If you love gaming, and have a desire to learn the latest programming, art and media production skills, then video game designer is the career path for you. Depending on your interests and employment goals, the video game design job market offers a wealth of opportunities.
Most video game designer jobs fall into one of three disciplines: Game Artist, Game Designer or Game Programmer. The game design career track you choose will determine your daily activities and responsibilities, as well as the skills and education requirements to get hired. Learn about video game designer skills by discipline below.
These top-rated online courses and degree programs in video game design are currently enrolling students.
Southern New Hampshire University
- 3D Art and Design
- Creature Design
- Character Animation
- View program details
- 3D Modeling and Animation
- Unreal Engine & AI Interaction
- Character and World Design
- View program details
All video game designers spend a lot of time in the classroom - or virtual classroom for online students - learning new skills to keep up with the gaming industry's rapidly evolving technologies and trends and platforms. However, with hard work and intense training comes great rewards -- most video game designers with 5+ years of experience earn over $100,000 per year, according to recent salary surveys.
Explore video game design schools online and in your area to compare game design training programs.
a.k.a. Video Game Developer | Simulation Programmer | Game Artist | Mobile Game Designer | Game Programmer
Video Game Designer Education Requirements
Video Game Designer Training Programs
Video Game Design Salaries
Video Game Designer Jobs
Video Game Design Job Outlook
Video Game Designer Skills & Responsibilities
In-demand skill sets and day-to-day activities for Video Game Designers include the following. Game designers:
- Devise the missions, challenges and puzzles that will be encountered in game play.
- Create narrative features, such as story-lines, role-play mechanics and character bios.
- Conduct periodic design reviews throughout the video game development timeline.
- Collaborate with artists and sound engineers to achieve the desired audio/visual style.
- Plan games using screenshot mockups, gameplay flowcharts and other visual devices.
- Maintain design level documentation, including mechanics, guidelines and mission outlines.
- Work closely with game programmers and artists to ensure that the design is being followed.
Sought-after skills and typical responsibilities for Video Game Artists include the following: Video game artists:
- Are responsible for the aesthetics (or visual style) of video games and simulations.
- Are skilled in traditional art concepts and techniques, such as line, form and color theory.
- Design the artwork for all visual game aspects, such as characters, weapons and vehicles.
- Use 2D/3D computer animation software to mockup and animate video game levels and worlds.
- Some game artists use motion-capture software to incorporate live-action actors into the video game.
- Collaborate with game programmers and designers to ensure finished product is consistent with original artwork.
Marketable skill sets and daily activities for Video Game Programmers include the following. Game programmers:
- Are fluent in the popular video game development programming languages, such as Java, C and C++.
- Develop the artificial intelligence (AI) that dictates reactions of computer-controlled elements.
- Write and fine-tune precise computer code that controls the difficulty level of a video game.
- Develop the code that enables multiplayer gameplay over a network, such as Xbox Live.
- Test & develop game physics, which controls how objects interact in the video game environment.
- Work closely with game artists and designers to accurately incorporate their visions into the game.
Video Game Designer Education Requirements
Video game designer education requirements vary according to your game design job specialty. Game design training programs focus on three main disciplines - design, art, and programming. Your personal interests, passions and employment goals will determine which video game design training program is the best fit to get hired for the job you want. Here is a breakdown of video game designer education requirements by game design specialty:
With video game popularity at an all-time high, schools are evolving their game design education programs with topics like 3D modeling, character animation, world design, storyboarding, simulation programming and more. Research and compare the top-reviewed game design programs in the U.S. and online.
What Traits do Game Design Studios Look for in a New Hire?Game studios seek out designers who love gaming, because real players recognize what makes a video game good, bad, ugly, or incredible. Strong problem-solving skills are key for game designers, as the video game creation process is ripe with challenges and pitfalls. To succeed as a video game designer you need to be patient and willing to work long hours and overtime to solve these problems. Successful video game designers need the ability to work well as part of a team, as video games are an intensely collaborative medium.
Video Game Design Training
Browse college degree programs, professional certificates, and self-paced online courses matching the game designer education requirements and career path.
Game Design Degrees
Compare accredited college degrees in video game design and related subjects.
Bachelor of Arts in Game Art & Development
- Gain the Skills to Become a Video Game Designer
- Design Visually-Stunning Characters, Worlds, and Creatures
- Create User Interfaces inc. Game Menus & Heads-Up Displays
- Computer Animation, Image Capture, and 3D Modeling
- Visual Arts foundation inc. Design and Color Theory
Bachelor of Science in Software Development
- Cross-Platform Application Development Training
- User Interface (UI) & User Experience (UX) Design
- Software Testing, Security and Quality Assurance
- Advanced Data Modeling and Database Development
- Manage Software Projects with Agile Best Practices
- Transfer Previous College Credit to Lower Tuition
Game Design Courses
Learn the latest game development skills and platforms including game art and design, game programming, and real-time 3D creation using the sought-after Unreal Engine. Online game development courses from CG Spectrum feature expert mentorship, flexible scheduling, 1-on-1 training or small class sizes, and a certificate to validate your skills to employers.
Game Development Courses with Certificate
- Beginner through Advanced Courses in Game Design & Programming
- Use Unreal Engine to Produce Stunning 3D Characters and Worlds
- Game Art Essentials inc. 3D Modeling in Maya & Substance Painter
- Mentorship from Accomplished Gaming Industry Veterans
- Unreal Academic Partner and Authorized Training Center
Video Game Designer Salaries
The median annual wage for game designers is $78,000, per the latest salary data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Video Game Designer Salary $78,000
Average starting salary for video game designers and related positions:
- QA/Video Game Tester: $54,000
- Video Game Artist: $77,000
- Video Game Designer: $78,000
- Game Level Designer: $80,000
- Video Game Art Director: $87,000
- Video Game Developer: $87,000
- iPhone Game Developer: $90,000
- Blackberry Game Developer: $90,000
- Android Game Developer: $94,000
- Java Game Developer: $96,000
Top paying US cities and metropolitan areas for video game designers:
- Los Angeles / Long Beach / Anaheim, CA Metro Area: $110,000
- San Francisco / Oakland / Hayward, CA Metro: $103,000
- San Jose / Sunnyvale / Santa Clara, CA: $101,000
- Portland / Vancouver / Hillsboro, OR-WA: $100,000
- New York City Tri-State Area, NY-NJ-PA: $97,000
- Seattle / Tacoma / Bellevue, WA Metro: $91,000
Video Game Designer Jobs
Your specialized game design training and experience qualifies you for a variety of exciting job roles including:
- Video Game Developer jobs
- Video Game Designer jobs
- Video Game Artist jobs
- Multimedia Designer jobs
- Mobile Game Developer jobs
Video Game Designer Job Outlook
There's never been a better time to learn video game design. The $150+ billion video game industry has more than tripled in size over the past decade with no signs of slowing. Beyond the booming market for video games on PCs and the major consoles (such as Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo) the increased popularity and sophistication of mobile and virtual reality (VR) technologies has opened up a new world of career opportunities for video game designers and developers.
Game designers with mobile development expertise will be especially sought after as smart phones and tablets, such as the iPhone, iPad, and a host of Android devices continue to change the way we access and play video games. In fact, mobile gaming now accounts for about half of the massive gaming market. Employment of video game designers is expected to grow by 16 percent from 2020 through 2030, doubling the 8% average growth rate for all occupations.
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook