Life in the Development Studio- Video Game Development
Life in the Development Studio for Video Game Developers
Game Development is a varied field and we have compiled a list of the key roles you could find yourself working on in a development studio when you graduate. Our in-house studio placement will give you practical experience of these roles for yourself. You may find yourself identifying with a certain type of discipline in particular.
In practice programmers often jump between these roles, or straddle their work across several areas.
As an AI programmer you would create Artificial Intelligence for use in-game. An understanding of how to create algorithms to mimic intelligence of attacking/defending/route-finding and challenging opponents would be central to this role. This can include both solo and crowd-based behaviour.
You would be directly responsible for creating the User Interface. This includes creation of all the front-end and in-game menus and sub-menus, and using animated transitions to give the player a polished user-experience.
You would be responsible for knowing how to utilise one of the more established physics-engines (2D and 3D). The ability to understand topics such as forces and angular-momentum will help you to drive fun in-game dynamics.
If you are a good communicator, have an eye for detail and some artistic creativity, a VFX programmer is the role for you. You would be responsible for authoring new systems and modifying existing systems such as particle-engines to empower VFX Artists to maximise their creativity.
As a graphics programmer you would need an eye for detail and some artistic creativity. It is important to have a good understanding of the relationship between CPU and GPU, and rendering pipelines. The ability to author optimised shader-code is also highly beneficial.
Framework/ Engine Programmer
Laying out the foundations of the code systems for other programmers to utilise is a job for the framework/ engine programmer. For this role you would need to be able to build upon existing engines and provide powerful features with a clean API to ease development for the rest of the programming team.
All of the game-play and much of the ‘feel’ of the game will come from the code authored by gameplay programmers. Unlike framework-programming, you would concentrate on programming the core fun of the game, such as player-controls.
As an audio programmer you would be responsible for authoring all of the code involved with triggering sound-effects and music required for the game. Without you there would be no audio in the game!
You would be responsible for dealing with all of the code that adds network features to the game, such as lobby match-making and networked multi-player modes.
A generalist programmer role is slightly more unspecific as you would take on other roles when needed. However, you would need the ability to feel comfortable jumping into any part of the code as it often involves tracking down bugs.
This programmer has no specific role and takes on other roles as and when needed. Often involved with tracking down bugs and need the ability to feel comfortable jumping into any part of the code.