Deciding My Next Steps
Following the games, jobs live event I have been considering what exactly it is that I wish to do within the industry, what role exactly I would like to pursue. To do this I have been looking around for simple breakdowns of what each disciple is responsible for, and how my current personal skills and interests weigh up against that. Below are the following roles that I have been considering (links in Orange).
Systems designer. The system designer's role is to develop a comprehensive plan and instructions which can be given to the programmers. The systems designer is also responsible for writing the test plans and coordinating with a team of user and system testers to ensure that the system is thoroughly tested.
Level designers understand what makes good gameplay. They design the game – but only a portion of it normally referred to as a ‘level’. They take the specification defined by the gameplay designer and get into the detail - the actions, events, objects and environment. They also design the characters and the ways they behave. They need to think about the logic and flow of events and actions, the conditions that need to be met for certain things to happen and the challenges the player will encounter.
Gameplay designers are a bridge between the technical and art teams. If the gameplay is too difficult to achieve technically, they figure out what’s possible and re-write the specification accordingly. Likewise, if the programmers develop the game engine in a way that means new, exciting things can be done, the gameplay designer works out how to incorporate those into the game. They also train testers to play the game, making sure that they understand what’s expected of the finished product.
Technical designers are competent in both system and level design, though are known for being detail-oriented developers with advanced technical skills when compared to other designers. As part of a multidisciplinary production team, they help shape the architecture for new game systems; as well as, create and implement the more complex technical design elements into the game. Equally, they advocate and shape production efficiency and product quality, primarily for system development and world creation. It is expected that their work will be of the highest quality.
Considering these roles I would have to say that my passion falls into Gameplay Design. Understanding and developing how rule sets, mechanics and objects affect play has always stood out to me of the core of what makes a game feel special so that I believe it is this role that I will pursue.
Aside from this I also have a passion for scripting, being a big fan of C#, so could also see myself working as or systems designer. Finally, last but by no means least I have to consider level design as an option. It has played a part in the work on many of my projects and I have come to enjoy it more and more with practice, also be considered a good entry-level job I would not be opposed to working this role. Coupling this with my love for scripting and I can see myself pursuing a path in technical design later down the line.