Game design is a field that includes many different roles. In smaller teams, there is usually just one single-game designer handling the entire design process on their own. In larger projects, especially AAA-games, there are many different designers that are each responsible for a certain area of the game. Usually, these specialized roles go to senior developers with years of experience in the field, while junior designers deal with smaller tasks.
Below we've listed different types of game designer roles.
Lead designers are responsible for managing a team of designers and making sure that the game’s overall vision is achieved. They keep the other designers on the same track and make sure that everyone is working towards the same goal.
Depending on the team, they may also decide how the project is documented, determine the basic systems, and create the overall story arc or assign these to another designer on the team.
Level designers are in charge of designing levels and worlds for games. It's possibly the most well-known role in game design. Level designers design layouts for levels choose where enemies and obstacles are placed and so on. Depending on the game’s size, different parts of the level design can have different designers working on them.
It's good for a level designer to have experience in both programming and art. Quite often they create many of the assets needed to finish the level and do all the necessary scripting to make things go exactly as they are meant to.
Depending on the game genre, content designers may be involved in a variety of different things, but in general, they oversee designing of the playable content of the game. Oftentimes they design all kinds of quests, stories, and missions for games or, in other words, just the things on which most players will be spending the majority of their playtime.
However, due to the nature of this role, most teams don't have a separate designer for this job, and these tasks are integrated into other designer roles instead. Level designers and narrative designers, for example, also tend to focus on similar areas.
System designers focus on the different types of systems that the games include, like weapons, character selection, or leveling. Depending on what they may be, the designers may end up focusing on just a single system, but in smaller projects one person may just design all of them. Large systems like the combat systems in action games, for example, may be given to a single designer altogether.
You could say that technical designers are part programmers and part designers. They often implement many features into the game, often working on both previously mentioned departments. They may design the tools that the other designers need in their job, like level or quest editors.
Narrative designer and content designer may sound similar on paper, but they are not exactly the same. The content designer may focus more on the structure side of missions and quests, while the narrative designers are handling the writing. Storytelling and writing are talents that take years to hone, so they are usually covered by an expert.
The job of a UI designer is to create the user interface for the game, everything from menus to the HUD. Their job is to make sure that all the information on the game screen is clear and easy to understand. From a poorly designed UI, it's very easy to tell that a certain game hasn't put a lot of effort into designing that area. This role has become more important over the years due to the way many different games consider the UI a part of the game itself.
Connect the job description to the type of designer.
So many types to choose from! Did you find some more interesting than the others? Take a little break, before we move on to the world of design.