Creative Chronicles: The Designer and Programmer Pipeline

Creative Chronicles: The Designer and Programmer Pipeline

May 15 2019 | Legacy Project

Creative Chronicles brings together key insights, information and statistics from the experts at Creative Assembly. We hope this will inspire students and those considering a career in game development.

In this video, recorded live at EGX Rezzed 2019, we look at the pipeline between designers and programmers.

You can hear about the CA process including when a designer engages with a programmer in development, how we estimate resource required for new features, the importance of clear communication and how we explore new innovations while balancing against achievability.

The Designer and Programmer Pipeline – EGX Rezzed panel 2019



In AAA game development, large-scale teams mean clarity in communication is essential.

The designers will be on the project from pre-production until the very end, first fleshing out the ideas, then implementing a huge chunk of them in the database. Programmers will be consulting with the designers in pre-production to make sure the designs are feasible within technology and time constraints but will only come on actively at the start of production.

Features can be underestimated or overestimated, so it’s crucial they are reassessed throughout the project in a continual feedback loop between design and development. Equally, it’s important to recognise when features aren’t possible. This can mean cutting features during development, usually with a view to revisiting them at a later date. Through communication and assessment our designers and programmers will look at what might be possible instead, this could mean we take a refreshed look at the feature and try to execute it in a different way. The teams will reach a compromise on what’s achievable, always thinking about the best result for the game and getting the highest quality experience for the players.

At Creative Assembly we utilise tools to support our communication including daily stand-ups and software like JIRA and DevSuite to track, prioritise and allocate our tasks. All of this is overseen by our expert Development Managers.

We have a range of specialisations within our programming and designer disciplines. With almost 90 programmers in the studio, the specialisations range from AI and Gameplay, to Tools and UI. For our 60 designers, the specialisations include Gameplay, Battle, Campaign, Combat and Technical.

Read more about Game Design at CA HERE.

Read more about Programming at CA HERE.