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6thgradestudent

What's it like being a game developer?

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Hello, I am a 6th grade student and I would like to be a video game designer.  In class, we all had to choose a career that we would like to have and interview someone with that career.  Finding a game designer locally has been difficult, so I thought I would try online.  If some of you would take the time to answer these questions I would be grateful.  Some of the questions I have for you are:

 

Why did you choose your career?

 

What kind of education did you have to complete for this career?

 

How is math related in this career?

 

What would a day in your normal life in this career typically look like?

 

How do you dress for this career?

 

What is your favorite part about this career?

 

What kind of games do you create?

 

You do not have to answer all of the questions but it would be much appreciated if you would answer most of them.  Thanks!

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Why did you choose your career?

I love computer programming, and making games is both a fun and challenging career in programming. I don't know of many fields that involve both solving challenging technical problems and challenging creative/artistic problems. It helps that as an indie, I am heavily involved in all aspects of the game design and development.

 


What kind of education did you have to complete for this career?

Bachelor's Degree in computer science, and I just finished my Master's degree in computer science as well (while working).

 


How is math related in this career?

I would say "all of it". Algebra, trigonometry, calculus, linear algebra, geometry, formal logic, and various computational sub-specialties of those branches of mathematics, and more all feature heavily in my job.

 


What would a day in your normal life in this career typically look like?

Show up around 10, sit down with my team (we're a small group) and discuss where things are and what needs to be done. Write/test/fix code for the rest of the day.

 


How do you dress for this career?

Jeans and T-shirt.

 


What is your favorite part about this career?

I get to show up at 10 in jeans and a T-shirt to solve interesting problems that are both mathematically and artistically challenging, or do challenging engineering tasks. 

 


What kind of games do you create?

We're researching games that use motion control devices to help study human motor learning and help rehabilitate people who have suffered injuries (including but not limited to brain injury and stroke). I previously worked in the Industry proper on AAA titles Fracture and a bit of FEAR 3.

Edited by Promit

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Why did you choose your career?

 

I am mainly a game writer, though I do concept art too, to help out with the team when needed. It's fun, and I grew up in a family of people who tend to start their own businesses and stuff. I guess the best reason why I'm doing this, instead of something like working as a scientist for instance, is because I'm one of those people who tend to like to challenge myself to do better. You get some things like wanting to be a perfectionist, but this is more like saying "I think I can do better" and challenging yourself to do so.

 

 
What kind of education did you have to complete for this career?

 

I did a double major, first one going to a business administration degree, and the second to an English Literature one with a minor in creative writing. Business administration helps a lot when it comes to running things, the experience with accounting for instance helps out with crunching numbers as much as learning about how to manage a team or company does. English Literature was amazing for learning how to research properly, as well as be able to criticize my own stuff better. So when I was studying, I also made sure the take electives in the right things. For instance taking screenplay electives, or digital art, or taking a few courses to learn more computing languages. The kind of people we hire are Jack of all trades, and a master of a few. This helps out tons when it comes to working as a small team, especially when one person can mess up, but have the right community in the team to make sure the mistake doesn't cost us the project.

 

 

 
How is math related in this career?

 

It is pretty important, in pretty much everything you can think of. Art, it helps with scaling stuff or getting a rough estimate about the amount of sprites you need on a scene. The business aspects, for instance creating excel sheets, or crunching numbers, it helps a lot. And math is fun, all it needs is practice so don't disregard it kid. You would be surprised when it pops up in your life.

 

 
What would a day in your normal life in this career typically look like?

 

I would get to the office at around 9 or 10 am, and then whatsapp the employees to check up on them. After that, I would go over what work was finished the previous day, and write down on the desk what needs to be done for that day, and start. The desk is cluttered with arts and crafts stuff, and books too. I tend to make paper models for things I do, so it gets a bit messy towards the end of the day. I'd grab lunch at around 2 or 3 pm, then continue working till around 9 or 10 pm. Every couple of hours I'd go outside to smoke a cigarette, or to refill the coffee cup, go back and switch tasks to something else. Towards the end of the day though, it's more of the business aspect of looking over what everyone else did and talking to them. Since we are all spread apart, we usually talk to each other with skype, or whatsapp, and stuff. By then, if I'm not going out to see friends, I'd go home, do the home stuff, and work a bit more before sleeping at around 1 or 2.

 

Every few days though, I would go out to one of the universities here and audit a lecture to see what they are working on, or to double team the class with the instructor sometimes.

 

 
How do you dress for this career?

 

Depends. Suit up if I'm visiting a client, otherwise it's just a semi-formal shirt and pants.

 

 

What is your favorite part about this career?

 

You have one of the best pickup lines ever. That and I really enjoy going out and interacting with people, as well as knowing that the time you are clocking in is going to what you want it to.

 

 
What kind of games do you create?

 

We gamify education and advertising with games. I don't mean that we make educational games, but that we make games and then put in the educational aspects into them. Same goes with advertisements, like making sure what you are playing will keep a decent user retention, make you want to continue playing the game, and make it into an almost ongoing advertisement. The advertisement is good for contract work, as it gives us money to help with costs, is great with practice, and we had the luck of having a good deal of control with the games we make.

 

All in all though, our games are stepping stones for the previous games, so that we can eventually head off to the bigger games we want to make. Our start-up is relatively new, we turned 1 year old a month ago, but it is pretty rewarding.

 

Hope this helps!

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Qcuick question - the title of your thread is about games DEVELOPER but in the main post you talk about games DESIGNER. These are quite different, could you say which you mean - someone who actually sits and writes code, or someone who designs the actual game itself?

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Why did you choose your career?

This career chose me rather. I've been using pen and paper to create worlds ever since I was a kid. I also happened to start "programming" by age 9.

For the longest time, I tried to reason myself that making games wasn't a job (I come from that kind of family...) but it caught up with me and it turned out I was sufficiently skilled at it to make a living.

 


What kind of education did you have to complete for this career?

A lot of this was self-taught. I was lucky enough to start in the late 80s, early 90s, back when the game development scene wasn't as big. Knowledgeable people were rare, so anything you had learned on your own could potentially have value.

 


How is math related in this career?

Game design requires a lot of maths skills. Oftentimes, we need to design for a progression of some kind and need to predict with certainty when things will happen. For example, you may need to balance a RPG where killing monsters net you XP, which in turn allow you to level up. This means you may need to determine (for any number of reasons) exactly how many monsters you must kill before reaching a certain level. Assuming that these monsters are varied (let's assume three types), which may give you more or less experience each, it can become challenging to balance this "precisely" but maths come in handy for that.

As a game developer (programmer), maths are even more critical. More often than not, you need to determine how things will be rendered on your screen. While it may appear straightforward to say "just more 1 in that direction", it's generally not as simple as this (especially if you want to have physics for acceleration for example). A good knowledge of vectors, and 2/3 dimensional space coordinates is required. Optimally, you want to learn matrices as well because they allow you to do complex stuff more simply.

 


What would a day in your normal life in this career typically look like?

I have no average day. That's what I like best about this job. Within any given project, I may be asked to do certain things recurrently, but overall, I always do different stuff.

Even the time I get up and leave for work and the time I get back in vary greatly from day to day. 

 


How do you dress for this career?

Casually. I've never given much thought to how I dress (it is very informal). That being said, I don't think coming in topless would be acceptable for example.

 


What is your favorite part about this career?

Probably as I said above: I never get to do the same thing over and over again. I love the change, it is very refreshing. You never quite build the same game twice, and you can always change the way you go about doing it based on your previous experiences, so it's a constant struggle to better oneself at his own craft.

 


What kind of games do you create?

I've shipped over 60 games so far. I've worked on various platforms (ps3, x-box 360, PC, Nintendo DS, iOS, Android, etc.) for various markets (kids, teens, adults, grannies!). I've touched many genres and themes. If you can refine the question, I may be able to better answer it :)

 

Good day!

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I'm not a game designer by trade (I'm a programmer), but I have held the hybrid role of programmer/designer on a few games. I'll try to answer from a designer point of view since that is what you asked for.

 


Why did you choose your career?

I played a lot of video games growing up. I was always facinated about how they worked, and I was always thinking of ideas for worlds, mechanics, stories, characters, etc. I think the game that first really gave me the itch to pursue this as a career was Chrono Trigger.

 


What kind of education did you have to complete for this career?

I personally had a bachelor's degree in computer science as I am a programmer by trade, but designers can have varied backgrounds. Skills such as marketting yourself and your ideas (i.e. selling yourself), clear communication, and solving problems are beneficial, and any degree that teaches these is useful. There are also game design specific courses available, but I can't speak for the quality of them. I work in Canada, and they seem to be more popular in the US. I've only ever worked with two people who have graduated from game development schools (one of which previously had a bachelor of computer science). The most important thing is to research the programs you are interested in pursuing.

 


How is math related in this career?

While designers generally don't have to know as much in-depth math knowledge as programmers, you still need a working knowledge of a lot of areas. Games are huge these days, if you are working on an experience system, or earning currency, you want to be able to calculate how long it will take you to earn a certain number of points, or reach a certain level, without having to play through the whole game. This way you can get your initial numbers entered knowing that they will roughly be accurate saving yourself and QA a lot of time on playthroughs to get it right. You also need to understand how changing settings will affect the game. Understanding basic algebra and arithmetic will let you understand what changing settings will do, and allow you to understand what the heck engineers are trying to tell you.

 


What would a day in your normal life in this career typically look like?

My experiences as a designer aren't typical as I was also an engineer. When designing, I would usually go through my emails and respond to anything important. Work on design documentation, this would include feature descriptions, menu/HUD wireframes and flow, reviewing engineers' tech documents related to my features, meet with engineers and artists to sign off on their tech plans (to ensure they understand the feature, that their plan is reasonable, and nothing was overlooked), review features that are ready for submission, and most importantly, play the game to evaluate the current state. This lets me tune settings if things aren't perfect, or identify areas that need to be redesigned or tuned. I would do this for half of my day, the other half would be to do my programming work. Full-time designers would do more of what I described above (they own more, or more complex, features), and they would usually have more meetings with executives.

 


How do you dress for this career?

Shorts and T-shirt. I'll throw on a nice shirt and some khaki's if I'm presenting something to execs though.

 


What is your favorite part about this career?

Solving problems, and seeing my visions realized on screen. Contributing to a field that I have a passion for.

 


What kind of games do you create?

Sports games for the most part.

 

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