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For this assignment I will be looking into the different types of roles within the gaming industry. I will explain what each role does within the industry; I will explain what essential skills are needed to get the role, possible incomes earned by the role and explain the desirable experience one would need to get a job within that role. At the end I will give my opinion on each of the roles and explain if I wanted to achieve this role what I would have to do.
ProducerAfter doing much research, I have been able to understand the many different roles within the gaming industry. Making games is not as easy as sitting down and writing code to make a game it takes many different people, each with their own set of skills which will contribute to the development of the game. To get any were in the gaming industry you will need to have the right set of skills and the right experience to back it up, allot of job within the industry you cannot simply walk into you have to earn it by getting the right experience, this could take a year or six. If you have a spark or flare the industry will pick up on this and move you up the promotion ladder. Below I have a basic diagram which shows the basic entry level job to the more experienced job role:
From this basic diagram you can see how you can move up from an entry level job E.G. from an entry level artist to an senor artist to game designer to finally a producer. Below I will go through a number of jobs within the gaming industry, I will start with entry level jobs and work my way up to more experienced jobs:
What is a programmer?
Programming is at the heart of the gaming industry. Programmers create and use code which will actually make the game work. Without the programmer a game cannot be created, because the programmers will write the code for the characters which are created by the artists and the movements which are created by the animators.
Programming falls into many different departments which range from AI physics to character control and gameplay programming. Like artists, programmers who move into the industry will have a number of skills which they will have acquired at university or school. They will be able to write using high level language and will be able to adapt their skills to the company's language. Having programming skills is not enough in the gaming industry as you will need to be good at team work as most of the programmers work will be done as a team, a programmer must also be a problem solver as writing code can be very frustrating trying to solve minor errors.
Programmers will be overseen by a lead programmer who will lead all the different sub disciplines within a programming department. They will also make sure that communication is running smoothly between one sub departments to another so work runs smoothly.
Again like the other role within the gaming industry some of the skills are transferable like patients, team work and communication. Because the programmers are at the heart of the game they must be communicating with the other departments so work runs smoothly and efficiently.
A programmer must have passion for games and writing games. This is because being a programmer is a very intense job which would not be suited for the people who have no passion or love for games. Looking at this from the other point of view you don't have to be a hardcore gamer who spends hours playing games and writing games, you just have to have an interest in games. After looking at (www.gamesfromwithin.com) they explain that wannabe programmers don't have to be hardcore gamers "You don't have to be a hardcore player, but you should enjoy playing some games" as long as you have some interest in gamers then this role would suit.
To be a programmer you will need a set of skills which you will use when programming. If attending a university or course specializing in computer games development you will learn programming languages. Programming language used within the gaming industry is C++ you will have to be fluent in using this language as you will be expected to know this. New employees should know how to use 3D liner algebra and software engineering.
To get the most earnings as a programmer you have to have experience, but if you have very little experience you can still earn a lot of money and this will increase as you gain more experience. Going into the industry with little or no experience you should expect to make 50K a year. If you have 1 to 3 years experience you should get an increase to about 64K a year, having over 6 years experience you could be earning 88k+ a year. Because programming has so many sub departments this figure can go up or down depending on the department you are working in.
Other job titles within this area include:
How to get to this level
If I wanted to be a programmer I could come out of university and go into a programming job. As long as I passed my degree, I have a portfolio of work which I have built up throughout university and I have the skills which are needed for the job like being able to us C++ as this is the common language used within games.
Going into this type of job at entry level I will be earning the lowest amount of money but I will be gaining much valuable experience which in turn will enable me to move up and earn much more money than entry level.
After reading (introduction to game development) I can see how companies will take in fresh employees straight out of university "Steve Rabin junior programmers straight out of collage will bring new perspective, question, decisions and a certain degree of enthusiasm to the team" (pg 166 line 32) now I understand why companies will take on so many inexperienced programmers, they do this so they can get fresh ideas pumping through the company. Having senor programmers is great but having new programmer's means that they have not got into a routine of programming and have not dulled down and their passion for gaming is not lost.
Artists and animators
What is an artist or animator
Game artists and animators create the pictures and the world of the game. Artists and animators will design and create characters, landscapes, buildings and objects within the game. Animator will then take the characters, objects and buildings which were drawn and created by the artists and animate them to create movement E.G. a character jumping or buildings being destroyed.
Modern computer games which are created for the xbox and playstation are created and developed using real-time 3D graphics. Real time 3d graphics means that the characters and landscapes created will be used in 3d. There is no point creating a beautiful character but only getting to see the front of the character because the character is build in 2d, and also because everyone is so used to seeing 3d characters the game will not be a big seller. All artist and animators who go down the gaming industry will be trained in some form of 3d modelling and animation E.G. 3D studiomax.
There are many different roles an artist can take within the gaming industry which include character modellers, texture artist, concept artist and lead artists. The lead artist will take overall reasonability or all art work being done.
To become an artist within the gaming industry you will need more than artistic skill. You need to be creative and motivated to come up with new 3d models. this is why you will be asked to show a portfolio of your work when handing in a CV to a employer. An artist needed to be skilled in using the appropriate software like Photoshop or 3D studio max, having these skills means that you will not have to be trained up before you start your job and will save the company time and money.
Allot of skills can be transferred over from other roles within the gaming industry like patients, teamwork and communication skill. All these skill are golden as the art team will be working co side with the programmers and they will have to communicate with each other so one knows what the other is doing, this way the job will get done easier and efficiently.
Doing a course in art and 3d modelling can be beneficial as you will be able to gain some experience in using the software the industry use also you will have recognised qualifications which are essential when applying for these types of jobs.
Like most jobs within the gaming industry experience is the key, with experience you can climb the ladder and become a lead artist. To gain experience you can take a placement year when studying at university and work for a game company, this is a great way of gaining experience as you will be working co side real game professionals and learning how they work. Doing a placement year means that you will have the edge over someone else who has not done a placement year as you will know the inner working s of a gaming company.
You can also gain experience by creating your own models. By working with a group of friends you can create small projects, within the projects you can create models and landscapes which you can put down on your portfolio.
Again when it comes to money and wages it's all about the experience. Coming into the industry at entry level you will be expecting to earn about 41K a year but with some experience this figure will rise. I can see the appeal of being an artist after looking at (www.animationarena.com) they go on to explain that some artist can earn more money than coders "We found that the highest salaried coder made less then the highest paid artist". This is because the artists have a big reasonability on their hands; they have to make sure that the game has the right feel. When you have some experience, about 3 years you should expect to earn about 54k a year
Other job titles within this area include:
How to get to this level
Again this is like the programming job; you can go into this job at entry level after completing university. But again it's down to the skills and experience you have gained at university. You have to be able to use the appropriate software which the company will be using like photo shop and 3d max. Again you will have to show your employer a portfolio of work you have done while at university. This will show that you can use the software and how skilled you are at using it. Once in the job you can move up the ladder very quickly if you are showing constantly good work. This will move you up to senor artist were you will be given much more reasonability over the models being used in games.
What is a game designer?
Game designers basically do what their title says design games. Before starting to design a game they first have to come up with a game title to design. The game designers will be the first people to sit down a come up with an idea of a game. Once the idea of a game has been developed they will move on to the next stage which is designing the game.
Designing a game isn't as straight forward as it sounds. Game design requires a number of key skills. To be a game designer the game designer will need a comprehensive understanding of games and will need to be able to document their work and be able to communicate to the other members within the team.
There usually is one game designer who will lead a team design specific parts of the game like the levels or the objectives within a level. But in bigger game like AAA titles there can be a number of game designers on the one team or a number of teams.
To be a game designer you need a vase number of skills and qualities which make you suitable for the job. After looking at (www.ehow.com) i can see that there is much more to getting the required skills for a job, ehow states "a passion for games first and foremost amongst requirements to become a designer" so not just having the right skills to become a game designer you need to have a passion for games. This is evident with any job you go into; if you're not passionate about your work then your best work will not shine through.
Again this time you need more than just a passion for games, you need skills which you will use within your job. You need good communication skills. Because you are working possibly with one or many teams of people you need to be able to communicate with them be able to listen if they have problems or new ideas for games. In relation with communication skills you need good teamwork skills. As working with games you are constantly under a deadline you need to be working well with your team or teams so they can produce their work as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Wannabe game designers must also be able to use a computer. They must have used programming and programming languages like C++ which the gaming industry currently uses. They would have to have some artistic education or skill as they could be call upon to design or convey ideas or models being made.
Other skills needed is education of 3rd level like a degree or bachelors. Going into a gaming degree will give you all the essential skill that you will need E.G. writing programs and understanding the dynamics of the gaming industry. You can use the resources which your school or course director will provide to advance on, giving you more skills and experience. Being in a gaming degree or bachelors you should be provided with some form or a gaming engine which you can practice making games.
A game designer job is one of them jobs you simply cannot just walk into, you have the earn this job by getting experience. Some people work their way up within their company because they have showed skills which would make them ideal for the job. Other people have worked for a number of years within the gaming industry and have applied for the game designer role with another company.
To get the experience to get into this role you have to possibly start somewhere lower down. By doing this you can build up your experience and show potential employers that you have the skills and experience needed for the game designer role. The desirable experience needed for a role like game designer is experience in working within a team and working a team, if you can show that you can run a team efficiently without it breaking down you have the skills of a games designer, the skill or running a team can only be got by getting experience of running a team. The same goes for artistic skill and programming, to become good at these you must first get experience.
The average wage of a game designer with less than three years of experience is 45 to 50K but when you have three years or more their wage will increase to 50 to 60K a year. But once you reach 6 years experience they will be getting paid 70k+ a year. Game designer wages work on experience. The more experience you can bring to a company the more money you will be paid by the company.
There are many role which lead from the game designer, some of these are:
Story board artist
How to get to this level
To become a game designer you need to have experience within the gaming industry. This would mean that you have to get a entry level job like a Q.A tester, programmer or an artist and then move up from one of these roles into a game designer. Being a game designer relays much more down to experience you have gained as you will have to make decisions which entry level employees could not make. Most game designers will have a Varity of skill and not just one specific skill set. Game designers will have worked with both the programming and arts sides of games which will make them much more useful if they needed to use their skills somewhere urgently.
Production management and publishing
Production management in the gaming industry is divided between the developer and the publisher. The developer is responsible for the producer and the project managers within the development team of the game. We're as the publisher is is much more involved with the marketing of the games being made, the production manager will give the publisher the concept of the game, so they can get the funding to make the game. If at any time the publisher wants to stop with the development of the game then they can by removing funding.
Funding is usually funded through milestone. A publisher will give the developer a set of mile stones E.G. have the game working in 12 week. Have all the bug removed within 3 weeks. If these milestones are not met then the publisher can removing funding for the game
Being a production manager is not a job you would apply for if you only finished university. This is a job for experienced people who have been in the industry for at least 5 years, to become a production manager you must have experience within the gaming industry as a programmer or artist and be able to transfer you skill you learned when you were a programmer to the now role. Most of the skills needed to be a production manager are transferable like communication and teamwork as you will be organising the other departments.
Most skills needed for this role you will be able to pick up while working for a gaming company, but the main thing needed for this role is experience.
In terms of wages production manager will be earning 80k a year with 6 years of experience.
How to get to this level
This would be one of the highest levels you could achieve in the gaming industry. Being a production manager you are left with the reasonability and pressure of making sure you release a game that will sell. Again this is not a job you can simply walk into from entry level. To get to this level you have to have a considerable amount of experience under your belt, you would have to be in the gaming industry at least 6 years and a considerable amount of them years being a game designer.
After doing much research studying the various types of careers involved within the gaming industry I have decided that I would like to become a programmer. I believe that being a programmer would suit my style of thinking and my personality, I like to work in teams and i believe that my best work shines through when working within a team.
I have keen interest in programming and how computer programs work; I find it fascinating how code can be changed into a working, running programs which we would use every day.
After doing more research on game programmers I can see that becoming a gaming programmer is not limited to one or two careers. Becoming a gaming programmer means you will have endless scope in different paths, which range from level designer, tool programmer to game play programmer.
I believe that instead of narrowing my choice down to one type of career within programming I will try to acquire as many skills as I can within the next four years so I can open my choices and have a better chance of getting a job which I like.
Below I will explain the skills i will need to become a programmer, the experience I will need and the personalise need to be a game designer
Steve Rabin suggests that programmers need to have a blend of personalises to become a programmer "some people are very methodical and organized, preferring to process slowly and with sure footing. They are the reliable workhorses that the team can depend on to get from point A to point B" (pg 166 line 35) I believe that my personality would be that of a work horse, when I am set a task I can freely do then I will sit down and complete the task as fast and efficiently as possible. It goes without saying but to enjoy a job within the gaming industry you have to enjoy playing game. Personally I love playing games so I believe that I have the right personality to become a programmer
To get to the level of a game programmer i will have to take a course and learn the basic skills which will teach me how to program. This will be in the form of a university degree; the course I am currently doing is Computer games development. Within this course I will learn programming, gaming and maths. These basic skills i will use when taking up a career in programming.
But it's not just about getting a degree; everyone will have the same or similar degrees so I will have to acquire other skills and education throughout the four years I will spend at university.
Big name game companies like EA and bungie require portfolios of work from their upcoming employees. These portfolios will include programs and languages you have worked on and evidence which will show you are confidences in using the language and programs. Your portfolio should also have projects you have worked on like games and patches for games. This will show the employer that you have a passion for games and show that you have a basic understanding on how game engines work.
To acquire this portfolio of work I will use all the available resources I can get from university. The university will be able to provide me with game engines which I can use to get myself familiar with the software and start to fill up my portfolio with sample games which I can create while using the engines available to me. Employers will want to see students who have a interest in games and game design. By creating my own small projects i will be able to show my interest and passion for games.
After looking at job vaccines for game programming i can see a key trend in the requirements needed for the jobs. Allot of the requirements are specific skill in using languages like C++. This is the commonly used language used within the gaming industry, if you don't know this language then you will have no chance of getting a job as a programmer. So i will make sure that i am able to understand and able to use the C++ language.
Job vaccines look for people who have previous experience or skill in using gaming engines. To acquire this skill I will use the game engines the university has provided. In doing this I will become skilled in using various games engines and have a good understanding in using them. This will give me a advantage over students who have not used gaming engines before.
Because programmers work in teams I will have to be able to communicate with other programmers when working together. To improve my skill of communication I will start to work with people I do not know, in doing this I will have to make much more of an effort to communicate with the team as I do not know them and I can't assume I understand what they are talking about. Not only will having good communication skills be an advantage when communicating with other programmers but because in the gaming industry there is so many meetings, having good communication skills means that you can express your opinions in meetings and voice your point across efficiently and quickly without taking up to much time.
Some job references have required previous experience in specific fields like action or shooter games. In order to get some form of experience before I finished university i will go for a placement year in the third year at university. Going on placement gives me a chance to work for a professional company and gives me the chance to learn from current employees. Doing a placement year gives me an advantage over other students who have not done a placement year as i will have some experience with working within a company and i will be able to transfer that experience to other companies.
While looking through the internet I have researched numbers of job vaccines for game programmers. Below I will show a screen shot of the job reference, the URL I found the job on, the reference number for the job and the company offering the job.
Job reference number: 729877
Data Scope recruitment
Job reference number: (does not say)
Site found: http://jobs.gamasutra.com/jobseekerx/viewjobrss.asp?cjid=23756&accountno=39142
Job reference number: GR/Sp09
Site Found: www.gamesrecruit.co.uk
Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for Creative Media 2001-2010 http://www.skillset.org/games/careers/article_2768_1.asp
Last viewed 08/10/10
Animation Arena 2009
last viewed 08/10/2010
eHow, Inc Copyright © 1999-2010
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Games from Within © 2002-2010
last viewed 08/10/2010
Introduction to game development, Steve Rabin, Charles River media