Game Design

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Breaking into the VideoGame Industry in 2015

It’s almost frighteningly common to meet someone now who plays enough videogames to the point that they’ve worked it into their head that they want to make games. But there’s a very strong difference between playing games and making games, and the pleasure gained from player experience does not directly mirror that of game creation experience. Hours of coding, of 3D animating, or time spent smashing fists against the keyboard in the periods of "crunch time" where designers, programmers, and artists push themselves through hunger, exhaustion, and and frustration to complete a game on time is not in any sense similar to smashing and bashing heads in Skyrim or smashing into cars in Forza.

But, if one disagrees, highlights the pleasure and satisfaction that comes with the completion of a game, of a creation of work(art), then it becomes in our time period very important to understand just how you’re going to make a living making games.

Step 1: If you’re not making games, start making games.
What does this imply? Do painters, writers, musicians, singers, and athletes perform at their best if they aren’t doing the thing it is that they do? Making the claim of being a writer means nothing if you don’t consistently write. The same goes for making games.

Step 2: Connections & Networking
You may not know it, but so much of the production and design of games relies on cooperation between a very large team. The artists and animators do not live in a separate building and do as they please; they communicate with the designers, to make sure they’re following the design document, they communicate with the programmers, to make sure they are creating within the realms of possibility, and they are communicating with each other, so that they’re all creating the same thing, with the same feeling, and the same soul. If you don’t have communicative skills, you need to acquire some. Can you go introduce yourself to a stranger without your hands shaking? If not, my strongest recommendation is to go get a serving job, or something in the service industry, where you are interacting with customers on a daily people. The way to get good at communicating with people is, shockingly similar to the philosophy behind getting good at games, communicating with people. Investigate local video game communities near you. The IGDA (International Game Design Association) is a national organization within the United States with branches in nearly all major cities.

  • I don't think this topic needs such a long description to explain it's intent or areas of discussion. Something half as long should be able to get the point across. Besides which, I'm sure their must be more than two Steps to making a game and having the right tools at your disposal to do so, whether those be physical, digital, or social tools. And the points you bring up are extremely similar to the production of an animated film or a live-action film, be they a short, a series, or a feature. Also, a discussion like this should include the struggles that a lone programmer will go through to produce a game by themselves with only mild additional help from a few extra artists (who are likely communicating with the lead developer long distance), a composer or sound effects editor, a producer possibly, marketing professionals, so on and so forth: but basically involving only one key creator and programmer who's building the game from the ground up in their own house. FEZ was like this, Undertale was like this. Minecraft was like this I believe. And so was Five Nights At Freddy's 1 through 4. A lot of the same rules apply, but there's far less collaboration going on simply because of each developers particular circumstances. Though whatever the case may be, they all should be capable of collaborating if the opportunity presents itself. – Jonathan Leiter 9 years ago
  • There are a lot of articles and documentaries floating around the internet about this topic, most of which say the same things you are already saying. Firstly, I think you need to make a distinction between indie developing and developing for companies like Naughty Dog or Ubisoft. Both, I believe, ascribe most to your first point, actually making games. Whether you wish to be a programmer or an artist, I think you should highlight the importance of portfolio and practice. One may have to gain experience working on other projects before developing one's own idea. Another large aspect of getting a game traction is to create an interested team and fan base, both of which require inspiring leadership and practical means of accomplishing the end project. – CHRISagi 9 years ago