Embarking on a career in video game creation is an exciting prospect, especially as the industry sees a surge in popularity thanks to the growing appetite for new gaming experiences. For those who find their passion in the realm of video games, this field not only offers financial rewards but also a deep sense of satisfaction. Understanding the various roles in the world of game development, what they entail, and how much they pay is crucial for anyone considering whether this path matches their ambitions. This article will guide you through the different career opportunities in video game development, shedding light on job responsibilities, potential earnings, and the qualifications needed to succeed.
What is video game development?
Creating a video game is all about bringing a concept or an initial spark of imagination to life, ending up with a tangible game that players can enjoy on their gaming systems. The journey of crafting a video game is divided into four key stages:
During this phase, the team behind the game development zeroes in on the game’s objective, pinpoints the target players, identifies the market and decides on the platforms for release. They also map out how to make money from the game, set a budget, figure out how many people they’ll need, and lay out a schedule for the project.
Game design document (GDD)
The game design document acts as a roadmap for everyone involved in creating a video game. It details the game’s idea, type, narrative, characters, and how it will be played. This essential paper also touches on visual elements, how the game will make money, and the crafting of levels and environments. As the project evolves, game designers and developers keep this document fresh with ongoing updates.
Game creators turn to prototyping as a way to check the proposed game’s components, making sure everything runs smoothly without any bugs or technical hiccups. They begin with simple drawings and paper layouts to experiment with their concepts and confirm that they work. If a game successfully makes it past this checkpoint, it then advances to the production phase.
In the production stage, coders get busy crafting the game’s code, while designers focus on constructing the levels. The whole team works together to polish up the assets and establish the game’s rules. This is when they decide on the game’s visual appeal, including the sound, color scheme, and setting, all tailored to captivate the intended audience.
10 careers in video game development
Check out these top-notch positions in video game development that are perfect for those with the right qualifications!
1. Video game animator
Average national salary: $43,259 per year
A video game animator works magic with special software to craft the visuals and graphics you see in a game. They’re super important in making games because they bring to life all those eye-catching visuals. These artists design everything you explore in the game, from the characters to the landscapes and even the little details in the background. Plus, they make sure that all these visual pieces fit perfectly with the action of the game.
2. Technical support specialist
Average national salary: $43,802 per year
A technical support specialist is the go-to person for sorting out any hiccups gamers run into while playing. This job really shines after the game’s been made, but it’s a key part of the whole creation journey. These tech wizards know the ins and outs of a game’s software and hardware, so they’re ace at fixing issues that players come across.
3. Computer programmer
Average national salary: $47,767 per year
A computer programmer is the one who crafts the code that makes apps and video games come to life. They’re always tweaking and improving video game software to make sure the gameplay is smooth and bug-free. To be a whiz at this, you’ve got to get really good at different coding languages and have an eagle eye for detail.
4. Video game tester
Average national salary: $54,318 per year
A video game tester is like a quality detective for game developers. They dive into games to sniff out any bugs or glitches that might mess with the fun. These pros keep on testing the game all through its creation, making sure everything’s running smoothly. When they find something off during their playthroughs, they let the development crew know so it can be fixed up quick.
5. Technical writer
Average national salary: $58,112 per year
A technical writer at a video game company is the master of manuals and guides. They break down the nitty-gritty on how to get your game and gear up and running. Their job is to give players all the info they need for a smooth gaming session, free from tech troubles. These experts play a big role in game development by translating tricky game instructions into something any gamer can understand.
6. Game designer
Average national salary: $61,301 per year
A video game designer is the creative brain behind the game’s elements, teaming up with other talented folks to bring ideas to life. They lay down the basic principles that drive the game’s action and craft the inner workings. Not just that, they dream up characters, spin stories, and shape the visual style of the game, like its themes, to make it super attractive to players.
7. Marketing manager
Average national salary: $66,521 per year
A marketing manager is the person who steers all the promotional efforts for a company’s offerings and image. They dig into research to cook up plans that’ll boost customer interest, sales, and how well-known the brand is. Working hand in hand with the folks in charge of ads and promos, they help create buzz when it’s time to introduce new products to the world.
8. Audio engineer
Average national salary: $77,219 per year
An audio engineer is the go-to guru for crafting unique sounds in video games and various media projects. They blend their creative flair with tech smarts to whip up all kinds of audio magic. From capturing character voices to tweaking sound effects and melodies, they do it all. Plus, they’re the ones who put together the game’s soundtrack, mixing tunes and fine-tuning them to fit the game’s vibe and story perfectly.
9. Creative director
Average national salary: $92,710 per year
A creative director is the captain of the ship when it comes to a game’s look and feel, or any other visual goodies. They map out a vision that leads the way for how a video game will unfold visually. Collaborating with designers, voice actors, and animators, they’re involved throughout the product’s journey from concept to completion. Typically, they keep an eye on everything from the gameplay and sound bits to the graphics, plot, and even the promotional stuff.
10. Technical director
Average national salary: $100,480 per year
A technical director at a video game company is the person in charge of keeping the studio’s gears turning smoothly. They team up with coders and developers to make sure the code they write is top-notch, making games run like a dream. Sitting at one of the top spots in the studio, they juggle all the techy parts of making a game and see to it that the end result ticks all the boxes for what the clients want.