Lots of us have dreamt of creating games – AAA titles or modest casual games. Luckily, the modern world has a whole profession for this: game designer. Gaming companies get dozens of CVs from aspiring young people who want to try themselves in this area. But how can you stand out of these dozens and make the companies notice you? Let’s see how to start your career as a game designer!
What exactly do you want to do?
The game designer profession can be narrowed to different aspects of gaming. You don’t have to make your game from A to Z, especially if it is big. The idea, the narrative, the mechanics and balance, and even the character creations are the different parts often made by different people. Read different sources like gaming blogs, essays on science, and programming on https://paperap.com/science/ or programming courses and try to find out what you really like and what you have to study to be able to create games.
Even if you want to make a whole game by yourself, you may consider focusing on a single aspect and mastering it first to show your potential employers that you mean business, and you are very serious in learning the chosen path. Remember that your work shouldn’t be the routine only: you should love what you do.
Without love, there is no inspiration; without inspiration, there are no good games. So if you feel that you are fond of plot turns and moral choices – try narrative design; if you love balancing figures and testing attack and defense ratio, start learning mechanic design. If you were born a project manager, then you may organize the making of the whole chapter, asking writers, artists, and programmers to give flesh and blood to your idea.
Homemade games are still games
If you are making games just for your own fun and fun of your friends – they are still games! They can be added to your CV as your game designer experience. You wrote the plot; you created the game mechanics. Maybe, you also created some code or character design. It counts! The young game designers-to-be often make the same mistake: they don’t take their previous experience seriously. If you were a game master in your friendly Dungeons and Dragons session – you are a game designer. If you customized your Munchkin game to make it fit your favorite setting – you are a game designer. If you created something entirely new on your lap to entertain your kid during the long ride – you are a game designer.
Testing the existing games is also a great experience to mention in your CV. The most frequent question on the job interview is about your favorite games, their benefits and drawbacks, their peculiarities, and things borrowed from their predecessors. So, it is a rare case when you are not just spending time while gaming – you are getting your work experience!
Start from the small games, but pick your genre
We want anyone to fulfill their dream and get their job in the AAA title, but every long road starts from the first step. Try participating in small games creation, working with indie studios, and participating in gaming hackathons. You’ll understand the game creation process from the inside, learn about the teamwork and the roles of each member of the team, sharpen your time estimation skill and understand that your potential audience may see your game quite differently. You’ll learn about the principles of work of the game stores such as Steam or AppStore and get the essential marketing skills.
Still, despite having a lot in common, games of different genres have different development processes. It is hard to transfer to the RPGs after years of works in the hyper-casual genre and vice versa. The balance of shooters is very different from the balance of strategies. So if you are fond of the particular genre, search for the job in the gaming studios that make such games. You’ll learn the peculiarities of the genre, developing one game after another, participating in more and more complicated projects, and finally developing the amazing portfolio that will open you the door to the top gaming companies.
A game designer is a very creative job, but it demands devotion, consistency, and discipline, too. You may be incredibly creative, but it’s always better to get some experience in indie projects, hackathons, and small projects to understand the very process of creating games. Combine this experience with your ideas and creativity, and you’ll become an excellent professional wanted by the headhunters all over the world!