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There's a project I'm trying to start for Indie Game Development; specifically, it's going to be a social networking website that lets developers meet through (It's a secret). One of the key components is showing what skills members have.

Question: I need to know what MAJOR game development roles are not represented in the following list, keeping in mind that many specialist roles are being condensed into more broad, generalist roles:

  • Art

    1. Animator (Characters, creatures, props, etc.)
    2. Concept Artist (2D scenes, environments, props, silhouettes, etc.)
    3. Technical Artist (UI artists, typefaces, graphic designers, etc.)
    4. 3D Artist (Modeling, rigging, texture, lighting, etc.)
  • Audio

    1. Composer (Scores, music, etc.)
    2. Sound Engineer (SFX, mood setting, audio implementation, etc.)
    3. Voice (Dialog, acting, etc.)
  • Design

    1. Creative Director (Initial direction, team management, communications, etc.)
    2. Gameplay Designer (Systems, mechanics, control mapping, etc.)
    3. World Designer (Level design, aesthetics, game progression, events, etc.)
    4. Writer (Story, mythos, dialog, flavor text, etc.)
  • Programming

    1. Engine Programming (Engine creation, scripting, physics, etc.)
    2. Graphics Engineer (Sprites, lighting, GUI, etc.)
    3. Network Engineer (LAN, multiplayer, server support, etc.)
    4. Technical Director (I don't know what a technical director would even do.)

Post Script: I have an art background, so i'm not familiar with what the others behind game creation actually do. What's missing from this list, and if you feel some things should be changed around how so?

share|improve this question

put on hold as too broad by Josh Petrie 2 hours ago

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

4  
Why do you need to know this? It doesn't seem useful, at least based on your breakdown of engineering roles -- you've selected titles that vary wildly in their actual practical application among studios and assigned them tasks that may or may not be remotely valid. If the purpose of this breakdown is to help list a user's skills, I'd suggest you take a free-form tag-based approach like SO Careers does. –  Josh Petrie Oct 22 '12 at 15:58
6  
You're also missing QA, which is a huge omission. –  Josh Petrie Oct 22 '12 at 15:59
2  
I realize that asking for help with a vague basis doesn't make a lot of sense. That said, the intended goal is to recreate a game jam environment online via a social network structure, where users can join random groups with people of different backgrounds, skill levels, and disciplines. There needs to be a way of discerning roles within a development group, but for indie jams, roles such as "Senior environmental props artist" is a bit too specific, especially for inexperienced developers who are trying to have their first experience. I'm looking for a streamlined delineation of roles. –  Destry Ullrich Oct 22 '12 at 16:07
1  
Rephrased: When trying to find additional members to partake in a "for fun" project, as game jams often are, specific roles aren't as valued or necessary as general roles. Would the role of "animator" be fine for everything an animator may be required to do, should any more roles be added to the art category, or should all of them be condensed to the "art role" and left at that? True questions for everything I listed, especially in the fields where I'm weakest, i.e. programming. –  Destry Ullrich Oct 22 '12 at 16:15

4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

By no means I am experienced with big game development, but I like the game team roles description as given by Jason Gregory in the Game Engine Architecture, because it is broad enough to hold true most of the time:

  • Engineers (from runtime to tools)
  • Artists (from concept, throught 3D and writing all the way to sound)
  • Designers (gameplay, interface/interaction)
  • Producers (actual job of the producer quite varies)
  • Publishers (manufacture, marketing, distribution)
  • Other (IT, QA, administrative, support)

I think something along these lines is the best you can get. I wouldn't try to be any more specific about this, as then things start to vary a lot from team to team.

share|improve this answer
    
This is probably the best break down of major roles - thank you very much. This in combination with a previously suggested method of two-tier role differentiation makes the most sense for what I'm trying to do. –  Destry Ullrich Oct 22 '12 at 16:47
2  
Shouldn't it be Designers instead of Game designers? Where else would an interface/interaction designer fit in? –  Mitchell Oct 23 '12 at 7:31
    
@Mitchell Sure, why not. I already thought about stripping "game" from it. I updated the answer. –  famousgarkin Oct 24 '12 at 6:54
2  
I don't see QA here. It's to important to be filed under 'support'. –  Liosan Oct 24 '12 at 14:28
    
@Liosan Seems like Jason's text does not mention QA at all in any of the groups. I didn't notice this at first, but it's quite surprising, as QA is definitely an important role and should be explicitly stated. Personally I would still file it under the "other" group. Answer updated. –  famousgarkin Oct 25 '12 at 15:55

I'm going to attempt to answer what I'm perceiving to be the question behind your question (which is, I think, "how should I present the breakdown of roles on my social network site dedicated to having developers meet up for projects?") and not your direct question regarding what major roles I think you're missing from your list. I think you've already got all the major roles you need, and in fact have already tried to break them down too specifically.

Instead, I think you should allow people to select from a pre-defined list of only the most general roles -- programmer, artist, designer, et cetera. Don't subdivide those roles yourself because it will probably only lead to confusion and mis-classification of skillset since, as I commented, the specific daily tasks of an "engine programmer" can vary wildly between projects, sometimes even overlapping heavily with those of a "graphics programmer."

In your situation, what I would do is allow people to select their broad discipline but then augment that with free-form tags (the same kinds of tags that StackExchange or the Careers 2.0 does) that indicate their specializations or topics they have experience with. You're probably correct that specific roles are less valued, but that doesn't mean specific skills or familiarity with specific technologies are not important to somebody setting up a project.

This allows users to characterize themselves, which is about as accurate as you can expect to get, but does not impose a ton of friction is signing up (as a user) to this site since you only need to choose your basic discipline or disciplines. It also lets you build sorting and searching systems around the tags, allowing potential "employers" to easily filter for users who are programmers with the "Mac" and "OpenGL" tags.

Plus, with the two-level mechanism of discipline and proficiency tags you can avoid some of the false positives you might get with a cross-domain tags like "rigging" -- a animator who is familiar with rigging is probably familiar with actually building it, whereas a programmer familiar with rigging is probably familiar with writing game code to support animating or driving rigs.

share|improve this answer
    
Good points, to be sure :) The idea of proficiency tags under primary disciplines seems a good bet. It conflicts with a few of the specific ways I had hoped to accomplish user profiles, but making sure that users have clearly defined roles takes precedence. Also, thank you for reinterpreting the question: I've never used stack exchange before and was worried about about phrasing and how that related to posted this question in the wrong boards :P I like your question more. –  Destry Ullrich Oct 22 '12 at 16:45
1  
No problem, glad it helped. Your project seems interesting, you should definitely check in to the chat when you've got something up and running and ready for early public testing. –  Josh Petrie Oct 22 '12 at 17:26

I guess we'll get this started as a community wiki. Please edit this as you see fit (better than replying in the comments).

  • Art

    1. Animator (Characters, creatures, props, etc.)
    2. Concept Artist (2D scenes, environments, props, silhouettes, etc.)
    3. Technical Artist (UI artists, typefaces, graphic designers, etc.)
    4. 3D Artist (Modeling, rigging, texture, lighting, etc.)
  • Audio

    1. Composer (Scores, music, etc.)
    2. Sound Engineer (SFX, mood setting, audio implementation, etc.)
    3. Voice (Dialog, acting, etc.)
  • Design

    1. Creative Director (Initial direction, team management, communications, etc.)
    2. Gameplay Designer (Systems, mechanics, control mapping, etc.)
    3. World Designer (Level design, aesthetics, game progression, events, etc.)
    4. Writer (Story, mythos, dialog, flavor text, etc.)
  • Programming

    1. Engine Programming (Engine creation, scripting, physics, etc.)
    2. Graphics Engineer (Sprites, lighting, GUI, etc.)
    3. Network Engineer (LAN, multiplayer, server support, etc.)
    4. Technical Director (I don't know what a technical director would even do.)
  • Quality Assurance

    1. Play tester (Plays the game, ensures balance, learning curve, "fun", doesn't see code)
    2. Whitebox tester (Tests functionality with access to code, unit testing, etc.)
    3. Automation tester (Writes automated tests for testing functionality)
share|improve this answer

What's missing from this list?

Recognition that not all games are 3D.

Where would a pixel artist fit in your artist categorisation? How many people are good at animation in 2D and in 3D?

Where would a 2D minigame programmer fit in your programmer categorisation? "Engine" doesn't really carry the right connotations. Besides, for smaller games one person does the gameplay, graphics, networking, etc., so they don't fit in any pigeon-hole more specific than "programmer".

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