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  • The Disciplines

    [06.03.09]
    - Albert T. Ferrer

  •  Audio Designers

    A game audio designer (or sound designer or audio engineer) is responsible for creating the sounds and music to match the visuals of a game. They should be familiar with all the aspects of sound design, from foley to production sound mixing, dialogue editing, and the technology that drives the job, such as Pro Tools and MAX/MSP.

    The audio designer’s objective is to give the game a unique and distinct sound, like a game’s visual style. The job is one part creative aesthetic, and one part technical. Game audio people can also be composers, writing and recording original music for the projects they work on. Ideally, audio designers need a good sense of hearing, adept to the intricacies of sound, and should love music.

    There are fewer positions for audio designers than artists, programmers, or designers. A game team may employ dozens of artists and programmers, but only hire one or two audio designers, and even then they are often contract employees. Because they tend to work on contract, audio designers can pursue other musical gigs outside the game industry too; often they take work in film, television, and advertisement.

    Quality Assurance Tester

    Considered the last line of defense before a game hits the shelves, game testers help ensure that the quality of the game meets strict guidelines set by the development studio and the publisher. Game testers often work part-time and are paid by the hour. They do not need to hold college degrees—in fact, college and high school students sometimes take testing jobs as part-time work or as a summer job.

    People in the department play the game or portions of the game while looking for and recording bugs, glitches, or other major problems. When they find a bug, they test to see if they can repeat it, and if they can, they record their bugs in writing for the programmers or artists to fix later; testers need to have solid communication skills. Using a complex database, the process of testing a game becomes a well-oiled machine with a lot of back and forth communication between departments.

    Tester is an entry-level position but is still seen as a way to get one foot in the door to the game development industry. Testers who prove they have great communication skills and understand the different priorities that come into play while developing a video game can become leads, who then can sometimes move into associate or assistant producer roles.

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