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Gaming Education

HenslerHensler Registered User regular
edited June 2009 in Games and Technology
Hey everybody! Most of you probably don't remember me, but I use to be a pretty regular poster here on Penny-Arcade in the games and graphic violence forums. In 2005, I joined the Marine Corps and never really had much more time for games or forums. Long story short, I was injured in Iraq last year and was medically discharged from the Marine Corps in April, and I've come back to my gaming roots :) (well actually, I've come back to Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress 2, mostly - I'm addicted). This whole situation kind of came as a surprise - I'd always planned on doing my time in the Marine Corps and then transitioning to a career in federal law enforcement. But because of my disabilities, that is no longer an option for me.

But I still have my paycheck coming in from the government and my full GI bill to go to school. I was sitting around, thinking about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and I realized I've wanted to learn game design since the first time I played Mario Bros on my NES. And these forums have some of the most educated, and talented people I know when it comes to games and all thing geek :). So I was hoping some of you would have some advice and information about how to pursue a game design career. I've got several diferent sets of advice from using Google. I've got an interview scheduled with a rep from Full Sail university, and their website makes it look promising. Can you guys recommend anything else to me or share any personal experience and knowledge? Thanks for any help you can give.

Hensler on
«13

Posts

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Nobody learns game design. You learn to program or you learn to do art. One in a million people end up actually designing the games, and 19 out of 20 of those games are variations on Barbie's Horse Adventure or Putt Putt and Fatty Bear Go to the Zoo. Game design is not a career the same way motorcycle design is not a career for 99% of the people who work on the motorcycle: most of them are engineers or artists. You want to be the one guy who sketches the motorcycle, and that's not really a viable aspiration.

    The closest you can get if you don't want to actually do anything technical is being a writer for games, because that varies among every studio and often includes game design, but that takes writing skill much more than it does game design skill. Get a real job and make mods in your spare time if you want to do game design.

    If you are actually super serious and you won't listen to the voice of reason, I think your best bet would be to learn programming anyways and make your own games, or at least work on mods, where you also do the design. Actual work as a designer is the only thing that would possibly get you hired by a game company, so if you want to fufill your dream of making flowcharts on a whiteboard to describe an 8 year old's progress through Horse Adventureland, you should start making your own card games, your own board games, your own Flash games, your own L4D and TF2 levels, and your own mods.

  • SyphonBlueSyphonBlue Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Nobody learns game design. You learn to program or you learn to do art. One in a million people end up actually designing the games, and 19 out of 20 of those games are variations on Barbie's Horse Adventure or Putt Putt and Fatty Bear Go to the Zoo. Game design is not a career the same way motorcycle design is not a career for 99% of the people who work on the motorcycle: most of them are engineers or artists. You want to be the one guy who sketches the motorcycle, and that's not really a viable aspiration.

    The closest you can get if you don't want to actually do anything technical is being a writer for games, because that varies among every studio and often includes game design, but that takes writing skill much more than it does game design skill. Get a real job and make mods in your spare time if you want to do game design.

    This entire post is 100% grade A bullshit. Seriously, do not listen to any part of it whatsoever.

    Check out this place http://www.fiea.ucf.edu

    metroid_sig.jpg
  • ArkanArkan Registered User
    edited June 2009
    Big, honkin' pile of WoW characters
    I think it's hard for someone not to rage at mario kart, while shouting "Fuck you Donkey Kong. Whose dick did you suck to get all those red shells?"
  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    SyphonBlue wrote: »
    Nobody learns game design. You learn to program or you learn to do art. One in a million people end up actually designing the games, and 19 out of 20 of those games are variations on Barbie's Horse Adventure or Putt Putt and Fatty Bear Go to the Zoo. Game design is not a career the same way motorcycle design is not a career for 99% of the people who work on the motorcycle: most of them are engineers or artists. You want to be the one guy who sketches the motorcycle, and that's not really a viable aspiration.

    The closest you can get if you don't want to actually do anything technical is being a writer for games, because that varies among every studio and often includes game design, but that takes writing skill much more than it does game design skill. Get a real job and make mods in your spare time if you want to do game design.

    This entire post is 100% grade A bullshit. Seriously, do not listen to any part of it whatsoever.

    Check out this place http://www.fiea.ucf.edu

    Can you provide more evidence than a link to support your claim that TC's statements are bullshit? Because I agree with him pretty heartily on the subject, considering we see this same thread routinely.

    CoH_infantry.jpg
    Let 'em eat fucking pineapples!
  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Honestly? As someone who works at a game studio you'd probably be better off just making maps with the Unreal editor and then making mods. Or flash games. Or iPhone games. Yeah there are some places that teach game design... but I don't know any designers that didn't come from art, engineering, or mods.

  • ArkanArkan Registered User
    edited June 2009
    Honestly? As someone who works at a game studio you'd probably be better off just making maps with the Unreal editor and then making mods. Yeah there are some places that teach game design... but I don't know any designers that didn't come from art, engineering, or mods.

    The core team responsible for Portal are digipen grads.

    Big, honkin' pile of WoW characters
    I think it's hard for someone not to rage at mario kart, while shouting "Fuck you Donkey Kong. Whose dick did you suck to get all those red shells?"
  • SyphonBlueSyphonBlue Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    VeritasVR wrote: »
    SyphonBlue wrote: »
    Nobody learns game design. You learn to program or you learn to do art. One in a million people end up actually designing the games, and 19 out of 20 of those games are variations on Barbie's Horse Adventure or Putt Putt and Fatty Bear Go to the Zoo. Game design is not a career the same way motorcycle design is not a career for 99% of the people who work on the motorcycle: most of them are engineers or artists. You want to be the one guy who sketches the motorcycle, and that's not really a viable aspiration.

    The closest you can get if you don't want to actually do anything technical is being a writer for games, because that varies among every studio and often includes game design, but that takes writing skill much more than it does game design skill. Get a real job and make mods in your spare time if you want to do game design.

    This entire post is 100% grade A bullshit. Seriously, do not listen to any part of it whatsoever.

    Check out this place http://www.fiea.ucf.edu

    Can you provide more evidence than a link to support your claim that TC's statements are bullshit? Because I agree with him pretty heartily on the subject, considering we see this same thread routinely.

    No, not really. Can you provide any links that support HIS claim? Video game production is a learned trade just like anything else. You need to learn how to budget, schedule, design levels, etc... You can't just go into your parent's basement and crank out a couple of Unreal levels.

    metroid_sig.jpg
  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Arkan wrote: »
    Honestly? As someone who works at a game studio you'd probably be better off just making maps with the Unreal editor and then making mods. Yeah there are some places that teach game design... but I don't know any designers that didn't come from art, engineering, or mods.

    The core team responsible for Portal are digipen grads.

    Thats true. But still, its not a vocation you can go to school for and entirely realistically expect yourself to get a game design job. Just because they went to digipen doesn't mean they wouldn't have succeeded anyway. I would say most of it has to do with just... doing it. Just start designing games. Just find an artist or engineer online and work with them and just... [nike] do it [/nike].

  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Becoming a game designer is a lot like becoming a director. You don't get hired off the street for game design or directing. You work your way up through something else - programming/art/writing, or acting/editing etc. Degrees also don't really matter - you still have to work your way up through something else, at least if you want to work for an actual company in the industry.

    Basically, what you need to learn is how to MAKE games. Then make one of your own. It will be crap, but you will learn a lot. Then make another one, and it will be better. Now you're a game designer with experience, and a portfolio. But you do pretty much need to learn to program.

    edit:: Game designing and directing are also similar in that everyone thinks they can do it, and don't realize how much you really need to know.

  • MetalbourneMetalbourne Tube's Favorite Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    SyphonBlue wrote: »
    Nobody learns game design. You learn to program or you learn to do art. One in a million people end up actually designing the games, and 19 out of 20 of those games are variations on Barbie's Horse Adventure or Putt Putt and Fatty Bear Go to the Zoo. Game design is not a career the same way motorcycle design is not a career for 99% of the people who work on the motorcycle: most of them are engineers or artists. You want to be the one guy who sketches the motorcycle, and that's not really a viable aspiration.

    The closest you can get if you don't want to actually do anything technical is being a writer for games, because that varies among every studio and often includes game design, but that takes writing skill much more than it does game design skill. Get a real job and make mods in your spare time if you want to do game design.

    This entire post is 100% grade A bullshit. Seriously, do not listen to any part of it whatsoever.

    Check out this place http://www.fiea.ucf.edu

    Well, I imagine he thinks that "design" means sitting behind a big desk with your feet propped up and your arms behind your head, and randomly paging your secretary to say things like, 'I want the goombas in the next mario brothers game to be blue."

    Hensler, thank you for your service. From personal experience, the only advice I can give is to go to school full time in order to get the most money out of your GI bill.

  • SyphonBlueSyphonBlue Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Tighten up the graphics on level 3.

    metroid_sig.jpg
  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Hensler, thank you for your service.

    Totally forgot to say this. Glad to see you're looking at this as an opportunity and not an end.

    But yeah, don't us discourage you from doing what you want. We're just trying to keep expectations realistic, because lots of people want to be game designers, but very few are willing to put in the requisite time and effort into schooling, learning, etc.

    Like Ronnie Coleman said - 'Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, nobody wants to lift this heavy ass weight!'
    Spoiler:

  • NaloutoNalouto Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    edit:: Game designing and directing are also similar in that everyone thinks they can do it, and don't realize how much creativity and experience you need.

    there you go.

    But seriously,

    1. pool your resources...
    2. ask ANYONE you know in the industry/who is an indie developer what they do and what programs they use for work.
    3. plan to EDUCATE yourself on one two (or twenty) game design programs. Check schools for courses/etc.
    4. ???
    5. Profit/Live Happily ever after.

    Being a game designer is a lofty lofty goal, one many of us have. I used to draw super mario levels by hand in a little notebook in grade ONE, so trust me I'm feeling your background. But you won't get far unless you have some great ideas and motivation to back your journey... I do believe you were INJURED AT WAR, so I don't doubt you have a bit of world experience (and passion for life...) you will do well, and coming to this forum was a good idea, but don't expect to find YOUR answer here, just a bunch of other people's stories and inspiration.

    Good luck!

    :winky:
    louzorz.jpg
  • EchoEcho staring is caring Moderator mod
    edited June 2009
    Arkan wrote: »
    The core team responsible for Portal are digipen grads.

    Rethotical question: did they succeed and get known because of their education, or because of their idea?

    I don't see anything in Somethingacular Drop that requires a "game design" education. Anyone with a software engineering education could do that - given the idea. I have a friend that made a kick-ass side project, and he's a programmer on DICE now.

    Here's what you'll want in an education for making games:

    * At least one project management course.
    * Any course with low-level programming. The lower the better. Just diving into the higher-level abstraction layers means you won't understand what's beneath the hood.
    * Math. There'll be plenty of it. Stuff like this needs to look fun and interesting for you.

    Said friend of mine had a mechanics course that required him to make differential equation solver calculations to calculate how the legs of a housefly moved over a surface. Yep, that's incredibly valuable gaming material right there.

    Here's a little industry insider secret: many companies look down on the game design schools. They're not taken as seriously as someone with a CS/software engineering diploma. CS/SE says "hey, this guy can code!", but game design schools don't have that reputation yet, and pretty often for good reasons.

    My recommendation? Go for a more general computer science/engineering education. Then take what you learn and work on games as side projects. Build a nice portfolio of demo effects and stuff. You'll get a solid education and stuff to show that you want to make games.

    fake edit: I see that Digipen's BS in real-time interactive simulation contains pretty much what I wrote -- that's if their programming courses are up to par.

  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Echo wrote: »
    Arkan wrote: »
    The core team responsible for Portal are digipen grads.

    Rethotical question: did they succeed and get known because of their education, or because of their idea?

    I don't see anything in Somethingacular Drop that requires a "game design" education.

    Isn't the ability to come up with and recognize good ideas kind of the cornerstone of a 'game design' education? Not saying that's necessarily what the industry WANTS, but you're kind of acting like good ideas just spring up out of the ether.

  • GreenPowerRangerGreenPowerRanger Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    What are of "Game Design" is it you're interested in?

    I mean there are concept artists, programmers/developers, art direction, story writers, 3d Modelers.. then there are more statistical people who balance out how well things work, play testers..

    I've been studying Graphic Design for 5 years and I've spoken to a lot of fairly successful designers in that time, most of them say they fell into the area of design they work in and I would imagine it would be exactly the same for a "Game Designer"

    My advice would be to decide which area you would like to work in and then get stuck in and become as good at that as you possibly can. There is always the alternative that if you learn to do one of these things and then game design doesn't work out for you (we are in a recession after all) that you will have a worth while skill that will make you alot of money else where.

    I specialise in designing/producing Interactive Installations even though there aren't many companies that produce this kind of work specifically at the moment which means less chance of a job. I do also know about basic electronics, programming and also a lot about Digital/Physical Interaction. This opens a lot of doors for me.

    Always remember its better to be a master of one trade than a Jack of all trades. It increases your worth to an employer exponentially.


    EDIT: OH FFFF i almost forgot, I attended a conference that had a games designer as one of the guys talking. He owned his own business and had some award winning flash games though I forget his name. anyways one of the main points he kept bringing up is that designing the code mechanics in a game i.e how the player interacts, is through a set of "systems". Each system is a different route/action/consequence etc that a player can take to achieve the same goal. Give the player more options/make more consequences for their one action and your game will be more engaging. I think his point is proven by the fact that many of us here will tire of a game is it is wash - rinse - repeat. (Assassins Creed 1 amirite?) so yea, my point is that if you do decide to make your own game first as some people are suggesting, concentrate in making it fun to play before you make it pretty.

  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Echo wrote: »
    Arkan wrote: »
    The core team responsible for Portal are digipen grads.

    Rethotical question: did they succeed and get known because of their education, or because of their idea?

    I don't see anything in Somethingacular Drop that requires a "game design" education.

    Isn't the ability to come up with and recognize good ideas kind of the cornerstone of a 'game design' education? Not saying that's necessarily what the industry WANTS, but you're kind of acting like good ideas just spring up out of the ether.

    I've never had any good ideas from ether.

    Weed, on the other hand, hooolyyyyyyyy shit son.

    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
  • HenslerHensler Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Thanks for all the quick, thoughtful replies, guys. I really appreciate everything that has been said in this thread. I guess when I said game design, I wasn't real clear. While I would love to design levels and games themselves, I'm looking more into the programming aspect. But my programming experience is limited to HTML web design classes I took years ago, and my level design is limited to way too much time with the Starcraft and Warcraft level designers :). So instead of saying game designer, I probably should have said I'm interested in a career a game programmer. I certainly don't want to sit in an office and tell someone to add more goombas to the game. I want to be the guy who actually writes the goombas in there.

  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Hensler wrote: »
    Thanks for all the quick, thoughtful replies, guys. I really appreciate everything that has been said in this thread. I guess when I said game design, I wasn't real clear. While I would love to design levels and games themselves, I'm looking more into the programming aspect. But my programming experience is limited to HTML web design classes I took years ago, and my level design is limited to way too much time with the Starcraft and Warcraft level designers :). So instead of saying game designer, I probably should have said I'm interested in a career a game programmer. I certainly don't want to sit in an office and tell someone to add more goombas to the game. I want to be the guy who actually writes the goombas in there.

    I assume you actually want to be both the designer and the programmer, and not just another overworked, underpaid codemonkey?

    Like someone who says "Hey guys, let's add mostly goombas, but let's throw a turtle in here so that if the player has awesome skills, he can step on it and kick the empty shell at the goombas instead of just killing them one by one" - and then you code that?

    Because I can't imagine anyone saying "I want to grind moar codez."

    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Do 3D modelers always start their work from a scanned sculpture these days? The sculptor makes a monster out of clay, scans it with a special camera, a modeler cleans it up, and the animator makes it dance. Is that accurate?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwlE1aASc4g

    easybossfight_zps4752c132.gif
  • EchoEcho staring is caring Moderator mod
    edited June 2009
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Do 3D modelers always start their work from a scanned sculpture these days? The sculptor makes a monster out of clay, scans it with a special camera, a modeler cleans it up, and the animator makes it dance. Is that accurate?

    Well, that's one way of doing it, at least. If you're skilled at 3D modelling you can do it straight from concept art.

  • CaswynbenCaswynben Registered User
    edited June 2009
    SyphonBlue wrote: »
    Nobody learns game design. You learn to program or you learn to do art. One in a million people end up actually designing the games, and 19 out of 20 of those games are variations on Barbie's Horse Adventure or Putt Putt and Fatty Bear Go to the Zoo. Game design is not a career the same way motorcycle design is not a career for 99% of the people who work on the motorcycle: most of them are engineers or artists. You want to be the one guy who sketches the motorcycle, and that's not really a viable aspiration.

    The closest you can get if you don't want to actually do anything technical is being a writer for games, because that varies among every studio and often includes game design, but that takes writing skill much more than it does game design skill. Get a real job and make mods in your spare time if you want to do game design.

    This entire post is 100% grade A bullshit. Seriously, do not listen to any part of it whatsoever.

    Check out this place http://www.fiea.ucf.edu
    No, do not listen to this fool. TychoCelchuuu is 100% correct. Learn a useful skill, and then people might listen to your game design ideas.

  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Do 3D modelers always start their work from a scanned sculpture these days? The sculptor makes a monster out of clay, scans it with a special camera, a modeler cleans it up, and the animator makes it dance. Is that accurate?[/url]

    No.

    Although sort of similar. For modern games they will make a high rez, no polygonal count barred, mesh (using zbrush or mudbox for organics). Then they will then make a much lower polygon count mesh through various methods and then project the high rez mesh down on the low rez mesh as a normal map.

    The 'pipeline' is (in a VERY generalized way):
    idea > concept art (hooray - this is what I do) > proxy > high rez > low rez > *

    * This then goes to rigging > animation
    * It also goes to texturing by another person (possibly the person who modeled it... but also possibly not)

  • HenslerHensler Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Hensler wrote: »
    Thanks for all the quick, thoughtful replies, guys. I really appreciate everything that has been said in this thread. I guess when I said game design, I wasn't real clear. While I would love to design levels and games themselves, I'm looking more into the programming aspect. But my programming experience is limited to HTML web design classes I took years ago, and my level design is limited to way too much time with the Starcraft and Warcraft level designers :). So instead of saying game designer, I probably should have said I'm interested in a career a game programmer. I certainly don't want to sit in an office and tell someone to add more goombas to the game. I want to be the guy who actually writes the goombas in there.

    I assume you actually want to be both the designer and the programmer, and not just another overworked, underpaid codemonkey?

    Like someone who says "Hey guys, let's add mostly goombas, but let's throw a turtle in here so that if the player has awesome skills, he can step on it and kick the empty shell at the goombas instead of just killing them one by one" - and then you code that?

    Because I can't imagine anyone saying "I want to grind moar codez."

    Well, I guess my military experience taught me that I have to start somewhere. Of course my long-term goal would be to work at Bioware and get to say "Let's make that fireball have... more fire :evil: and lets put a ballista on the back of this dragon" but I think a programming job and starting at the bottom is most likely to get my foot in the door, no?

  • CaswynbenCaswynben Registered User
    edited June 2009
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Do 3D modelers always start their work from a scanned sculpture these days? The sculptor makes a monster out of clay, scans it with a special camera, a modeler cleans it up, and the animator makes it dance. Is that accurate?
    This is not even a little accurate. 3D models are created from reference art, usually.

  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Hensler wrote: »
    Hensler wrote: »
    Thanks for all the quick, thoughtful replies, guys. I really appreciate everything that has been said in this thread. I guess when I said game design, I wasn't real clear. While I would love to design levels and games themselves, I'm looking more into the programming aspect. But my programming experience is limited to HTML web design classes I took years ago, and my level design is limited to way too much time with the Starcraft and Warcraft level designers :). So instead of saying game designer, I probably should have said I'm interested in a career a game programmer. I certainly don't want to sit in an office and tell someone to add more goombas to the game. I want to be the guy who actually writes the goombas in there.

    I assume you actually want to be both the designer and the programmer, and not just another overworked, underpaid codemonkey?

    Like someone who says "Hey guys, let's add mostly goombas, but let's throw a turtle in here so that if the player has awesome skills, he can step on it and kick the empty shell at the goombas instead of just killing them one by one" - and then you code that?

    Because I can't imagine anyone saying "I want to grind moar codez."

    Well, I guess my military experience taught me that I have to start somewhere. Of course my long-term goal would be to work at Bioware and get to say "Let's make that fireball have... more fire :evil: and lets put a ballista on the back of this dragon" but I think a programming job and starting at the bottom is most likely to get my foot in the door, no?

    Ignore Peregrine, you've got the right idea. In most programming projects, you have more input on the design the more experience and seniority you have. And you may even discover that you enjoy coding for its own sake.

  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Hensler wrote: »
    Hensler wrote: »
    Thanks for all the quick, thoughtful replies, guys. I really appreciate everything that has been said in this thread. I guess when I said game design, I wasn't real clear. While I would love to design levels and games themselves, I'm looking more into the programming aspect. But my programming experience is limited to HTML web design classes I took years ago, and my level design is limited to way too much time with the Starcraft and Warcraft level designers :). So instead of saying game designer, I probably should have said I'm interested in a career a game programmer. I certainly don't want to sit in an office and tell someone to add more goombas to the game. I want to be the guy who actually writes the goombas in there.

    I assume you actually want to be both the designer and the programmer, and not just another overworked, underpaid codemonkey?

    Like someone who says "Hey guys, let's add mostly goombas, but let's throw a turtle in here so that if the player has awesome skills, he can step on it and kick the empty shell at the goombas instead of just killing them one by one" - and then you code that?

    Because I can't imagine anyone saying "I want to grind moar codez."

    Well, I guess my military experience taught me that I have to start somewhere. Of course my long-term goal would be to work at Bioware and get to say "Let's make that fireball have... more fire :evil: and lets put a ballista on the back of this dragon" but I think a programming job and starting at the bottom is most likely to get my foot in the door, no?

    Ignore Peregrine, you've got the right idea. In most programming projects, you have more input on the design the more experience and seniority you have. And you may even discover that you enjoy coding for its own sake.

    Yeah you are likely not to be coding something like that. You might be coding the capability for something to catch 'fire' where fire could realistically have any sort of graphic attached to it. An effects artist (a full job) would make the fire particle effect, and then someone would place it in the game (depends on the company what the job name for this would be. Sometimes designers do stuff like this, sometimes artists).

  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Well, it also depends a lot on where you work, how large they are, what type of game it is, etc. etc. Obviously if there's 200 people working on a game, your individual input into anything is going to be pretty small

  • OrestusOrestus Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Just to throw this out there, and knowing nothing about the nature of your injuries or resultant disability, I would just advise that there are plenty of great careers in federal law enforcement that require the same amount of physical activity as a video-game programmer (i.e. very little I assume, although I've never worked in video game design). Again, I know nothing about the nature of your injury, but I can't imagine an injury that would allow you to function as a programmer but would disqualify you from federal service. Disqualify as a law enforcement officer, like an FBI or DEA agent, yes, but not in the many other jobs agencies like that offer.

    I don't want to derail the thread but PM me if you want and I can give you some examples.

  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Hensler wrote: »
    Hensler wrote: »
    Thanks for all the quick, thoughtful replies, guys. I really appreciate everything that has been said in this thread. I guess when I said game design, I wasn't real clear. While I would love to design levels and games themselves, I'm looking more into the programming aspect. But my programming experience is limited to HTML web design classes I took years ago, and my level design is limited to way too much time with the Starcraft and Warcraft level designers :). So instead of saying game designer, I probably should have said I'm interested in a career a game programmer. I certainly don't want to sit in an office and tell someone to add more goombas to the game. I want to be the guy who actually writes the goombas in there.

    I assume you actually want to be both the designer and the programmer, and not just another overworked, underpaid codemonkey?

    Like someone who says "Hey guys, let's add mostly goombas, but let's throw a turtle in here so that if the player has awesome skills, he can step on it and kick the empty shell at the goombas instead of just killing them one by one" - and then you code that?

    Because I can't imagine anyone saying "I want to grind moar codez."

    Well, I guess my military experience taught me that I have to start somewhere. Of course my long-term goal would be to work at Bioware and get to say "Let's make that fireball have... more fire :evil: and lets put a ballista on the back of this dragon" but I think a programming job and starting at the bottom is most likely to get my foot in the door, no?

    Ignore Peregrine, you've got the right idea. In most programming projects, you have more input on the design the more experience and seniority you have. And you may even discover that you enjoy coding for its own sake.

    So ignore the guy he just agreed with? o_O

    Oh, and I now have images in my mind of dragons with ballistas on their backs that launch entire flaming giant redwoods. Awesome.

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  • November FifthNovember Fifth Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I would highly recommend going to FSU or UF and getting a CS degree. At least go on a tour of the campuses.

    You might even find another appealing career path there (e.g. forensics if you are still interested in law enforcement). Lots of hot co-eds as well.

    When you talk to the Full Sail guy/gal make sure you ask what percentage of their grads are actually working in the gaming industry (Wikipedia lists less than 20 alums).

    You also might want to sit down with a C++ for Dummies book and bang out a text adventure or something before you commit to this. You might find you hate programming.

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  • SyphonBlueSyphonBlue Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Caswynben wrote: »
    SyphonBlue wrote: »
    Nobody learns game design. You learn to program or you learn to do art. One in a million people end up actually designing the games, and 19 out of 20 of those games are variations on Barbie's Horse Adventure or Putt Putt and Fatty Bear Go to the Zoo. Game design is not a career the same way motorcycle design is not a career for 99% of the people who work on the motorcycle: most of them are engineers or artists. You want to be the one guy who sketches the motorcycle, and that's not really a viable aspiration.

    The closest you can get if you don't want to actually do anything technical is being a writer for games, because that varies among every studio and often includes game design, but that takes writing skill much more than it does game design skill. Get a real job and make mods in your spare time if you want to do game design.

    This entire post is 100% grade A bullshit. Seriously, do not listen to any part of it whatsoever.

    Check out this place http://www.fiea.ucf.edu
    No, do not listen to this fool. TychoCelchuuu is 100% correct. Learn a useful skill, and then people might listen to your game design ideas.

    What the hell do you think you do in school? Twiddle your thumbs?

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  • GreenPowerRangerGreenPowerRanger Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    When you talk to the Full Sail guy/gal make sure you ask what percentage of their grads are actually working in the gaming industry (Wikipedia lists less than 20 alums).

    You also might want to sit down with a C++ for Dummies book and bang out a text adventure or something before you commit to this. You might find you hate programming.

    I agree with these points.

  • EchoEcho staring is caring Moderator mod
    edited June 2009
    SyphonBlue wrote: »
    What the hell do you think you do in school? Twiddle your thumbs?

    Get taught bad programming practices that will take a long time to re-learn proper?

    Happens in plenty of game programming courses.

  • DelzhandDelzhand motivated battle programmerRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    You can be hired for design. Good fucking luck, though. Get some useful skills first, and you'll increase your odds. Have at least one game (A FULL GAME, SON) completed, your odds will improve again. But you really ought to learn programming - it has the side effect of forcing you to clarify your ideas.

    Communications skills. If you don't have them, don't bother.

    Game Design Degrees - the professional jury is out on them. Most people I've read or talked to say they're useless at worst, and no better than a traditional degree at best.

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  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    So ignore the guy he just agreed with? o_O

    It sounded like you were arguing against getting a normal programming job if it didn't allow you to do any design work. I guess I misunderstood you.

  • VariableVariable Ted Hitler Stroke Me Lady FameRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I don't understand why going to school for this is a bad thing. just like not all directors come out of film school, not all (or even not many) game designers come out of game design school.

    but some do, and more importantly you need to learn that shit somewhere.

    there's no set path, but for some people the path will include school. it will absolutely 100% include gaining some knowledge somewhere.

    this thread reads like a bunch of people trying to convince themselves they didn't screw up but not pursuing what they wanted because hey, you never succeed anyway.

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  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Hensler wrote: »
    Hensler wrote: »
    Thanks for all the quick, thoughtful replies, guys. I really appreciate everything that has been said in this thread. I guess when I said game design, I wasn't real clear. While I would love to design levels and games themselves, I'm looking more into the programming aspect. But my programming experience is limited to HTML web design classes I took years ago, and my level design is limited to way too much time with the Starcraft and Warcraft level designers :). So instead of saying game designer, I probably should have said I'm interested in a career a game programmer. I certainly don't want to sit in an office and tell someone to add more goombas to the game. I want to be the guy who actually writes the goombas in there.

    I assume you actually want to be both the designer and the programmer, and not just another overworked, underpaid codemonkey?

    Like someone who says "Hey guys, let's add mostly goombas, but let's throw a turtle in here so that if the player has awesome skills, he can step on it and kick the empty shell at the goombas instead of just killing them one by one" - and then you code that?

    Because I can't imagine anyone saying "I want to grind moar codez."

    Well, I guess my military experience taught me that I have to start somewhere. Of course my long-term goal would be to work at Bioware and get to say "Let's make that fireball have... more fire :evil: and lets put a ballista on the back of this dragon" but I think a programming job and starting at the bottom is most likely to get my foot in the door, no?

    There are two reasons to go into game programming. The first reason is that you think you, amongst all the other programmers, will work your way up from a lowly code monkey and some day be designing games, and even more importantly, you'll work your way up from Barbie Horse Adventures code monkey to Splinter Cell 8: Sam Fisher's Son code monkey, and then finally to Splinter Cell 9: His Son Is Hit With a Car designer. The other reason to be a game programmer is to make less money working longer hours compared to other programming.

    Now, do you think you can be the one programmer out of your 10 programming buddies who ends up at the highest rung, or do you think you'll probably end up as code monkey, either on Barbie Gets Her Period or even on Prince of Persia 2010: Prince of Iran? Because most people end up as code monkeys, and there's no reason to be a code monkey at a game studio when being a code monkey anywhere else pays better.

    If you honestly feel lik you can be one of those top-notch programmers who ends up with a design job, though, your best bet is a comp sci degree plus a lot of indie game experience or mod experience. The comp sci degree is going to be ignored by what I believe is the majority of game companies, but the minority will care about it, and more importantly you'll learn to program for real instead of at a game university, which, with the exception of DigiPen, is going to teach you a lot of wrong stuff that you would have to relearn if you got an actual job.

    If you want to just skip the degree and go straight into programming tons of awesome games, though, that's a great way to get hired. So just do that, and then you'll be on your way to becoming code monkey/lead designer. What's that? You can't program a bunch of awesome games? Well, then learn that first.

  • HenslerHensler Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Thanks for all the ideas and advice - you've all given me a lot to think about.

  • SyphonBlueSyphonBlue Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Echo wrote: »
    SyphonBlue wrote: »
    What the hell do you think you do in school? Twiddle your thumbs?

    Get taught bad programming practices that will take a long time to re-learn proper?

    Happens in plenty of game programming courses.

    And teaching yourself is the way to proper coding?

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