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Video Game Design - Do You Have What It Takes To Design Games?

May 22, 2008
If you're an avid video gamer and while sitting at home playing your favorite game, you think to yourself, "I could do this better", video game design might be the perfect job for you someday. But there are some key skills you'll need to have before you can enter the field and truly make an impact on the video game market. Here's a description of the most important ones.


Everything you see in a video game is boiled down to 0s and 1s, the basics of programmers everywhere. If you decide to aim for this job, you'd better start early. Programming is the building block of any good video game design job. If you're great with numbers, better with details, and don't mind spending long hours staring at a computer screen looking for a missing line of code, programming is a great place for you in video game design.

You'll need to learn a combination of three to five different programming languages to be really successful in this job, so you'd better be prepared for a lot of work. While C++ is the groundwork for any programming job, you'll also be learning Java and Visual Basic to supplement it.

Most video game design uses a combination of whatever works in a given situation to get the job done. If you're in high school though, interested in a job in video game design and programming, you should try your hardest to take courses in or learn C++ as preparation.

Story Writing/Game Theory

For every good video game, there's someone (or many someones) whose job it is to write the story and develop the ideas for the game. You might think this sounds simple, having sat in your basement telling your friends how much better you could do at writing the ending for a particular game. But there's just as much schooling to get a job writing or brainstorming ideas in video game design as coding.

For writers, you'd better get a decent degree in creative writing or English. Most video game design jobs require at least a Bachelors degree in English to apply for a story writing job. Second, they want experience, so start early, working on projects in school, taking specific courses in Game Theory and developing long story lines for use in video game design projects.

Your job will be writing dialogue, script and concepts for a massive world with hours of interaction. You'd better have a decent idea of how you're going to do that.

Computer Animation

The face of video game design, the job that everyone thinks of when they envision their future designing video games, is computer animation. First off, you'll need to still learn the programming languages of your programming coworkers. This job requires a lot of different skills, many of which are programming languages. So C++ had better be on your resume along with Maya, 3DS Max, and a handful of other image rendering mega-software.

Video game design courses are perfect for the potential Computer Animator as well, as you'll learn how to operate vast, high tech computers and machinery and utilize the newest software in doing so.

Computer Animation requires not only the technical expertise of a programmer, but the visual, artistic mastery of a story writer or sketch artist. This job requires the best of both worlds in the video game design industry.

There are plenty of jobs for all different skill levels in video game design. If you're capable of writing a good story, drawing a decent picture, or remembering vast strings of numbers, you can find a job in game design. It's all about where you'll best fit in.
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