JOBS IN THE GAMING INDUSTRY

If you have a real passion for computer games, then you may want to consider getting a job within the industry. The gaming market is the fastest growing area in recent years and it’s an exciting time to get into this field. Long gone are the days of the one-person bedroom programmer doing all the graphics, sound and animation for the whole game. Nowadays, there can be a team of up to 200 people working on one game over a period of years.

There are many different types of jobs within the industry but I’ve listed a few of the main ones which would put you in direct contact with the creation process of the game itself.

Tester

Ever wanted to get paid to play games all day long? Well this could be the job for you. However, there are a few misconceptions I want to dispel first. Many people think that testing a game just involves playing the game as you normally would at home for a few hours a day to see how the game performs and to see how good it is. Although part of this is true, the main task of a games tester is to try and ‘break’ the game and find any bugs that may be lurking.

Quite often this can involve following a test script / set of instructions to make sure that the game is tested in a systematic way. In a driving friv game for example, this could mean driving round and round the track hundreds of times deliberately crashing into walls, trees, or trying to make the car go places where it shouldn’t be able to. If you do something that causes and error then you have to document the error message and report it to the programmers / debuggers.

Tester Team Leader

With a large scale game, there won’t be just one tester as it would take far too long to test every function of the game. So typically there will be a team of testers who need to be co-ordinated to make sure everything gets covered in a timely fashion. Once you have gained enough experience and have had a degree of success as a tester, then the role of Tester Team Leader would normally be the natural progression.

3D Graphics modelling / Programming

Nearly every game in this day and age is going to involve 3D graphics at some point or another. This can require a skill of using art applications but it can also get quite mathematical unless you are purely working on artwork. Let’s make no bones about it; to do this you would probably need a certain amount of natural ability and a lot of determination. If you do find you have a talent for art or programming, then this is a good way to make good money within the industry. This is probably the most ‘hands on’ job you can do within this field.

Level Designer

As games become bigger and more advanced so does the work involved with designing levels and the general structure of the game. This could involve creating an area as vast as landscapes as seen in Oblivion or it could be enclosed areas as you’d see in first person shooters. People that excel in these jobs will quite often have a general designing background as well as a gaming background. In some cases, you may need to have architectural skills to create unique features within the game.

Director

This is a role that most people in the gaming industry would aspire to get. In the same way that a director of a movie gets to call all the shots, the same can be said for a director of a game. You can safely assume that you are going to get a pretty big cut of the profits but you will also be working flat out for the duration of the game’s creation process. As games become more and more like movies, having a background of directing movies, even on a small scale could be an advantage.

To get this job, you would have almost certainly have had to climb your way from the bottom of the industry to the top in order to fully appreciate what is involved with every aspect of the process. You will need to be a person who lives and breathes computer games and is also able to handle pressure, especially when deadlines start looming as millions of dollars can be riding on its timely release. Having said all that, it is probably the most creative and satisfy job to have within the industry, and certainly most profitable.

Musician

Anybody who has seen the movie Jaws, Pulp Fiction or Starwars will know just how important the sound and music can be to a film. Somebody with a musical talent and background can find themselves in a very interesting job within this field.

The great news is that thanks to the Internet, the music scene has opened opportunities for many home grown musicians around the world.

Although some musicians in this field might have been technically trained, there can also be opportunities for those that can demonstrate a talent or unique style which would add value to the yoob game.

Journalist

If you love writing and you love computer games, then this sounds like the perfect job. You get to preview games before they come out, play games in order to review them, go to gaming exhibitions and more. Ok, so what’s the catch? Well, if you are working for a magazine which has to hit the shelves at the same date every month, then right from day one, you are going to be working to a deadline.

Sometimes, there can be a lot of pressure when there are many new releases which have to be reviewed, and it’s normally not just a case of playing the game for an hour or two to get the feel of it, you may have to get over halfway or even complete it so you can asses every aspect of the game. After all that, then you have to put pen to paper (well, hands to keyboard) and write a review which is interesting but informative. This can mean a lot of late nights, especially as the magazine publication date draws closer. However, if you respond well to deadlines then this may be a bonus for you.

Ok, here’s the good news, you don’t have to work for a magazine or endure stressful deadlines if you just want to review games (or movies) for fun. Why not visit friv games where you can write your own reviews on any game or movie you like, new or old, even if it has been reviewed by somebody before! Who knows, if you like it then it may give you a taste of what it would be like doing it as a paid job.