Take your work home

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 November, 2008, 12:00am

If you love playing computer games, game designing could be your perfect career

Requirements: As a game designer, you need good language skills to present your ideas to others. You also need to have knowledge of artwork and computer programming, and a good imagination.

Most importantly, you have to be a huge game fan. You have to enjoy playing different types of games.

Qualifications: You don't need any particular academic requirement to be a game designer. We have Form Five graduates, Form Seven graduates, associate degree graduates and higher diploma graduates applying for the position. You don't necessarily have to come from an art or programming education background either.

Average salary: The starting salary for those with no experience is about HK$6,000. After three years, if you have performed well, you will be promoted from a game designer to a game planner. The pay for a game planner is at least HK$8,000.

Work prospects: The development of a game is a long process. It takes at least six months to develop one and some can take as long as five or six years.

There are four stages in developing a game. The first is pre-production. A game designer has to write a proposal for the game. It can be very demanding and challenging to work out what the game will be like.

Next is the Alpha stage, where artists and programmers create the game according to the proposal. There is also test game-playing, to see if the game is entertaining enough.

Then there is the Beta stage, where the different levels of the game are created. This stage involves more test playing to see if the game is player-friendly and fun.

The final stage is the goal master. At this stage, the game will go through final editing and debugging. Any wording is also edited at this stage to ensure it's suitable for the targeted age group.

Long-term prospects: As your experience in creating games grows, you can consider taking on a management role. This involves looking at game designs from a marketing point of view.

Successful managers are usually game designers who have previously created famous games.

Where to apply: Console game companies, mobile phone game companies and PC game companies all employ game designers.

A day in the life of a game designer

My official working hours are from 9am to 6pm, but the time I leave depends on what stage we're at with the game production.

During pre-production I'm extremely busy because I have to produce a proposal before the deadline. I may have to work overnight.

The Alpha stage is also very demanding because I need to keep reviewing the game.

The Beta and goal master stages are the best because it's the programmers' turn to make adjustments. I can go home on time.