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is "game designing" a role in its self?

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if you had only minimal understanding of programming and art and audio, but you can picture an amazing game and all the details and how the game is gonna work, could you get hired for game design? is this something big game companys look for? or only people with skills in the making of the game...

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Yes, of course "game design" is a role in and of itself. But no, you can't get hired as a game designer without game industry experience. Your post has been moved to the Breaking In forum. Please step back out to the Breaking In forum main page, and look for the FAQs link at upper right, and click it. Read the FAQs on Game Design.

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Whilst it is exceedingly unlikely that you would obtain hire as a game designer without appropriate experience, some alternatives can exist:

  • Apprenticeships - (In Australia any career path can implemented with an Apprenticeship under our system: requirements would be of course an employer willing to commit to this. I cannot speak for other countries on this possibility being available though - You would have to check for yourself)
  • Internships - Some companies offer them, some don't. I would suggest using a site like http://www.gamedevmap.com/ to locate companies located around you and ring them to see if they offer internship programs. Be aware though competition for these can be tough, some internships are partnershipped with certain teaching organisations etc. But it doesn't hurt to find out.
  • Creating your own hobby/indie team to realise your game design - Many issues associated with it but outside the direct scope of your above question. That and I am too lazy atm having been up all night. Completing this though would provide valuable experience.

    I hope these help smile.png

    edit: left some words out >< Edited by Stormynature

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Yes, you can get hired.

Imagine a game like any other software, when designing a business application, there are 4 major steps and design is one of them.

Design probably is the most important step of them all.

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Yes you can.
However, this probably won't be the first job you land in the industry or you may need to go through 'outside channels'.

In my area, we're lucky enough that we have a special school where they have you working on an actual game while being mentored by people from the industry.
This is the kind of platform you should be looking for: not only do you acquire a tremendous lot of 'field experience' (rather than theory, which by the way you should really have too) but it all happens right in front of the people that will be recruiting you later on. In other words, its like the minor league from which game companies are drafting.

Also, if your will is to get into the industry (as opposed to becoming an indie for example) I would recommend that you work from preset ideas rather than your own.
Everyone has great ideas, but big companies aren't interested in those. They have their own very high level idea, and they need people to put this into words/images/feelings.
Ask a friend what games they'd like to play, and design it for them. You might learn a thing or two as you go along.

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Yes you can.
However, this probably won't be the first job you land in the industry or you may need to go through 'outside channels'.

In my area, we're lucky enough that we have a special school where they have you working on an actual game while being mentored by people from the industry.
This is the kind of platform you should be looking for: not only do you acquire a tremendous lot of 'field experience' (rather than theory, which by the way you should really have too) but it all happens right in front of the people that will be recruiting you later on. In other words, its like the minor league from which game companies are drafting.

Also, if your will is to get into the industry (as opposed to becoming an indie for example) I would recommend that you work from preset ideas rather than your own.
Everyone has great ideas, but big companies aren't interested in those. They have their own very high level idea, and they need people to put this into words/images/feelings.
Ask a friend what games they'd like to play, and design it for them. You might learn a thing or two as you go along.


thanks man for the advice. not sure if i want to be an indie or work a company. but i think asking a friend for an idea and then design would be good.

also everyone else, thanks.

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if you had only minimal understanding of programming and art and audio, but you can picture an amazing game and all the details and how the game is gonna work, could you get hired for game design? is this something big game companys look for? or only people with skills in the making of the game...


Yes, game designers are very much in demand in the industry, But its not a job for people "who can picture amazing games and the details of how its going to work", that part is trivial, The hard part is doing the same with other peoples ideas and with limited resources, good designers are the ones who can make great games out of mediocre ideas (We need another sequel to <insert popular game series here>) with the time and staff at hand while squeezing as much fun out of each dollar spent as possible and that is something which requires experience working on actual games. (Not exprience playing games and dreaming about them).

The main thing i notice with aspiring game designers on these boards is that their "Great game ideas" essentially boil down to:
* same thing as <insert insanely high budget AAA title here> but it will be an MMO and have fully destructible terrain, player owned housing and players will be AI controlled when logged off aswell. (Sure, that would be pretty cool, but how the heck do you pull that off ?), and ofcourse combat will be really really fast and skill/reaction based, like in quake.

There is an extreme shortage of designers capable of designing a real challenger for games like chess, poker, tetris, etc. (It is far harder to design a good simple game than a good complex game)

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It is far harder to design a good simple game than a good complex game


Flip a coin. Head you win. Tails you lose.

I don't disagree with what you are saying in principle here but at the same time I do disagree with it. The idea of the above very simple game is what makes it work not the design. In australia we have a game called 2UP http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-up which is essentially 1 step above the example I just used. Their is very little design in this but it does come down to an effective idea that makes it a reality.


The main thing i notice with aspiring game designers on these boards is that their "Great game ideas" essentially boil down to:
* same thing as but it will be an MMO and have fully destructible terrain, player owned housing and players will be AI controlled when logged off aswell. (Sure, that would be pretty cool, but how the heck do you pull that off ?), and ofcourse combat will be really really fast and skill/reaction based, like in quake.


Absolutely -- Far too many people dream up ideas that are beyond the scope of reasonable achievability. But given that most AAA companies started from smaller enterprises, I do not consider it beyonds the bounds of all reasonability that someone with a "Humungously great idea that will change life as we know it yada yada yada etc" will actually succeed in making that idea happen.


good designers are the ones who can make great games out of mediocre ideas (We need another sequel to ) with the time and staff at hand while squeezing as much fun out of each dollar spent as possible and that is something which requires experience working on actual games. (Not exprience playing games and dreaming about them).


insert "as well great ideas" aftermediocre ideas and I will agree.



Overall I disagree on one fundamental basis. The idea in of itself is not a trivial entity. I won't say all, but I am strongly of the opinion that a very large chunk of the games industry is filled with people who came to the industry solely because of the game ideas in their head. Regardless of how those people ended up...it was still their dreams and ideas that bought them to the industry.


Edit: Altered "useless" to "trivial" Edited by Stormynature

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Overall I disagree on one fundamental basis. The idea in of itself is not a trivial entity. I won't say all, but I am strongly of the opinion that a very large chunk of the games industry is filled with people who came to the industry solely because of the game ideas in their head. Regardless of how those people ended up...it was still their dreams and ideas that bought them to the industry.


Ofcourse ideas and dreams are important, they are what motivates us, everyone has them though so they're not special.

As for simplicity in designs, yes, flipping a coin is a simple design , but i wouldn't call it a fun game. (it is extremely repetetive and entierly chance based). Chess is a good simple design, 8x8 grid, 2 players, 6 different pieces with simple movement rules that you can explain to a 8 year old in less than 5 minutes and it still takes a lifetime to master, the basic idea behind chess is simple, the details, while few and individually simple are extremely well thought out and balanced and is what has made the game remain popular for centuries, the idea behind it however is not special (and had been done before, the game as we know it today is the result of several hundred years of refinement of the original concept)

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