Technical Writer

  • Technical Writer

Working closely with the software engineers and systems engineers, technical writers are responsible for creating numerous forms of documentation; these include online help pages, user manuals, internal design specifications, and similar publications. Their primary task is to distill large amounts of technical instruction and jargon into clear, detailed documents that accurately describe the functions and components of pertinent technologies.


As a member of a game development studio, the technical writer designs, publishes, and maintains numerous forms of technical documentation for internal and external use. External documentation includes player instructions, troubleshooting tips, and open source developer manuals. As systems are modified, the writer also updates documentation to consistently reflect new information. Most important to this task is constant communication with in-house engineers and programmers, as well as judicious research. In many cases, the writer is expected to use and explore the relevant systems to thoroughly understand how they work to document it.

According to the needs of internal staff, the technical writer researches all development pipelines and workflow processes to compile a complete documentation archive. This information is useful when iterating new pipeline tools, and in training new employees. He or she also publishes design documentation and manuals for internal applications and tools that are engineered for use in creating art assets, as well as programming functions. These manuals are a necessary communication tool between the engineers and internal end users, as they instruct the staff in their use but also provide a source of troubleshooting information. 

Skills & Education

Technical writers must possess excellent written and verbal communication skills` and a talent for translating complex technical information into easily understood instruction. Understanding of proper grammar is required. A degree in English with a concentration in technical writing is available at many universities and is relevant to this career. Degrees in game design, communications, and computer science are also applicable with proven technical writing ability. Courses that would be beneficial to a career in technical writing for video game development would include copyediting and computer programming. Experience with Java, Python, Lua, and C/C++ is helpful but not required. It is necessary to be proficient in the use of common word processing software and page layout applications.

What to Expect

Employment opportunities exist within game development studios and game publishers, as well as with companies that design and engineer software for the game industry. There is also a broad range of opportunities for employment as a technical writer outside of game development, as the field is relevant to many technology industries. This career is best suited to those who enjoy dissecting complex technical information and find perusing instruction manuals to be a simple task. Think of it this way: a technical writer takes the time to examine the fine print and actually read the instructions before, say, programming his or her smartphone.


Related Content

Have some feedback for our editors? Contact Us