Getting into the gaming industry is a dream for many people. In addition to the fact that this area is always relevant, dynamic, alive and impenetrable for problems inherent in other areas, it will become a real paradise for those who love games. Turning your hobby into work is probably the best thing that can happen in your career.

If you just scratch the surfaces of the topic of the prospects for working with games, you can fall into a lot of delusions. One of the most ambitious is the legendary game design vs game development opposition. Many tend to equate these roles. But most likely you have already guessed that we are not going to confirm such a hypothesis.

Game designer vs game developer is a pair of specialists who are not divided so that generalists happily merge them together. The difference between game design and game development is primarily that these people have different types of thinking. If designers are responsible for the creative side, then the developers are the guru of the codes and the technical basis of the game.

But this is just the beginning:our story about game design vs development is only gaining momentum. Join us and get a clear answer to your long-standing question about the difference between game design and development without bluntness and vague wording.

Gaming Industry 2020: Replenishment in Ranks of Players

The games not only did not suffer during the pandemic, which cast a dark shadow over the entire 2020, but also significantly succeeded, strengthened and received a powerful impetus for further development. So if we do not know exactly what 2021 will be in terms of natural disasters and the effectiveness of the vaccine, then we are absolutely convinced of the brilliant prospects of the gaming industry.

With an estimated 2.7 billion active players around the planet in 2020, it is eloquent proof of the power of the gaming realm. By 2023, their number is expected to increase to 3+ billion. This is despite the fact that the total population of the Earth is 7.8 billion.

The most active gaming part of the world is Asia: more than half of all players in the world live here. This is followed by Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and North America.

It is easy to guess that with such a ballooning of the sphere, the need for qualified specialists has increased significantly. The ability to work remotely from anywhere in the city, country or even planet completely unties the hands and everyone who feels the creative impulse to burst into the colorful world of games. And the most important thing to understand is in what role you are going to do it. Game designer vs game programmer: it’s time to rip off the masks, ladies and gentlemen.

What is Game Designing?

Game design doesn’t start out of anywhere. In the beginning, it includes drawing up a document with all the details about the future game. This is the same preparatory analytical stage that many find terribly boring. Game designers discuss the following issues:

  • the target audience;
  • genre;
  • main plot;
  • alternative scenarios;
  • maps;
  • levels;
  • characters;
  • game process;
  • user interface;
  • rules and restrictions;
  • the primary and secondary goals, etc

Without this information, further work on the game is impossible. Once the concept has been chosen, the game designers work closely with the artists and developers to ensure that the overall picture of the game is harmonized and that the implementation is in line with the original ideas.

Designers can be divided into teams, each of which is responsible for a different aspect of the game. For example, one might focus on the appearance of the levels and the placement of items and objects. Another is thinking about the evolution of characters and balanced improvement of their skills as they progress in the scenario. Also, don’t forget about writing dialogues, which are often key points for many games.

Correctly adjusted work of a game designer is the foundation of all further work since it is from their concepts that other specialists will build on when working on their tasks. Designers see the big picture of the game and understand what the players want from it. They know what should happen from the moment a person turns on the game until the moment when the final video turns on.

What is Game Development?

The development includes all technical aspects of the game. Based on the concept created by the designer, the developer writes code, programs, works on the implementation of sound effects and artistic elements, and takes into account all possible technical limitations. If the team does not have individual specialists responsible for quality assurance, then the developers take on the testing tasks.

The developer’s task is to fit all the ideas, ideas and layouts of the designer into the code. Without a developer, all this will remain just drawings. All the nuances of the possibility of alternative movements in the game world, the results of interaction with objects, game mechanics and in general everything that makes the game playable must be taken into account.

Development is a very difficult and responsible task. Here the difference between game design and development is especially clear. The designer thinks over the game and its concept, and the developer ensures the embodiment of all this:

  • loading and displaying the gaming environment;
  • taking into account the laws of physics that will be relevant in the game and their impact on the gameplay at every moment;
  • creating the user interface, menus and heads-up display;
  • development of artificial intelligence of opponents and non-player characters;
  • guaranteeing the correct reaction of the game to the actions of players from their controller;
  • providing networking opportunities allowing people to play online, etc.

With so-called game engines, developers don’t have to write code from scratch. An engine is the underlying software of a game that can be reused and used as the basis for the development of many different games without significant changes.

Large studios like EA, Rockstar and Microsoft use their own personally developed engines. Smaller companies successfully rely on open source options. The most popular options right now are Unity and Unreal Engine.

So What Is the Difference Between Game Design and Game Development?

You’ve probably already figured out that the difference between game designer and game developer lies in goal setting and functions.

The goal of the designer is to create a complete picture of the game and write down all the necessary information about it so that other specialists can assign to their duties. Designers are called thinkers, dreamers, and visionaries – all this reflects well their functionality.

The goal of the programmer is to fit all the desires of the designer into the code, taking into account the technical capabilities and limitations of the chosen game engine. The developers specialize in translating ideas and concepts into reality: it is thanks to them that you get the playable product that the designer conceived.

Design and development go hand in hand and are impossible without each other. Game designer vs game developer is not a confrontation, but a fruitful collaboration. Therefore, the best scenario for any gaming company is well-established communication between departments and an integrated approach to game creation.

Game Designers and Developers Salaries

Game designer vs game programmer salary is another topic that is of great interest to everyone who wants to get into the gaming field. Fortunately, this information is publicly available and we can freely talk about it. Let’s say in advance: the salary is not very different. Therefore, when choosing a profession, do not base it on it, but on your preferences.

As a highly skilled technical profession, a game developer gets a good competitive salary, which can sometimes be the highest in comparison with other specialists in other gaming areas of the corresponding level.

A game designer is also a highly paid job. These experts must have a flair for game trends and understand the players’ desires and expectations. The success of the project largely depends on their ideas, concepts and positioning of the future game.

The actual salary can vary greatly depending on the expert’s specialization, company location, years of experience and many other factors.

Job TitleAverage Annual Salary
Game Developer$100,000
Game Designer$90,000

Source: CareerExplorer research 2020

We repeat: thinking about whether game design or game development would be the best choice, you should first of all pay attention not to salary, but to inclinations and interests. It will be more interesting for a creative person to think about game worlds and twist plot twists, while a person with a mathematical mindset will prefer a logical and rational space of codes and scripts.

Regardless of which role you choose from a pair of a game developer vs game designer, know that the prospects for this industry are huge, but the competition is also not weak. Prepare for your initiation into game tamers fundamentally and well in advance. Remember that a good understanding of entertainment products and the specifics of working with them can be a decisive advantage for you.

The Closing Speech

We hope that the difference between the two important and responsible gaming professions is now clearer to you. In every successful team, there are always those who know how to think through ideas and build them into a harmonious canvas and those who shape these ideas into concrete forms that you can interact with in a completely immersive form.

At Kevuru Games, we are always guided by the principles of teamwork and transparent communication between departments. Therefore, our game designers and developers work in excellent tandem, ideally delivering projects exactly the way the client wanted them to be. Contact us for advice or assistance in design and development: we will find the perfect embodiment for any of your ideas.