OT: Video Game Career

GodofWar

Diabloii.Net Member
OT: Video Game Career

Because I am entering my junior year in high school I have finally decided on a profession (is was either this or NASA :). I am however, totally in the dark as to what education could help me in becoming a pc/console game conceptual designer.

I am asking for any knowledge that anyone has on what companies such as Blizzard look for in their conceptual designers. What type/level of education, what skills etc.

Also, any known places where I could go to learn the skills needed to become a concept designer, would be much appreciated.
 

Nightfish

Diabloii.Net Member
I would suggest asking where you'll seek employment later. Companies like blizzard, or - what might be your best bet - smaller companies that have produced good games. Those are probably more likely to reply. I'd just write up a general piece of text asking your questions and sending that to a couple game designers. Not everyone will reply but if you keep it brief and polite I think you'll gonna get some info out of that.
 

AlterEgo

Diabloii.Net Member
There's a lot of information available in on-line job postings. In the US, one major job board is Monster.com I went there and did a simple search on "game designer" with this result. 59 jobs listed with various titles and with various companies. Each job description will list required education, skills and experience.

Once you know these requirements, you can search education-oriented sites to find schools that will provide that training.

I think it's great that a high school junior is planning for the future! :thumbsup:
 

Wizardhawk

Diabloii.Net Member
I'm looking to be a computer game programmer and designer and one day starting up my own game company. I'm going for my bachelors in Computer Science for this. I agree with the others about sending something out to a few companies and checking their sites for requirements. I know Blizzard has a link on their sites with all the jobs they are currently hiring for and the requirements and preferences they have. If you can find something on that page about concept design, aim for those requirements and you will probably meet the requirements for the majority of gaming companies.

World of Warcraft Concept Artist
Blizzard Game Designer
 

Kitriara

Diabloii.Net Member
Wizardhawk has it right. I was just like you and talked to many people in the field to get an idea of what I needed to get into games. I myself just graduated with a BS in Computer Science from Drexel in Philadelphia.

If you want to be a programmer, a degree and a portfolio of work (3D demos are a near must today) is your foot in the door. If you're an artist, have a list of projects youve worked on during school, etc etc.

I may still have an old email from one of the game designers I spoke with. If I can find it I'll post it for you here.
 

GodofWar

Diabloii.Net Member
Thank you all for your input, I really am in the dark in this one.

As for the type/level of education, I'm still confused. Most jobs descriptions require a Bachelors degree "in relevant field". I would like to be a conceptual designer, which means I'd help with the storyline, dialogue, design features, interface, etc (bascially no programming). I guess getting a degree in some sort of writing field would be good, but what else?

A lot of people will probably suggest an Art Degree, but I have no artistic talen whatsoever. The job I'm looking for would bascially involve me being a think tank that tells the programmers how to make the game.

As for the game playing experience well, lets just say I've played for awhile.......
 

Kitriara

Diabloii.Net Member
"The job I'm looking for would bascially involve me being a think tank that tells the programmers how to make the game."

Thats a senior design position, and there is pretty much no way you're going to be able to get that spot without starting at the bottom. Become a programmer or art director or something, or work in QA maybe and start climbing the ranks. Modding and level creation in your spare time can also be a foot in the door - many people working at top levels at Epic and id started that way. Get someones attention and then join in, ya know?

Once the bosses realize that you can handle yourself and have some cred, so to speak, you can get into the design levels. But honestly (sadly) your chances of landing a coveted design spot are close to nill otherwise.
 

arramor

Diabloii.Net Member
I also recently received my b.sc in computer science in south africa, university of stellenbosch.

I'm now doing my honour's year, and writing a game for my year project. I find this thread very cool, cause i sorta too wanna one day have a game company, etc. (That's if blizzard doesn't want me :uhhuh: )

I agree with Kitriara. I think if you first become the programmer or artist (modeller, whatever) you'll be a much better boss or senior staff member.
 

sirpoopsalot

Diabloii.Net Member
I agree with the last 2 sentiments, but one idea that might be a minor shortcut:

... develop your own game - start to finish: Focus on primarily on fun & playability since that seems to be along your preferred lines. If it's decent it might provide a good foot in the door at companies, and provide you with working knowledge of most of the intricasies involved in the development cycle.

Good luck, no matter what you choose.
 

Superhal

Diabloii.Net Member
i thought the sam thing. basically, you have to start as a programmer with a programming degree. the next step after that (when i was in high school) is called a systems analyst, usually these are managers of projects who have 5-7 years of programming experience.

nowadays though, game design is a major in itself. from what i can tell, it's a graduate degree requiring a bachelor's in, yep, you guessed it, programming.

that's one way to go. the other way to go is to be a professional game player. my friend wanted to be a pro gamer since i met him in 91. however, he's still chasing his dream. he makes around 3k a year off of ebay sales, and needs to have a day job. he's been in college for around 13 years now, trying to delay graduation so he can keep his cushy dorm monitor job/apartment.

imho, if you really want to go pro, you have to have good writing skills, and be a game tester. go to the library and read back issues of computer gaming world, particularly the articles by Scorpia. S/he wasn't a very good player in my book, but her articles are excellent. here's a link to an archive of cgw's first 100 issues: http://cgw.vintagegaming.org/.

either way, it takes hard work. if you are the person who is always combing the internet for tips and tricks on the newest games, this type of profession isn't for you. however, if you are the one making those tips and tricks, then this is definitely for you.
 
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