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galbitang10566

Considering a career in game development

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I currently attend a Santa Monica College and have been considering becoming a game developer; I plan to transfer to either USC, UCLA, or UC Berkeley. I remember from an interview of a game developer from a long time ago that USC was the best university to do so. I will break it down into some questions that I have. 1. What is the job market like? Is it fairly easy to find a stable job after graduation? 2. Whats the best university to attend? 3. Whats the average starting salary? I know I haven't specified exactly what I want to become, but a 3D graphic designer does sound the most appealing.

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Game development is pretty tough to get into in general and the job market is kinda junky right now :/

if a game developer was saying USC was the best university to go to for game development were they talking about programming, art, design, production or the business management side of game dev? I'm sure diff schools are better than others for each field hehe (:

For instance, i've worked with fellow programmers that were fresh graduates of USC, UCI, UCLA, digipen and full sail. The programmers from digipen seemed to be the most skillful.

Not sure how the digipen art program is though :P

Here's something that you might enjoy reading about salaries, it's the 2008 salary breakdown by department (art, programming, etc)

http://gamedeveloper.texterity.com/gamedeveloper/200904/?sub_id=Q7l0HKxx160W#pg11

Hope some of this is helpful!

Also Tom Sloper probably will come post some articles, he's written a lot about getting into game development so i'm beatin you to the punch Tom (;

check out his website at:
http://www.sloperama.com/advice.html

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"Graphic designer" usually refers to illustrators or layout artists, and doesn't seem to be used much in the games industry (in my experience).

3D mesh people are usually called "modelers", and are sometimes broken up into "environment artists", "character artists", etc...

Sometimes a 3D modeler also does texturing (and animation), but some places might also employ dedicated "texture artists". Animation of a 3d model is usually done by other dedicated staff: "riggers" and "animators".

Some companies might also hire "lighting artists" who work with the 3d modelers to get the lighting right in each scene, but this would normally be the modelers responsibility.

While I'm at it, there's also UI artists, effects artists, concept artists... ;)
Quote:
Original post by Atrix256
Also Tom Sloper probably will come post some articles, he's written a lot about getting into game development so i'm beatin you to the punch Tom (;

check out his website at:
http://www.sloperama.com/advice.html
But, if we all start doing this then Tom will have nothing to say here any more! ;P

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Ugh. Choosing a major in college is so difficult.

But can anyone perhaps be more specific about the job market? From my observations, I thought the job market would be better than most other majors out there considering video games are a booming industry. For example, my sister has a degree in Communications from USC but has been jobless for about a year.

Does anyone also have some more specific input on what is likely the "best" university for a graphic artist?

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Hello Gal,

1. No, it's damn hard! Sorry, but that's the truth. You need to finish the education, then build a spectacular portfolio.

2. Seriously, this is a decision only YOU can make. What's "best" depends on your criteria. You've already been pointed to my website. Read article 25.

3. See the latest salary survey. It's at http://gamedeveloper.texterity.com/gamedeveloper/2009fall/#pg33

Tom

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Quote:
Original post by galbitang10566
1. What is the job market like? Is it fairly easy to find a stable job after graduation?

Isn't now, probably never will be - you're talking about a childhood-dream profession, like acting and journalism. People clamour for places, and by christ you could make more money with your skills elsewhere - the only consolation is that you're not stooping to the level of one of those Seattle game-testing sods.

Quote:
Original post by galbitang10566
2. Whats the best university to attend?

What the others said, but there are arbitrary rankings available, if that's what you want.

I wouldn't pay them (or the general quasi-academic "uni X is better than uni Y" banter) much heed, though - UNSW and the University of Melbourne are apparently the highest-ranked IT universities in Australia, but I wouldn't be caught dead in their halls. I've chosen a Games/Comp Sci course with a uni that didn't make those lists at all.
Most likely, you're going to be your best teacher, anyway - otherwise you're probably not game dev material.

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It's one person's opinion, and it doesn't have any bearing on the advice already given to you.

If you really want to see the state of the market, check a recruiter's site for what's on offer. And check the sites of the developers themselves in case they don't go through recruiters. You won't find much better proof than that.

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Quote:
Original post by galbitang10566
I stumbled upon this article:
Video game designer is at #3... Any input?

What's your question? Just ask us what you want to know, if it's something we haven't already said.

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If you're still looking at choosing a major, you shouldn't be concerned with the state of the market now, but what it will look like 2-4 years from now. That being said, to protect yourself in case there aren't any gamedev jobs to be found when you graduate, make sure you've spent the time developing a skillset and portfolio that will let you apply for a wider range of jobs. It's advice similar to what's given to aspiring game programmers that stop in here: get a good CS degree, so that you can apply for *any* programming job, not just gamedev.

Look for a school that has a good art program. I hear California's a generally good place to be for that. Just remember, when job hunting comes around, it'll just be you and your portfolio (and the fact that you're a college graduate). Most recruiters and hiring managers that talk about this stuff say it rarely matters which school is on the resume, just that the degree is there.

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