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Talix

Need Advice, Got a degree but which road next?

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Hi there, I'm Scott.

Not sure if my scenario is a bit of a strange one but here's my story so grab a drink, sit back and have a glance.

So I'm 23 years of age, I finished my Bachelor of arts degree in Game Design last year. I've always had a deep passion for games and in between some game playing hours as a child I would write stories and character backgrounds for games and design documents on how the mechanics would work. My friend alongside me would use his artistic skills to help bring the vision to life. Fun times. 

So fast forward several years, I got to that age to finally go to university and decide upon my future career. I had moments where I considered another path but decided to follow my childhood dreams of working in the games industry, follow your passion as they say.

So as I went through university, I discovered that the degree was more directed to transforming us into capable 3D modellers for obtaining the artist jobs. Once the final year in my degree took place we did get to finally design a game, however the game was marked heavily on the artistic assets present and extremely little on anything else, this caused most people to focus little on design and come up with very pretty generic fps games.

I am still glad I did my degree but I've never had a huge passion for creating the artistic assets and always seen it as a means to an end for creating the vision of the game and after my degree and how certain parts of it were badly organized I felt a little lost and burnt out.

I took a year out to give myself time to think about things and work in the real world, after that time I have found myself coming back to my passion, so for the past few weeks I have been relearning things and trying to work out what aspect of the games industry I should work towards.

I do feel that game design itself and writing stories with the idea of creating a world has always been the most enjoyable part of game creation for myself but after my years learning about the industry and game design itself I'm alot less naive. I know that you cant walk through the doors as an "idea guy" you have to be able to bring something tangible to the table. 

So through thinking about it, researching and talking to a few people I feel like the best thing to do is specialize and build a portfolio around this. Game design itself is a job much higher up the ladder and something you can always work towards. 

My mind has been shuffling this idea around and at different angles all week and right now I have 3 options.

Option 1. I could dive into narrative writing, producing stories for games (something I personally enjoy but have no formal training in) and design my own small games using game maker, build a portfolio around this and most likely land a job as a QA tester with the hope of climbing the ladder.

I do feel option 1 is alot more risky as creating a game, even a small one is a lengthy process and its quite hard to demonstrate a good ability for design in simply just a portfolio. In terms of game writing, its something I enjoy quite alot but have no idea whether that's something you can claim as a skill in its self (especially without a formal written background to back it up) I will however enjoy writing stories for games and the art of putting together your very own idea. In the industry though I will probably just secure a QA tester job at first which is a foot through the door but not very far through the door.

Option 2. Go back to what I did in university even though It's not what I enjoyed as much as games design, train myself to produce high quality 3D modelling and refresh my memory on everything I learnt in uni, with a specialized portfolio as a 3D environmental artist. I then have a degree to back this up and can apply for entry level art jobs with the hope of possibly working my way up to the design jobs in the industry.

Option 2 is the safer of the two I think, I will be able to bring something tangible to a team, and if I'm able to produce a really good portfolio, possibly achieve a 3D modelling job and work my way up in the industry. Drawback is I'm doing a section I'm less interested in, I have to make sure I don't get burnt out however I would then have a strong area of expertise that is easily demonstrated and that I can bring forth into a team. 

Option 3. Look for another angle

Apologises for the life story but I felt giving some background on why I'm in this current dilemma would help readers plus its currently 3am and I'm probably overtired and slightly delirious but hey who's judging smile.png, at the very least I hope you enjoyed the read.

Any advice would be great as I'd like to hear different peoples views and perspectives and it very well may help to getting myself on the right path because as of right now I'm feeling pretty lost.

Cheers.

Edited by Talix

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Bump. I know it's pretty lengthy. To summarise I did a degree that focused on game art (3D modelling) somewhat enjoyed it.

Realised I really enjoyed storytelling/creating worlds and I enjoyed doing this through writing quite a bit.

I want to get myself in the industry in 6 months to a year.

I was thinking maybe I should focus on what I leant in uni and sell myself as a 3D environmental artist with a strong portfolio while doing writing on the side?

Any advice would be helpful from some more experienced people in this field

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I don't know a damn thing about getting hired as a writer for a video game studio. So, sorry, I can't help with that.

 

But if I were you, I'd be looking at getting a job as an environment artist, because:

  1. there are roughly one million times as many environment artist jobs as there are writer jobs 
  2. you need money to live, so that you can keep writing on the side 
  3. having a job in the industry will give you valuable exposure to the industry. Maybe your goals will change ("oh, being a designer actually looks like an epically shitty job" you suddenly realize. "maybe being an environment artist is pretty fun, after all") , or you'll find a shorter path to the job you want (if you kill the lead designer, you become the lead designer). 
  4. much of the "creating worlds" aspect of game development is going to be done by art leads. You're gonna need to climb the ladder a bit to get there. And you have to start somewhere.

 

And let's remember that jobs aren't prison sentences. People can move around within companies and change roles as they grow. You're fresh out of college. It's going to take some time and some industry experience and some proven capabilities before you're really entrusted with world creating responsibilities.

 

TL;DR: Get a job as an artist. Asap! It'll be infinitely more beneficial to you than not having a job.

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1. Bump. I know it's pretty lengthy. To summarise I did a degree that focused on game art (3D modelling) somewhat enjoyed it.
Realised I really enjoyed storytelling/creating worlds and I enjoyed doing this through writing quite a bit.
2. I want to get myself in the industry in 6 months to a year.
3. I was thinking maybe I should focus on what I leant in uni and sell myself as a 3D environmental artist with a strong portfolio while doing writing on the side?


1. Wow, that (your whole post today) is very succinct. See, I knew you could do it (I'm referring to your thread at http://gamecareerguide.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30626#post30626). I find it interesting that nobody replied to this thread until you shortened it and bumped it.

2. Gee, we usually get people whining when they can't find a job in one month! I think you can do it sooner than a year (or even six months), depending on whether or not you live within daily commuting distance of several game companies already. http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson27.htm

3. Okay, that's a fine plan. Why is there a question mark on the end of it? What advice (specifically) are you looking for at this point?

I don't know a damn thing about getting hired as a writer for a video game studio. So, sorry, I can't help with that.


I wrote an FAQ about that. http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson32.htm

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