The expansion of the video game industry has been phenomenal. Whilst many can remember playing Tetris and Pacman, new generations now play Fortnite and Call of Duty. Gaming has gained extensive popularity, with the user base no longer being limited to children or teenagers. The industry has boomed in the last few decades raking in a whopping revenue of roughly £35.7 billion in 2018. The rapid growth of the gaming industry has given way to many employment opportunities for gaming enthusiasts.

Two of the most popular roles within the gaming industry are that of a game designer and game developer. However, there have been constant discussions about the differences that exist between the two career paths. This blog will help you understand what the two job roles entail and which might be better for you

What is game programming?

Game development is an umbrella that includes various game-related professions such as game animation and game programming. Game programming is a subcategory of game development which focuses on the software aspect of video games. It involves mathematics, logic and coding that make up the core of a video game.

How can you become a game designer?

If you’re a game enthusiast with a creative streak, the game designing profession might be the right choice for you. In order to become a game designer, you can take up an undergraduate course in game designing. While this is the basic requirement, there are other skills you will need to have to enter the professional that you must be aware of. These include:

Artistic vision: Game designers are responsible for creating the interface of games, which requires imagination and the ability to translate ideas into visuals. Hence, it is essential that game designers have an artistic vision.

Creativity: Creativity is the key when it comes to game designing, especially since the need of the business is to create unique and engaging game ideas that have not been considered before.

Storytelling: Video games will involve scripts that guide the narrative of a game and show the player how to progress. Narration will also help explain the back story and concepts of the game. 

Programming skills: Having strong programming skills is a game designer’s best asset as it allows them to transform their vision into a game. Game designers must have impeccable programming skills if they want to be successful in this field.

Updated with gaming trends: The rapid expansion of the gaming industry can be attributed to the innovative trends that influence it. Professionals who want to become game designers must be up-to-date with the current gaming trends and incorporate them into their work.

Interest in video games: One of the most important prerequisites for entering the gaming industry is having a passion for it. A keen interest in video games will enable you to stay motivated at work and come up with unique ideas. 

Job responsibilities

  • Developing new and innovative game ideas;
  • Coming up with gameplay ideas;
  • Testing different themes and genres for the game;
  • Creating storylines and plots;
  • Introducing maps, difficulty levels and situations;
  • Defining the ways of winning and losing the game;
  • Designing the user interface;
  • Developing character movements and features;
  • Working on existing games, removing bugs and improving the games.

Salary

The average annual salary earned by a game designer is £25,314. 

How can you become a game developer?

If you are passionate about video games but are academically more inclined towards programming and coding, the game developer profession is your chance to combine your strengths. You can take up game development courses to start your journey into the gaming industry. Acquiring a degree in the field is the first step to working as a game developer. However, you will need to have other key attributes and soft skills to have a fun, exciting and successful career. These include: 

Programming languages: This is one of the most crucial skills that an individual aspiring to become a game developer must possess. In order to be successful as a game developer, you must be well-versed in programming languages such as C, C++ and more.

Analytical skills: As a game developer, you will also be required to analyse the performance of your competitors and modify your game accordingly. As in any business, strong analytical skills are necessary not only to gauge the performance of the game but to find ways to improve it.

Creativity, gaming trends and passion for video games are common attributes between a game designer and game developer, especially since they are working to achieve the same goal – the success of a game.

Job responsibilities

  • Analysing the design specifications suggested by video game designers;
  • Using programming skills to convert a game designer’s ideas into a playable game;
  • Implementing application programme interfaces (APIs) that allow various software programmes to interact with each other;
  • Implementing artificial intelligence to incorporate non-player characters into the game;
  • Using programming skills to design the game’s terrain.

Salary

The average annual salary earned by a game developer is £39,556.

Game developer vs. game designer
Game designer Game developer
Creates the initial framework Turns vision into reality
Responsible for the overall design Responsible for transforming ideas into a playable game
Work on one aspect of the game Work on the overall working of the game


If you are interested in entering the computer game development field, you can pursue the
HNC/HND Computer Game Development programme offered by London College of Contemporary Arts (LCCA). This undergraduate programme allows you to combine technology with creativity and prepares you to enter the gaming industry. Sign up for the course today and achieve your goals! 

This article was written by Meghdeep Patnaik and edited by Emma Chadwick.