The Game Design Pipeline

The Game Design Pipeline

The Game Design Pipeline is broken down into 3-parts in this article. The artists creating the look and style of the game, the designers forming the layout and story line and the programmers who input all the data and write it into code.  

Seeing as Tron was based on a game programmer, Flynn who is transcended into the games he built and forced to play, I found it fitting to reference pictures with this article.

Step 1: Artist create assets in Maya (Models/Animation) & Textures in Photoshop

The fist steps in game design brings the artists together to create the games overall look using concepts.  From the storyboard to characters, 3D models are created and brought to life down the design pipeline.  Any moving objects will also be animated as well as textured, giving them more depth and realism.  The entire game environment will be created by a group of artists working closely with the designers to create the games overall look and style. 


 Concept Design - Animation - 3D Modelling - Compositing & Lighting 


advanced_diploma_concept_design_land.jpg Advanced-Diploma-3d-Animation-Landadvanced_diploma_3d_modelling_land.jpg advanced_diploma_composition_lighting_land.jpg


Step 2: Designers layout assets to build the game environment




Designers create the layout of the game by building the actual environment which the character will interact with throughout the game, placing ledges, obstacles and objects, making sure everything flows.  The designers are responsible for building a playable story line, to do this they work with artists incorporating the games look to the overall layout.

Step 3: Programmers create the game build with all game play functionality


Programmers are software engineers, they take all the information and write it into code.  They are in charge of making sure the game runs smoothly.  Breaking everything down, programmers input all sorts of code, the various types include:

Game Engine - create the base engine of the game, including simulated physics.

Physics Engine - dedicated to creating the physics required for the game.  Some different types of physics would be gravity differences in a game revolving around earth and outer space sequences.

Graphics Engine - specialize in developing and modifying complex 3D graphic rendering.  Due to having the need to grasp advanced mathematical concepts these programmers are usually in high demand.

Artificial Intelligence - ten to twenty percent of programming staff is usually dedicated to this aspect.  A.I. programmers simulate intelligence in opponents in a game, which has because a specialized discipline.

Sound - need I say more, these guys program the sound into the game, further engorging your mind into the game.

Gameplay - these guys focus mainly on the game's strategy, implementing the games logic and mechanics.

Scripter - a scripter deals with cinematic events, enemy behavior and game objectives.  Scripters are usually game designers as well.

UI - User Interface programmers usually develop a library that can be used across multiple projects.

Input - not a full-time position on any particular project, they write code for the input of Keyboard, mice, or joysticks.  Programming how these affect the game.

Network - Considered one of the most technically challenging, network programmers allow players to compete and cooperate, connected via LAN or the Internet.

Game Tool - their job is to  write tools that handle game specific tasks such as: IDE, 3D graphics modelling and photoshop.

Porting - porters convert code from one platform to another.

Technology - more likely to be found in larger development studios with specific departments dedicated solely to R&D (Research & Development).  They are responsible for practical implementation of algorithms, issues pertaining to memory requirements and caching issues.

Generalist - taking on various roles, tasked mostly with tracking down bugs and deciding which subsystem expertise is required to fix them.

Lead Game - ultimately in charge of all programming for the game, responsible for keeping track of development from a programming standpoint.


Step 4: Game Build (Everyone)

Everyone in the team will have constant access to the game build and will be able to compile and test it as required.  Any of the three departments, Art, Design and Programming will be able to make edits.  Every department will test the game, searching for glitches or bugs, the artists will also make changes to characters or the environment if needed.


 > artistic corrections will be given to the artists / > game play issues will be dealt with by the designers

>bugs found in the game will be fixed by the programmers



Are you ready to take your first steps down the path of finding your place in the games design pipeline? Find out more about all the classes we offer at CG Spectrum by hitting the link bellow.

 Learn More About Our Courses 


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