What Is Game Systems Design?

Computer games and video games employ huge data sets to manage complex graphics and translate inputs into game mechanics. They require their platforms, or gaming computer systems, to respond quickly to changing input from users at the console or on the Internet. Game systems design is the process of choosing or creating the components of a computerized system for running games and combining them for maximal performance. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

The Challenge of Game Systems Design

Gamers want their systems to provide several capabilities and operate quietly. These features are important:

  • Power: Game systems handle high frame rates, very complex calculations and rapid changes. New games constantly seek to raise the bar for system performance. Systems that are built with a high performance capacity and the ability to adapt for future programs will have a competitive edge in the marketplace.
  • Speed: The system must calculate movements, graphics and random events, rendering appropriate graphics and events as quickly as gamers can take them in and respond.
  • Stability: Game systems enthusiasts often 'overclock' when using PC (computer) game systems, adjusting settings to make components operate faster. This requires resilient components, extra power and extra cooling capability.

Important Facts About Game Systems Designers

Median Salary (2018) $114,600 (for all computer hardware engineers)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 5% growth (for all computer hardware engineers)(
Key Skills Critical thinking, ingenuity, problem-solving, computer competency, clear communication, leadership
Similar Occupations Senior game designers; game designers; technology training specialists; SharePoint developer architects

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Game Systems Design Process

Game systems designers go through a consistent process across platforms. The major differences result from budget and business strategy considerations.

Research and Plan

  • 1. Discern the components available on the market.
  • 2. Observe the performance demands of the latest games, and calculate the extra capacity that tomorrow's games may need.
  • 3. Consider the system's selling price point.
  • 4. Design the case to attract gamers' interest. Colored LEDs increase the case's visual appeal. Cutout windows are popular.

Select Components

  • 1. Choose a motherboard and RAM configuration that are as high-quality and high-speed as the budget allows.
  • 2. Choose a good graphics card and an adequate CPU (Central Processing Unit). Add cooling systems; the power and speed demands of 3-D gaming produce lots of heat to be dissipated. Pick a hard drive that's fast (for quick data recovery) but not too large (for budgetary reasons). Finally, add a powerful, well-cooled power supply and high-capacity cables. (Designers at companies with hardware arms may design custom components.)
  • 3. Select peripheral components. Choose a large display screen with decent definition. Keyboards aren't critical. You can find a mouse that cools your palm with a small fan. Other input devices, like a steering wheel, footpad or pedal, joystick, rifle or guitar, may be fitted to particular games, especially for video game consoles.

Build and Test

  • 1. Assemble the components. Research is valuable here; the components must work together well.
  • 2. Benchmark testing follows. Tweak as necessary, document and ship!

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