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Wachter: No Programming Required

Posted Nov 10, 2009 by Jon Wood

Wachter: No Programming Required Columnist Victor Wachter writes this look at non-programming jobs in video game development and discusses the various barriers to entry and qualifications necessary.

Game Designer

"Game Designer" is a pretty generic descriptor for the range of skills that may be brought to the table. Some designers are writers, many with Hollywood or publishing credits, creating quests and other content. Some are traditional pen and paper and board game designers focused on mechanics. Some are world-builders, working tools like Maya and 3D Studio-Max in addition to proprietary tools. Others are almost programmers in their own right, creating complex scripts and algorithms to make combat, AI and encounters work.

The most general description of a game designer's job (keeping mind the wide variety of game designer skillsets shown above) revolves around documentation and implementation. In the beginning of the design process, game designers dream up the systems and content that will make their game the steaming wad of fun its intended to be. They create documents, going into detail about how encounters will work, how effects will trigger and the variety of conditions that may affect their ideas. They pass this documentation off to programming and art where, as they say, some magic happens.

Read No Programming Required.