Guest Post: A Career in the Games Industry

Game Development SchoolThe game industry is a steadily growing market. If you are a gamer, pursuing a job in video game design could be a great way to turn your hobby into a substantial money making career. If you know a little about the process of designing a game. You may know that a team of individuals with different groups of skill sets work together to design and develop a game. Developing a video game, from start to finish, can take anywhere from one to four years. There are many jobs in the game developing industry, and many online game development schools offering degree programs in different areas of the game life cycle. The schooling you will need will be dependent upon the specific job in the game design process that interests you. However, there are online schools offering degree plans with a general focus in game development. If you are unsure, a program like that may help you decide what specific skill set you want to hone in on. Maybe you’re interested in more than one specific job in the development process. Whatever you may be looking for there is an online school with a program that will fit your needs. Here is a short list of online schools offering programs in game development.

1. Westwood college- Bachelor’s degree in game development. Course includes:
Texture Mapping
Intermediate 3D
Game Analysis
Advanced Drawing

2. The Art Institute- Game Art and Design Program. Course includes:
Design Concepts
Creating Characters and Environments
Scene and Set Design
Texture Mapping

3. ITT Technical Institute- Bachelors in Digital Entertainment and Game Design. Course Includes:
Digital Game Design
Gaming Technology
Game Design Process
Level Design
General Coursework

These three schools offer programs focusing on the general development of a video game. Take your time looking through the courses from online game development schools to find the one that is right for you. There are many different paths you could take when deciding the job role that you would like to fill in the development of a video game. There are many, many jobs within the cycle of creating a game. The different jobs include, but are not limited to:

CONCEPT ARTISTS. Concept artists create the initial look of the game. Drawing the characters, clothes, cars and other elements. The concept artist is the inspiration for the design process that follows. There are few concept art positions making this a competitive job path to pursue. Taking courses that specialize in this style of art could be really beneficial, however, having experience and skill are most important. Designing a portfolio with a collection of your best works will aid you in getting a job as a concept/storyboard artist.

CHARACTER ARTISTS and ANIMATORS. These artists begin the process of making the characters come to life in 3D. As an animator you will need a strong artistic background and knowledge of the latest computer animation technology. Most positions for animators require a bachelors in something like fine arts or media. Most courses in video game design will be backed by some form of animation training.

PROGRAMMERS. Programmers are the brains behind it all. Not to be confused with a game designer the programmers work on what make the video game run. Programming a video game is a very complex job. There are more than one type of programmer each specializing in a specific type of programming. There are game engine programmers, physics engine programmers, graphics engine programmers, artificial intelligence programmers, sound programmers, etc. Most programming jobs will require a bachelors in math, physics or computer science.

PROFESSIONAL TESTERS. This is the dream job. To get paid to play video games. Although it seems easy there are technical aspects to this job as well. The people that get hired as testers also have guidelines, deadlines and specific feedback that needs to be provided to the game publishers in a timely manner. Although you are having fun you have to keep in mind that you are working and stay on track. Game testing jobs aren’t easy to find make sure to let publishers know who you are and keep up your search until you find the job you’ve been looking for. Making a resume aimed at getting this job is a good idea. Experience is key.

There are many more jobs in the game design and developing industry. Making major league gaming a career choice, and a broad one at that. I hope the information I have provided aided you in your search for an exciting career in video game developing. Never give up on your dream job, this industry is growing fast. Explore your options and get gaming!

This is an unsponsored guest post by Jenna Longton.
Photo: Vancouver Film School (cc)

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  1. Gamers Do Not Automatically Make Good Game Makers!!

    I study a Games Development Major, and as a rule Gamers tend to make Games that they like, not what people like. This means that the majority of people don’t make good games.

    There is soo much more that goes into games dev than people think. It’s not just slapping some code and sprites together and it’s not just a 1 or 2 man job. Yes it’s possible to make good games if you are a gamer, but statistically it is better to leave it to the creatives.

    I also feel that this post is very inaccurate in so many ways and it leaves out crucial details in games development.

    For example.
    How many people play the same level over and over and over again? in the same week or so. The answer is… very little. Why? you ask. It’s because its boring. But that is what games testers do. It is not all glam.

  2. I don’t work in the game industry myself, but this article seems to imply that jobs in the industry are both easy to find and rewarding careers. Reality is a little more complex than that. Before choosing an educational program, you should find out what the post graduate placement rate is. Game design specific major programs are mostly very new, and pretty untested in their ability to actually land you a good job. At the very least, you should consider a traditional four-year program, including those in art or computer science, not just game design itself.

    Also, take some time to familiarize yourself with what it is actually like to work in the game industry. While a lot of game design studios treat their employees with respect and dignity, a lot don’t. If you’re not familiar with ‘EA Spouse’ or the concept of ‘crunch’ time, you should google it.

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