Video Game Graphics Programming Jobs

The graphics programmer is responsible for the visual effects associated with computer and video games. They write the code for the game’s graphics and may be asked to work with multiple platforms as part of their duties.

Part of this team member’s job is to look for bugs in the game software program and correct them. The graphics programmer also works on updated versions of games, with enhanced images.

To be a successful graphics programmer, a person needs to have good abilities in mathematics, as well as experience with C++ programming.

Good design skills are another requirement. Excellent analytical abilities and communication skills are also important. The ability to convey information clearly comes into play because computer and video game development is very much a team effort. People who have difficulty expressing themselves clearly and listening effectively will have trouble working in this type of environment.

The special effects programmer’s area of expertise are the bells and whistles that make up the computer or video game experience. These are the details that make the game come alive for players, and they include the following elements:

  • Explosions
  • Fire
  • Flares
  • Glass Effects
  • Laser Fire
  • Particle Systems
  • Smoke
  • Water Effects

Part of the special effects programmer’s job is to create textures in the effects as well as working on general effects like particle systems. The special effects programmer also works as part of a team on video and computer game projects. They may be asked to work with special effects artists and set up code to create the result the artist wants to achieve.

The special effects programmer job is a good fit for people who can appreciate the technical and artistic portions of computer and video games. Rather than choosing to specialize in one aspect or the other, they must be comfortable with both.

The special effects programmer needs to be able to write code in C and C++. They should also learn how to use software like PhotoShop and 3D Studio Max.

Graphics/Special Effects Programmer Education

A Bachelor’s degree in Computer Programming is a good place for prospective graphic/special effects programmers to start. This degree program gives students a good foundation in computer languages. They will also take courses in computer hardware, algorithms, and mathematics as part of the requirements for this degree.

Another degree option for people interested in becoming graphics/special effects programmers is to enroll in a Bachelor’s program in Game and Simulation Programming. This program includes courses in computer languages as well as topics specific to the computer and video game industry. Students take courses in virtual reality, game engine architecture and 2D and 3D graphics.

Graphics/Special Effects Programmer Salary Information

The average salary of a graphics programmer is $74,000. Special effects programmers can expect to earn between $42,000-$68,000.


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