If you love video games, it’s natural to be interested in making them. Especially if you’re in school and thinking about your future career, you’re probably wondering: “Could I get a job in the video game industry?”
The short answer is, Yes. But here’s the catch: There are many different jobs in the video game industry. Which ones would you be good at? Which would be the best fit for your personality?
You might be surprised at how many different jobs there are on a game team. Take a look at the careers available in video games, listed below with links to more info on each one. You may not have heard of them, but they’re worth looking into. Because one of these jobs might be a perfect fit for you.
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Video Game Designer
Design levels, analyze games, build story outlines, tune and balance game play, and make sure the game is fun. There are several sub-categories of game designer, depending on the studio and the team.
Most studios break the design job down into separate areas like level design, mission/quest design, or overall game design. Larger games will break things down even further – a big team might have one or more designers dedicated to things like combat design, tuning and balancing, or pacing.
Video Game QA Tester
Analyze games under development, write bug reports, collaborate with the development team, and ensure a high-quality product.
Some QA testers work with the game build only (called “black box” testers) while others may have some access to the source code and aid the developers with debugging (called “grey box” or “white box” testers depending on the level of source code visibility).
Video Game Programmer
Write source code to implement game features, debug systems, optimize performance, and translate the players actions into game results.
All but the smallest teams have several sub-specializations for programmers, focusing on well-defined areas of the code base such as the server code, combat, characters and AI, player input and movement, physics, graphics, or tools and pipeline.
Video Game Artist / Animator
Create landscapes, model and animate characters, build UI art, and bring the game to life through motion.
There are many sub-specializations that any artist could spend an entire career working to master. Examples of specialized areas include concept art, character modeling, character rigging, animation, environments, and visual effects.
Video Game Audio Engineer
Create and record sound effects, use fancy software to make otherworldly sounds, and build immersive audio soundscapes.
Under this umbrella you’ll find a few specializations including music composer, Foley engineer, audio engineer generalist, and various jobs of programming/mixing/implementing audio in the game build.
Video Game Producer
Plan and schedule, keep a long-term view, handle the biz, and keep the dev team focused and working together toward the goal.
Entry-level producers may be called production assistants, and may be more focused on the daily tasks of scheduling than on the bigger picture. More senior producers often become “product owners” and are responsible for the long-term planning, and possibly even the finances, of the game project. Executive producers often oversee the development of multiple games at once.
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