Hollerings | Digital & IT

Battle of the Game Creators: Designer vs Developer

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There are hundreds of man hours that go into the making of a commercial game along with many people trained in a range of disciplines. In a previous article we looked at the role of a Games Tester, but so much comes before this. 

Designers and Developers work together to create a near finished game that testers work through, but what is the difference in their roles?

Where do Designers and Developers fit in?

The most straightforward way to understand the different positions is to consider the creation of a game. It first needs designing; the story-line, characters, aims and difficulties, then it can be developed; creating the landscape, game-play and structure through code before finally being tested; checking there are no bugs or glitches.

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After the majority of the game has been completed these roles may occur simultaneously but in the initial stages they fit largely to the timeline. Designers, Developers and Testers work closely together but their roles rarely overlap.

Game Designer

Designers can be considered the starting point for games and constitute to the genre and specific elements for the whole game. This role starts with creating brand new concepts, checking commercial viability and creating an engaging story line with fitting characters and missions.

A key point in the role of a Game Designer is the need to focus designs towards the overarching structure of each game. For example multiplayer shooting games will demand different design principles to that of a single player puzzle game.

To work as a Designer you need to have:

  • Creative viewpoint
  • Visual & Drawing Skills 
  • Commercial understanding

It’s crucial that all elements of the design are communicated in precise details so communication is key for any Designer.

Game Developer

Developers are responsible for making all the designers concepts come to life through code. This process usually starts with a concise review of all plans, before using sophisticated technical stacks to bring the whole game to life.

The development of a full game can be separated into multiple categories including graphics, network and artificial intelligence. Much of this programming can be pre-built with the help of engines, which allow developers to work on the details of each game rather than coding from scratch. 

To work as a Developer you need to have:

  • Coding skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Imaginative use of technical skills

Once the Developer has created a full version of the game it’s a collaborative effort between the developers and testers to create a perfect package.

For more information on what it means to be a games designer or developer check out Game Designing, All Art Schools and Ortus Publishing’s articles.

Written by: Rosie Bancroft

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