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The New Blueguy

What advice would you guys give to someone just starting a game design course?

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I know you guys have probably been asked this a few thousand times over the course of a day. That's probably even an understatement in and of itself. But, I have to ask, what advice could possibly give me. Here's my situation: I've just recently (last week), applied and have been accepted (big surprise) to the International Academy of Design Technology in Toronto, Canada for the Game Design and Development program. Now, I have heard from friends that have heard from friends, that obviously the program is heavy on programming and such aspects of game design, even though the brochures, course outlines, and publicity statements stress that it is a well-rounded program. Now, my strengths are in based heavily in creative writing, storytelling, scriptwriting, I guess you could say the 'potatoes' portion of the 'meat and potatoes' that is game design with the programming and art, modelling etc. being the meat. Yeah, I know it sounds weird. Anyway, those are where my strengths are and my ability on the math-related side to it (programming) are my known weak points. Now I know that never in the history of the industry has there ever been a position where you sit there, think up stuff and get paid. In your opinions, as most of you from what I can tell are students in such programs, how would I go about making the most to benefit from my program and in which area should I concentrate my efforts? Obviously, I'd like to get as well-rounded as possible, but, I fear that two years from now when I graduate; I'll still be wondering exactly which 'door', I should be trying to stick my foot into. The reason I'm so worried is because I don't in any way expect to be offered a Lead Designer position at EA or anything close right out of the gate, but I do realize that such positions as Lead Fiction Writer aren't as defined as they were a few years ago. So, in all honesty, what do you think I should do?

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Don't worry about it now. You will have a better idea about what you need to do after you've been in the program for 6 months or so.

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Well, I'm only still a student, so I do not speak from experience, but here's what I've heard.

Even if you're the lead designer, you're going to be doing a lot of scripting, so you do need to have basic programming skills. You should also be well aware of the syntax of C++ (or whatever language the project is written in), so that you can work more closely with the programming team. You'll also need to be somewhat proficient with 3D math, for similar reasons.

If you plan on only being a designer, and never being a programmer, then you don't need to be a programming expert, but, as I said, you'll need to be familiar with the syntax. So you should still concentrate your efforts on game design and storytelling (as it seems you've already been doing), but do make sure you have a fundamental knowledge of programming and 3D math.

Also, from what I've heard, many game designers start as programmers, and gradually work their way up the ladder with time. Don't know about this for sure, tho.

This is really all I know, even tho it's not much.

I still hope it helps,
Zach.

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Yeah, most people don't start out as "Game Designers". From what i've heard from other commercial game designers, that position is not a very good one to be in. It's the position that gets paid the least and is first to blame if something goes wrong. It's also the position with hardest to define description of what exactly that person's job is. So then it becomes "what isn't that person's job"? The other thing is that everyone and their brother has an idea for a game design. Most people know that too, so "Game Designer" may not get you much respect. "Any fool can come up with a game design!" they might reason (and often do).

I would say just follow your natural strengths and try to be really really good at what you do instead of being a jack of all trades. Don't be afraid to get into programming though. I never thought I would, but i did, and i enjoy it.

Quote:
I was just worried cause with $30,000 on the line I can't screw up.


Sure you can! People do it all the time ;-)

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Original post by leiavoia
Quote:
I was just worried cause with $30,000 on the line I can't screw up.


Sure you can! People do it all the time ;-)
Far more than that, unfortunately.

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