Video Game Programmer Jobs

The field of video game programming has a number of facets, since video games are becoming more sophisticated over time. Modern games may include elements of Artificial Intelligence, a number of playing levels, and an original score. Players may use one of a number of input devices when using the game, such as joysticks, keyboards, gamepads or mice. Some games are designed to be played online over the Internet or a Local Area Network.

A person who is interested in working in the field may choose to focus on one of the following areas in their job duties:

Programmers who specialize in Artificial Intelligence are responsible for developing the logic that is used in the game.

These specialists are responsible for working on strategy and enemy tactic systems. Over time, this portion of game programming is becoming more sophisticated and game companies assign between 10-20 percent of their programming staff to this function.

The Physics programmer specializes in designing the physical aspects of the game. They may be asked to create simulated gravity for a space-themed game or water for one that includes this element. For complicated games, several Physics programmers may work on the project.

A person who is new to the industry may start out as working in scripting. This function allows them to use language developed specifically for the gaming platform they are working on. The scripting function focuses on the events that take place during play, including enemy behavior and the objective of the game.

Programmers who focus on Game Play Programming or Tool Programming are dealing with the nuts and bolts portions of the game. Programmers working in these areas must be well versed in language and techniques specific to the projects they are working on. Good math skills and a foundation in traditional programming language and platform-specific languages are requirements for Graphics programming.

The Game Play programmer’s area of expertise is the way a game feels to the player. Their specific duties will vary, depending on the project. Some Game Play programmers spend their time tweaking code or implementing strategy tables.

The work of the Tool programmer involves creating the software that level designers and scripters use to change the video game universe as they develop the game.

Working as a Tool programmer can also be a good way to break into the industry, since this function is sometimes viewed as more of a chore than other parts of video game programming.

In Focus: Top 10 Tips for Getting Started into The Video Game Industry

How to Become a Video Game Programmer

Most people working as video game programmers have a degree in Computer Programming. Students in these programs study C+, visual basic, structured query language and object-oriented programming.

Video Game Programmer Salary Information

According to, the salary range for video game programmers ranges from $69,000-$147,000. Here’s a little more salary information:


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