MobyGames Credits Classification
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Design - Programming - Graphics - Music and Sound - Management - Box & Contents - Support - Other
The Original Concept is the key idea that is fundamental to the gameplay or the plot. It is the creative spark that lit the fire. Whoever came up with this idea is not necessarily involved in the actual game development. Often credited with Original Concept are book authors and movie directors (cf. Steven Spielberg) or, if the game is a sequel or a remake, the designers of the original game.
Please choose Original Concept if the credits read:
Famous Original Concept authors:
A Director is always the head of a team with ultimate creative authority, as in the corresponding jobs Art Director and Technical Director. If a person is credited as Director without any prefixes, he or she is most commonly responsible for the game design, supervising and answering for the overall style, logic and homogeneity of the gameplay.
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Most common in large development teams, the Lead Designer is the superior of the design staff. He supervises the entire design process, makes key decisions and often contributes the main creative ideas. He normally writes the design document, which includes the game mechanics down to the smallest detail and is the guideline for the programmers.
Designers are the creative workforce in game development. They come up with the game's concepts, mechanics, plot elements, puzzles, interface, often even dialogue and story. A designer develops games inside his head, then programmers and artists try to transfer the ideas into reality.
Level Designers are digital architects. They construct the playfields in which the game will take place. In a sense, they are the intersection of programming and art, using editors and tools crated by the programmers and textures and models supplied by the artists. As computer game technology has moved from 2D to 3D graphics, the job of the level designer has become increasingly important, requiring much skill, creativity and economical thinking.
Famous Level Designers:
Please choose Writing / Dialogue / Story if the credits read:
Games based more or less accurately on historical facts often require extensive research in books and museums or interviews with specialists. In most cases, this is done by a Designer, but sometimes a separate person is credited with Research. He digs up all the facts that are essential for historical accuracy and finds models for the artists to base their work on.
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Modern games tend to be huge projects, requiring large amounts of often highly specialized program code and lots of programmers. The Technical Director is the person who has the overall view over the technical development, specifying the code's fundamental structure and coordinating the different programming teams. The Technical Director's job may be entirely administrational or even advisory, without actually programming a single line himself.
Please choose Technical Director if the credits read:
Besides being the leader of the programming crew, the Lead Programmer normally also creates the core program code of a game, i.e. the game engine. He coordinates the entire technical development and oversees the work of the programmers.
Programmers are the technical wizards who weave bits into code, and code into games. They master programming languages like C++, Assembler, Java etc. and develop the game routines and algorithms.
Under the category of Additional Programming fall all those helpful pieces of code and minor tasks that are not central to the project, but valuable additions. Classical examples include the creation of installers, launchers or compression routines.
As the engine is the central part of a car, the Game Engine is at the core of the program code. It takes care of the game's fundamental functions - calculating the geometry in a 3D shooter, processing inputs in a text adventure game (this is called the "parser"), moving sprites in a 2D strategy game. The Development System is the code that binds all the separate parts of a game (interface, graphics, sound routines, artificial intelligence etc.) together.
Please choose Game Engine / Development System if the credits read:
Famous Development System programmers:
How do the artists' artworks and textures get into the game? Solving this question is the job of the Graphics Programmer. He creates the routines that store and decompress artworks, paste textures to 3D objects and generally make colorful pictures appear on your computer screen. For modern 3D games, he wrestles with DirectX and OpenGL.
Please choose 3D / Graphics Programming if the credits read:
Composing tunes and recording sound effects is the job of musicians and sound designers, but no game will so much as bleep until the Sound Programmer teaches it to do so. His routines decode the format in which the sound data is stored and send it to the sound card for processing. Also, the Sound Programmer's algorithms match music and effects to the situation and, in modern games, position them in 3D environments and apply filters.
Please choose Music / Sound Programming if the credits read:
Famous Music / Sound Programmers:
Utility Programmers are generally ignored by the public, and very unjustly so. Their work is fundamental to the whole game creation process, and it is often the first to start. Tool programmers design the editors with which the level designers construct their scenarios. They code the programs in which the artists model 3D objects. They invent the routines that transfer external parts into the game. In recent years, developers have begun packaging the utility programmer's works - editors, compilers, scripting tools - as a bonus with their games.
Please choose Libraries / Utilities if the credits read:
Any digital opponent that opposes you in a game needs a set of instructions to determine its behavior. This set of commands is called Artificial Intelligence, and it is created by an AI Programmer. Working out algorithms to simulate a reaction as life-like as possible is considered one of the most challenging tasks for a programmer, and good artificial intelligence is accordingly rare.
If a development company wants to ensure a smooth, homogenous style for a game's visuals, they hire an Art Director. Often not involved in the process of actual creation any more, the art director first envisions the overall style and atmosphere (e.g. colors, lighting, mood) for a product and then supervises the work of the artists to make certain that his preconditions are met.
If the number of artists is high, as is the case with many modern games, a Lead Artist controls the department. Apart from creating core pieces of a game's artwork, the lead artist's tasks strongly depend on the existence of an Art Director. If there is one, the lead artist is generally more of a foreman to his team, voicing opinions and answering for its work. If there is no art director, the lead artist normally takes this place and is responsible for the overall style and homogeneity of the game art.
Graphics / Artworks subsumes all motionless visuals that appear in a game and that are created by artists, e.g. backgrounds and textures. Also, Graphics / Artworks includes concept art and storyboards that were not designed for the game itself, but as models for the actual graphics and scenarios.
Any person that contributes some art but is not directly involved in the creation of graphics and artists hired temporarily may be credited with Additional Graphics / Artworks.
If it moves (and is no 3D model) then it is the work of the Animation department. Up to the mid-90s, animation meant mostly sprite design - drawing people walking, spaceships shooting and lots of explosions. With the advent of 3D graphics, animating three-dimensional objects has become the domain of the 3D Modeler. The category Animation nowadays best applies to pre-rendered intro cinematics and cut-scenes.
Please choose Animation if the credits read:
Three-dimensional models as used in 3D shooters, for example, need to be constructed out of geometric forms, pasted with textures and animated by moving the individual parts. All this is the task of the 3D Modeler, a job that has become increasingly important in recent years. 3D modeling requires excellent spatial imagination, much artistic skill and appallingly expensive programs such as 3D Studio Max.
Please choose 3D Modeling if the credits read:
This is a very open category that includes all the jobs that circle around movie production. Live action videos have had a short phase of increased popularity in the mid-90s (cf. Phantasmagoria, Wing Commander 4) and are still used infrequently. Any job that concerns movie production, from camera operator to best boy, should be added as Movie Crew - see the list below. The only exception are actors, who have their own category (Acting / Voiceovers).
Please choose Movie Crew if the credits read:
Please choose Music if the credits read:
As opposed to music, Sound involves short effects and noises, and to a certain degree also voices. This category subsumes all jobs that have to do with sound production and post-production. This includes all voice post-production except the actual Voice Acting, which has its own category.
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Since the triumphant advance of the CD, texts and dialogues tend to be spoken rather than written in computer games. The people who lend the digital characters their voices are called Voice Actors. Some games, especially those using full motion video, go one step further and present real-life persons instead of virtual ones. Sometimes, the Actors are even prominent - check out Wing Commander 4 or Toonstruck.
Famous Actors / Voice Actors:
The Project Leader is typically the head of one complete development team. Rather than participating in the creative process, he takes care of all the organizational issues: coordinating the work of the departments, fixing dates for milestones, and supporting his team in any possible way - he's the shoulder they can cry on. Also, the project leader represents his game towards the publishers and, sometimes, towards the media.
Please choose Project Leader if the credits read:
The Producer typically works for a publishing company, not for a development firm. He is the publisher's (i.e. investor's) link to the developer, and he looks after a smooth and efficient game development. He has the responsibility for the budget. The producer has to have an eye on the quality of his product as well as on the current market situation, and must be able to estimate the prospects for his game.
Technically, the Executive Producer is one step further away from the product than the Producer, with an emphasis on personnel management. In reality, the lines between the two positions blur, with executive producer being just another hierarchical level. It's not unheard of that a person is executive producer only because the company needed to promote him or her somewhere. Contrary to popular belief, the position of producer is the more important and influential for a game's development than that of executive producer.
Famous Executive Producers:
Any person in a position as responsible as that of a producer needs a helping hand. That's the Assistant Producer. He generally does the same as the producer, but at a subordinate level. Assistant producers are most often producers-to-be in training.
The Product Manager is the link between the producer and the marketing department, operating on a local level. A publishing company normally has a single producer looking after each game, but it may employ several product managers for it in the branch offices abroad. Product managers, with an eye on their countries' markets, organize the game's localization and help planning marketing campaigns.
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This MobyGames category includes all persons that represent a game or a company towards the general public (Marketing) and the media (Public Relations). Whereas marketing managers plan advertisement campaigns and presentation strategies, PR managers hold direct contact to editors of both special interest media and the general press. Marketing / PR personnel almost always work for the publisher.
Please choose Marketing / PR if the credits read:
Famous PR Managers:
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Not to be confused with the job of a Producer, the category Production / Packaging describes the actual manufacturing of the game box and contents. This most importantly includes CD mastering, but also printing of manuals and game box and the act of putting it all together.
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Cover Design credits the artist who painted the artwork for front cover of the game box. However, this category also includes everyone who participated in the design of the box, be it layout or the back cover text and screenshots.
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Computer games traditionally come with at least one manual. The author of such booklets, but also of any additional material that may be included in the game box, is credited with Documentation. Not seldom, the writer of the in-game texts is also the author of the manual. Note that there is a separate category for Manual Illustrations / Photos.
Manual Illustrations / Photos includes any graphical material that is printed in the game's manual or other booklets. For some reason, however, the creators of such art are rarely credited.
In order to customize games for local markets, all texts in the game and the manual need to be translated into other languages, most commonly German, French and Japanese. Translation concerns texts only, whereas Localization also encompasses gameplay changes (e.g. censorship, blood removal) and voice acting. Most localization is done by the publishers' branch offices in the respective countries.
There are many people who are not involved in the actual creation of a game, but vital for maintaining a smooth development process. People who give support to the creative workers may be technical engineers who look after the hardware, system administrators who keep the company network running or office managers (aka secretaries) who do all the paperwork. One supportive job that has its own category is the Webmaster.
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As every major project has its own official website nowadays, most developers employ Webmasters who create and maintain the page. Webmasters are multi-purpose workers who combine programming talents (HTML, Java etc.) with an artistic vein (site layout and design) and editorial skills. Additionally, they often function as the developers' mouthpiece to the game's fans, posting news and answering questions on message boards.
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There are bugs in every game. The Playtester's job is to find as many as possible. Anything that seems wrong, from typos to logical errors to major crashes, gets classified, reproduced, described and noted down on the playtester's report sheet, so that the development team may correct it. Testers also help balance the game and may even make design suggestions - often pointing out improvements for problems that the designers didn't even notice any more. Playtesting the same game for hours and days can be pretty tiresome, but you get to play it before your friends.
If the Playtesters look after a game's content, Quality Assurance strives for technical perfection. This means testing the game on as many different system configurations as possible, ensuring that the game works with the most popular graphics and sound cards, processors and operating systems. Problems on any hardware are reported to the development team for correction. Ultimately, the QA department has the responsibility for the flawless functioning of the game.
Please choose Quality Assurance if the credits read:
Game developers are a grateful lot, and they like to thank everyone who influenced and inspired, supported and encouraged them. Most often, Special Thanks go out to other game designers and to spouses.
Please choose Special Thanks to if the credits read:
Not sure where to put a particularly weird job? No MobyGames category seems to fit? To be on the safe side, choose Other. There's always the chance that the MobyGames staff or attentive users may have an idea, and the person can be categorized correctly later. If it is clear that the credit is meant funny, file it under Special Thanks to. If a person is credited without stating his or her position, please use the category Unknown.