Video games create an alternate world that is not only fascinating but keeps you hooked with their entertaining and detailed storyline. Today, games have amazing scripts with realistic backgrounds, complex and intriguing characters, which boosts your cognitive abilities. With every new challenge, the user is rewarded simply with the sense of satisfaction of winning. While games are a source of leisure for most of us, there is a lot of hard work involved in creating one.
If video games are your area of interest, and you’re willing to make a career out of this passion, now is the right time to bank the opportunity and achieve your dream of being a game designer. Today, the video game industry has reached newer heights, almost becoming more than a USD 120 billion industry in 2019.
A career in this industry, although, remains unconventional, when compared to other professions such as software engineering, many factors have contributed to the growth of this industry. Growth in the use of smartphones and tablets, thanks to technology, has certainly boosted the growth of this industry. Coupled with this, the animation industry is becoming more and more sophisticated with the growth in advanced tools for developing realistic characters.
The beauty of being a game designer is that it is a job profile that demands a perfect blend of both technical as well as creative skills. The role of a gaming developer is not focused on only one aspect, as they have to oversee the entire process, right from ideating the game design to coordinating with other people involved in the process of advertising the game. So, once you decide to be one, what degrees will help you become one? Well, you can become one through both traditional and non-traditional routes.
Getting a formal education in game designing:
Following post-secondary education will help you become a dame designer.
Earning an associate degree will prepare you for junior roles in game designing. The curriculum typically imparts knowledge for preparing the following skill sets: creating characters, storyboards, game mechanics and balancing, digital painting, game analytics, 2D and 3D modeling, etc.
Tenure: 18 months to 2 years
This degree will provide job opportunities such as:
- Technical artist
- Junior game designer
- Game tester
Bachelor’s in Game Designing
With a bachelor’s program, candidates can get an extra edge over an associate degree with a higher level of knowledge. Aspirants usually learn from experts from the industry. Some of the skill sets taught in this field include:
- Advanced Animation
- Digital Sculpting
- Character Designing
- Game Analytics
- Advanced Texturing
- Virtual Reality (VR) Development
- 3D Scripting and Advanced Rigging
Typically, a portfolio should be kept ready when you hunt for a job. Most animation schools provide you practical training that will involve you in a prototyping project. Hands-on training through an internship, paid or unpaid, also would help in this case.
Tenure: 3-4 years
Job profiles undertaken by grads in Game Designing
- Game Programmer
- Game Tester
- Video Game System Engineer
- Game Modeler
- Level Scripter
A master’s degree is chosen by those who want to learn the latest and advanced software related to gaming. This will help them expand their portfolio. A master’s degree is chosen typically undertaken through a distance learning program so that the student can work in a video gaming company simultaneously.
With a Master’s degree, one can move up the career ladder and take up managerial positions. Typically, jobs undertaken are similar to those having a Bachelor’s degree.
Fees for these courses vary as per the animation school or educational institute chosen by you. Do some research on the local schools, their courses, and curriculum covered by them. The following pointers might help.
How to choose the right game designing school?
While there are a plethora of animation schools who offer video animation courses, you should consider the following criteria:
Although a lot of gaming schools boast about the movies and games their alumni have worked on, it is best to check the credibility.
Are you looking for a local school? Or you’re willing to relocate? If not, you can either opt for a local one or find an online school.
Employers usually prefer candidates from accredited schools. Also, candidates get better access to financial aid programs through these programs.
If you want to enter the workforce sooner, it is best to opt for an associate program. However, a Bachelor’s degree is usually preferred by most employers. Yet, if you are not able to invest three to four years in a bachelor’s program, you may even enter through non-traditional routes or opt for self-learning.
More than your degree, experience plays a crucial role in career growth in the gaming industry. With more success stories to your credit, higher your chances of getting employed.
For those who are currently working, yet, would love to explore this career option, there are many online courses offered, which may accept digital students. Apart from this, you may take up an apprenticeship in a gaming company and start with a junior role. Despite your education, it is your experience, which will make all the difference in the world.
- Problem-solving ability
- Ability to articulate ideas and communicate them
- Ability to collaborate with graphic designers, voice-over artists, sound designers, musicians, programmers, and others
- Persuasive skills
- Managerial abilities
- Storytelling ability
- Analytical skills
- Knowledge of programming languages such as C++, Java
- Animation tools such as PlayCanvas, GameMaker, Unity
Your pay depends a lot on the reputation of your employer and your position. As per the BLS, the statistics vary a lot as data available related to this profession is still unstructured in nature. According to PayScale, the average median wage of a game developer is USD 104,326.
Game designers are involved in the entire lifecycle of the game. Although you need to be armed with technical skills, no matter which tool you use, it is your creativity that will make all the difference. While this career is quite exciting and challenging, it is strictly for those who have an extreme passion for games and the technologies supporting them. However, certainly, you may never expect a dull day as a video game designer.