Some scientific theories suggest that the universe is always expanding, this may be or maybe not true. But if something is expanding for sure it is the gaming industry.
Everyone enjoys playing video games, whether they are children, adults or seniors. From modern day video game consoles, social, to mobile games, we are all immersed in a gaming experience.
Every game is a universe within a universe. In one reality, the player can be a zombie slayer in another the player can be a bounty hunter.
Creating video games is an interdisciplinary effort that can take years.
The lines of code for one moderately complicated video game can fill a library, and that could be only one aspect of the game.
Everything in the game has a purpose including the maps, the characters, and the story line. Game designers calculate every move, action, and reaction. They are responsible for that logical flow of the game play.
Video game designers create these worlds of enchantment, and they are the glue to everything.
Who is the Video Game Designer?
The video game designer has gaming traits. Creativity, Passion, Persistence, Flexibility and a Great Sense of Humor.
If you love playing video games, you’ll never work a day in your life. If you love playing god, you will love being a video game designer.
As a video game designer, you’ll spend every day for the rest of your life in building and refining experiences. You’ll use computer programs to create worlds, place objects, and design environments.
Like a mini-God on earth, you’ll create new worlds and populate them with people, or monsters.
Video game designers plan everything in the game; they are the ones who come up with ideas and execute them. But they also work as part of a team.
The video game may start on paper, but video game designers transfer it to computers, Xbox, PlayStation, or whatever platform or device.
From then on, it’s all play because no matter how beautiful the game looks. Game play is more important.
Thus, game designers continue to polish, tweak, and rebuild their games to perfection.
Entering the Video Gaming Industry
Do you think you have the most fabulous ideas and the skills to execute them? If yes, then you stand a high chance at making it big in the gaming industry.
But remember ideas alone are useless without execution and execution takes a team.
If you imagine that becoming a game designer requires a lot of experience, that’s not necessarily true, more on the experience later.
However, the barrier to entry is getting lower than ever before, if you have a genuine passion, start by building your first game today. Yes, just start by creating something.
Here are our best tips for breaking or sneaking your way into the gaming industry, depending on how you view it:
Attend conferences and workshops:
Maybe you are the next creative genius in the gaming industry, but if no one knows you it won’t matter much. Thus, network as far as you possibly can to get your name out there.
Why? It will give you exposure, connect you with like-minded people, and inspire you with new ideas.
At this stage, you do have something to prove. So try to show off your best work and appear professional.
Become a beta tester:
aka Quality Assurance (QA) is a legitimate entry-level job in the gaming industry.
A lot of video games makers want people to test their games before they release them to the public.
Your role is to discover glitches, bugs, and suggest improvements so the artists and programmers can maintain high quality. It is The Way, don’t listen to naysayers.
Build a web presence:
It doesn’t matter if it’s a enhanced profile or a complete website, the point is that you need to bring your skills under the spotlight.
Your portfolio will speak for you; it will reveal the depth of your knowledge. It means a lot in the gaming industry, so spend the time to create a convincing portfolio.
Show your potential employer what you are capable of and what you can do.
Get an Internship: It is essential especially if you want to work in the big ones like…
Blizzard, Electronic Arts, or Ubisoft.
More on how to make big companies hire you later…
…but for now an internship make up for the years of experience these big enterprises require. It will expose you to how it’s like to design a video game.
Specialize: Nobody can be good at everything, don’t be a jack of all trades.
Narrow your field and specialize in that one thing and be the best at it. Save your time and energy and focus on that one thing that you can excel at and become better than anyone else doing it.
Slowly sneak your way into designing. It is not about cutting corners but about keeping it simple. Know yourself.
Higher Education: Some of the best video game designers didn’t have any school degrees whatsoever.
It’s safe to assume that you’re not a Gabe Newell so do what you need to do.
Get to the best school you can and get the best degrees you can.
It just shows that you can be persistent long enough to learn something. You don’t need a Ph.D., but a few courses in programming and design will help a lot.
At the end of the day, it’s all about everything.
Listen to the consumers: Make consumers your compass.
Unless you are building the game for yourself be prepared to sacrifice your beloved ideas of what a good game should be, after all, you are building video games for human beings who are going to play them.
Whether you want to build your studio with your friends, work as a freelancer, or a full-time employer, always listen to the consumers and respect what they have to say.
The Skills of a Great Video Game Designer
The skills you need will vary because each project is different. However, below you’ll find the most highlighted skills you need to thrive in the gaming industry!
You can’t and you don’t have to learn everything there is to learn.
But you do have to learn the skills that will take you to the next level. It’s up to you to develop the skills that will get you where you want.
You’ll just need to keep honing your skills, it’s the most important skill.
People Skills: Read and study How to Make Friends and Influence People.
Most game designers will want to focus on their work and filter out anything else. That makes sense because they need to save every minute and put it into designing.
However, communicating with business people, animators, or game play programmers is part of making the game. It’s your role to unite all opposing point of views and solve any conflicts.
A designer is some where between a technician and an artist so you’ll need to be the bridge between those two forces.
Technical Writing Skills: Grammar, spelling, and punctuation all matters.
As a game designer, you don’t want to learn that the hard way. One grammatical mistake can alter the meaning of your concepts.
Therefore, your design could collapse because of a misspelled word. Plus, sloppy writing makes you look unprofessional.
Logical and Critical Thinking Skills:
You’ll meet many design problems in your way.
so it helps to have a strong logic to be able to solve them. Also, you need to understand the rules of logic before you can break them. Lateral thinking is a must.
Learning some basics of psychology will not only help you understand the consumers but will also help you be objective, confident, and handle criticism.
It also helps to be empathetic and sympathetic, to be able to look at your work with fresh eyes. Psychology skills include determination, coping with failure, and patience.
Computer Skills: or whatever device you are building the games for.
Understanding the software and hardware is not a plus but a requirement. These are the tools you’ll use to develop the game and play it, so it helps if you know them inside and out, of course.
Real Life Experience: It is the misunderstood secret ingredient.
Real life experience is the real fuel of creativity. It is out in the real world where you can test your thesis and observe people.
Visit museums and art galleries or pick a musical instrument. Understand the big picture, read on world history and religion.
Become a sponge, let your mind make connections, and produce something.
How to Get Hired as a Game Designer
What are gaming studios looking for in a video game designer? If you want companies to hire you, there are few essential things that you need to do:
- You don’t need a college degree: College is an excellent place to network and learns the skills at best.
Your portfolio is what matters; your internship is what matters. However, if you are applying for programming positions college education is a must.
- Have an elastic and analytical mind: you can’t learn character, and you can’t buy passion. In a way, you have to be born that way. If you have those two things, you can learn how to build rapport and communicate effectively. Demonstrating that you are a team player is an important one.
- Understand their products: Every big company has its engine, and they will appreciate your preparation. Research the company before the interview, study their products and use their gaming engine to understand how they roll. Show them that you have something to contribute to their products.
- Experience: Big companies want experience but not just any experience. Every company wants expertise in a particular genre, for example, some companies require experience in shooter games.
Here’s a checklist of necessary experiences:
- A sense of space and composition.
- Sightlines, landmarks, pacing literacy and integrating story with gameplay.
- The ability to explain choices and think “what if?” You must have plan B, C, D if they didn’t like your initial proposal.
- You have to improvise and think on your feet.
- Computer science degree.
- Again, superb communication skills.
- Be Passionate: We mentioned passion a few times but here’s one of its best applications. It goes hand in hand with showing sincere interest in the game studio’s titles. If you do your research and demonstrate your understanding, you will stand a better chance than the average guy who didn’t do his homework.
The Last Words
Like mentioned above the video game market is expanding, and with the advent of Virtual Reality, there will be a further expansion.
People will never stop playing video games, and a competent video game creator will never run out of work to do.
Keep knocking on those doors. Eventually, when of them will open.
Playing games for pleasure is not everything. You can create games to educate, convey abstract viewpoints, and change the world.
Being a video game designer is not an end in itself, and it shouldn’t be your end goal. Work hard and move up the ranks, become a legend.