So the last time we talked a bit about the structure of a typical Triple A Studio. Now its time to go much deeper.
Lead Programmer- AI Programmer, UI Programmer, Gameplay Programmer, Graphics Programmer
Technical Director- Tools Programmer, Networking Programmer, Level Programmer, Physics Programmer
Whew. A lot things might be new to you so let me explain a bit as far as I know. A programmer is someone who codes and implements your core idea into workable, form. All video games need a programmer, Yet there are some games which were made by just desingers using special tools and softwares. It is often a projected view in this industry and the web design industry that if someone can hire a programmer for cheap, why hire the expensive one. Well, I ain’t no programmer yet :) but I do know that those programmers who were not hired just because they were out of the “budget” could have done 10X of the work more effectively than the cheap one. I know for certain that the expensive ones would have made the code so complex yet modular that in the future you could use parts of it for a new project. Okay, next up is the AI programmer who basically designs and develop the artificial intelligence of characters…how they behave, how they react when they see the protagonist, how they respond to the environment and so on. Many programmers have a certain disdain for being assigned as the UI Programmer, its not a difficult area per se, but they feel they can utilize their coding skills somewhere else. The best thing to do in these cases is to group one with a UI artist or a designer so they can both tweak and flesh out the user-interface. The Gameplay programmer has a lot of brunt to bear. All the necessary game mechanics, features, physics are undertaken by the gameplay programmer. They way a rifle feels in your hand, or the way your character jumps and slides smoothly under an obstacle…thank the gameplay programmer for that! I am not entirely sure of the exact roles of a graphic programmer although I do have a rough idea. Basically, all the lighting, the environment lights, particle effects, visual effects and graphic quality is handled by the graphic programmer. It’s a graphic programmer’s job to tweak the graphics and visuals for high-end devices and the low-end devices while keeping the game playable under a respectable amount of FPS(frames per second).
Lead Designer- 3D World Modeler, 3D Entity Modeler, 3D Character Modeler, Character Animation, Entity Animation
Game Designer- Story Writer, Dialogue Writer, Level Designer, Interface Designer, Motion-Capture Artist.
The Lead Designer, 3D World Modeler, 3D Entity Modeler, 3D Character Modeler, Character Animation, Entity Animation have a lot of similar rules. Some of them create 3D visual and physical model of environments and the game world, then some of them create enemy NPC’s that are in 3D while some create character animation which have realistic movements and other animation required by the character,
Lead Artist, Art Director
Well sorry to disappoint but I hardly have a clue about the people in the art department. If any of those reading my blog, do comment and let me know and I will update the article with the correct information.
Lead Sound Director- Voice-over Artist, Sound Effects, Music
Music Director- Composer, Orchestra, Music/Score Arrangements
Sound is seriously one of the most underrated fields in the video game industry. However it is one of the most as it can have an immediate effect on the player. Some games employ player’s agency#1 to influence sound and vice versa. Ever heard of creepy footsteps behind you and making your character turn in a jiffy? You could appreciate the Sound Effects Engineer for that.
Quality Assurance Department
Main Team- Game Testers, Multiplayer, Localization Team.
Q.A Lead- Compatibility, Beta Testers
This department provides a great opportunity for gamers to get into the industry if they do not have an education of game programming or game design. Of course, game testing is not as attractive as it sounds. You don’t get paid to play games, you get paid to play shitty versions of the game until you and other tester’s efforts improve the quality of it. Those bugs that you didn’t know about in Starcraft 2 were examined and tested by testers doing one action of a character multiple times in different areas until it was bug-free.
Producer, Studio Head, Line Producer, Associate Producer
Basically the people who have the crew under their pockets. This is where the money trickles down in the form of paychecks.
Publisher, Studio Head, Lawyers
People looking after the IP(Intellectual Property)- the game that the people in the studio work so hard for. They have all the big shots lawyers who fight copyright infringement eve though they sometimes don’t win.
There are a lot things that I have missed and might have overlooked so I really urge you peeps to please, send me those through the comments. Any point or any role in a particular studio, you are welcome to explain the process and I will update it. Its time we start to acknowledge video games as the ultimate medium for entertainment and education.
That’s all for now folks. Next time, its the process of how a game is made and this applies to almost every video game ever created.
Song of the Day- If You Stayed Over (Reprise) by Bonobo