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This subject guide on game design will provide you with an overview of what makes game design a lucrative field to pursue.
What is Game Design?
Game design is the process of creating the rules, mechanics, and overall feel of a game. It is often considered a form of art, as it can heavily influence the player's experience and enjoyment of the game.
It can also make a game easier to learn and understand so that players can quickly get into the game without feeling overwhelmed. A competent game designer strives to create an engaging and enjoyable experience for the player, while also providing challenges that are appropriate for their skill level.
Courses on game design can teach you the basics of creating video games. These can include character design, game mechanics, level design, and story development. Many programmes also incorporate business classes to help you learn how to market and sell your games.
If you're interested in learning how to design video games, there are a few different ways you can go about it. You can attend a specialised game design school, or you can study game design as part of a general computer science or art degree programme. Alternatively, you can self-study by reading books and tutorials or taking online courses.
What are the major fields in Game Design?
No matter which route you choose, it's important to get started with some basic knowledge of game design principles. Once you have a solid foundation, you can start experimenting with different ideas and concepts to create your own unique games. Here are some of the fields of game design:
1. Computer Science
Video game design is a field within computer science that deals with the creation and development of video games. Video game designers are responsible for the overall look, feel, and gameplay of a game. They work with artists and programmers to create the game's assets, including characters, levels, and stories. Explore computer science further here.
2. Art & Design
Art and design play a major role in video game design. Artists create the visual elements of a game, such as characters, backgrounds, and menus. Designers use these elements to create the game's overall aesthetic. In addition to art and design, video game designers must also have a strong understanding of user experience (UX) design. This helps them create games that are not only visually appealing but also easy to use and navigate.
3. User Experience (UX) Design
User experience (UX) design is a field of game design that focuses on creating games that are easy to use and navigate. UX designers work closely with artists and designers to create user-friendly interfaces. They also conduct user research to improve the usability of games.
4. Game Mechanics
Game mechanics are the rules and systems that govern gameplay. Game designers use mechanics to create complex and challenging gameplay experiences. They must have a strong understanding of mathematics and physics to create realistic game worlds. In addition, game designers must be able to balance gameplay elements to create a fun and fair gaming experience.
5. Level Design
Level design is the process of creating the game's levels. Level designers are responsible for planning the layout of each level, placing objects and enemies, and designing puzzles. They must also create a balance between challenge and reward to keep players engaged.
Programming is a critical part of video game design. Programmers create the code that makes games playable. They also work with artists and designers to create game assets, such as characters, levels, and menus. In addition, programmers must be able to troubleshoot problems and optimise game performance.
7. Quality Assurance (QA)
Quality assurance (QA) is a field of game design that focuses on ensuring that games are free of bugs and other technical issues. QA testers play through games to find and report bugs. They also conduct usability testing to ensure that games are easy to use and navigate. Additionally, QA testers must be able to write clear and concise reports detailing their findings.
What subjects are taught in Game Design programmes?
Many colleges and universities offer degree programmes in game design or interactive media, and some offer specialised concentrations within these programmes. Some schools also offer certificates in game design or related areas.
Coursework for these programmes typically includes classes in computer programming, artificial intelligence, 3D graphics, animation, and level design. In addition, students often take courses in writing, art, and music to learn how to create game content.
Some important subjects to learn when studying game design are 3D and 2D animation, programming, level design, and game engines. These subject areas will give you the basic knowledge and skills needed to create video games. Additionally, it is important to be familiar with the different software programmes and tools used in game development as well as the different genres of video games. Familiarity with popular video games can also be helpful when learning game design.
Apart from the courses from other areas of Computer Sciences and Management, there are some specialised courses that are generally a part of a game design programme. These include:
- Fundamentals of Game Design
- Fundamentals of Game Development
- Fundamentals of Game Technology
- Fundamentals of Game Art
- Game Business and Marketing
- Human-Computer Interaction for Games
Students get to choose from a variety of elective courses. They include:
- Game Programming
- Mobile Game Development
- 3D Game Programming
- Game QA & Testing
- Game Social & Cultural Studies
- Game World Creation
- Digital Drawing
- Animation Principles
- 3D Modelling
What are the skills and characteristics needed for Game Design?
A career in game design can be extremely rewarding, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to succeed. There are many different skills and characteristics that are needed for a successful career in game design, but some of the most important ones include:
One of the most important qualities that a game designer needs is creativity. Game designers need to be able to come up with new and innovative ideas for games that will appeal to players. They also need to be able to take existing ideas, add a unique twist to them, and make them their own.
2. Artistic Ability
Another important quality that game designers need is artistic ability. While not all game designers need to be artists, it can be helpful if they have at least some basic artistic skills. This is because game design often involves creating art for games, such as character designs, backgrounds, and user interfaces.
3. Programming Skills
Many game designers also need to have at least some basic programming skills. This is because some designs require the use of programming languages to create the game itself. While not all game designers need to be programmers, those who are can find it helpful when it comes to creating their own games or working on larger projects.
4. Communication Skills
Game designers often need to communicate with other members of the development team, such as programmers, artists, and producers. They also need to be able to communicate their ideas clearly in order to get their games made.
5. Organisational Skills
Game designers also need to have good organisational skills. This is because they often have to keep track of many different aspects of the game development process, such as deadlines, schedules, and budgets. They also need to be able to juggle multiple tasks at once and stay organised in order to make sure that everything gets done on time and within budget.
6. Problem Solving Skills
Problem-solving skills are essential for game designers because they often need to find solutions to problems that arise during game development. They also need to be able to troubleshoot issues that come up during testing or when players are playing the game.
7. Leadership Skills
They may often need to lead a team of developers in order to get a game project completed on time and within budget. They also need to be able to motivate their team members and keep them on track.
What are the Game Design programmes offered in Malaysia?
The following universities offer courses and specialisations in game design in Malaysia:
Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU)
BSc (Hons.) in Computer Games Development
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)
Bachelor of Science (Honours) Game Development
University College Sedaya International (UCSI)
BA (Hons) – Game Design
What is the salary outlook for Game Design jobs in Malaysia?
Career opportunities in game design are expected to expand significantly in the coming years.
Job prospects should be best for those who have a bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering, or a related field, along with strong computer programming skills and experience creating 3D graphics.
However, because the video game industry is extremely competitive, many qualified candidates are likely to find only temporary or part-time work until they can gain more experience or establish a reputation in the field. A portfolio that showcases an individual's game design skills and creativity will be important in this case.
Here’s a short list of potential jobs, along with a rough estimate of average starting salaries mentioned by Salary Expert:
- Game Developer (RM 5,000 – RM 15,000)
- Game Programmer (RM 6,500 – RM 10,000)
- Game Designer (RM 6,000 – RM 12,000)
- Games QA Tester (RM 4,500 – 10,000)
- Mobile Game Developer (RM 6,000 – 15,000)
- Games Community Manager (RM 4,000 – 10,000)
- User-Interface Programmer (RM 5,500 – 12,000)
- AI Programmer (RM 7,500 – 15,000)
How long is the duration of studies for Game Design courses in Malaysia?
Bachelor’s Degree: 3 years
What are the entry requirements for Game Design in Malaysia?
Different universities have set their own entry requirements and this list provides you with a general guideline:
STPM - Mathematics and science subjects, CGPA 2.00 for 2 subjects with min. Grade C for each subject; OR
A-Levels - Min. EE or equivalent of min. 80 points; OR
Australian Matriculation - ATAR 50; OR
Foundation - Pass all subjects, Min. CGPA 2.00; OR
UEC - Min. 5Bs including English; OR
International Baccalaureate - Min. 24 points.
How much is the tuition fee to study Game Design in Malaysia?
The estimated tuition fee per year for a game design undergraduate degree can be seen here:
- Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) - RM 87,000
- Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) – RM 44,550
- University College Sedaya International (UCSI) – RM 69,870
Written by: Kaukab Azhar