• What is your GameDev Story?

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i love games. a lot. just so we got that out of the way, here's my problem. i can't draw. i mean, i really, really can't draw. i'm bad. leave it at that. i LOVE game design. i sit in school thinking of game ideas all day long, writing them on paper, trying to see how to make them more fun, just doing what i enjoy. i've thought of several at least decent concepts, but i can't really express them. i'm bad at programming, and probably don't have the patience for it. i can't write a story. all i can do is think of ideas, but i really want to get into game design. if i can't draw, is there ANY way i could design games? the main reason i wanted to program is because i can't draw. i really wish i had the ability, but i don't, so i leave it to you to help me decide if i have any chance at game design. Thanks.

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You need to remember that one of the wonders of game development is that there's a great variety of things that can be worked with, leaving out no people. If you want to be good at drawing just because it's the only possibility, screw that and just go for what you think is fun. If you enjoy drawing, cool, just practice it.

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SomeDude, the biggest problem here is that it's very difficult to be presented with a job opportunity as a game designer without having any other experience or talent within the industry. Realistically, although it may not seem to be the case, good ideas are a dime a dozen, and to be heard in the industry you have to first show that you know what you're doing, and more importantly that you are capable of working around other peoples' ideas, as this is what you will be primarily doing, even if you secure a job as a game designer.

Very few people actually reach the point in game design where they can sit down and say 'hey, I have this great idea, now go make it.' Even as a game designer you'll most likely be following the orders of someone sitting on the rung above you of the corporate ladder, who will say 'we have the franchise for a powerpuff girls game, so now go design an immersive single-player RPG with puzzle elements, as there has been a large growth in the market for girly children's games with complex puzzles and immersive storylines with strong moral decisions'.

In other word you're most likely going to be told to work around parameters that you would never have chosen yourself. To reach the point where anyone is willing to even consider your design ideas you have to prove that you know what you're talking about.

You may think that 'well my game design ideas are awesome, and totally rock in comparison to all games on the market.' however this is highly unlikely.

(Can we please get a sticky up with some general guidelines the role of game designers and how to reach this position? A link to Tom's guide would also be a good idea I think. I believe this would be rather helpful, as people aren't forced to wait for responses, that regular posters become increasingly annoyed about having to give again and again.)

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Design has nothing to do with drawing. Like anything else in design, it helps to know how to do a lot of things but they aren't _necessary_ to get hired (art, programming, etc).

Know, however, that as a designer for the first 1-5 years your job will be: level design. i.e. make a map, fill it with encounters, script out the battles, script some cinematics, tune some numbers to make the game balanced, etc.

You should also know that there is no "idea guy" job in game development; this is kind of obvious when you think about it because a game idea takes a couple weeks to flush out sufficiently, but it takes 1-3 years to make the game. So after the first 2 weeks the "idea guy" would be out of things to do.

Anyway, the initial ideas usually come from a combination of the senior designer and the producer on the project. However, the details of those ideas are really a collaborative effort of the whole team.

-me

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indeed. i realize that. i don't know what i was thinking really, but i guess i just want to design games for myself. maybe develop free games and see if people like them enough to pay money for them. i was thinking of using torque. this thread's basically useless, because there's no way i want to be in a company that makes me work on games i've no interest in. that's why so many mainstream games suck.

eh. i was just whining i guess. so many people have talent and get to do what they do, and i'm over here standing around doing nothing because i suck at most of the things i try to do.

/emo

probly just going to make a few games(experiment) with torque.

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You should understand that torque costs a 100 or more $(depending on what engine you get, ie, 2d 3d etc) even at the indie pricing (which is still truly wonderful) Get a solid fleshed out and detailed idea, that means plot and and other features. Be realistic and keep in mind that you will likely be the only person working on it and would be blessed to find even one other person willing to put in as much effort as you in the design and creation of the game. You need to know where the art for the game will come from, and more than that you need to go find most of it and know it is useable and legal for you to use it. You need to have as much of the game figured out, prepared for, and ready to make as you can. 'Cus otherwise its just a$100+ wasted when you give up on the project.

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Quote:
 eh. i was just whining i guess. so many people have talent and get to do what they do, and i'm over here standing around doing nothing because i suck at most of the things i try to do.

This speaks more of a lack of confidence than a lack of skill. Getting good at game development, art, programming, or writing takes practice and persistence, harping on yourself because your "not good enough" is certainly not a good way to get ahead. If your not good at Art, then take some courses and practice. Not good at programming? Pick up some books, look up some tutorials, and practice. Not good at writing? Read some books and Practice. Remember that many of those professionals had to start somewhere.

Honestly judge your current skills and give yourself achievable goals, don't go shooting to make the next blockbuster title. If you reach well beyond what your confident you know you can do, your risking frustrating and demoralizing yourself when you don't get results, which will ultimately slow you down. Its ok though to reach a little beyond what you know you can do to test and push your limits, just don't let it get you down if you don't succeed, learn from your mistakes and move on.

My suggestion would be to start off small, if you don't know how to program or draw, then shooting for Torque is a bit high for you. Try making simple games like Pong, Tetris, etc, and go from there.

Some links you might find useful:
Lazy Foo's: Beginning Game Programming
Pixeljoint (check the tutorials sections)

[Edited by - Gyrthok on November 1, 2007 7:41:46 PM]

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There seem to be various game makers available. If you have the determination, I'm sure you can twist those towards making some interesting games, providing that your ideas aren't exotic or too demanding, as is often the case with those who have game ideas.

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I've been a professional game designer for over 8 years now, with 7 released titles including a multi-million seller, and I can't draw to save my life.

I have a couple other things going my way though:
1) Lots of logic - I'm good at math, I trained as a programmer, I can express complex systems.
2) I'm a pretty good communicator. I can draw with words, I can make people see what I have in my mind.
3) I can do stuff in 3D - I did my time as a level designer :)
4) Wide ranging training / studying. I'm not focussed in one particular area.
5) Sheer bloody-mindedness. I will make it happen.

When you go corporate, it doesn't mean that you'll work on games you have no interest in. My current company has lots of projects at any one time, so you can find something that interests you. However, it is very rare to be given a big pot of cash and carte blanche to go do whatever you want though.

What I'm trying to say is, if you really, really want it - and you know what it's like (have no illusions, it's a tough business) - study hard, improve your skill set, get a foot in the door somewhere, make yourself useful to the team, and you CAN follow your dreams.

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Theres a ton of advice I could give you, but none of it has any credibility yet - one day I might prove to be someone to take advice from? who knows?
I reccommend thinking about why you want to design/make games, and try not to compare yourself to other people, just focus on the job in hand of making the game - what do you need to make this that you want to make, not to be the best!

PS I am probably insane

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