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wjsliman

Looking for some guidance...

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Hey guys, Long story short, I am a senior chemical engineering student at the university of houston, who has recently decided that game design and development has, and always will be my passion. Even though I will finish my current degree, I recently decided (after working at an engineering internship for almost a year now) that this is not what i want to do the rest of my life. I come to you guys with a hope that i can get some help and direction as to what to do to achieve my goals. I have some limited programming experience (matlab, probably something you have never heard of lol) and understand the basic concepts of programming and logic, but dont know anything about coding or games development as far as what programs to use, etc. Ultimately, I am willing to spend the next 3-4 years working on the side to increase my value as a potential employee in a game development company, enough so that i would be considered as a game designer. My question to you guys is, what should i do in order to accomplish this goal? I know it may be difficult, but i believe that i am motivated to learn and do whatever i have to do to get such a position. thanks in advance for any advice or info on books, programs, or the game design business etc, and im glad to be a part of the forums :)

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I'm not in the games industry, but I can tell you that there aren't many open positions for game designers of high profile titles.
To become one, you'll need to prove that you can design good games.

I don't think there are paven career paths for game designers, so I guess (ehrm :P) that you'll need to become proficient in an auxilary craft (3D/interaction design, writing, programming, ...) to be able to whip up prototypes of games you designed.

As I read somewhere (I think it was a Marines recruitment ad), "We are what we repeatedly do". Do your stuff, keep to it and eventually you'll become good and recognized at it. Just don't forget to maintain healthy social and business relationships.

My 2 €-cents.

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WJ, you wrote:

>I am a ...senior... student ... I will finish my current degree... I have some limited programming ... lol) and understand the basic concepts of programming... but dont know anything about coding or games development ...I am willing to spend the next 3-4 years working on the side to increase my value ... in a game development company, enough so that i would be considered as a game designer. My question to you guys is, what should i do in order to accomplish this goal?

LOL, so you want to be a game designer. Doesn't everybody, LOL. You need a breaking-in plan -- an entry pathway. Read about the jobs in the game industry, LOL. Then make a breaking-in plan, LOL. Hint: it doesn't have to be via programming, if you can't break in that way.
Read about jobs in the game industry at IGDA and in FAQ 7 on Sloperama
And here's an article on how to prepare for a career in game design
And start now (or immediately upon graduation) to build your portfolio.

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Hi wjsliman

First of all, it's great to see that you are going to finish the degree that you started. This is already a big plus as finishing what you started it seen as a Good Thing by every (sensible) employer out there.

But while it's not unheard of for people to be hired straight into designer roles with no previous experiences it isn't the most common (I only know of one personally). You will find that lot of designers have gotten to where they are through other game dev roles, such as concept artist, programmer or (more often) QA.

But is game designer what you actually want? You mention your programming knowledge, so is it games programming you are interested in? These are two vastly different roles and you don't need to be able to program to be a designer and you don't need to know how to be a games designer to be a programmer (though as with all disciplines it really helps to have an understanding of what your other team mates roles and restrictions are).

I wouldn't recommend spending 3-4 years 'preparing' for a role as a game designer as the role is much fuzzier around the edges that other disciplines, where-as spending some time developing your programming skills and creating a portfolio would be more of a benefit.

If game design really is your final goal, then QA is probably a more desirable route into the industry (and its something you could start to look for now rather than having to prepare). As a graduate I would assume you had the required skills of communication and writing ability, you would just have to show your love for games, show a knowledge of the testing process (it can be mind numbingly boring at times) and get yourself out there.

I know more people who have gone into design (and other roles) from QA than any other.

What ever you decide, good luck :)

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