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Need to interview a game designer for school project.


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#1 cbtb95   Members   -  Reputation: 106

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:00 AM

We are suppose to interview someone in the career field we are planning on doing, and I am planning on becoming a game designer. All I need are some reasonable answers to a few questions. Also i need your name and the name of your employer or company.(Not really required, i can just make a name up if you wish)
1) What initially interested you in game design?
2) What is the education/training needed?
3) What are you responsibilities as a game designer?
4) What are the advantages of being a game designer?
5) What are the disadvantages?
6) How do government laws / regulations effect your career?
7) Any advice you would give for someone trying to become a game designer.

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#2 WertleSaysHello   Members   -  Reputation: 128

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 02:17 AM

Ahoy! My name is Lisa Brown and I'm a designer with Insomniac Games

1) What initially interested you in game design?

Though I've always loved playing games, I didn't figure out I wanted to do game design until well into graduate school, after I'd done some design as part of the projects and classes I was involved in. I made some games and discovered that I REALLY liked the problem set. I got that far because I have a background in art, computer science, and theater, and I was looking for something that would use my skills from all of those. Game design ended up being a perfect blend for me.

2) What is the education/training needed?

I think the education side of things is entirely personal. I went to a liberal arts college and double majored in art and computer science, and I found studying the liberal arts to be invaluable to my work as a designer. Later on in graduate school (Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center) I was more narrowly focused on game design. This isn't to say I think people need to go to graduate school to get into game development at all, I just think everyone's educational path is going to be very personal and very different. Some people go to games-specific schools like Digipen or the Guild Hall for their bachelor degree, some people study more traditional disciplines in things like computer science, art, communications, psychology, etc. Others don't pursue higher education at all, but are self taught.

The thing is, getting into game design is very much about having a strong portfolio. How you get the resources and knowledge to create a body of work is variable. I will throw in that I think nowadays having some ability to script or code will really help you get started in design.

3) What are you responsibilities as a game designer?

This varies from company to company and project to project. My own responsibilities have included level design, systems design, creating design documentation, team management, leading brainstorming sessions, implementing setups via scripting and proprietary tools, prototyping mechanics and features, organizing and running playtests, and so on and so forth. Your responsibilities also vary depending on what stage the project is in. In preproduction I do way more prototyping and visual documentation to try and convey ideas from brainstorming. Late in production is more about implementation, fixing bugs, etc.

4) What are the advantages of being a game designer?

I touched on this before, but for me the biggest advantage to being a game designer is that the problems I have to solve as part of my day-to-day work are incredibly diverse and broad in the topics they touch. One day I might be tackling a very technical problem about my level not fitting into memory at a certain point and figuring out how to divide up the regions so we can get the framerate back up. On another I might be trying to figure out the visual red herrings that are getting a player lost in one area, and coming up with other ways to visually guide them on the correct path. Another day I might be messing around in Illustrator trying to put together a visualization of a feature idea I'm pitching. Or I might have a day of playtesting where I have to observe players and identify causes and solutions for frustration. It is constantly shifting and changing, and I really enjoy that sort of problem solving.


5) What are the disadvantages?

At times you can feel like a jack of all trades. Your responsibilities can be so nebulous that you have a difficult time explaining what exactly you DO for a living to other people. So, it can be challenging to figure out exactly how to measure yourself, since a lot of design skills are soft and tricky to pin down.


6) How do government laws / regulations effect your career?

I wasn't sure on this one. I guess working as a game designer is no different than working at a normal office, so those sorts of rules and regulations apply. There are also non-government regulations that we have to contend with. For example, making sure the game meets a certain ESRB rating, or adheres to certain rules for international releases.

7) Any advice you would give for someone trying to become a game designer.

Make games, even simple ones. Being able to show that you have made a few simple games from start to finish carries a lot more weight than a giant epic game idea that is only half realized. Get involved in the community - participate in game jams, see if there are local IGDA chapters you can get involved in, volunteer at conferences, etc. The network of game developers is a great resource if you can get involved with them. I'd also recommend Game Mentor Online for one-on-one mentoring with an industry professional.

#3 glhf   Banned   -  Reputation: -585

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 11:34 AM

1) What initially interested you in game design?

I was tired of seeing lots of bad and flawed games coming out constantly and if no one can make a game I can enjoy then I'll have to do it myself.


2) What is the education/training needed?

You should at minimum have a passion for playing games. Just like a cook needs to enjoy eating food.
Then it definitly helps if you are pro at playing games just like it helps to have a excellent taste for tasting food.. so you know if it needs more salt or whatever spice.. same thing with wine tasters.

But just being a pro gamer won't get you far, Like for example I was really bored of seeing most AA mmorpg's using very similar combat mechanics as world of warcraft.
But if you have knowledge about game design you will know that the reason a lot of the AA mmorpg's have used those mechanics is to remove incentive for cheaters.
Because cheating can't be prevented.. only remove their incentive.
That's just one of many reasons you need game design knowledge not just gaming experience.

You should also have at least a basic understanding of how development (programming + art) is done so you at least have a rough idea of what limitations you have and what you can design.. so you don't make designs that are crazy and can't be made.


3) What are you responsibilities as a game designer?

Responsibilities as game designer in practise is doing the art for the game or programming.
Then you also need to throw in some good ideas on what to implement into the game or else you're just a programmer.
It's a sad truth that's what game designers really are in practise. No one wants a real game designer.

You could also become a game designer by creating a company and hiring a team of developers to become your employees and work for you.
Then you can assume the role of a real designer.


4) What are the advantages of being a game designer?

From a business standpoint there's no real advantages.. you're a team and your goal is to make a sucessfull game together and make money of it.
From an entertainment standpoint then the advantage is that you can make a game the way YOU like it.

5) What are the disadvantages?

No one really wants a game designer in their team unless this game designer can also do programming or art for the game.


6) How do government laws / regulations effect your career?

It don't.


7) Any advice you would give for someone trying to become a game designer.

Learn how to program or if you have an artistic ability then become an artist.
Or have deep pockets.

Good luck!

#4 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19410

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 12:54 PM

No offence intended glhf, but the OP is looking for responses from a professional game designer, and given you didn't mention it yourself I feel compelled to point out that you are not; as someone who has yet to complete and release a game you're not even really a hobbyist designer yet, and as usual there are a number of points where your answers do not accurately reflect typical industry practice, but rather seem to be loosely based on your own viewpoint of how some hobbyist and indie development sometimes works.

#5 glhf   Banned   -  Reputation: -585

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 12:57 PM

No offence intended glhf, but the OP is looking for responses from a professional game designer, and given you didn't mention it yourself I feel compelled to point out that you are not; as someone who has yet to complete and release a game you're not even really a hobbyist designer yet, and as usual there are a number of points where your answers do not accurately reflect typical industry practice.


That is your opinion :)

I just answered the OPs questions he can decide for himself if it sounds legit or not.

Also, you don't really know what I've done..
If I have/will make/made a game then I for sure wouldn't link that game to this name since I've got a lot of haters and that could hurt the reputation of the game hehe.

Edited by glhf, 08 December 2012 - 12:59 PM.


#6 glhf   Banned   -  Reputation: -585

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 04:02 PM

Also I have a theory about how the rare few "real" game designers became successful.

1.
They started out their game biz career as a programmer or artist and then after making at least one game they got respected in the scene and then people wanted him/her as a designer.
This one isn't just a theory actually, I've read at more than a few places of game designer telling that this is what they did.

2.
Lucky people that have a programmer as a close childhood friend or someone in family who can program or just got lucky and made a friend who don't mind someone else deciding how everything should be made in the game.
This one isn't just a theory either.

3.
If you're a girl then there's a lot of guys out there who will bring you on the team just for that reason.
Especially if you went to some irl school related to programming or game development.
This one is a theory.

4.
I know for a FACT that some successful game designers haven't actually done anything at all.
They just have a really nice boyfriend who did all the work but put the girlfriend/wife name in at least one of the job titles that seem believable.
Like game designer. programmer wouldn't be believable if she can't program.

I'm not being a sexist btw.
I just honestly haven't heard of this happening to a man.. just to women.
Probably because there are more men in the game biz than women.
Please enlighten me with links if a man has gotten lucky this way too.

#7 thedarklorde   Members   -  Reputation: 104

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 04:53 PM

Obvious troll is obvious.

Edited by thedarklorde, 08 December 2012 - 05:01 PM.


#8 glhf   Banned   -  Reputation: -585

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 05:05 PM

I don't understand how people like you can get a positive reputation from making complete offtopic posts with only purpose to berate other forum users just because you don't agree with in this case mine opinion.

I just tried to help the OP by giving my own view on this all.

This forum is for users all over the world.. with many different and varying opinions.. you have to keep an open mind and respect others opinions.

#9 Víktor Bautista i Roca   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 05:14 PM

Hi, I'm not sure if this will help you at all, because I'm a European author of (non video) games, but hey, you can just ignore me.

My name is Víktor Bautista i Roca and right now I work for no company. Here you can see some of the games I've authored http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamedesigner/8037/viktor-bautista-i-roca

1) What initially interested you in game design?

I've always enjoyed playing. And one they I realised I could not just play, but create my own games.

2) What is the education/training needed?

In my field most people come from an educational background or have some maths formation. The later in my case, I'm a computer engineer.

3) What are you responsibilities as a game designer?

It depends. There are usually three different kinds of jobs (I've done the three)

a) Work as a freelance and create the game you want. Here you have to create the game, test it a lot, try to make a nice working prototype (no need for great drawings and build quality, but it helps), test it even more, write very understandable rules, and either present it to as many editors as you can, or present it to game contests.

b) Some company, institution... wants a game to promote themself or some idea. You must meet them, understand what they want to communicate, discuss with them some ideas, create the game, test it and, depending on the case, contact an artist to illustrate it and create the artwork and a manufacturer to make it.

c) A game's company asks you for a concrete game, as it could be: make a game about Dora the explorer, for kids 3-6. Or a game that will use this cheap material we can buy in China. Or a game following this TV quiz show... In this case you don't have as much liberty, here usually you just give the idea, write the first rules and test it slightly. The rest, the game's company will do.

4) What are the advantages of being a game designer?

Mostly, the satisfaction of seing someone playing one of your games and enjoying it. I guess it's like a writer who knows people enjoys their books, or a musician or someone similar.

5) What are the disadvantages?

Low wages!

If you just work for yourself, it's very hard to get your games published. Maybe for every ten games you create only one will get published (even less at the begining). You must make yourself a name. Be known by the editors.

If you work for others, having to accept their decisions. Game companies usually want crappy games, not innovative or interesting enough. And companies, institutions, whatever, usually don't have a clear idea of what they really want, but some times this allow you to create really nice things.

6) How do government laws / regulations effect your career?

I don't think they Affect it in any particular way.

7) Any advice you would give for someone trying to become a game designer.

Play a lot, know the market, be creative, have a group of friends who will test your games but who are not afraid to tell you your game sucks if it is so, know other authors, coauthor games... Also, take a small notebook (a paper one) always with you and keep writing down every idea you have, doesn't matter how nonsensical it is.

By the way, almost for sure your first games will suck. REALLY SUCK. Go over it and keep creating.

I hope this helps.

Edited by Víktor Bautista i Roca, 08 December 2012 - 05:19 PM.


#10 glhf   Banned   -  Reputation: -585

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 05:29 PM

Hi, I'm not sure if this will help you at all, because I'm a European author of (non video) games, but hey, you can just ignore me.

My name is Víktor Bautista i Roca and right now I work for no company. Here you can see some of the games I've authored http://boardgamegeek...bautista-i-roca

[...]


I just want to say good post! Posted Image

And to those that never believe or pay any respect to my opinions and views just because they see a negative reputation..
This guy is an example of what I said in my first post.
You have to do a lot more than just game design.. this guy knows how to and does art for the game and even knows how to program his own prototypes which is actually not that easy and I would take a guess it's just as hard as making a complete game just that making a complete game takes ofcourse a million times more time..
Even with game maker it takes a lot of work and experience in game programming to make a prototype for a game.
He does it all by himself too... programming.. art.. game design.

Once again, good post.

Edited by jbadams, 08 December 2012 - 10:17 PM.
Trimmed down some unnecessary content from the quote: you do not need to quote a lengthy post in it's entirety when you are responding immediately after it.


#11 Víktor Bautista i Roca   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 06:05 PM

this guy knows how to and does art for the game and even knows how to program his own prototypes which is actually not that easy and I would take a guess it's just as hard as making a complete game just that making a complete game takes ofcourse a million times more time...



I guess you have not really read my post, or clicked on the link. I know how to program, yes, but I don't program any prototypes, as my games are "mortar and brick" games, like the ones in the given link.

#12 glhf   Banned   -  Reputation: -585

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 02:16 AM

this guy knows how to and does art for the game and even knows how to program his own prototypes which is actually not that easy and I would take a guess it's just as hard as making a complete game just that making a complete game takes ofcourse a million times more time...



I guess you have not really read my post, or clicked on the link. I know how to program, yes, but I don't program any prototypes, as my games are "mortar and brick" games, like the ones in the given link.


haha right, sorry for misunderstanding.
but I still know that a lot of game designers do what you do for video games as well.




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