When it comes to working in a gaming studio, there isn’t just a single role or the requirement for people to cover many bases by being multi-skilled. In most situations, a studio employs specialists that have qualifications or skills covering a specific facet of game development. A single employee may work on several game projects over the course of a year depending on how much their particular skill-set is required for each title.
Here are some of the different jobs at a gaming studio.
A graphics designer is responsible for the overall look of the game. They will be involved in creating textures that overlay any map design for large-scale games. The graphics designer may also cover the user experience when accessing the menu system to create a seamless feel of whether changing a setting in the game or playing another round.
Usually, a graphics designer will have a design background in computer artwork, rather than as a painter or sculptor. By being adept at creating practical textures, icons, and other necessary aspects that go into creating the look and feel of each game, the designer goes well beyond the job descriptions seen for most graphics or game designers.
A level designer is someone that creates the maps that players roam around on. The map might be for a role-playing game, a first-person shooter like Battlefield 1, or something else entirely like the latest Sonic the Hedgehog platform jumping game. A level designer has to have a good feel for what is expected by players of this genre to create a level that will be satisfying to play. For instance, with a first-person shooter, creating too many wide-open landscapes with no cover against opposing fire and great distances to traverse on foot to reach different parts of the map quickly gets boring for players.
The lead programmer is responsible for the bulk of the coding and managing other coders that are given specific assignments to complete. While the quality control team will ultimately be responsible for finding any bugs that remain in the game before its final release, the lead programmer will certainly be responsible for creating a framework structure that limits the possibility of creating many bugs during the development process that will cause the game to crash during gameplay. Their solution must be robust enough to allow easy updates to the code and avoid the creation of hard-to-track bugs.
In games that require animated figures such as first-person shooters and role-playing games, a lead animator is often employed. Their responsibility is to take care of the graphics creation specifically relating to making figures appear as lifelike as possible. Whether running, walking, crawling, jumping, attacking, defending, firing, reloading or casting a deadly spell on an opponent, the animation must look seamless with the game to avoid sucking people inadvertently out of the immersive gaming experience.
There are a surprising number of interesting jobs on the creative side for people at a gaming studio. The larger the studio, the more people will specialize in their core activity whereas with smaller game studios, sometimes the graphics designer will double as the animator or level designer too.