Also known as: User interface (UI) artist, User interface (UI) designer, Visual designer
UX designers make sure a game is nice and easy to use (as distinct from being easy to win). They ensure the players get clear and effective feedback from the game. Their main concern is that players don’t get frustrated by a game being badly explained.
UI designers are concerned with the user interface; the point at which the game and the players interact. They create the look and feel of things like the heads-up display (HUD) showing the score, lives, and levels. They make sure that the menus and commands are clear.
In larger games companies the UX and UI roles are done by different people but in smaller studios, they are combined into one job. UX designers tend to focus more on the information a player needs for the game to flow well. UI designers tend to focus on how that information is communicated. They make it look good and sound great.
These are some of the tools used by professionals but you can develop your skills using free software. Go to build your games portfolio for a list.
This can be a senior role, but many companies will take on a junior too.
At school or college:
This is a role where both art and science is useful.
If you want to go to university:
Take A-levels, Highers, Level 3 BTECs or UALs in a combination of arts and sciences from the following subjects.
If you want to go straight into a job or apprenticeship, the following Level 3 qualifications will be relevant:
Play lots of different games. Think about how the game mechanics works.
Build a portfolio:
Create work that you can show off to employers. This is essential. Go to build your games portfolio to learn how.
Create levels of a game using software provided by the publishers.
Get a degree:
Most people in the games industry have a degree, so you can think about getting one related to games. You could get one related to computer science, maths, physics, programming. Have a look at ScreenSkills’ list of recommended courses and select one in games. We endorse courses when they offer training in the relevant software, dedicate time to building a portfolio and have strong links with the games industry.
Get to know people in the games industry by attending events, including games conferences and expos. Meet professionals and ask them questions about their work, while demonstrating interest and knowledge in the industry. Offer to provide them with your professional contact details and try to stay in touch with them. Go to how to network well to learn how to do this.
Search for jobs:
Use the UK Games Map to find out if there are games companies near you. Then go to their websites directly and check out their open roles. Look for entry-level roles. Even if they are not advertising the right role, if you like a specific company it’s worth emailing them to let them know you are looking in case something suitable comes up in future. Some employers will take on a UX or UI designer if they have a strong portfolio, showing creativity, flair and software skills.
It’s not just games that needs UX or UI designers. The BBC does a UX Design Trainee Scheme. UX or UI designers are needed in any kind of web design and virtual reality development. You might be interested in being a lead games designer or virtual reality (VR) programmer in the games industry. You might also be interested in being a software developer in visual effects (VFX).
Covers genres ranging from period dramas to epic fantasies screened at the cinema, on TV or on streaming sites
Involves making sequences on a computer that can't be created on set, like enormous crowds and fire-breathing dragons
Creates the illusion of movement, includes computer-generated, stop-motion and hand-drawn animation