113: How to Become a Game Designer

How to Become a Game Designer

"A game designer doesn't get paid as much as someone with his equivalent skills in the business world. In reality, a game designer works long hours, relentlessly pursuing to improve himself and his designs, hoping for a little recognition from his superiors.

"But there's a bright side. After all, you really do get to make games."

Ryan Shwayder opens the vault of secrets and explains "How to Become a Game Designer."

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"Now it's time to get a job! But it's probably not going to be as a game designer. The best way to begin your trek is to start in another department, such as quality assurance, customer service or technical support."

Sure. That's one avenue. Many companies have design internships which offer considerably more useful experience than the old school method of working your way up from support. At my company, we have an entire design department that brings in 3 to 4 interns a year. 2 of the interns from last year are now full time designers on my current project. You can also transition directly into design from many school game design programs.

All of what you said, especially the Get Over Yourself!
my two additional cents below...
My advice to aspiring designers is to learn from every possible chance at entertainment, do a lot more than play games. I spent a summer once working on theatrical set construction, have done movies with friends, have played an instrument in a band. All these things really contribute on top of my game knowledge in ways that I use every single day.

I really enjoyed this article. It's a goal of mine to enter the gaming industry and this allowed me to have some hindsight on how it is.
I wonder how much do people related to the gaming industry actually win in their salaries? Because I thought a game designer got paid well enough.

I liked this article, as one of those hundreds of people who wants to be a game designer in the future I appreciate hearing this kind of stuff. Of course I already have a kind of plan, go into the industry as a programmer (working on this right now) and then eventually jump to game design.

Of course, I still wonder if there are any positions where you just get to write the storylines. I know some RPG's/MMO's have story writers due to their size, but storyline writing would probably be my ideal job, assuming it exists.

Oh and I thought the getOverYourself part was especially important. Also not being lazy, its amazing how many people slack off and complain about doing work, so if you just actually do your work, everyone appreciates it!

Wow, I never thought I'd stumble upon something like this Holy Grail filled with water from the Fountain of Youth at a website I only visit for my weekly shits and giggles at Yahtzee's antics.

Quite a well-written article, and I'll probably take a few of those instructions to heart. Game Design is one of my aspirations for the future, and I hope that I'll be able to get my shoe in the door on the industry.

Sometimes, I struggle to see game designer as a job, maybe something morel like a phase. I couldn't feel secure at postulating for such a role, and I couldn't even describe it properly.

First, because depending on the size of the structure you work in, you may or may not focus on design only. It can be a multihat activity.

Second because everybody, from the artist to the coder, plays games and thinks he can have the ideas and invent stuff like the designer does, while the reverse is not true for one who focuses on GD only and can't code, nor draw a texture, nor animate a character. That makes it hard to defend your activity. No matter how much you crawl under the text files and excel sheets, you look like you're not working. Everybody can stare at the clouds and "design".

Thirdly, because I don't see freshly graduated people integrate the GD branch of a structure from scratch. It happens, but it's rare, and I've seen this turn out to be nothing more than a very temporary phase. I've kept contacts left and right with guys going through these phases, and it was nothing more than being a pen pusher, a scribe laying down most of the stuff which was dicted from above, with not much oportunities at continuing in the branch.

Fourth, is anything such as "Game Designer" officially recognized in the governmental institutions?

There's of course the possibility to argue on each point, fortunately, but that doesn't make the points I mentionned any less valid.

I think it should Game Designing Team. Its rarely just the one person that designs games (thinks to herself who would want to spend endless hours in the night by themselves). As they say two heads are better then one, five heads are better then two and so on (dont ask me why that order is, it just is).

Personally, i dont think i would enjoy making games - as much as i love playing games, so its best for me if i leave it up to the FEW people who know what they're really doing. (smiley)

You mean I can't just get paid to have awesome ideas? Damnit.

I found this article to be extremely helpful-- I'm fresh out of High School and sniffing around for colleges that will offer me the opportunity to get a job somewhere in the gaming industry. Once I'm in, like the author said-- it's just a matter of proving to everyone else that I'm better than them, and they should give me money because of it.

Wow, I am really thankfull I found this article. I am going into high school, and I am very interested in the Gaming industry.

Whether your the main GD coming up with the ideas for the game, tools coder, or any position, i would be very satisfied with my job just because of the fact that you are a part of making things you love to make/plaly.

My only question is even thoguh the pay might not be as high as one with the equivalent skills in the business world, is:

is the pay still worth the hours you put into it. if it isn't, is it a generally "Good paying" job?

I've been researching game designe for a long time and i'm only 17 and still in high school. I'm taking classes for graphic arts called Sci-Viz. So can These classes help me in the future become a game designer? Also i've reserch salary. I've seen game designers making 180,000 a year. Is it true what they say or is your story true? Or do you just work for a low paid unknown gameing company. not to be mean. I can careless about the money I mean I know I need to pay bills, but I don't want to become a designer to brag or make money. Its something I love to do. I always liked to read and play games, talk about games, talk about cool games people should make and even use programs to make games. I've been in my room for days writing the story line of future games I want to make. I'm going into the army to work on graphic design so when I get out I can start my gaming career. I have many questions so please email me at Johnny.Joyce11@yahoo.com

TuiShadow84:
Wow, I am really thankfull I found this article. I am going into high school, and I am very interested in the Gaming industry.

Whether your the main GD coming up with the ideas for the game, tools coder, or any position, i would be very satisfied with my job just because of the fact that you are a part of making things you love to make/plaly.

My only question is even thoguh the pay might not be as high as one with the equivalent skills in the business world, is:

is the pay still worth the hours you put into it. if it isn't, is it a generally "Good paying" job?

Sometimes. Depends on the studio and the experience/skills you have. Initially you won't be earning much. The hours are long and the pay most likely isn't justifiable for the stress and the hours.

You've got to really love games and be dedicated in making them to make a lot of money in the industry, including the experience.

well i am so glade i was able to run accross this article even though it is a bit old my vision on the gaming world has now incressed dedication hard work and not being lazy well that I already new but to play games even those u don't like and to study them , is something i never really thought of and this information is really helpful since I am fresh out of high school ( CLASS OF 2010 YEAH) all i can say is i cant wait to become a gamedesigner and do what I dream

 

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