Job Roles and Company Structure Within the Games Industry

Job Roles

A picture showing the different job roles

Core Team

The core team includes the Programmers, Designers and Artists. These are all generally in house employees and create the game itself. These job roles could be considered the key to any project as without them the project couldn't be complete, these jobs also generally have to spend far longer working on the project then other areas e.g. audio.

Programmers

Programmers are the people responsible for the main chunks of code which make the game work. Programmers may build the engine for the game to run on but only larger studios have the money and time to make new engines so most smaller companies find an engine they can work with.

Programmers is a rather general term as this includes many different job roles within. Depending on the game you would need certain specialist programmers as most aren't a 'jack of all trades'. Some of these specialist roles are: AI programmers, Engine programmers, Online programmers, SPX programmers, Audio programmers. The main part of the programming team will be people working the base code of the game that makes it run. These other roles within programming focus on aspects the game may contain e.g. if your game has computer controlled enemies against you the player you will need a decent artificial intelligence so here you will need someone who knows how to make such a thing. General programmers may have the knowledge already to make AI but someone who has been taught to make AI or has experience doing so would be able to make more believable AI.

Skill requirements for the job: teamwork, creativity and imagination, problem solving skills, work under deadline pressure, patience and attention to detail, general IT knowledge, Able to code in different languages.

Qualification requirements can vary from job to job but as a baseline you should expect: C and above in maths and english, HND in programming or related courses. A HND might not be required but would improve your chances greatly for the job. A qualification for programming might not even be needed at all if you've made and worked on previous games you can use those as proof to your capability.

Junior programmers will be newer to the company and on a lower salary compared to programmers. Junior programmers would do most of the same work but probably work on less important aspects of the game, junior programmers will most likely be less experienced and this role gives them that experience.

Programmers will most likely have worked with the company for atleast 1 year. These will be on a slightly higher salary then juniors and make up most of the programming team. Programmers will generally be more experienced and have maybe worked on previous projects.

Senior/Lead programmers will be very experienced, and most likely have worked on multiple projects. They may have been with the company for a long time or just well known within the industry. They will help guide the rest of the time and offer insight into work flow.

Designers

Designers work on how the game will feel, and all the different aspects it will include. The designers give a lead to the rest of the team tell them what assests need to be mades, what code they will need how the story will fit things etc. Designers are very important and form the general idea for all aspects of the game for the coders and artists to work on.

Designers also have different roles within them, Level designers will design the levels for the games, the world the person will be experiencing and how it will feel. Game designers will design the features the game will includes, the setting, the structure and flow to the game pace. Sometimes the game designers come up with the idea for the games premise but most of the time they are given an idea to work on within a certain budget and timescale. Game designers also work with the QA teams to help them understand what needs to be tested, checked and experienced.

Skill requirements for the job: teamwork, creativity and imagination, problem solving skills, work under deadline pressure, patience and attention to detail, basic understaind of coding, work with 2d and 3d graphics within different software, understanding of different hardware, understand different platforms and software, good story telling and narrative skills, good communication skills

Qualification requirements can vary from job to job but as a baseline you should expect: C and above in maths and english. There aren't many qualifications specificly related to game design but general games courses could help.

Junior designers will be newer to the company and generally inexperiencered, they will also be on a lower salary. Junior designers will gain the chance for experience but will work on smaller most likely less important aspects of the game.

Designers will make up most of the design team and generally have some experience and been with the company for atleast a year. They will work on the larger more important aspects of the game.

Lead designer will be very experienced and will most likely have worked on many projects. The lead designers may be known within the industry or have been with the company for a long period of time. They will help guide the rest of the team and provide insight into issues.

Artists

Artists will make all of the games assests, concept art and anything else related to art for the company.

Artists, like the other areas have different roles within; 3D modellers, Technical artists, Visual Effects artists, Concept artists, GUI artists, Texture artists. Artists will provide majority of all visual aspects for the game including any assests, textures, UIs etc. The artists role is very important because this is what the person experiencing the game will actually see, so bad textures, UIs, assests can drive people away from a game.

Skill requirements for the job: teamwork, creativity and imagination, problem solving skills, work under deadline pressure, patience and attention to detail, able to draw from life, able to work independantly, able to work with different styles, knowledge of art software such as photoshop.

Qualification requirements can vary from job to job but as a baseline you should expect: C and above in maths and english, Art related qualifications and degrees will help, aswell as general games courses as these generally cover game related art. Being able to show some of your art work to prove your skills will also help.

Junior artists will be on a lower salary, generally less exerpeinced and working on less important areas of the game. This role gives the chance for experience and progression.

Artists make up the majority of the team and work on all visual aspects of the game, these people are generally experienced and have been with the company for atleast a year.

Lead/Senior artists are generally very experienced and/or have been with the company for a long time, they may be known within the industry for their work. Lead/Senior artists will guide the rest of the team and provide insight into others work.

Animators

This section is a sub division of the art area who focus on the animation aspect of assests. Animators would have all the same skills and requirements of a normal artist but would also need animation related qualifications (can be obtained from general games courses) and experience. The animators will focus on manipulating the assests provides by artists to make them perform actions, so a 3D modeller may make an assest but it is now the animators job to give that assest a walking animation so it doesn't just float along.

Management

To be in the management of any of the departments you must be very experienced and also have some qualifications that may relate to management to improve your chances.

As a manager you would overseer the entire department and guide your workers work flows and focus, you would make sure people are meeting deadlines and the general work flow isn't hindered in anyway.

Being in a management position you would need to be charismatic and able to inspire people, you must be able to resolve conflict and issues that may arrise.

Management positions are generally paid alot more then other areas but also carry more responsibilities.

Project Director

You would need all the same skills as someone in management but also be able to; deal with clients, multitask, indepth knowledge of games industry, provide strong leadership, create good working relationships, good organisational skills, able to manage money.

As project director you would look after finances and deadlines. You would be responsible for providing the success of a project. you would also need to coordinate your teams and make sure the projects vision is maintained and not distorted.

Qualifications are less important in this role, relevant experience is far more useful but you could rise to this role from being apart of the other departments.

Outsourced work

Outsourced work refers to people who're hired for short periods of time to provide different aspects for the game. These roles generally take far less time then the main project and would not have any work for extended periods of time if hired for the entire project. These roles can also be done in house by some different departments depending on the games studio.

Some of these roles can be very important to a game such as audio and voice acting to really immerse someone in the experience you're trying to create.

Outsourced QA will test your game for any bugs, issues and any other relevant information relating to all aspects to the experience a player of the game has to help the core team fix any issues. This process is very tedious so is generally out sourced to allow the core team to focus on their other work.

Jobs of the core team could also be out sourced depending on the needs of the company and what staff they have, these people may be hired for the entire project and work as a normal member just not tied to the company after that project is complete.

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