Video Game Designers
Design core features of video games. Specify innovative game and role-play mechanics, story lines, and character biographies. Create and maintain design documentation. Guide and collaborate with production staff to produce games as designed.
Sample of reported job titles: Design Director, Designer, Game Designer, Level Designer, World Designer
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Balance and adjust gameplay experiences to ensure the critical and commercial success of the product.
- Provide feedback to designers and other colleagues regarding game design features.
- Create core game features, including storylines, role-play mechanics, and character biographies for a new video game or game franchise.
- Devise missions, challenges, or puzzles to be encountered in game play.
- Guide design discussions between development teams.
- Develop and maintain design level documentation, including mechanics, guidelines, and mission outlines.
- Create and manage documentation, production schedules, prototyping goals, and communication plans in collaboration with production staff.
- Present new game design concepts to management and technical colleagues, including artists, animators, and programmers.
- Conduct regular design reviews throughout the game development process.
- Solicit, obtain, and integrate feedback from design and technical staff into original game design.
- Document all aspects of formal game design, using mock-up screenshots, sample menu layouts, gameplay flowcharts, and other graphical devices.
- Provide feedback to production staff regarding technical game qualities or adherence to original design.
- Prepare two-dimensional concept layouts or three-dimensional mock-ups.
- Consult with multiple stakeholders to define requirements and implement online features.
- Oversee gameplay testing to ensure intended gaming experience and game adherence to original vision.
- Keep abreast of game design technology and techniques, industry trends, or audience interests, reactions, and needs by reviewing current literature, talking with colleagues, participating in educational programs, attending meetings or workshops, or participating in professional organizations or conferences.
- Create gameplay prototypes for presentation to creative and technical staff and management.
- Write or supervise the writing of game text and dialogue.
- Collaborate with artists to achieve appropriate visual style.
- Determine supplementary virtual features, such as currency, item catalog, menu design, and audio direction.
- Review or evaluate competitive products, film, music, television, and other art forms to generate new game design ideas.
- Prepare and revise initial game sketches using two- and three-dimensional graphical design software.
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- Analytical or scientific software — Virtual Battlespace 2 VBS2
- Configuration management software — Perforce Helix software
- Data base management system software — MySQL
- Data base user interface and query software — Blackboard software; Microsoft SQL Server ; Structured query language SQL
- Development environment software — Adobe Systems Adobe Creative Suite; C; Microsoft Visual Studio ; Simple DirectMedia Layer SDL (see all 10 examples)
- Device drivers or system software — Microsoft DirectX
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Enterprise application integration software — Extensible markup language XML
- Graphical user interface development software — Graphical user interfaces GUI; Microsoft Expression Blend
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Flash; Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator ; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop ; OpenGL (see all 7 examples)
- Metadata management software — Perforce software
- Object or component oriented development software — Advanced business application programming ABAP ; C# ; Objective C ; Perl (see all 8 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Job control language JCL; Linux
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Process mapping and design software — Microsoft Visio
- Project management software — Atlassian JIRA ; Microsoft Project
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Video creation and editing software — Adobe Systems Adobe After Effects ; Autodesk 3ds Max; Sound development software
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Communications and Media — Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
- Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
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- Programming — Writing computer programs for various purposes.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
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- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
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- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Design video game features or details.
- Communicate project information to others.
- Collaborate with others to determine design specifications or details.
- Document design or development procedures.
- Manage documentation to ensure organization or accuracy.
- Manage information technology projects or system activities.
- Test software performance.
- Prepare graphics or other visual representations of information.
- Update knowledge about emerging industry or technology trends.
- Supervise information technology personnel.
- Analyze market or customer related data.
- Develop testing routines or procedures.
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- Electronic Mail — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 90% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 90% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 90% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 76% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 71% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Contact With Others — 57% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Level of Competition — 48% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 48% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 75% responded “Some freedom.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 55% responded “Very important.”
- Time Pressure — 52% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 43% responded “High responsibility.”
- Telephone — 38% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 57% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 29% responded “Very important.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 30% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 52% responded “Important results.”
- Physical Proximity — 70% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 29% responded “More than half the time.”
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|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor’s degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|10||Some college, no degree|
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Interest code: AE Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
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- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
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- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
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Wages & Employment Trends
Median wage data for Web Developers and Digital Interface Designers.
Employment data for Web Developers and Digital Interface Designers.
Industry data for Web Developers and Digital Interface Designers.
|Median wages (2020)||$37.12 hourly, $77,200 annual|
|Employment (2020)||199,400 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Faster than average (10% to 15%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||17,900|
|Top industries (2020)||
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Academy of the Interactive Arts and Sciences
- Association for Computing Machinery
- Computing Research Association
- Higher Education Video Game Alliance
- IEEE Computer Society
- International Game Developers Association
- National Center for Women and Information Technology
- North American Simulation and Gaming Association
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Web developers and digital designers
- World Organization of Webmasters
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This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA.