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I Want To Become A Video Game Designer

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Hi, my name is Christopher Petty. I am 16 years old and am really interested in all types of games. I play video games almost everyday and someday, I'd like to create my own. When I play video games, I don't know what it is, but I like to look at every detail in the game (sounds, graphics, etc.). That gets me really interested in the game! Like I was saying, I want to create video games, but I don't know what skills or tools I need. Please help me by answering these questions. You can email me at cpettysan@yahoo.com if you like! 1) What tools can I use for video game design? 2) What skills do I need (high school or college preparation)? 3) Are there any free game design engines available? 4) How long should I practice game design, or how dedicated do I have to be? 5) Anything else you'd like to add. Oh, and I'd be happy to make friends with anyone who wants to. I really would like all the help I can get.

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1) For programming in C or C++, you'll need an IDE (integrated development environment), which basically is the 'program that you use to program'. I use Metrowerks Codewarrior on the Mac. For Mac OSX you can get XCode for free, and for PC (which is what you're probably using) I think there are free IDE's available as well.

2) Assuming that you actually want to create games (not just design them and have someone else create them), you'll need to learn to program. I'm not sure where it is, but I think there's a 'Start here' section on this site with recommended references for learning to program in various languages. Eventually you'll want to learn C++, but you could probably start with another language.

Also, learn all the math you can. My math background is pretty limited, and although it's not a showstopper, it makes some things a bit of an uphill battle.

3) AFAIK 'game design engines,' if there are such things, aren't much use for professional game development. But it might be a good place to get started. Again, though, I don't know much about that area.

4) For most people it takes many years to develop the programming and technical skills required to create professional games. So, the answer is 'pretty dedicated' :)

Anyway, you'll get different answers from different people. But those are my $.02.

[Edit: and there's your 'start here' link :)]

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What they've said, but exagerate the indicated level of required dedication a little, and check out the for beginners forum FAQ for some more beginners info.

And if you want to learn effectively, get used to following the links people give you and reading all the material. [wink]
Other than that general advice, Jyk's answer is pretty good.

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