Being a game designer requires complex knowledge of program coding. Some game design enthusiasts are capable of writing fantastic scenarios, executing CG (computer generated) character designs, splicing music for their games, on top of an impeccable command of the programming language. Sounds like a tough order? It definitely is and a video game designer salary in the range of $60k per month for beginners is not uncommon.
When you start out as a video game designer, it is a good start to learn how to be an all-rounder. This lets you gain experience on which areas you like best in being a game designer. Some casual game designers like working in teams to bounce off ideas with each other. This allows them to tap on each other’s skills and grow in their own preferred expertise. The most obvious disadvantage to this setup would be to overcome differences and agree on compromises to satisfy all parties.
Others however, prefer to go solo in favor of being the one calling the shots. As an individual game designer, you do not have to coordinate with someone from a different time zone, take orders from anyone, nor tolerate anyone else’s offensive behavior. The downside of course, is that the solo designer has to take up the project by himself entirely. And therefore, will require strong knowledge and understanding in they key elements that make a game.
There are two types of game designer jobs – those who work in teams, and those who work alone. In this article, I will focus on explaining the path of game designer career. I am talking about joining the leagues of companies like Asiasoft, Square Enix and Blizzard here. It is best to get experience by working with a team of experts first before you venture off on your own.
If you want to take on game designing as your profession, here are three steps you need to do:
Step 1: Find out which Areas you Want to Specialize In
The efforts of many professionals are needed to make popular video games. Despite a team effort that can balloon up to hundreds of people, these professionals clock in a lot of work hours to make these games happen. Remember the boring list of names that you see in a game’s ending credits? That is about as many related job positions that are available for you to choose from.
You can choose to be a designer specializing in character design, level designing or even CG animation. If you prefer writing tales and legends, focus on your scenario writing skills, quest writing and character development. Be a programmer if you want the task of putting it all together with complex coding skills.
Tip: A good way to find out what you need to know is to search for your dream job online and look for the job description. Find out what you will need to do and learn it well.
Step 2: Create your Portfolio
From here, you can either choose to go solo or work in a team. You do not technically have to write an entire game on your own, but make some works to showcase your best ability. It can be a riot games scenario, a 5 minute demo for a visual novel, sketches, renders or CG artwork.
Prepare around five samples of your best work and start sending them out to game companies looking for interns.
Step 3: Mail out Applications to Game Companies for Experience!
The fastest way to learn the ropes as a game designer is to get experience from an existing game company. You will learn how a game is produced from start, what expertise is involved and how you fit into the industry as an individual.
Run a quick search online for game companies in your country that are hiring. Sending those companies your cover letter, résumé and portfolio will give you a good start on getting an internship at the company. Even if they are not hiring, sending them your particulars can let them consider you as a potential candidate for future open positions.