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Am I cut out for a job in game design?


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#1 Spookee   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 04:52 PM

What I really want to do for a career is design games. But I feel that I might not be going down the right track because of the definition of "game design" when I look at college programs. What I want to do is design the mechanics and how the games going to play, levels, items, that sort of thing. Am I looking into the right field? Is there no clear cut role for what I want to do? The program I have been looking at is University of Advancing Technology (UAT) Bachelors of Art major in game design and also Full Sails Game Design program. From the looks of it each one has requirements in art. Now I know that I'm going to need some skills in art and this is where I hit the first mental wall. I have very little to no art experience. But I am willing to learn and take many classes starting with the basics, but the main thing I want to do is not artistically design games. Do I need to be a heavily skilled artist? Are the classes that the colleges teach me enough? Please help, Spookee EDIT: If I was not able to articulate myself well enough, I guess the tl;dr version would be this. What major should I be looking for if I want to be the person who is coming up with the ideas, not the programmer, nor the artist. And what is the steps that I have to take to reach there. [Edited by - Spookee on November 13, 2009 11:30:17 PM]

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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9441

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 06:19 PM

Hello Spoo, you wrote:
>What I want to do is design the mechanics and how the games going to play, levels, items, that sort of thing.

Yes. "Game design."

>Am I looking into the right field?

Can't tell. Are you right for it?

>Is there no clear cut role for what I want to do?

Read the following:
http://archives.igda.org/breakingin/path_design.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson14.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson7.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson10.htm

>Now I know that I'm going to need some skills in art

Whoever told you that was lying to you, young Jedi.

>What major should I be looking for if I want to be the person who is coming up with the ideas, not the programmer, nor the artist. And what is the steps that I have to take to reach there.

http://www.sloperama.com/advice/designprep.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson12.htm


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#3 Spookee   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 06:33 PM

Thanks, going to read all the information that you gave me. If I have any questions after that should I just post it in this thread?

P.S - I'm glad to hear that I wont need extensive art skills.

#4 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9441

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 03:43 AM

Quote:
Original post by Spoo
If I have any questions after that should I just post it in this thread?

Yes. And don't approach those articles with a tl;dr attitude.


#5 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 10:58 PM

Quote:
Original post by Spookee
What major should I be looking for if I want to be the person who is coming up with the ideas, not the programmer, nor the artist.

Nobody gets a job just coming up with the ideas. Being a game designer is a bit like being an architect. Sure, you might not have to lay any of the bricks yourself, but you don't just tell people what you want to see and leave them to it. In particular, like with architecture, there is a feedback loop in the design process where you have to add, adapt, or remove things in order to comply with requirements from both above (the producer, the publisher) and below (the programmers, the artists, the players).

#6 Richard Kain   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 08:22 AM

Yeah, you need to ditch any pursuit of a job where all you do is come up with ideas. Such things only exist in marketing and advertising. In game design, you have to work for your living.

I mean, think about it. How long does it take to come up with a few ideas, and refine the design document for a game? Even a decently complex game isn't going to take more than a week or so to refine its design doc considerably. Why would any company keep a "designer" on staff if all they do is write up a design doc once, while the rest of the team spends months or even years implementing it? It would be a lot cheaper for them to just pay a freelance designer a contract fee for a well-developed design doc.

A lot of the time the game "designer" also serves as the producer/coordinator. That is to say, they serve as management, and help to organize the project and keep it on track. This involves considerably more skills and expertise than just coming up with ideas.

You either need to look into developing art skills, developing programing skills, or developing management skills. Because a game designer is going to be expected to do more than just come up with ideas.

#7 Palidine   Members   -  Reputation: 1279

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 08:26 AM

The game designer track almost always starts out with being a level/map designer. You build maps in the level editor and script the encounters; you get a say in ideas/mechanics, as does everyone else on the team, but you don't design them. From what I've seen you do this for about 2-5+ years or until you work on a hugely successful title, whichever comes first. Then you get to be lead designer or creative director where you start becoming the idea generator guy. Game Designer, from my experience, is very much a pay-your-dues career track. A good friend of mine was just hired into a lead designer/creative director position and he's been working as as various ranks of level designer for about 8 years.

-me




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