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Attn: Game designers, Need some info for school!!

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Hello, My name is Sheldon Laframboise. I will be attending the International Academy of Design in January of 2006 (http://www.iadt.ca). The course I will be taking is one of the first curriculums created for game design and production. In the program I will be learning 3D modeling, concept drawing, sound production, texture design and programming. Our final project for graduation will be the design and production of a game from the ground up. I have an opportunity to receive a government grant which will significantly reduce or possibly even nullify the cost of the course and living expense during the year. Part of my application for the government grant is that I interview 3 people in the field with some specific questions about a game design occupation. (3d environment artists, 3d modelers, Sound production, Concept artists, Texture artists, Lead designers... etc.) Any input is greatly appreciated. If you can take the time to answer the following questions you could be saving me about $25 000 in tuition and living expenses. I already have some experience designing textures and 3D environments. So my interest is genuine. Thanks so much and best regards, Sheldon Laframboise P.S. If you don't feel comfortable leaving your answers here please email them to me. (sinful@shaw.ca) ------------ Questions: Name: Game Company you have worked or work for?: What is your opinion on this type of work?: What kind of training did you have, where did you study?: What background is required for someone starting in this occupation?: What are the starting trainee wages and what are the wages for a fully qualified person?: What are the working conditions?: (noise, dust, fumes, heat cold, inside, etc.) What are the hours of work usually?: Are there lay-offs expected?: Is it seasonal work?: What are the physical requirements of the job?: (i.e. lifting, bending, sitting, standing, etc.) What is the future employment outlook for this occupation?: Will there be a demand for this type of work in the future?: What employers might higher you after you obtained this training?:

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If you aren't getting many replies, remember that many of us are under NDAs, some of those questions come a bit close to the brim of what NDAs cover (i.e. internal operation structure of the company, exactly what the work entails, etc.).

Also, do you only want replies from the job positions you listed? Do the survey takers have to be in-house employees? Many employees are contractors these days, keep that in mind.

I do contract graphics work. I'll answer a couple of them though, without giving specifics (hopefully it helps give you some idea):

What is your opinion on this type of work?:

I'm usually not wild about being told what to do, and how to do it, but I've generally found it enjoyable, as it does give a fair amount of artistic freedom, and it is graphic art- which I'd take any day over bagging groceries. Overall, I'd have to say amazingly fun- it is still work though.

What kind of training did you have, where did you study?:

I've had some formal training, but have found 99% of it useless. My real training comes from trying, failing, and trying again. I worked at pixel art for years, largely on the forum "pixelation"- this taught me a great deal... it has gone down in quality over the past years though, as too many people got into the racket (I was one of the first people on the forum, way back when it was started- my first post being a day or so after the forum was put up; those were the days).

What background is required for someone starting in this occupation?:

If you want training, the absolute best way to do it is to get motivated in something- all school really does is force work upon you so much that you have no choice but to learn and practice. Try, submit your work to peers for critiques, and try again. Once you get good enough, your portfolio will speak for itself- though having a professional attitude is absolutely essential. A background in proper grammar, and a high school diploma, plus genuine talent and determination will probably get you in.

What are the physical requirements of the job?: (i.e. lifting, bending, sitting, standing, etc.)

You never realize how much strain it does holding your arm up to draw for eight hours a day until you do it- it's amazing; after a week it can feel like you've had an intense workout the day before.

What is the future employment outlook for this occupation?:

I do 2d art, primarily pixel art. Just recently, cell phones and the GBA were pretty much the last frontier of this lost art- as resolutions rise, demand will go down.
Pixeling is a rarer ability than concept art, and breaking into the later business will require a much more significant margin of talent displayed in your portfolio compared to your peers.

Will there be a demand for this type of work in the future?:

I'm not sure, but in general, fads come and go- old school will be back, the question is how long will it take to return.

I hope that helps,

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Hi Sheldon !

Being from Montreal I know what The International Academy of design is and I would like to warn you about them. They don't have a bad reputation but their course are are way too expansive for what they are worth and it has now become and good marketing strategy for many schools like them in Quebec to attract future game developers to them.

You should not waste 25k on such a course because judging from my experience from them and many friends that went there, you will be 25k poorer, have some basic knowledge you could learn at home for almost nothing and way faster on your own and you would have a certificate that would serve you no purpose because not a single damn company in Quebec will hire you with an AEC that I can tell you. I tried to get into Ubisoft, EA, Discreet and SoftImage with my AEC and they all told me they don't hire anyone else than university graduates. This was the same with many other companies I applied for in Montreal.

I didn't go at the IADT but I went to a school that's even worse but that's another story :P basically all my friends from IADT are brilliant people and great workers. They had their internships but after and their diploma but after that nothing new. Even after months on looking for jobs in the domain and making demos and everything. You should go into a more traditionnal course and avoid those BECOME A GAME DESIGNER IN ONE YEAR course, they are a ripoff.

If that school is one of the only schools you have around where you live then it makes things harder because I know you shouldn't go there if you don't want to waste your money because it will be wasted trust me, unless in your area they crave for people like you due to lack of competent people.

You should still try to get yourself a bursary for studies but in a school that will give you a University degree.

I am no profesionnal game designer myself, I am learning the craft myself while being at university. It's the safest bet you can make :D

I would help you out with your survey but I can't answer since I am not working as a designer

Good luck on finding it though!

The choice is up to you though but you should check it out before going there to make sure you are definitely up with the idea of going there.

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