Systems Designer

All games have systems. Most of these systems mimic real-life behaviours and conditions and in effect govern all aspects of the gameplay. These systems take in specific inputs and create corresponding effects. This can include determining what controls a player's health, the outcome of a player pressing a button to how currency is collected and exchanged.

System Designers understand the fundamentals of how games work and know how to program and build a hierarchy of functioning and clever systems. They can create mechanisms that work in collusion with the physics and design of the game whilst still being engaging for the player.

To succeed in this role, you will live and breathe game design theory and will spend a lot of your time thinking about how to make better games.

You’ll love this role if you’re into:
  • Coding
  • Maths
  • Designing things

Is this information correct? Submit a correction


Most people working as a Systems Designer have a degree in Programming, Games Design, Engineering or Mathematics. Above all, you should be someone that loves designing things, creative problem-solving and collaborating with others.

As a professional, you’ll be creating features to ensure the game works. Building systems that manage core elements in the game like physics to specific functions like how players control their health, battle or collect items. You’ll possess knowledge of game engines like Unity and Unreal and coding languages like C++, C#, Java and Python. We recommend using our tool picker to help you choose the right ones for your current level and purpose.  

Working in the games industry is highly competitive and you’ll need to make sure your portfolio (a collection of your best work) stands out to employers and course leaders.

As a Systems Designer, your work should showcase games you’ve designed systems for, demonstrating concept designs, prototypes and finished work. You should show a range of technical skills and an understanding of fundamental game-design principles. For more general ideas on developing your portfolio, see our top tips page.

Whatever role you are working in, it is essential that you understand the game making process. You can head to our build a game section for first steps; join a regular game jam to build up your skills & network; or start modding others games to gain experience.  

Education pathways

Where are you in your games journey?

It's rewarding seeing the game being released and the public playing and enjoying the features and systems you’ve worked on. 
Victoria Boyce - Systems Designer, RebellionRead the full story