#1 Posted by mcmets93 (283 posts) -

advice would be appreciated 

#2 Posted by sixghost (1679 posts) -

learn to make games, start making games so you have something to show during job interviews.

#3 Posted by ArchScabby (5809 posts) -

Drop out of school and play games 24/7 so you really know what makes a good game.

#4 Posted by Fallen189 (5066 posts) -

Knowing your country/age/qualifications will help.

#5 Posted by Karmum (11519 posts) -

Good luck, I mean it. I hear it's hard to get into, and you really need to have a love for games, because I don't think it pays very well.

#6 Edited by EpicSteve (6500 posts) -

Start making mods. Great learning tools and stepping stones. 

#7 Posted by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -

become professionally educated. meet people who know people. mod games... A LOT

#8 Posted by EthanML (465 posts) -

Get a computer science degree. Be good at maths and physics. Or if you're more in to the art side of design, be good at....arty stuff. And build up a portfolio of as much good work as possible.

#9 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19399 posts) -

A little context would help.

#10 Posted by ashriels (151 posts) -

Create an online accessible resume that showcases your talents, through the site design itself to quality images of your body of work.  Obviously, it all needs to be done as creatively as possible, even unorthodox.  It really shows developers how boundless your imagination is and they enjoy that.
 
As EpicSteve mentioned, modifying games is a great display of your current knowledge in game development.  Even if you're not great, and do simple modifications to play style, difficulty or re-texturing your favorite weapons, it all counts.  Of course, if you go out of your way to making completely new maps or a whole new modification that dedication and time you put in will be rewarded and acknowledged.  (Making your modifications and maps available on your resume site is extra kudos, as the professionals can try your work out on the spot)
 
Using different mediums to express yourself is encouraged.  In the beginning stages, prior to getting on the computer designers will sketch, paint, sculpt and write out the intended goal.  Working in different styles is necessary, and documenting your creative processes all the way up to the final stages is highly encouraged.

#11 Posted by dudeglove (8526 posts) -

Start reading Jack Monahan's blog  would be my advice.  It's an incredible font of information on game design, and even GB users who are designers (but not in the video game industry) may gleam some inspiration from it. I recommend, well... pretty much all of the posts, but here are ones to get started with:
 
Visual Clarity Part I
Visual Clarity Part II
 
These deal with basic character modeling i.e. colour, silhouettes, scale etc. Although you might not realize it (which, ironically, is the point) visual clarity is an ABSOLUTELY essential skill to learn if you want to break any ground in video game design.
 
Then...
 
Level Design Primer: The Sawtooth
Level Design Primer: Keep It Wide
 
These deal with level design issues, drawing on Left 4 Dead as an example. 
 
Finally:
 
Level Design Primer: Notes On Playtesting
 
This entry brings most of his previous points all together... and explains what happens when it all comes crashing down.
 
Read it before someone realizes people should pay money to do so!

P.S. Monahan was behind Darkest of Days, by the way, which GB did a quick look of.

#12 Posted by agentboolen (1864 posts) -

learn a modeling program like 3ds Max.

#13 Edited by pallorwag (85 posts) -

Specialize in a couple of fields. The game industry has a lot of job positions for a reason. Trying to learn them all will just slow down progress. Once you start practicing a field. You should keep a portfolio of some sort. I suggest labeling your work month/year then you have a great view of your progress. You need plenty of constructive criticism now. (particularly not your mom) 
 
@ashriels:  I completely agree also modifications to games make a great start in game design. Also a lot of studios get started this way or can be picked up by bigger name companies. These are usually the more advanced mods though.

#14 Posted by The_A_Drain (3977 posts) -

You don't get a "job in game design" it does not work that way. Sorry dude. I keep trying to tell one guy in my class that and he just doesn't get it. 
 
You have to work your way up, usually by getting a shitty job first like testing or marketing. Making and actively contributing to mods is a fantastic way to help if you don't have any straight up programming or art skills, then you will have to work double hard to get anywhere as usually a designer is expected to have been promoted through one of three channels (programming, art, testing) rather than simply being hired right off the bat without previous experience. 
 
My advice? Get on some mod teams, get a massive fucking scrap book of ideas, and get some hard and fast qualifications in one of two areas, fine art or computer science. And just go, work at it every single day.

#15 Posted by xyzygy (10093 posts) -

I went to school for game design. Let me tell you... video game designers, modellers, riggers, etc - they never sleep. You are going to have to be prepared to handle not having much of a social life because there will be so much work. You will basically go to work and work there, come home and work some more, eat supper with your laptop open trying to meet a deadline. Repeat the next day. Everyone in my school looked like zombies. 
 
I thought that I would be interested in it because I love games so much, but after seeing how unhappy so many video game designers are I knew it wasn't the right job for me, which is why I dropped out of the program.

Online
#16 Posted by Elbon (368 posts) -
@xyzygy said:

" I went to school for game design. Let me tell you... video game designers, modellers, riggers, etc - they never sleep. You are going to have to be prepared to handle not having much of a social life because there will be so much work. You will basically go to work and work there, come home and work some more, eat supper with your laptop open trying to meet a deadline. Repeat the next day. Everyone in my school looked like zombies. 

This!!!
For my final year project I only got 1 to 2 hours off sleep a night for the better part of three weeks when the deadline for the Competition that it was in came up(Came Third won best original music link).
My advice focus on the area you want to be in e.g. programmer, graphic etc
#17 Posted by mcmets93 (283 posts) -
@xyzygy: you dont major in game design though. Dont you major in Computer Science?
#18 Posted by mcmets93 (283 posts) -
@dudeglove: i appreciate you putting the effort of writing this. This should help alot. Thanks!
#19 Posted by xyzygy (10093 posts) -
@mcmets93 said:
" @xyzygy: you dont major in game design though. Dont you major in Computer Science? "
I wasn't majoring in anything, my school wasn't like that. I was taking a 3 year 3D Game Animation course. But we covered all the same stuff as the Game Desgin people, we had GD classes. 
 
Ironically enough, I took Computer Science when I was at my first University (Dalhousie) and hated it too. I'm more of a business and numbers minded person, I think.
Online
#20 Posted by artofwar420 (6320 posts) -

Here is my only advice, graduate college in anything at all that you like, if that is something art related or programming or whatever do that. Meanwhile work on projects in the capacity that you know/like, get involved and network like a maniac. Things will slowly fall into place. And duder, "game design" is the most nebulous title in the game industry, your responsibilities change from company to company, you might be writing the script in one or doing level design in another. Good luck.

#21 Posted by jakob187 (21788 posts) -

Your ideas suck, and you just need to learn to be a slave of coding. 
 
Did that bring your hopes down enough?  Good, then you are ready to start developing some games, because that's what you'll get told by your superiors.

#22 Posted by artofwar420 (6320 posts) -
@jakob187: One doesn't need to know how to program to game design, but it definitely helps if you want to do your own games.... by yourself.
#23 Posted by mcmets93 (283 posts) -
@artofwar420: thanks i appreciate it. and I do plan on majoring in Computer Science
#24 Posted by artofwar420 (6320 posts) -
@mcmets93: Np, we are in the same boat so I try to share what I know.
#25 Edited by ashriels (151 posts) -
@The_A_Drain said:

"You don't get a "job in game design" it does not work that way. Sorry dude."

This is so incredibly false.  I've shared this story before, but a few acquaintances of mine were graphic designers at Johnson County Community College.  They were picked up by Gearbox Software to work on Borderlands.  In the current market, as competitive as it is, you can get a job in a snap without a degree.  If you put your resume on the right websites, talk to the right people, you can land your dream job with a few years of experience.  These friends of mine designed the menus and hud interface for Borderlands on the PC and the Xbox 360.  All they had was a resume on monster.com and a few credits under their belt working with photoshop.
 
Don't let The_A_Drain discourage you or anyone else from game development. 
#26 Posted by iam3green (14390 posts) -
@xyzygy said:
" I went to school for game design. Let me tell you... video game designers, modellers, riggers, etc - they never sleep. You are going to have to be prepared to handle not having much of a social life because there will be so much work. You will basically go to work and work there, come home and work some more, eat supper with your laptop open trying to meet a deadline. Repeat the next day. Everyone in my school looked like zombies.  I thought that I would be interested in it because I love games so much, but after seeing how unhappy so many video game designers are I knew it wasn't the right job for me, which is why I dropped out of the program. "
:O i didn't know that. it puts a lot of thing i didn't know. like becoming a zombie. 
 
i would say first learn to program some things like mods for a PC game. learn some kind of coding language. it is the only thing that i got from doing research in the day of wanting to become a game designer. in college i don't even know what i want to do when i graduate which is very soon. my major is multimedia. i'm not sure what i'm doing after. when i graduated high school i didn't know what i was doing. i waited for like two weeks before school was over to finally find a college that i would like.
#27 Posted by ashriels (151 posts) -
@xyzygy said:
" I went to school for game design. Let me tell you... video game designers, modellers, riggers, etc - they never sleep. You are going to have to be prepared to handle not having much of a social life because there will be so much work. You will basically go to work and work there, come home and work some more, eat supper with your laptop open trying to meet a deadline. Repeat the next day. Everyone in my school looked like zombies.  I thought that I would be interested in it because I love games so much, but after seeing how unhappy so many video game designers are I knew it wasn't the right job for me, which is why I dropped out of the program. "
As far as programming goes, it is the most challenging aspect of game design.  Programming games is actually far more difficult than programming something like Office or Anti Virus software.  You have to know several programming languages that are exclusive to game development like Direct X (which is constantly evolving).  It is vastly rewarding to be a programmer, both mentally and financially.  You're starting income bracket is usually around 60,000 with raises upwards to an extra 25,000 a year and constant bonuses of 5,000 dollars as well.
 
My father was a senior programmer who developed software for Computer Associates and for a short time worked at Turbine Studios on Superman Returns.  It's true, he did have to stay up constantly.  He'd take power naps during the day, smoke a lot of cigarettes burning his retinas out staring at his computer monitor for 12 straight hours without getting up, but as a programmer you kind of enjoy the work itself.  What he didn't enjoy were the deadlines and constantly scrutiny of his peers critiquing the quality of his code.  These interventions usually involved him having to delete a weeks worth of code and starting over.  That's a big issue he had and I can imagine it being an issue with ALL programmers.
#28 Posted by xyzygy (10093 posts) -
@ashriels said:
" @xyzygy said:
" I went to school for game design. Let me tell you... video game designers, modellers, riggers, etc - they never sleep. You are going to have to be prepared to handle not having much of a social life because there will be so much work. You will basically go to work and work there, come home and work some more, eat supper with your laptop open trying to meet a deadline. Repeat the next day. Everyone in my school looked like zombies.  I thought that I would be interested in it because I love games so much, but after seeing how unhappy so many video game designers are I knew it wasn't the right job for me, which is why I dropped out of the program. "
As far as programming goes, it is the most challenging aspect of game design.  Programming games is actually far more difficult than programming something like Office or Anti Virus software.  You have to know several programming languages that are exclusive to game development like Direct X (which is constantly evolving).  It is vastly rewarding to be a programmer, both mentally and financially.  You're starting income bracket is usually around 60,000 with raises upwards to an extra 25,000 a year and constant bonuses of 5,000 dollars as well.  My father was a senior programmer who developed software for Computer Associates and for a short time worked at Turbine Studios on Superman Returns.  It's true, he did have to stay up constantly.  He'd take power naps during the day, smoke a lot of cigarettes burning his retinas out staring at his computer monitor for 12 straight hours without getting up, but as a programmer you kind of enjoy the work itself.  What he didn't enjoy were the deadlines and constantly scrutiny of his peers critiquing the quality of his code.  These interventions usually involved him having to delete a weeks worth of code and starting over.  That's a big issue he had and I can imagine it being an issue with ALL programmers. "
Yeah, exactly. See, I can understand why your father would do that - because he likes the actual work. But for me, I just didn't think that it would make up for all that extra stuff like no sleep, the scrutiny, the deadlines and the pressure.
Online
#29 Posted by thekingoftoilets (195 posts) -

 
It depends on what you want to do. If you want character design, be creative and draw A LOT! If you want to do programming, a computer science degree wouldn't hurt, but that means you will be stuck in a cubicle bit-banging for 6-8 hrs a day. But hey, Im not making the games, I play them and criticize them. If thats the kinda market you want, then by all means do it!

#30 Edited by dudeglove (8526 posts) -
@mcmets93:  No problem, am more than happy to share the info. Monahan has a twitter feed as well.
 
Edit: And more stuff here
#31 Edited by The_A_Drain (3977 posts) -
@ashriels said:

" @The_A_Drain said:

"You don't get a "job in game design" it does not work that way. Sorry dude."

This is so incredibly false.  I've shared this story before, but a few acquaintances of mine were graphic designers at Johnson County Community College.  They were picked up by Gearbox Software to work on Borderlands.  In the current market, as competitive as it is, you can get a job in a snap without a degree.  If you put your resume on the right websites, talk to the right people, you can land your dream job with a few years of experience.  These friends of mine designed the menus and hud interface for Borderlands on the PC and the Xbox 360.  All they had was a resume on monster.com and a few credits under their belt working with photoshop.  Don't let The_A_Drain discourage you or anyone else from game development.  "
Congratulations to your friend, he must be extremely talented if... oh wait did you say borderlands? (I kid I kid :P Loved Borderlands) 
 
It's not false though, it's realistic. A friend of mine got a job at Criterion the day he walked out of Uni, and another friend of mine got a job as Disney as an animator pretty much by accident. (I'm not trying to one-up anybody with fake internet stories, these are true) However, this does not (and can not) happen to everybody. You have to be realistic. I'm not trying to discourage the guy, the industry needs all the talent it can get, i'm just saying that he isn't going to get in without some serious hard work, whether he gets lucky or not. You said it yourself, your friend had years of experience already (something which in this climate, is not easy to get starting from 0) and my friend who went right from Uni to Criterion creates some of the best looking environment models i've ever seen. 
 
But you gotta be realistic, especially for the job title "Game Designer" because not only is it a pretty high ranking goal, but usually people are promoted internally, or hired because they have previous experience at another similar company. You don't (normally) just send someone your resume and get that job. 
 
On topic. It's also useful to have management experience if you want to be a designer/project lead of any kind. And good organisation skills are an absolute must (as is being able to prove you have them by citing previous experience, so work on some projects, make sure they go not only to plan, but on time, and keep those plans/schedules/etc for future reference) 
 
EDIT: You are absolutely right on the programming side of things. Guys, listen to this man. Being a games programmer is incredibly stressful, and you can get better pay doing much easier work in general software design. It's a shame but it's true :(
#32 Posted by Shirogane (3583 posts) -

Make War3 maps and SC2 maps(soon). 
 
To get into design you usually have to get into the other stuff first. People using progress to actual design of games through art or programming, or even QA sometimes. Going straight to designer just don't happen.
#33 Posted by masterpaperlink (1882 posts) -

Im afraid i don't know what a game designer is, it's like saying you want to be a film creator.