A game designer is a person who bridges the gap between conceptualization and practical application. They must be of two minds: the design of the gameplay and feelings of the player as well as what can actually be created. A good game designer is able to work with various arms of a production team and push their ideas as well as understand when their ideas simply aren't going to work.
Game designers (more often than not) have a background in programming or other technical areas to facilitate the understanding required. While they do not usually write base code or create control schemes, they need to be able to explain their ideas for the game in question to all arms of their team in ways they understand.
Game design can be broken up into several roles:
- Game director
- Scenario design/World design/writer
- Game producer (who often need to push a team in a certain design direction)
- Art Director
- System designer
- Content designer, such as character, item, puzzle or mission/quest designers
- Level designer
- User interface designer
- Audio Designer, which can be broken up into composer, arranger, sound effect designer and voice director/voice actor
The game designer is usually in charge of all of the above areas, and is often credited with the concept of a game, or as a director or producer.