Video games are quickly becoming the most widely acclaimed form of entertainment. From mobile games to big budget AAA titles, there is no shortage of eager players ready to log in. After playing for dozens of hours in your favorite digital worlds, it is only natural to want to build one of your own. Video game design blends art and science in a way that will push your creativity to its limits. Working at a video game studio is fun, challenging, and rewarding. The daily grind is somewhat demanding, but gamers who love to overcome obstacles will feel right at home.
Is There a Career in Game Design?
It is possible to create a very lucrative career in game design. The rising popularity of the medium ensures there will always be demand for new content. Like any work of art, it takes a bit of skill to design video games well. The more effort you put into improving your craft, the better your prospects will be. And the good news is you have many outside factors assisting your success. The video game industry is enjoying substantial growth which creates many new positions to be filled. Here are some of the best reasons why a career in game design is an excellent choice.
Increased Studio Sizes
Modern video games require teams of a hundred or more people to make them. This is a far cry from the early days when a dozen designers could facilitate the entire project. Instead of earning your way into a council of twelve, you have hundreds of potential seats to sit in. You must still earn your way in by developing some talent, but the task is orders of magnitude simpler than it used to be.
The Need for Skilled Coders
Programmers have a vast array of job options to consider. Of all the fields you can choose coding for video games is the most challenging. The higher barrier to entry creates a perfect opportunity for aspiring game designers. A sizeable portion of your competition will opt for the mundane coding jobs that require less study. This is where a strong passion can motivate you to put in extra work at the start to obtain the necessary skill, and you will be extremely hard to replace once you do.
The Immense Market Share
Video games make more money than movies, music, TV, and books combined, according to Vizaca. The massive stream of revenue and attention flowing into the industry creates ample room for aspiring game designers like you to get started. From there, the possibilities are endless. You can forge your own path through the indie scene or work your way up the ladder at established game studios. Alternate between the two if you prefer. Once you have the skills and street cred, you can do just about anything in the realm of digital interactive entertainment.
Why Does Someone Get into Game Design?
As great as the above points sound, you may be wondering if game design is a good fit for you. Truth be told, you will not know for sure until you give it a try. However, there are numerous traits that are common among game designers. If you resonate with any of the following, you owe it to yourself to download and play around with a game engine toolkit.
A Passion for the Art Form
It may sound obvious, but a love of video games will make your career far more plausible. Developing games is hard, and designing great games is even more challenging. This means you will need a burning passion, strong enough to push through the inevitable design hurdles you will face. The desire to make a title the best it can possibly be will get you through even the most demanding situations. The more games you play, the more you will understand how to make your projects that much better. The experience of knowing what works and what does not can save you an enormous amount of time when designing.
An Innate Skill for Coding or Animation
Writing code and creating complex animation both require technical prowess. You can always improve each skill through practice but having a natural knack for either discipline is a great indicator that the game industry could really use you. The high skill barrier for both types of work can be daunting for people who are not naturally gifted. You do not need to be a genius, but you should be good enough that you have fun while engaging in the chosen activity.
A Strong Attention to Detail
The difference between good and great games is a collection of tiny details. The small things add up to make or break the experience. As a game designer, you want to add the extra touches that will put a smile on the player’s face. The audience has most likely observed hundreds of digital worlds before entering yours. The special details will determine if your world is one of the memorable ones. This applies to far more than just scenery. Game balancing and other crucial mechanics may change dramatically when even the tiniest element changes. Attention to detail keeps the game from falling apart.
The Desire to Tell Stories
Modern video games are expected to place a stronger emphasis on story and narrative. The interactive component of games gives you the freedom to tell stories that filmmakers and authors could only dream of. Players and game designers collaborate to tell a new tale each time they pick up a controller. If there are stories in your heart, then video games are a great medium to express them in. The increased volume of writing in most titles has brought many job opportunities to aspiring game designers of the last few decades.
What is an Easy Way to Start a Career in Game Design?
An easy way to get your foot in the door is to enroll in a formal education program with an emphasis on game design. While the option for self-study is always available, a concentrated curriculum will propel you towards your first job far sooner. After landing that initial job, your reputable training and degree will provide numerous other benefits.
What do You Learn in a Formal Education Program for Game Design?
Engineering digital worlds requires a full understanding of the software development process. You will learn the many aspects of game production from the planning to the post-release updates. This comprehensive approach helps keep you coordinated with the teams you will work with when creating games. You learn by designing your own game prototypes. After getting a taste of each aspect of development, you will gain insight into the specialty you wish to pursue.
There are plenty of opportunities to learn about the business side of game development as well. Although you are creating art, you must also consider how many resources go into each project. By studying monetization, marketing, and player engagement, you will understand what goes in to keeping your game studio afloat.
Usability and graphic design will also be covered. Making a game pretty to look at and easy to use will increase player satisfaction. Appealing graphics will draw people in, and usability is what keeps players hooked. You will learn how to create menus and HUD elements that look great while efficiently conveying useful information.
What are the Benefits of a Formal Education?
As mentioned above, your formal education comes with plenty of benefits beyond a degree or diploma. Here are some of the key advantages that will further enhance your career prospects.
Become Familiar with Popular Software
The list of programs and applications for game development is growing by the day. While any game development experience is good, ideally you should start learning with the same tools used by the professionals. Creative arts colleges have industry insiders that recommend the best software for students to learn. The first day on the job will be much easier if you are already comfortable with the same programs used by your new team. Making a great first impression will make it easier to acclimate to life at the game studio.
Gain Experience with Industry-Grade Hardware
Game development software requires some advanced hardware to run efficiently. You practically need supercomputers to facilitate AAA titles. Your game design program includes access to the advanced technology used by renowned game developers. Just like with software, you will want as much familiarity with industry-standard hardware as you can muster, before walking into your first day of work. It is far easier to use the equipment provided by your creative arts college than it would be to secure your own.
Safely Make Mistake
Since video games cost so much to make, there is not much room for error once you are in the big leagues. A mistake that wastes development time could cost your company millions. In college, you can make some inevitable mistakes without much consequence. Your prototypes are the perfect place to test out new ideas without the financial burden weighing you down. Take advantage of this period and let your creativity shine.
Your instructors will each have experience working on published game releases. This is a massive upgrade over watching online tutorials from people you will never meet. Getting a chance to talk with your instructors and ask them any questions you have is a priceless experience. The more you interact with your instructors during the program, the more information you will receive.
Build Your Network
The remarkable thing about a creative arts college is each student is an aspiring artist or entertainer of some kind. The more creative people you know, the better your chances of being chosen for creative projects. After graduating, you will want to keep in touch with as many people as possible. Each friend is a potential job offer later in your career. Be sure to spend some time networking in addition to your studies. The game design concentration makes networking even easier. You will automatically be placed into teams when working on your prototypes. Even if you are introverted, there will be plenty of opportunities to create allies.
Acquiring your first job in the industry is often the hardest part of any career. Upon graduating, you can utilize the career services program to find your first entry-level positions in game development. Your unique skills and interests are considered as game studios and publishers reach out to the school for new candidates. Once an inquiry aligns with your profile, you have the option to set up an interview. This resource makes the initial job hunt far easier.
A career in game design is absolutely worth pursuing if you have the drive to make it happen. There is a hungry demand for skilled artists, programmers, and storytellers throughout the gaming industry. The expanding revenue of gaming companies ensures your prospects will be just as bright after graduation. The only thing left to do is get started.
Do you lose track of time when immersed in the game design of your favorite video games? Then consider becoming a game designer. As the video game industry continuously grows, employers are zeroed in on game design and development program students who understand both the creative and technical sides of the industry. Nowhere is University of Silicon Valley’s unique ability to combine specializations better demonstrated than in our Game Design & Development Department.
University of Silicon Valley is uniquely poised to offer a meaningful and valuable education for 21st century students. We believe in an education that directly correlates with the work you’ll be doing after you graduate. Interested in learning more? Contact Us today.