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Best degree to go for to get a game design job?

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Ok I know this question about Full Sail and Digipen gets asked a lot, so that’s not what I'm going to ask. I have read the old posts where everyone says your better off going to a regular university and work on your own demo on the side to put with your resume one day. So the question I want to ask is what is are the classes to take, and the degree to go for at a regular university, that will put you in the best position for getting in to a Game Designer position?

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So the question I want to ask is what is are the classes to take, and the degree to go for at a regular university, that will put you in the best position for getting in to a Game Designer position?


Most definitely a Computer Science degree, although you'll be good with a Mathematics degree as well. If you want to do the visuals, then I would imagine an Art degree of some sort, but I'm assuming you're interested in the programming.

Edit:
Actually, I assumed that you meant game programmer, so if you actually mean game designer then my response might not hold.

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Original post by Shakedown
Most definitely a Computer Science degree


Why most definitely? I don't know a single professional game designer who has a CS degree (I know ~30 in my studio).

Degrees I know of the people whom I work with: Math, Statistics, History, Architecture

[EDIT: nm, noticed you're "assuming you're interested in the programming" comment. But he asked for "Game Designer" which doesn't involve programming]

-me

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Original post by Shakedown
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So the question I want to ask is what is are the classes to take, and the degree to go for at a regular university, that will put you in the best position for getting in to a Game Designer position?


Most definitely a Computer Science degree, although you'll be good with a Mathematics degree as well. If you want to do the visuals, then I would imagine an Art degree of some sort, but I'm assuming you're interested in the programming.


Well programming is a 2nd to me, what I really want to do is game design, such as building the game from stage one with the story and overseeing the whole thing, basically I want to one day be a game director like Hideo Kojima.

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Original post by Wolfwood723
(1) what is are the classes to take, and (2) the degree to go for at a regular university, that will put you in the best position for getting in to a Game Designer position?

1. List of classes to take: http://www.sloperama.com/advice/designprep.htm
2. There is no one best degree. Major in whatever you want to major in. Read: http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson40.htm

But there's a problem - in addition to preparing yourself to be a game designer, you also need to have a skill that'll get you hired in the game industry. Level Design is the current fave way there (it's a better entry path than QA).

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Being Hideo Kojima is quite a goal. Many people will straight up suggest Computer Science, but it most certainly is not the only option.

If you're wanting a game design position over strict programming positions on a gaming staff, there are many degrees that can help you achieve such a goal. A game designer fills many roles, most of which involves communication skills, writing, listening, business knowledge, and even a little programming on the side.

First off, just getting a degree is important, even if it isn't something that others would consider "prestigious," which is a matter of opinion. Some will say that a degree like Mechanical Engineering is more respectable than an English degree. Comparing the two isn't even an option because they entail completely different walks of life.

Honestly the top degrees I would choose from are:
Communication
Mathematics
Computer Science
English (Technical / Creative Writing)
History
Any Engineering that you might find interesting
Digital Media
Economics
Business
Information Technology
Management Information Systems


I know I just named a lot of majors to choose from, but it should give you an idea of where to do some research to see what fits your interests best. The main thing is to find something you'll be interested in and motivated to complete. The main idea is to just get a degree because it shows so much about the kind of person you are. Also, many of the above degrees have a lot of overlap, especially in the general requirements in your first two years. Good luck!

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Game designer is a tough one to study. Logic, mythology, psychology, game theory, history media design are all relevant fields of study, among others.

Its also complicated by the fact that there's no such thing as an "entry level game designer" anywhere in the industry.

My roomate is on his way to becoming a game designer. His path began as a tester at Nintendo. After that he was a level designer for Call of Duty on the PSP for Amaze Entertainment, then a level designer for Drawn to Life on the Nintendo DS for 5th Cell. Currently he's a mission designer for a soon-to-be-announced title for one studio and moonlighting as a writer at another. Prospectively, he's looking at more responsibility for his next project with the company for which he is a mission designer.

This path is pretty typical for a professional game designer from what I've heard. Testing often gets you an "in", level design lets you prove your design sensibilities and gives you a voice to influence overall design with your ideas. Slowly, you build your credibility and earn the chance to pilot your own game idea if you prove yourself worthy.

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There is "another" way.

Easier said than done but if you can do something "new" or "innovative" or "groundbreaking" all on your lonesome then doors will open for you.

It may sound an impossible task but I come from New Zealand, home of the animation studios (Weta) behind Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, home of the animation software behind the Yachting World Cup, home of "Sausage Software" (18 year old wrote an internet browser in seven hours that turned him into a multi millionaire in three months).

People here tend to 'go it alone' instead of trying to get into existing studios and then they end up starting their own business and turning down offers from everybody because they came up with something "different."

I'm not knocking university degrees (I have one) but they teach everybody the same rigid way and turn out clones that have been taught to think and act in the same predictable way. It's often the wild card that marches to the beat of their own drum who then ends up setting the world on fire with something new.

Just something to think about.

m0ng00se

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Original post by m0ng00se
There is "another" way.

Easier said than done but if you can do something "new" or "innovative" or "groundbreaking" all on your lonesome then doors will open for you.


No it won't. You yourself will become the door that others will knock on.

Quote:
It may sound an impossible task but I come from New Zealand, home of the animation studios (Weta) behind Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, home of the animation software behind the Yachting World Cup, home of "Sausage Software"


They made themselves. Then there was that whole matter of Peter Jackson in the first place, who wasn't exactly a bystander in the whole matter.

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(18 year old wrote an internet browser in seven hours that turned him into a multi millionaire in three months).


And over billions of other 18 year olds didn't.
There was also that .com boom that left majority of those instant millionaires broke after a couple of years.

Sure, you can make it this way. But why is that that "success story" is a term, and "failure story" isn't? What's the ratio between the two?

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Don't do CS if you're interested in design (only if you're interested in programming). A visual arts program, or even a History or an English degree are way better. Designers don't need to know how to program, or what sort of math needs to be done in order to get a desired effect. That's what programmers are for. Take CS or Math if you want to be a programmer.

If you're really interested in design take any sort of degree that helps you learn to develop ideas and be able to communicate those ideas to others in a clear and concise manner. Being good at convincing people to go along with you is also helpful.

I know a lot of designers. I also know a lot of designers who don't even have a degree. I know one designer who has a CS degree (although he started as a programmer).

Another option would be some sort of business degree if you were interested in a producer role (although the term means many different things from studio to studio).

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Original post by ravyne2001
Its also complicated by the fact that there's no such thing as an "entry level game designer" anywhere in the industry.

Not exactly, which I can attest to, but the positions are relatively rare. The thing is that low level design jobs just don't typically exist at large, established studios. Your chances are higher if you go for up and coming studios who need the help.

At my company we have a guy with a Computer Science degree, a guy with a Creative Writing degree, a guy with no degree but has QA experience, and a guy with a Computer Graphics Technology degree (me). As you can see, there really isn't one good path to take ... many roads can lead to becoming a game designer.

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