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Ajian

How compatible will a VCD degree be in game/level design?

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Been gone for a long time for reasons beyond my control so bare with me if this has already been asked. Currently my major is visual communications design, swapping out from a CS major. I went this route because after talking to a few people, and a few counselors, they seem to think this would translate nicely into the designing aspect of the game industry. I see where they are going with this but honestly, I am a bit leery. I don't want to end up with the wrong degree for the wrong job and start off my career gimped because my university would rather lie to me then loose my tuition payments. The way it was broken down to me is that I could use the tools I learn in this field to better express and show my ideas in a manner that would be easy to bring into a developmental environment. I am not the best artist so this sounded great at the time but as the courses roll by I am constantly bombarded with things from the advertisement aspect of the degree, so I come to you guys to get a 2nd opinion. If you were hiring someone for your creative design team, would someone with a VCD degree and a couple small scale games under his belt even be a bleep on the radar? Or would you pass it up for something else? Any advice would be appreciated. BTW its good to be back working on games!!

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It depends entirely on the role with in the design team that you are looking to move into, like any career you are going to be starting at the bottom. Your degree sounds like it would provide you a good foundation for a level designer job, which is a common entry level position in the game industry. It requires creativity, knowledge of graphic design principles, and the ability to make fun visually appealing levels from a set of requirements.

If that’s the career you want into move into after completing you’re degree then I wouldn’t bother spending your time developing games. Instead pick a game you enjoy playing that supports modding, and custom levels, and become an active member of that games modding community. Building and release your own levels that get played and are popular with the game community will look far better on your CV then a bad pacman clone or other little game when applying for that position.

Also remember that programming is only one path into video game industry, and it’s generally not the best if you want to be the one designing the games. Why? Because programming requires a different set of skills and knowledge to be successful then are required by a lead designer. There is some crossover, but remember if the technical aspects of programming and keeping up to date with the latest technologies is what appeals to you then become a lead designer means giving all that up. As it is not a technical role in way shape or form.

So, where you are interested in going in your career and follow that path.

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Much obliged,
You hit the nail on the head when it comes to my goals. I don't enjoy programming and have no intentions of heading down that path. I thrive on creating game mechanics and environments so as long as this degree will get me closer to a job that lets me do this I am all for it.

Thx again 8)

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