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No Graphic Art or Programming Skills, am I Doomed?

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I am an avid lover of Entertainment, expecaly Video Games. My passion for then is huge, spending hours over days working on ideas and writing them down to all sorts of detail. I subscribe to many sources of information on the subject so I'm very familiar with it, to the point that I had a Presedant of a company hire me to write a "All about Videos Games" document outlining a general history to genres of games to pop culture terminology. I have been going to E3 for the past 5 years and will go many more times to come, but... I have little to NO graphic art or programming skill. If a development company said "what are you good at" i would say "well i got great ideas," but who wouldnt say that? I am finnishing my AS Degree in Radio/Television production and hope to apply it to the game development Major I do in my four year schooling, but... What am i going to do as a major? Is there a way i can apply myself to the industry without being a graphic artist or programmer? My ultimate dream is to lead the Design team (like many others) but you have to start somewhere and im not quite sure where without thoes skills. I have done quality control testing before, this is were almost everyone starts, but can you jump to Designer from there, and without graphic art or programming skills? What do you all think?

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I recently had a project team which the Design Leader simply said 'okay, program a login page'. It's obvious he has no idea the weight of that statement. The last thing I want to be doing is to have a Design Leader without any knowledge of programming whatsoever.

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I take it from your message that you have tried both programming and graphic art and not been successful.

As a starting point I would recommend the following type of positions.
System Test / QA
Documentation - Manuals etc
Marketing - Sales pitches, advertising plans etc
Customer Support

Design is one of the hardest areas to get into. There are a lot of positions for programmers and artists but very few positions for designers.

Once you have a position in a company it is easier to move from say System Test to Design. Good luck.

Greig

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i think you don't need art or programming skills "if you can write design document correctly"
but how can you imagine that writing design document without those skills?
well Miyamoto Sigeru the greatest game designer was a manufacture designer at the beginning
bill roper was a musician and also QA team at the beginning.
which means you can be a game designer whatever you were.
but hey. having great idea means nothing. everyone has great ideas.

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don't forget about production. What other skills besides "good ideas" do you have? And no you won't score a job on just good ideas alone, but you can create your own projects and run a team yourself. Do you have absolutely no artist or programming skills or do you just not have much of them? There's a difference between absolutely no artistic and programming talent and mediocre talent. I consider myself a jack of all trades in most respects, but i recognize that I have absolutely no art talent whatsoever. That doesn't stop me though from learning the basics about 3d modellers, so that I have an idea of the amount of work it takes to do that stuff. I have art friends in the same boat, they suck at tech stuff but still learned the basics of scripting and basic programming so they at least have a general understanding of the concepts.

Bottom line, if you want to make games, make them. Don't wait to get hired at a video game company because: A) that is unlikely and may take a long time B) if they do hire you you won't be making games based of your ideas anyway.

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Hmmm... I think that you should try at least to develop some graphic art or programming skills. Because if you don't do that, your game ideas will be very different from what a real video game can and cannot do...

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One thing that I think could possibly save you is if you get familiar with the process of converting physical movements into skeletal movements for 3d modelling. It won't get you into the lead position of a team but it may get you into the animation industry. That will be a start.

If you aren't any good at C++ programming that doesn't mean you have no programming skills. You might be able to get into game scripting if you know Python and Lua or some of the other simpler "scripting" languages. But you should definitely look into programming and graphic design and learn to walk before you learn to run.

Where you go from there will be up to you. Have you tried programming and graphic arts already and found out that you have no skill or are you just assuming you have no skills because it looked hard? If it's the latter then you'll never work your way up to team leader. Game development takes dedication which it sounds like you have.

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Quote:
Original post by Heresy
i think you don't need art or programming skills "if you can write design document correctly"
but how can you imagine that writing design document without those skills?


I've dealt with too many designers and architects who never wrote a line of code in their sorry existences to remember them all.
Most were inept as designers because they had no understanding at all of what they were designing.
They invariably come up with designs that are either impossible to implement within the budget/time available (if at all) or will have such severe penalties in one or more areas (usually performance) that they'd better not be implemented to save the company the embarassment of having to cancel the project halfway through.

Someone who knows how the code will look and work can anticipate such things a lot better than someone whose only knowledge is from a book about the theory of software design and architecture and is thus stuck in creating massively beautiful designs that are theoretically perfect but impossible in reality.

Prime example: a simple mailing/customer relation program I was assigned to maintain years ago.
It was designed as a 3 tier application (data, business logic, presentation).
Nothing wrong with that, I'd have done the same.
Except that each tier was itself a 3 tier system (business tier and communications with in- and output), and that at each of those 9 boundaries there existed at each side a factory to create the objects to transfer data between the tiers, a factory to create an object to process the incoming objects, and 2 abstract factories to abstract away the actual factories for flexibility.
It was a textbook example of patterns and good OO practice in use.
Sadly it was also slow as plate tectonics, a typical printrun of 500 pages lasting something like 72 hours and retrieval of a customer record and underlying data taking 10 seconds or more before it was displayed on screen (and that with some pretty hefty (for the time) hardware, running the generated SQL on the database directly took only a few milliseconds).
The architect/designer had never programmed, only taken theoretical courses at university and gotten several doctoral degrees.
He was therefore inviolate in his ivory tower (this was a multinational corporation), and when his design proved to perform so poorly it was the programmers who were blamed (despite them having warned in advance about it).

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First off, I truly believe Programming and Art are trades: you aren't born with these skills, you learn them. To just throw up your hands and say "I don't have these skills", well, right there I wouldn't hire you for anything. If you really wanted to, and were willing to work for it, you could learn these skills. Not everyone has the passion or interest to become masters, but you can learn enough to understand the basics.

I work for EA, so things are a little different for us; we are an interative company, so there aren't a lot of "designers" here. We have producers. It is there job to work with development directors and lead programmers/artists to design new feature sets each year. They are not required to have programming or art skills (but it does help). Their job is to leverage the knowledge of the team leads in designing feature sets, asking the questions, "Is this feasible? How long will it take to complete? What is the cost/benifits/risks/rewards of the feature? etc."

I would guess the most important qualities for getting a Dev Director or Producer job is to show that you can manage a team and get a product out on time and on budget. I think the best way to show that you can do that, is to work with modders or start a small game team and develop your own projects! A picture is worth a thousand words, but a completed game project is worth 50+K a year :P

Best of luck!
Matt

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Thanks all for the responses.

I intentionaly stated "No Skills" to give the worst case scinario. I have a very limited knowledge of both Graphic Art and Programming, to the point that i understand the limitations of both, to an extent. However if i were asked to Professionaly do concept art, i could not deliver, as with programming i was capable to make systems no better than a simple calculator.

On top of that i realy have very little interest in professionaly doing either, so i have spent more time on the creative writing and production end of the busyness. I am a film student and understand the production of films and the creative prosses.

I work very well with people and wish to do so in any busyness i venture.

Thanks again for these options, most of your answers have enforced things i have already been told and understand, guess ill head over to the "Help Wanted" section and see what i can find.

Thanks

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