Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
Oilers99

Okay..... I want to be a game designer....... now what?

This topic is 4837 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

My ultimate goal is to be a game designer. Have my ambitions of changing the industry, etc. Alrighty. However, I doubt it is as simple as taking a course on game design, then walking into a company, filling out a couple applications, then getting a dev team. As little as I like it, I live in reality. Problem is, I don't know the rules of reality. All I've picked up is that I really should learn some programming. There's this neat little beginners guide to programming for Python that I found, and it seems easy enough. I'm guessing it will get me started on the bare-bones of programming. However, where the heck am I supposed to go from there? Should I be looking at more advanced tutorials? Post secondary education for programming (I'm over a year from graduating)? Maybe a game design course that teaches programming, and some of the basics of level design and the like? If it's of any note, I really don't have much in the way of visual art ability. At all. I know it's difficult to answer something this broad, to someone you don't know about. How are you supposed to tell some random guy over the internet what he should be doing with his future, based on a few paragraphs, and some random aspirations that may or may not be serious, right? Well, I'll admit I have no idea what I'm doing, but that's kind of why I'm posting, so any help I could get to give me some bearing would be muchly appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
Well I'm no expert in this area( = unemployed programmer).

[Nothing contained here is necesarily factual]
But I think I can help you layout some of the skills you'll need. Business! Business! You'll almost certainly need some experience in making money decisions after all thats what games are really about right? You're gonna need some major people skills because youll probably talking to executives and programmers. Having a solid general knowlegde of programming is obviously important, but I doubt its necesary to proficient with any one language as long as you can understand what programmers are talking about. As far as I know you're shooting for a hard position to get and its not likely that you'll find a job at a big game company right out of school.Im fairly certain the general advice is to go find an indie game company and develop your skills there. There are probably quite a few more important or more relevent skills to be listed...
[end possible BS]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, to be honest you don't necessarily need a degree to get the job. You will however need a skill because almost no one will enter into the "Designer" spot upon entry. If you don't want to get a diploma/degree in a certain area, then I would tell you to start learning something like Level Design. I say this because even if you know some programming companies are more likely to hire someone with a degree than someone that doesn't.

You of course already know that there are some free programs out there that you can use to get some skills to take to the company, the only other thing that I can think of right now ,is to start working on a portfolio, and update it as you get better at whatever skill you decide to learn. I was told by my teacher that the best way to do this is to start map editing, level making, or creating MOD's for other games that are already out. Most games come with, or you are able to find SDK's to help you with MODding.

Other than this, the only other thing I know to tell you is to go to school for something that can get you in the door, and make sure that it something that you don't mind doing for a while.


Good Luck!

"You will not be punished for your anger, but you will be punished by your anger"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hmm yeh so heres my go: ;)

Well you want to get started in the industry... what degree are you studying at the minute? It seems like many people progress through Computer Science / Design / other Engineering degrees and play around with programming / design during their spare time.

Learn to program little by little, start simple, if you like the idea of Python then go for it, it will teach you basic principles of programming even if later you want to move onto learning C / C++ etc. Once youve got a little bit of programming knowledge just play around making small games to help you understand whats happening and to help you program better this will let you get basic knowledge of designing your own games aswell!... maybe even think about joining a beginner dev team (see help wanted section) and try and get a couple of simple games (nothing real fancy) to be able to show yourself of as a potential programmer and designer. - Also try and do this by joining a MOD team (google search!)

By this time you will probably be finishing or well on in a computer course if you picked one, and so will be able to look around for smaller companies to join... dont rule out larger companies though, Junior Programmer / Designer jobs do come along, and its all good experience anyway!

Ok so thats me done... (yes it may be rubbish ;)) but i hope it helps!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You don't need to be a programmer. Entry through level design is usually easier - pick up your favourite game and make some maps for it. For each map you make, write some stuff about design decisions you made, why you made them a particular way, things you were trying to achieve with particular things in the map, etc. That'll form the basis of a portfolio.

The other things you can do:
(A) Design some non-computer games - it's absolutely great if you can turn up at an interview, bring a pen and paper, and show the interviewer a game you invented that requires only pen and paper. Etc. It builds your skills with core gameplay handling, by removing all the distractions (like high-quality graphics and sound).
(B) Practice your communication skills - a designer spends much of his or her time working with other team members to ensure that things are being made the way they want them. Write stories, essays, articles; publish them in local papers or on the web.
(C) Play as many games as possible. While we obviously don't want to draw all our game ideas from existing ones, a professional designer will be paying attention to which games sold well and why. Many of the problems and questions raised by development have been answered in various ways by other designers - so see how they did it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll second Superpig's advice, but just add that as a level designer, it still won't hurt to get a little grounding in at least basic programming. Python (and PyGame, a Python library for developing games if you weren't aware of it) are excellent for this, as it's reasonably simple as programming languages go, but will allow you to get some reasonable results. This will help because you'll be just that little bit better at communicating with programmers on a team (you'll know what issues they have to deal with to a certaine extent), and you'll be able to work with the scripting languages that are often included in editors as required.

Practice with the editors that came with games you own, and try to make a variety of levels for different purposes. Try out a few different genres (RTS, FPS, Arcade), and of course try out some non-computer-based games (board games, pen and paper, etc). A great way to get yourself a portfolio piece and a little experience is to do some level design for a good quality mod of an existing game.

You also may be interested in checking out some of the discussions in Game Design; we love discussing various design issues, unusual possiblities, ways of setting up levels, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As Superpig said, it may not be necesary to go the programming route, rather as a designer. But if you do want to program games, either to start as a a career, the best advice I know is to start small and go up. In fact, your original post with the ball isn't a bad idea. Something like breakout, pacman, pong, tetris, anything along those lines in simplicity is a good place to start. The big thing is to make sure you FINISH what you start. Don't go into the heav stuff, but make it work, have a title screen, a way to exit, no bugs, etc... Then go a little bigger, each time doing the same way. The second game may either be another game like the first or maybe a 2d platformer or something like that. In fact, I think, though I'm not sure as I don't do level design, that with designing the same principle applies. Start with a simple game level and a simple game, then go little by little more complex, getting better as you go. But finish whatever it is, including documentation for the portfolio.

*EDIT* I'm sorry, I had just read another post in the beginners section about the ball game, my mistake. It wasn't yours.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by chad_420
Well I'm no expert in this area( = unemployed programmer).

[Nothing contained here is necesarily factual]
But I think I can help you layout some of the skills you'll need. Business! Business! You'll almost certainly need some experience in making money decisions after all thats what games are really about right? You're gonna need some major people skills because youll probably talking to executives and programmers. Having a solid general knowlegde of programming is obviously important, but I doubt its necesary to proficient with any one language as long as you can understand what programmers are talking about. As far as I know you're shooting for a hard position to get and its not likely that you'll find a job at a big game company right out of school.Im fairly certain the general advice is to go find an indie game company and develop your skills there. There are probably quite a few more important or more relevent skills to be listed...
[end possible BS]


I find it difficult to judge the "people skills" I have. In general, I think I can be a adequate orator, but I think I have an odd way of expressing myself as well. However, I do believe I can come across as generally likeable, and get my point across effectively enough. So I dunno if that means if I'm adequate or not. :)

The idea of the business of games makes me cry. In short, the types of games I want to make are so far removed from what would be considered commercially safe, that it would probably panic the business side of myself. That's not to say I don't think you have a good point, because understanding the market implications of the product you're making is probably a very good thing, but it just seems to be one of the more unpleasant realities of trying to become a game designer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by up in flames
Well, to be honest you don't necessarily need a degree to get the job. You will however need a skill because almost no one will enter into the "Designer" spot upon entry. If you don't want to get a diploma/degree in a certain area, then I would tell you to start learning something like Level Design. I say this because even if you know some programming companies are more likely to hire someone with a degree than someone that doesn't.

You of course already know that there are some free programs out there that you can use to get some skills to take to the company, the only other thing that I can think of right now ,is to start working on a portfolio, and update it as you get better at whatever skill you decide to learn. I was told by my teacher that the best way to do this is to start map editing, level making, or creating MOD's for other games that are already out. Most games come with, or you are able to find SDK's to help you with MODding.

Other than this, the only other thing I know to tell you is to go to school for something that can get you in the door, and make sure that it something that you don't mind doing for a while.


Good Luck!

"You will not be punished for your anger, but you will be punished by your anger"


As foolish as this is going to make me sound.... what exactly do you mean by a portfolio?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!