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Config-Art

What Are a Game Designer Job Requirements?

10 posts in this topic

Hey,

This question is directed to the people who work in an official - not indie - video game companies.

I'm a young dude, who would like to be a game designer, I think I have the right potential but have no idea how to execute it.


That's why I making this thread and asking about the job requirements, the institutions I should apply for, experience I should already have, and such.


Any help will be grateful,
Thanks,
Asaf Edited by Config-Art
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I don't know what the industry norms are here (I would say there probably aren't any), because every studio has its own internal structure, and the lines often blur when it comes to the who and how of game design processes.

When you say you want to be a game designer, what exactly do you want to do - day to day - in your professional role? If the answer is that you see yourself providing top-level creative direction to a dedicated technical team, then there's likely a very long road ahead. Forget any kind of magic bullet approach. You have to do the nitty gritty, and essentially build demonstrably EXCELLENT games.

So build some games. While you're at it you'll get to find out whether you're actually good at game design.

Out of curiosity, what do you mean by having the right potential?
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hey,
first off, thanks for ur kind reply

having the right potential - i've worked on game modifications, and had a nice reputation from it on an online fps game [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfenstein:_Enemy_Territory"](W:ET)[/url]
i've programmed game logics for the past few years (using [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DarkBASIC#DarkGDK"]DarkGdk[/url]-c++,xna-c#), anytime i showed it to friends, they loved it way more than i expected myself
im gamificating anything i do on day to day basis in my life, makes obvious repeatable things much more enjoyable...

and about creating games:
i've already worked with games, i was a programmer (server&client side) in an indie mmorpg game - [url="http://www.exaro-online.com/"]exaro[/url] (unity- c#, [url="http://www.wikiflashed.com/wiki/SmartFoxServer"]smartfox[/url]- java), stopped cuz of inactive co-mates
currently im workin on all alone on a rpg game, using my own created materials (models and animations using blender, photoshop for textures unity for game engine, audio - audiocity or w\e comes to hand)
also trying to write my first gdd for this game, while writing - i get this inner feeling like my story telling part is just bursting whenever thinking about any kind of a scene\plot,


i've been interested in the game design career for the past year after i found out i did it since i was like 10 (im 22 now) without really noticing i love it,
i'm planning to study in the US, looking for wat companies r exactly looking for, and how can i contact ppl there to get to know the business the best i possibly can

i'll thank anyone who can provide me any kind of help,
Asaf,


p.s
i linked external resources in this post for ppl who are less familiar with wat i said Edited by Config-Art
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From everything I have heard, it not only varies greatly from company to company, but also there is really no such thing as a "Game Designer." Designer tends to be one of the titles a person will carry, but that person will have other work to do. Programming, artwork, writing, whatever.

So if you're a programmer, keep working on games. Single-man projects, group indie work, anything you can find. Try and make sure they get finished, and then keep them around. That'll get you (eventually) into an entry-level position. Of course, these days there is more potential than ever for indie game companies to find success through distribution channels like Steam, so if you work hard on exemplary projects then you may not even need to "get a job" in the industry. Instead, you'll have [i]created your own job[/i] in the industry.
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[quote name='Config-Art' timestamp='1350037378' post='4989422']
Hey,

This question is directed to the people who work in an official - not indie - video game companies.

I'm a young dude, who would like to be a game designer, I think I have the right potential but have no idea how to execute it.


That's why I making this thread and asking about the job requirements, the institutions I should apply for, experience I should already have, and such.


Any help will be grateful,
Thanks,
Asaf
[/quote]
[quote name='Rattenhirn' timestamp='1350054137' post='4989488']
[url="http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/so-you-want-to-be-a-game-designer"]http://penny-arcade....a-game-designer[/url]
[/quote]
Excellent question. I second the recommendation to not only watch this episode of Extra Credits, but to [b]watch as much of the series as you can[/b]. It's a freely available resource and James Portnow gives a lot of really great advice. [b]This episode is spot-on.[/b]

The requirements do vary from company to company, so I'm going to focus on the core of design that doesn't vary. Take this as a [i]supplement[/i] to this episode of Extra Credits.

"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. [b]Design is how it works[/b]." - Steve Jobs

The primary skill is [b]design[/b]. It's not about coming up with ideas or stories, it's about designing [url="http://www.systems-thinking.org/systems/systems.htm"]systems[/url]. Mechanically, all games are an interesting system to explore. You need to be able to see how the parts of a system interact in able to craft systems that are fun to explore. Due to this, I highly recommend studying some [url="http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/so-you-want-to-be-a-game-designer"]systems thinking[/url] if you intend to get into game design. It will help you understand and map out how the game's internal economies and mechanics function and make it easier to spot imbalances or problems in the design of a system.

The best way to learn how game systems and mechanics interact with each other is to play with them. This means [url="http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/playing-like-a-designer-pt.-1"]playing games as a designer[/url], and it also involves tweaking rules. The fastest way to start doing this is with board games and card games. In fact, board games & card games are a great starting point for studying the design of games because you can literally deconstruct them to examine how everything interacts. For example, in Monopoly you could change the ratio of beneficial chance cards to detrimental chance cards, change the amount of money earned each time you pass go, change the amount of money properties cost or earn, etc. When changing a rule to see how the change alters the way the game plays, only change them one rule at a time. This way, you can be absolutely which change produced which result.

[b]There is a lot of competition for design jobs[/b], so most companies are now looking for designers that have successfully shipped a game. I'm not just talking about following a pygame or unity tutorial - I'm talking about building a complete game and getting it approved by certification at Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo. It's a bit of a catch-22: If you want to make games professionally, you must first make games.

For your first forays into digital game development, you should start small. Pong small. Breakout small. Don't go beyond 2 dimensions yet. The classic mistake that every developer makes with their first game is trying something too big and not realizing how big it was going to be. Find some friends that want to make games and work on some small arcade-style games together. Even if your first 5 attempts to make a game fail, you'll still have 5 times the experience of that other applicant that just has some good ideas. Many places are also looking for designers that have branched out from pure design. Designers that have art or programming experience (especially programming experience) have an edge over a pure designer when applying for a design job.

I'm going to recommend a few good books for beginners, as well:[list]
[*][url="http://www.amazon.com/Challenges-Game-Designers-Brenda-Brathwaite/dp/158450580X"][b][i]Challenges for Game Designers[/i][/b][/url] [b]by Brenda Brathwaite & Ian Schreiber[/b] - this book is an excellent workbook filled with game design challenges and design problems to explore with paper prototypes, card games, and board games. It lets you get design practice without needing programming or art experience. It's perfect for the beginning game designer that wants to get their hands dirty playing with game mechanics.
[*][url="http://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-Game-Design-2nd-Edition/dp/0321643372"][i][b]Fundamentals of Game Design[/b][/i][/url] [b]by Ernest Adams[/b] - Ernest was my introduction to game design, and his book is a great foundation of knowledge to build upon.
[*][url="http://www.amazon.com/Game-Design-Workshop-Second-Edition/dp/0240809742"][i][b]Game Design Workshop[/b][/i][/url] [b]by Tracy Fullerton[/b] - Another great introductory book with a focus on prototyping and playtesting early and often in the course of designing a game.
[/list]
These are the main 3 that I recommend for beginners and they provide you with a great foundation to build upon. :)

Also, you should participate in the [url="http://globalgamejam.org/"]Global Game Jam[/url] in January. I did my first game jam at the end of last month and it was an amazing experience to build a complete game in 48 hours or less.
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hey,
I'm already watching the EC show but yet you guys drew lots of light right at the areas i needed, so thanks a dozen.

one thing to note: and im not into having a career in the indie game community - since i want a solid stable job, yet after reading what u say - i will sure give a stronger push on making my own completed games, so i'd have things to show in job interviews.

@morningstar2651:
i understand what u said and since i'm planning to study for a bachelor degree, it raises me the next, sorta complicated, question:


Telcontar said that there aren't really 'game design' only jobs,
for[b] a role which contains the most game design work[/b] in a typical popular video game company, should i look for a degree in game design, computer science or graphic design?
i have no priority over none, and it seems like computer science would give me an extra push in interviews more than the game design one, either because the game design degree is less developed\stable, or the computer science is harder- i might be way wrong but i just want to know,



Thanks again for all the help, [size=5][b]much appreciated![/b][/size],
Asaf, Edited by Config-Art
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[quote name='Config-Art' timestamp='1350063142' post='4989529']
hey,
I'm already watching the EC show but yet you guys drew lots of light right at the areas i needed, so thanks a dozen.

one thing to note: and im not into having a career in the indie game community - since i want a solid stable job, yet after reading what u say - i will sure give a stronger push on making my own completed games, so i'd have things to show in job interviews.

@morningstar2651:
i understand what u said and since i'm planning to study for a bachelor degree, it raises me the next, sorta complicated, question:


Telcontar said that there aren't really 'game design' only jobs,
for[b] a role which contains the most game design work[/b] in a typical popular video game company, should i look for a degree in game design, computer science or graphic design?
i have no priority over none, and it seems like computer science would give me an extra push in interviews more than the game design one, either because the game design degree is less developed\stable, or the computer science is harder- i might be way wrong but i just want to know,



Thanks again for all the help, [size=5][b]much appreciated![/b][/size],
Asaf,
[/quote]I actually recommend either double-majoring or taking a minor in art or programming. Graphic design is not what you want - it's too focused on 2D art and professional game companies these days make 3D games. Computer science will definitely teach you a lot about programming, but it usually doesn't focus on game-specific programming techniques.

I recommend checking out the [url="http://www.gamecareerguide.com/digital_counselor/"]digital counselor[/url] at game career guide. It should help you find schools to look into.
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You might also find some good information in our [url="http://www.gamedev.net/index.php?app=forums&module=forums&section=rules&f=101"]breaking in forum faq[/url]. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]
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Hi,


Some game developers are also the [i]game designer[/i], but some game developers hire a game designer to make the game design and manage the teams for it. I have worked under this latter system.


Clinton
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