What is the difference between game design and game programming?

Monday, 7 April 2014

Many people never realise that game design and game programming are two very different things. It’s easy to get confused, especially for individuals not involved in the game industry. Understanding the difference between game programming and design is even more crucial for individuals interested in a career within the game industry. Although there are several similarities between the two, game design focuses on the creative vision for a game while game programming focuses on the technological methods of implementing the ideas of designers, using computer code to bring those games to life.

Game Designer

Game design focuses on creativity, how a game flows, as well as how end users will like the game. Game design involves understanding what gamers want in games, then using their skills to meet the demands of gamers. Not all individuals involved in game design have a formal education in design or art, but many designers have a background in game programming or software development. Game designing requires the ability to see the big picture, getting a vision of what the game should become once it is complete. Individuals with experience in game design often enjoy lucrative offers from top game companies.

Game Programmer

Game programming differs from game design, since this job involves writing and analysing programming code. Programmers work to write lines of code used to make a game work and each game development project often has several game programmers working on the project. Not only do programmers write code for games, but they often tweak codes and fix bugs found within the software. Within game programming, several sub-specialties exist, including network programming and graphics programming. Most game programmers have software development training, extensive experience writing programs or a combination of experience and a software development degree. Both game designers and game programmers have the potential to earn excellent salaries, but both jobs do require education and experience. Once you fully understand the difference between game design and game programming, then you will be ready to take the next step, deciding which option to pursue as you get your education. You might also be interested in reading about: