company lies at a stand still.

 

a list of their orientated games include:

Think Cross

Crash

Osiris

Hunt the Fonts

1869: Hart am Wind!

Burntime

Old Timer

Clearing House

Strike Base

Anno 1602

Anno 1503

Retro Studios

Retro Studios is an American game developer based in Austin, Texas. The company was founded by Jeff Spangenberg after he left Acclaim Entertainment. The organization has 60 employees and is owned by Nintendo. Retro Studios have worked to develop games for the ‘Nintendo’ and ‘Nintendo GameCube’ which are their most recognized works. The products/games in which they have been noticed for developing are:

Mertoid Prime

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

Metroid Prime 3: Trilogy

Donkey Kong Country Returns

Mario Kart 7

http://www.retrostudios.com

Animation, Entertainment and Games

ANIMATION

Animation is everything from the 2D to 3D display experience, to create an illusion of motion. One of the most simple animation examples was discovered in 1868; ‘flip book’. This contains a series of images that vary gradually from one image to the next. The flip book works by the viewer looking straight into the image, rather than looking from left to right to get, and flipping the pages of the flip book with some speed to create an illusion/animation.

Stop motion founded in 1899 by Arthur Melbourne-Cooper, is another great example of animation, depending on how well the images are executed, depends of the quality finish at the end. Stop motion can be anything from hand drawn images/objects being photographed, to actually photographing the object piece. The images should have no drastic change from one to the next and should only vary slightly to get a smooth looking stop-motion animation clip.

In-fact there are hundreds of different methods for executing brilliant animations and all of these have developed from simple and extreme ideas by individuals and creative teams over time:

Puppet animation

Clay animation

Silhouette animation

Model animation

Cut Out animation

Go Motion animation

Object animation

Brickfilm

Pixilation

Paint on glass animation

Sand animation

Pin Screen animation

ENTERTAINMENT 

Entertainment is a action, activity or event that engages with the public, to entertain, amuse and interest. In many cases entertainment may also provide enjoyment, fun and laughter. Forms of entertainment can be very little or large and can serve for a single person or a massive population/audience. Some examples are:

Animation

Comedy/Comics

Film

Dance/Music

Adult entertainment

Theater

Radio

Sports

Cinema

Reading/Education

GAMES

Video games are electronic and involves human interaction to generate visual feedback on a screen or monitor. Video games can be played on all sorts of different devices from an old mobile phone to a PlayStation or XBOX console. They can be played from home, on mobile or in an arcade, so they are designed to entertain people everywhere. Graphic design plays a massive part in games design alongside technology development. New software is always getting developed to create better games, with stunning, super-fine graphics and visuals. Since the 1972 there has been a total of 8 generations to video game consoles:

First generation: The Magnavox Odyssey

Second generation: The Atari 2600

Third generation: Nintendo (the family computer)

Fourth generation: SEGA

Fifth generation: PlayStation 1

Sixth generation: SEGA Dream-cast, PlayStation 2, XBOX, Nintendo GameCube

Seventh generation: XBOX 360, PlayStation 3 – BluRay

Eighth generation: Nintendo Wii U – Motion sensor/active

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SE70zzs75tE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_HXUhShhmY

 

 

 

David Crane – The Video Games Guru

David Crane is a video games designer and programmer, born in Nappanee, Indiana, United States.

His career in programming began at ATARI, making games for ATARI 2600. Whilst working with ATARI, Crane was approached by one of his fellow colleagues Alan Miller, who told him of another organisation he had heard of where games designers and programmers became more recognized.  Crane took Millers word and left Atari in 1979.

Not long after, himself, Miller, Jim Levy, Bob Whitehead and Larry Kaplan co-founded ACTIVISION. Crane gained his recognistion here by winning many awards for his programming and design and became best known as the designer of game ‘Pitfall’, which went on to become a massive hit and maintained the top spot on the Billboard Chart for a massive 64 weeks, and was later in 1982 named ‘video game of the year’.

 

In 1986, Crane left Activision along with Garry Kitchen and Jim Levy to co-find ABSOLUTE ENTERTAINMENT. The newly approved CEO of Activision, Bruce Davis, treated video games more like commodities rather than creative products and Crane and his work colleagues didn’t like this so decided to move on from Activision.

Crane did all of his programming from his home in California whilst working for Absolute. With Absolute he is recognized for games such as ‘Amazing Tennis’ and ‘A Boy and his Blob’. After his massive success so far in his career, in 1995, Absolute Entertainment was dissolved. Crane moved onto co-founding SKYWORKS TECHNOLOGIES in 1995 and is currently the Chief Technical Officer of the organisation.