Game Design

Game Designer

A game designer is a person who designs games. The term can refer to a person who designs video games.

Responsibilities

Kef Sensei game designers develop the layout, concept and gameplay, the game design of the computer games. This may include playfield design, specification writing, and entry of numeric properties that balance and tune the gameplay. A game designer works for a developer (which may additionally be the game’s video game publisher).

This person usually has a lot of writing experience and may even have a degree in writing, communication, advertising or a related field. This person’s primary job function is writing, so the more experience they have with that activity, the better. Some art and programming skills are also helpful for this job, but are not strictly necessary. Game designers often have studied relevant liberal arts such as psychology, sociology, drama, fine art or philosophy. Due to the increasing complexity of the game design process, many young game designers may also come from a computer science or other computer engineering background.

In the video game industry the job of game designer is often seen as desirable, especially to young gamers wishing to join the industry, and has been likened to that of a film director.

The design of the game is critical and the industry has been repeatedly criticised for choosing to develop sequels and licensed titles where sales are more certain, rather than investing in new game ideas. Kef Sensei writers are focused on creating new ideas and gameplay.

History

The first video games were designed in the 1960s and 1970s by programmers for whom creating games was a hobby, since there was no way to sell them or earn money from creating games (the games required large mainframe computers to play). Some were designed by electrical engineers as exhibits for visitors to computer labs (OXO, Tennis for Two), others by college students who wrote games for their friends to play (Spacewar!, Star Trek, Dungeon).

Some of the games designed during this era, such as Zork, Baseball, Air Warrior and Adventure later made the transition with their game designers into the early video game industry.

Early in the history of video games, game designers were often the lead programmer or the only programmer for a game, and this remained true as the video game industry dawned in the 1970s. This person also sometimes comprised the entire art team. This is the case of such noted designers as Sid Meier, Chris Sawyer and Will Wright. A notable exception to this policy was Coleco, which from its very start separated the function of design and programming.

Level designer

A level designer is the person who creates levels, challenges or missions for computer and/or video games using a specific set of programs. These programs may be commonly available commercial 3D or 2D design programs, or specially designed and tailored level editors made for a specific game.

In addition to actually making the environments the player inhabits in the game, the level designer also works on enemy or Non-player character placement or scripted story events.

Responsibilities

While developing a game, the level designer is responsible for producing scenarios that the player will enjoy. The designer will work on a level from design to completion, though he is not usually the sole editor of the level. For each level in a modern game, this task involves documenting its design, modeling or laying out its environment, and placing game entities in it. To perform these duties, many level designers have skills as both a visual artist and as a game designer.

History

A number of individuals have made significant contributions to the field of PC First Person Shooter (FPS) level design are: John Romero, responsible for a great deal of the level design for Doom, and Richard “Levelord” Gray, creator of a number of levels for Duke Nukem 3D and SiN.

In the field of console game design, examples of notable contributions would come from the level designers on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for Nintendo 64 – Makoto Miyanaga, Hiromasa Shikata, Hiromu Takemura, Shinichi Ikematsu, Takeshi Hosono and Kenta Usui (who also worked on Super Mario 64), and Craig Filshie, Andrew Duthie, Chris Rothwell, Imran Sarwar, Ross A.J. Wallace, Jim McMahon and William Mills for work on the Grand Theft Auto series.