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      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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shabirDhillon

confused on the path

4 posts in this topic

K so I am in high school ending my junior year. I want to work professionally as a game designer preferably game play mechanics and am planning on making some stuff with unity engine this summer perhaps start building portfolio. I am going to be taking ap computer science next year as well I have basic c++ knowledge. I wanted to know is making games in unity a good place to start to get good experience. And from people I have heard if you don't go to a top college you have little to know chance of landing a job. I just wanted to know what should I do to plan out this career. And what other things I should do to get a job in this field.
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I've not worked in the games industry before, but looking at it from the general software development industry, I'd say that if you're relying mostly on your degree to land your first job, it can indeed be tough.  You'll probably have to settle for a job that is a substantially different from your ideal job, and then try to work you way up/over.

 

The further into your career you get, however, the less and less relevant your degree becomes.  Your past experiences, your portfolio, your professional network, and the ability to let all the knowledge and understanding that you have hopefully acquired naturally shine through in your interactions with potential employers become way more important.  And you can get a jump start on a lot of that by making games.  A lot of them.  By the time you get your degree, it might already just be a supplemental item on top of your portfolio and acquired knowledge.  Getting involved in game jams, conferences, and competitions can give you a jump start on networking also.

 

Given that your objective is game design, I'd strongly recommend learning only enough technology to enable to you make as many games as possible.  Knowing technology is good for a designer, so don't ignore it altogether.  But working through numerous failed designs and the occasional successful or promising idea along the way will be far more critical to developing your designs kills, and to prove to others that you're a capable designer.  Heck, spend some of your time simply paper prototyping, or designing board, card, and other non-digital games.  Maybe design a new sport.  A lot of the knowledge and insights gained will carry over to digital games, but the pace of development can often be so much faster.

 

I just posted this blog post for someone else earlier today, and it might be something for you to consider also:  "Game a Week:  Getting Experienced at Failure".

Edited by Andy Gainey
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I want to work professionally as a game designer preferably game play mechanics.


First, I'm going to quote the link above. Read the entire site:

Obligatory link to Tom Sloper's FAQ about getting into game design:
http://sloperama.com/advice.html

^^ Read it all.

Game design and game programming are different things. Since you mention some C++ and a CS degree, I'm going to interpret that as a game design as the goal, but game programmer as the method of breaking in. Programming is a fairly reliable way to break in, as are the art disciplines.

If you want to learn how to be a good designer, Unity can help with a few things, but also important is that you study and critically analyze other games and their mechanics. Unity is a good tool for quick prototypes, and if you are a designer with a bit of competency in programming, you can prototype quite a lot of ideas very quickly.
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Game design and game programming are different things. Since you mention some C++ and a CS degree, I'm going to interpret that as a game design as the goal, but game programmer as the method of breaking in. Programming is a fairly reliable way to break in, as are the art disciplines.


It's not uncommon for game design degrees to include some programming work as well, e.g. DigiPen's BSGD program. This is relevant to actual jobs. Many shops greatly prefer designers who can at least write basic Lua/Python/C#/JavaScript/ActionScript beyond just "can tell the difference between a loop and a variable."

Designers with only a little script experience lead some shops to draw hard lines and ban designer scripts (because the scripts are so bad they do little but waste an engineer's time fixing them vs just having written them correctly in the first place) though others have started to explicitly want more technically-capable designers so they can iterate on crazy ideas and small gameplay features on their own (while engineers spend their time on tools, architectural/support code, performance, and major/complex gameplay systems).

People tend to forget that not every game designer is the guy who comes up with the main game theme or primary gameplay schtick; those come about via collaborative processes and not some rockstar designer's grand vision. Most game designers work on specific piece of gameplay, enemy design, level design, bits of story, etc. and are just one small cog in the machine (the same as engineers, artists, producers, etc). If you are a designer with a CS background, you have significantly more value than just being someone with ideas (if that's all it takes, everyone is a game designer).

Short version: designers can benefit from CS degrees for good reasons besides just getting a foot in the door.
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