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Are there any game designers out there with poor artistic talent?

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I really want to become a game designer as in constructing the game design document and writing the storyline but I can''t draw. Anyone with a similiar dilemma? Jehovah is viewed by Gnostics as fundamentally evil, jealous, rigid, lacking in compassion and prone to genocide.

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yah i cant draw for nothin''...

luckily i can program

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Strictly speaking, artistic talent is not necessary to be a good game designer. It helps, because a picture says more than a thousand words, sometimes. My interview packet for a game design position suggests the use of Paint or PhotoShop to create simple diagrams and mack-ups of the visual aspect of the design, as well as any schematics.

It is unknown whether great designers like Will Wright, Warren Spector or Peter Molyneux have any artistic talent as it is not the aspect of their abilities that is emphasized. It is their ability to think logically, to analyze human stimulation, and to develop risk-reward mechanisms that keep people playing (I''ve heard Will Wright described as "social theorist turned game designer") that makes them good at what they do.

Keep in mind that up-front design positions are rare; it was by emphasizing my programming background - specifically game programming, on appropriate platforms - that I got an interview.

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I can''t draw but I could program though

Jehovah is viewed by Gnostics as fundamentally evil, jealous, rigid, lacking in compassion and prone to genocide.

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I program and compose... to hell with drawing and model making, although, most of those little projects i tend to do end up being along the lines of a dot moving around the screen with cool music! ;-)

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As Oluseyi says, a game designer technically needn't have any artistic ability at all. However, it is extremely difficult (indeed, nigh impossible) to achieve a strict "game design" position. Most "game designer" job listings, you'll notice, talk about wanting several years of level design, modeling, or in some cases programming experience.

From a purist standpoint, I wouldn't consider any of these elements to be part of Game Design. However, even if you're able to find an entry level position that doesn't ask for these skills, a candidate with programming experience, composition, or visual art talent in particular, will be much more suited to the job initially and will inevitably have a leg up on the competition, because they have another avenue for communicating complex ideas to large groups of people.

If you have no experience in any of these areas, or don't feel you have what it takes, your best bet is to go the "high road" and develop top-notch writing skills. A proven writer may find it much more difficult to get into game design than an artist or programmer; but in this designer's opinion, a designer with uncanny talent for both technical and creative writing is by far the ideal choice for a dedicated Game Design position.

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

Brian Lacy
ForeverDream Studios

Comments? Questions? Curious?


"I create. Therefore I am."

[edited by - irbrian on May 10, 2004 10:50:50 PM]

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I can draw stick figures, and thats about it. Then again, I never was that interested in drawing (at least not interested enought to practice).

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Can you learn?

I was in your boat awhile ago. But I''ve spent the last 1 1/2 years (off and on) learning 3D modeling, photoshop and art techniques. I am about to complete an art course at a local community college as well that has taught me alot of the basics of colors, shapes and how to look at the world in order to translate it onto the page.

I did this because, although I can program, I''ve noticed that when it comes to soliciting help for projects artists seem to be in short supply. It''s very satisfying to be able to come up with an idea and know that not only can you code it, but you can put in all the art and maybe even buy the sound effects if necessary on one of those FX CDs (for a reasonable small project).

Maybe you won''t be able to program the next big thing all by yourself. But when it comes to selling your ideas, it''s nice to be able to put together a small mockup or prototype and not worry about relying on them thar herbal-tea sippin'' bohemian artist-folks. (*ahem* no offense to herbal-tea sippin'' bohemians )

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Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by irbrian
As Oluseyi says, a game designer technically needn''t have any artistic ability at all. However, it is extremely difficult (indeed, nigh impossible) to achieve a strict "game design" position. Most "game designer" job listings, you''ll notice, talk about wanting several years of level design, modeling, or in some cases programming experience.



I think this is mostly because the designer is often considered (sometimes rightly) superfluous after production begins, even for a larger studio that''s constantly cranking out product. So unless you have a contractor working for you, the "game designer" position has to do something else in the meantime.



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Just waiting for the mothership...

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I can program, and I can draw. Can''t do music/sound though (at least not yet). I have been learning how to draw anime for almost two years now, and I''ve advanced significantly (although I''m still not near the professional level). I think anyone can learn how to draw decently if they want to learn, have some resources/tutorials (plenty on the net) and practice a lot. I get a lot of practice during English class... it''s good for keeping awake.

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game designers are mainly paid for their ideas....as for the art part, thats what concept artist are for

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quote:
Original post by Wavinator
I think this is mostly because the designer is often considered (sometimes rightly) superfluous after production begins, even for a larger studio that''s constantly cranking out product. So unless you have a contractor working for you, the "game designer" position has to do something else in the meantime.
I agree that this is a commonly accepted role of game designers, even among professional game designers. But I wonder if, in many cases, a company (or designer) who adopts this belief isn''t short-changing themselves. Seems to me a top-notch designer should always be able to find something relevant to do. For example, during production, small decisions are made constantly about how to implement some part of the overall design. I think the designer should be right there to answer questions or discuss the possibilities. Often, the game designer is the one with the "vision" and should be taking care to ensure that the art, the interface, and the engine will fit seamlessly together by communicating constantly with individuals in each department. They need to understand enough about each aspect of development that they can visualize the final product at every stage given current progress.

Also, the game design document should ideally be continually updated to reflect later-stage design decisions required by limited time and technology, alpha testing feedback, production meetings, and so forth. This would of course be the game designer''s responsibility.

If our hero still finds time on his hands, my idea of a "pure" game designer -- a renaissance man/woman with particularly kick-butt writing skills -- would spend his/her time finding ways to improve the more subtle aspects of the game, from refining dialogue to convincing the artist responsible for the sky that the sunrise needs more red because the previous battle was particularly bloody.

Of course, as Wavinator says, most companies won''t see it this way. They''ll see everything in terms of cost-of-labor, and will want to milk every team member for all they''re worth. In my humble opinion, this is one of the big reasons so many companies end up producing sub-par games. But, money is a real issue, and can''t be overlooked.

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