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An Interview With a Game Designer: Help Please

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I'm an 18 year old college freshman, and have a pretty large gaming background. Since my early gaming years, I've been interested in creating my own games. Constantly, I would draw out rather large and complex levels that could be used for two dimensional side-scrollers using modified elements from games I'd be playing at the time, and some of my own invention. It wasn't until later on though, that I realized that I could actually do something like this as a real paying job. Anyway, I've got an English class that focuses on doing a research paper about a "burning" question I have. The first thing that came to mind was, "How does one get a job in video game design?" So far, I've been able to do ok on my own, but now I'm in need of some good sources of info to go along with this. Other than that, the main reason I made this thread was because this research paper comes along with a required interview. Since my time to do this paper is short, and I have absolutely no links to anyone outside of the internet who could do such a thing for me, I was simply wondering if some of you here wouldn't mind answering a few questions. I've looked around the board a bit, and noticed that there are a few professional game designers here. I'm not going to ask that only they come answer for me, so anyone else who feels that they can help out works too. Below is said list of questions: 1. What kind of education is required for this sort of thing? 2. Once I'm out of college, what should I do? 3. Are there any schools I should consider attending? 4. Are there any specific programs I should get use to using? 5. Where can I go to apply for such jobs? 6. What special things are employers looking for? 7. If I don't or can't get in, what are some close alternatives? 8. Should I consider an internship? How would I go about doing that? 9. What is the "average day on the job" like? 10. Can one still be a gamer, and enjoy this job all at once? If you can think of anything else that might help, please post it. Thanks in advance to anyone who helps me out. [Edited by - gameguy888 on March 7, 2006 2:57:12 PM]

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1. What kind of education is required for this sort of thing?
None is required. Some look better on a resume and some teach you things that are helpful.


2. Once I'm out of college, what should I do?
Don't start once you're out of college, start now. Write design documents, work with indie teams, try to complete simple game projects. I emphasize simple.

3. Are there any schools I should consider attending?
I don't think school is as relevant as experience.

4. Are there any specific programs I should get use to using?
Microsoft Word

5. Where can I go to apply for such jobs?
At game companies. Makes sense.

6. What special things are employers looking for?

Motivation and experience.

7. If I don't or can't get in, what are some close alternatives?
Get in as a game designer? The best alternative is to design a game from home and start an indie project, that way you can have full creative control over the project. And when you're finished your resume will be glowing.

8. Should I consider an internship? How would I go about doing that?
I don't know. My guess is write a letter of inquiry to game companies asking about such opportunities.

9. What is the "average day on the job" like?
My situation is kind of unique. Well yesterday I walk in and the boss guy says "Stop what you're working on and write up a game proposal based on ***** brand". So I spent the day writing a proposal on that brand. Then the boss has his own ideas and the producers have their own ideas and the idea gets very watered down.

10. Can one still be a gamer, and enjoy this job all at once?
Lately I haven't been playing games very much.

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