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Article - 'Placing Yourself In The Gaming Community' by Mateui

An item about Game Design posted on Jan 14, 2004

Blurb

This article will briefly outline the four basic game making categories, as well as 20 different roles/jobs that go with these categories.

Body

Placing Yourself In The Gaming Community:
By: Mateui

What kind of person am I?

This is a different type of article, compared to what I usually write. This article is not on the subject of game design, but rather, on the people that design the games, and the ones that help along the way. It will help you place yourself with the gaming community (mainly this one, Gaming World’s community), and identifying the roles each type of person plays.

The first article (this one) will outline briefly, most of roles. In future segments, these roles will be further explained, and accompanied by an interview of someone who fits the specified role. It will be a fun process, and I’m sure many will be able to learn a lot from this experience.

What’s Out There?

Now, you may be asking, “What’s out there for me?” There are many different roles available, and they are all divided into 4 categories: Design, Graphics, Music, and Programming/Scripting. They are all dependent upon each other and work together to create a superb game.

(I will be mainly focusing on RPG Creation when mentioning the jobs, yet realize that many of these jobs/roles can be interchangeable and work in producing many different types of games.)

To help put the categories in relation with each other, I have constructed a diagram for simplicity, and better aesthetic quality. (Please ignore the apparent crappiness of the picture. :P)

Game Roles:


Ok. The four categories can now be seen, and everyone is happy! ^_^! I will now start up some new sections, describing briefly the many jobs each category contains.

Graphics:

Good ol’ graphics. Everyone loves them, yet not everyone can make them. That’s why there’s a huge demand for them. Who doesn’t appreciate a helping hand, someone who creates unique graphics, which are the primary focus when advertising in screenshots? That’s right, no one! (NOTE: This list is not definite, and probably does not include all the jobs in the category)

Sprite Artist: A Sprite Artist’s main goal is to create all of the sprites a game will contain. Sprites include not only the character graphics, but also NPCs, moving objects, such as butterflies or animals, and many other neat things like poses.

Tile Artist: These kind of people are extremely hard to come by these days. Why? Because tilesets required a huge amount of time to finish, and must look perfect for the game they will be used for, as the player will be seeing them 90% of the time. Tile Artists are highly appreciated, and they are like a rare commodity.

Faceset Artist: This person pixellates or draws the faces of the NPCs and Main Characters in the game, which are usually used in in-game conversations, menus, and in battle.

Enemy Artwork: These people draw/pixellate the monsters and enemies found in the RPG. These can also by hard to find, as many RPGs contain dozens of enemies, and drawing them each can be no easy quick task.

Weapon Artist: This person draws, renders, or pixellates the weapons that will be used in an RPG game.

Background/Backdrops/Panorama Artist: These people create the pretty backgrounds which can be used widely in an RPG game. This may include battle backgrounds, panoramas, or special backdrops for cutscenes/introductions.

GUI Artist: A GUI Artist creates Graphical User Interfaces. This may be, in an RPG sense, the artwork needed for a Custom Menu System, or some other system, or mini-game.

Misc. Artwork: Anything else drawn, pixellated, or made with graphics fits into this category. An example of something that could fit in this category could be some pictures needed for use in the game.


Music:

Music. Aww, how can you have an RPG without it? Indeed, you can’t. That’s why you’ll need to get music from somewhere, and that’s where you have two options: Get it ripped from a commercial game, -or- have someone create custom music for the game. What sounds better, or more memorable? (NOTE: This list is not definite, and probably does not include all the jobs in the category)

Music Composer: The main big daddy of the music category. The person who composes electronically/physically to produce the music. The music they create is usually regular background music, character themes, game themes, main titles, and more. What else could you ask for?

Sound Effect Producer: Now, you don’t see many of these around. These type of people are the ones that create the sound effects that will be used in the game.

Voice Actor: There are many people who could fit into this role, but this is one job that many RPGs, especially amateur ones, aren’t needing. This is because adding in voice acting for every part in the game will make the filesize rise through the roof, and will deteriorate others from downloading the final product.


Programming/Scripting:

Every game requires one form of another of programming/scripting. Even Rm2k/3, although requiring little advanced knowledge, includes basic point and click coding. Without the people in this job section, a game will have little or no use whatsoever. (NOTE: This list is not definite, and probably does not include all the jobs in the category)

Coder: The people that code the many things needed to make an RPG work. This is about the only job in the programming/scripting category, yet there are many forms of coders to be found. For instance, you could have a “Custom Menu/Battle System Coder” or a “Mini-game Coder”, or something else. Then, if you’re hoping to make your game online, you’ll probably need various different types of coders/programmers to help get the job finished.


Design:

Before you can even get the other categories assembled and finished, you need to design the game in question. Designing a game is like planning, you need to know everything beforehand, or else you may get into trouble later during production. (NOTE: This list is not definite, and probably does not include all the jobs in the category)

Story Design: These people will help design and create the story that will be played out during the game, along with the various events, and twists and turns.

Character Design: These people will help create the characters the will play a part in the game, whether the may be the most significant characters (Heroes in the party) or the least significant (Random NPCs).

Map Design: This people will help plan out the look of the maps and the layout of each of them. This job may also include the creation of the World Map (Or that could be another job in itself), various dungeons, shops, towns, forests, etc.

Custom Systems Design: These people will help design the look, and how the custom systems in a game will work and function.

GUI Design: These people will help plan out the look of the graphical interfaces, as well as how these will work.

Other Design: There are so many things that can be planned and designed in a RPG, so describing all of them can be next to impossible. Other Design jobs include: Weapon Design, Monster Design, Architectural Design, and so on...


The Misc. Categories:

The Helper: The Helper fits into all the categories, or can specialize in one of the major four groups. (Design, Graphics, Music, and Programming/Scripting) The Helper is exactly what the name implies, he or she will help the person in need with their current dilemma. For example, someone has just posted that they don’t understand how to use a switch. The Helper will explain what it does, and as a result, will have helped the person in the “Programming/Scripting Category”. Although the Helper may not work with the development team, they are honourable members of the community, and deserve respect and merit for their help. (So put them in the credits! It’s the least you could do for what they’ve helped you with.)

Jack of All Trades: Once in awhile, you come across a person who is so willing and dedicated that they decide to do all the work themselves – designing, composing music, creating custom sprites/artwork/tiles, and coding themselves (along with the help of Helpers sometimes). These people are extremely hard workers, and they deserve a pat on the back for all their demanding labour.


The Conclusion:

That’s most of the jobs in a nutshell (All 20 of them). Next week, I will randomly choose a category and a job, and will scour the community for someone to interview that fits in that job. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get a PM? It’s possible, you never know.

So, until next time, happy game making! ^_^!