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blueoakleyz

Seriously considering a career in video games.

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Please forgive me for posting this first, then reading all the other vast knowledge on this site second. If there's an answer to my questions in another obvious part of this site I'll probably find it soon so no worries. I'm 24 and want to make video games my new career. I've been going to college for the past 5 or so years (last major was science so I'm used to hard work and studying) and recently dropped out for some health issues not to mention did not like where I was headed. I thought to myself, if I won the lottery, what would be my ideal career...video game design.. so why not do what I love even if I didn't win the lotto? I have zero experience, but would love to go to a school. Maybe even work for Nintendo. Can anyone tell me what kind of career path there is? I have heard things like there isn't much job security, which I'm not all that much worried about at the moment but I always figure if I work hard I'll be one of the best and won't have to worry about being one of the ones to get laid off. I'm ambitious and want to make it to the top anyway. Of course this would be a career in doing something I love for a living, so I only ask for a means to have a comfortable life... what kind of salaries are there for starting, intermediate and advanced/expert game designers? Today I'd like to get my feet wet and buy a book at barnes n nobles or borders, can anyone recommend on that would probably be there? Is there a type of programming language that would absolutely be essential (and not be a waste to learn)? What schools and programs can you all suggest? Thank you very much.

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Video game industry offer lot of different career, you can work at a video game box without even touching at anything of the game, it depend what you want to do!

You first ask about the designer salary then ask about which programming language is best.. designers don't need to learn programming language, they only need good ideas and be precise in the rules to tell programmers to implement. The salary is quite high (can't give number), but there are often only 1-2 designer per project so you really need to be good at it.

Programmers salary is high too (again can't give number), and they need a bit more but is really more complex too. If you want to learn it's not too hard but it take time and at 24 if you don't have any knowledge you better learn fast. C++ using 3d library is the best bet currently.

Apart from that you can still be 3d artist/texturer/network tech/data manager guy/public relation/human resources... salary a bit lower but still good and you get all social advantage for working in a big video game company.

(experience from Ubisoft employee)

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Well of course I wasn't a nerdy 15 year old kid (no offense) who started programming back then.. I suppose I'll finish a bachelors of science by I'm 25 and then maybe go to a video game school.. so I don't think 25 is too bad/old or anything.

I'd like to be a designer but what I really want is a path that will let me acquire tangible skills instead of just trying to shoot in the dark and find a job where I can say hey do that. What kind of skills do designers get/start with?

Might go to Digipen.. I donno.

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I'd like to be a designer but what I really want is a path that will let me acquire tangible skills instead of just trying to shoot in the dark and find a job where I can say hey do that. What kind of skills do designers get/start with?

Might go to Digipen.. I donno.

Designers come from all backgrounds (writing, business, arts), but I will warn you that DigiPen may not be the best place for somebody that is more interested in design than programming. It's very possible for programmers to go into design, but more often than not if you are a good programmer the companies want to put you in a programmer role.

I graduated from DigiPen last year :)

DigiPen is a tech school, with very little else besides computer science and math. It's not a bad school, if I did it over again I'd still choose DigiPen, but it has also made people look at me as a programmer instead of a designer.

If you do go to DigiPen or another tech school, your best bet is to start learning more about game design on the side, and make sure you get prototypes and demos that show your unique talents.

Finally, 25 is not too old to start. Shit, 50 is not too old to start. It's not like it takes 20 years to learn, work hard and you can get into a decent games job in 2-4 years. You just have to take the time to do it! :)

Good luck!

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as far as i know, theres no such thing as a begining games designer role.. You either are a designer, or you're a veteran designer. Newbies just seem to become pro overnight without explanation beyond "right place, right time"...

However, i do know that a beginner slot machine game designer earns $AU42k (in comparison, a beginner game programmer earns $AU40k).

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Original post by blueoakleyz
I'd like to be a designer but what I really want is a path that will let me acquire tangible skills instead of just trying to shoot in the dark and find a job where I can say hey do that. What kind of skills do designers get/start with?

Might go to Digipen.. I donno.


If I were set on being a desinger I would:

A) Join a mod team or make a level in an existing game (such as Unreal or Oblivion) where you can show that you know how to make a fun level.

B) Play video games and see what works and what doesn't. Play bad ones and good ones and analyize the fun "fun factor".

C) Get and read some desing books. I've seen textbooks about game design on amazon.

D) Meet up with people that are working as designers, friends is the best way in.

E) If you already know how to program, knowing how to script (in Lua or Unreal) is very usful for designers.

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Original post by JBourrie
Quote:
I'd like to be a designer but what I really want is a path that will let me acquire tangible skills instead of just trying to shoot in the dark and find a job where I can say hey do that. What kind of skills do designers get/start with?

Might go to Digipen.. I donno.

Designers come from all backgrounds (writing, business, arts), but I will warn you that DigiPen may not be the best place for somebody that is more interested in design than programming. It's very possible for programmers to go into design, but more often than not if you are a good programmer the companies want to put you in a programmer role.

I graduated from DigiPen last year :)

DigiPen is a tech school, with very little else besides computer science and math. It's not a bad school, if I did it over again I'd still choose DigiPen, but it has also made people look at me as a programmer instead of a designer.

If you do go to DigiPen or another tech school, your best bet is to start learning more about game design on the side, and make sure you get prototypes and demos that show your unique talents.

Finally, 25 is not too old to start. Shit, 50 is not too old to start. It's not like it takes 20 years to learn, work hard and you can get into a decent games job in 2-4 years. You just have to take the time to do it! :)

Good luck!


I'm pretty mush in the same boat as the OP, only I am 26.

Thanks for posting. Practical and ecouraging. This is exactly the type of advice I am looking for.

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Now, you may want to take my advice with a grain of salt since, I'm not a terribly experienced programmer, but I was in your shoes as well. In my experience, if you want to be a programmer, get enrolled in a CS program at a traditional university. I supplement what I learn in college with outside books, so I can take in the best of both worlds. There areplenty of good books to start learning from (many of which are listed in this site's Books section). Also, supplement your learning with side projects that you work on yourself. I'm always coming up with new little challenges to work on, trying to program everyday. Once you have some understanding of a language, start working on simple games, like a guess the number game.

By the way, 25-26 isn't too old, or this industry would be in a lot of trouble.

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Just got "C++ WITHOUT FEAR" by BRIAN OVERLAND.

I hope I got a good one.

There were books on game development and most worked in some language like direct3d or blastview or something.. I thought it would be more beneficial to start with some actual programming in a popular language.

One book even had a program that had like drop down things to make video games.. too simple for me.

So what is the path one becomes to becoming a video game designer? Like how do you get experience and skills in it so people will pick you?

I want to be the top dog eventually.

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