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OtakuMan

College Majors for Game Design

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Hi there. I''m interested in becoming a game designer after college as my career goal, but I''m not sure what college major is best in order to be fully prepared to get into the game industry with sights set on that position. Is there anyone that can help me figure out what would be best? I''m currently in the computer science program at RIT, but now that I''m going to be a Junior in the fall, now''s the time to make sure that this is the major for me. If there''s anyone out there that can assist I would be much obliged. ~Otaku-Man

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Have you tried Creative Writing, Technical Writing?
I figure a double major in English and CS would do it?
Wouldn''t it?

Or you can just enroll in one of those Game Design/Programming schools and get a Game Design certificate from them.

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quote:
Original post by OtakuMan
Hi there. I''m interested in becoming a game designer after college as my career goal, but I''m not sure what college major is best in order to be fully prepared to get into the game industry with sights set on that position.
There''s none. Ask yourself what a game designer does and how to get hired as a game designer and you''ll quickly find out that the concept of game design is still highly arbitrary. Consequently there can be no specific training for it.

I''d suggest looking for and reading the bios and articles of successful game designers (Will Wright, Warren Spector, Shigeru Miyamoto, Sid Meier, Chris Crawford, Peter Molyneux) for inspiration.

Good luck.

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I completely disagree. That was true a few years ago, but now there ARE programs designed to better prepare students for a career in game design.

Here are the colleges I know that offer degrees in Game Design:
Full Sail Real World Education -- http://www.fullsail.com
University of Advancing Technology -- http://www.uat.edu, or http://www.gamedegree.com
The Art Institute of Phoenix -- http://www.aipx.edu
The Art Institute Online -- http://www.aionline.edu
Collins College -- http://www.houseofedu.com/cc

I''ve been investigating each of these quite thoroughly, and feel that any one of the above can offer a solid foundation in Game Design. But they are all quite expensive, UAT being the cheapest.

Of course, you''re still going to need experience. These schools will help you build a portfolio and snare internships, and all of them also have long term career placement services, but you''re still going to have to do plenty of work on your own.

On the other hand, there is no reason you can''t pursue a degree in software development, art, or writing and still become a game designer. You just have to make sure you get the necessary experience some other way.

****************************************

Brian Lacy
ForeverDream Studios

Comments? Questions? Curious?
brian@foreverdreamstudios.com

"I create. Therefore I am."

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Actually the Art Institute of Phoenix offers a pretty good design and art degree. You can check out more about it at their unofficial website created by one of the instructors there (www.bobolo.net). Also, 2 of the last 3 student developer spotlights at Gamasutra have come from there. It''s very expensive though.

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Schools like Full Sail try to shove too much material down your throat in too little time. There was even article about this while back on this site. It is very rare that companies hire "Game Designers", designers are usually programmers from within the company. If you want to get in you have to start from the bottom. I would suggest majoring in Computer Science/Software Engineering and building up your portfolio. By the time you graduate, programming and problem solving will be a sixth sense. You will need at least one high-quality demo/game so that they know what you can do. If your goal is to be a designer then make it show in the demo.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Ouranos
Schools like Full Sail try to shove too much material down your throat in too little time. There was even article about this while back on this site. It is very rare that companies hire "Game Designers", designers are usually programmers from within the company. If you want to get in you have to start from the bottom. I would suggest majoring in Computer Science/Software Engineering and building up your portfolio. By the time you graduate, programming and problem solving will be a sixth sense. You will need at least one high-quality demo/game so that they know what you can do. If your goal is to be a designer then make it show in the demo.


Yeah, you do need something to back up your abilities as a game designer, since no one really gets to be one right out of school. But I''m not sure where you''re getting your facts from. You don''t need to be a programmer, and most game designers don''t come from a programmer background. A lot of game designers in the field were artists once. Some were game testers. Others were writers. And there even others that came from different backgrounds altogether (business, architectural engineering, etc). Game testing might be your easiest way into the industry, but there''s stiff competition in moving up that ladder. Going in as an artist or programmer is probably the best bet, but breaking into one of those fields is a lot harder than game testing. Other options like writing have it hard in both aspects. In any case though, Comp Sci/Programming is not your only option. Also, it''s not rare for companies to hire game designers anymore. 5 years ago, yes, but now you see companies advertising on Gamasutra, GameJobs, or even their own personal websites for game designers all the time. There''s a lot of competition for the spots though, so it can be easier to work yourself up to one instead.

And to be perfectly honest, although I know I''ll get flamed for this, programmers don''t make the best game designers. They become too consumed in the limitation of the game engine and what cannot be done, rather than what could be done. I''m not saying there haven''t been great programmer designers before, I''m just saying that most are generally too technical which then leads to stunted creativity.

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"...I''m just saying that most are generally too technical..."

Well, you can also turn this into "They make good game designers because they exactly know the technical frontiers"...

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Guest Anonymous Poster
That''s my point. If there''s no one there to push the boundaries, how will things ever evolve? I''ve worked with a lot of programmers that would be happy to not include gameplay elements simply because it would be a burden to implement into the engine. Not because it COULDN''T be implemented, but because they didn''t think it was necessary, even though it added to the gameplay (and you''d be surprised at the things they didn''t want to implement, ie. running, jumping, ladders). I''ve found that artists, game testers, etc generally make up the best game designers. They have previously worked under the limitations of the engine, and know, generally, what can and can''t be done. But they aren''t afraid to push to limits and introduce new elements of gameplay that would normally not be introduced by someone too focused on what couldn''t be done.

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