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Old 09-26-2010, 09:39 PM   #1
DennisPeckham
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Default Dead man walking?

(If too long, skip down.)

I'll cut to the chase. I'm a Senior in High School, and I just got off a huge Saturday to Sunday article marathon on this site.

I'm conflicted, to say the least.

After reading pages of pages on positions, I came to the conclusion that maybe I'm cut out for Game Designer. I have some cool ideas and I can develop ideas. But then... the, uh, "job outlook" if you will, hit me.

"Nooo don't do thaaaat. Nobody eveeer geets that joooob."
Okay, fine. I have drive. I have the will of the warrior. As long as I get my game degree at the Art Institutes then I should-
"Game Degree? Maaaaan, forget thaaat noise. It's all about diversifying yourself and a reeeeal degree maaaan. Computer Science, Programming. Hissstory."
"What? No, don't listen to him. You should be okay. As long as you have connections and the passion, you can do anything."
"Psssh. Nooo. Program. They're hungry for thaaat."
"Huh? No, Design. It's what he wants."
"Nooo, he'll die out there on level 1-1."
"Design."
"All about the 'Graaam."

Now these damn two parrots won't shut up. I've cobbled everything up from the past two days, and now I'm full-on panic mode.

I could Program, and hey, I could work up onto Design. I've grasped some of the basics of programming. But I want to design. Been wanting, I just didn't know that's what it's called. But some people here make it feel like I'm crazy.

"Designer, no skills outside that, and game degree? Heh, dead man walking."

I'm dead set on this. Maybe I could get into comic books, but how many people get known in that industry? How many writers do you know? A handful or two? And how many Game Designers do you know? Too many to count.

Yeah, I want to be a designer because that's what I've been looking up to. But ultimately I want to be known.

And I understand how worse that makes it.

So, in summation:
An aspiring designer with no other game making skills going to get a game degree.
Dead man walking? Or over dramatic teenage angst?

I'm going to lie down now. I feel dizzy...

Last edited by DennisPeckham : 09-26-2010 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 09-27-2010, 06:14 AM   #2
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(If too long, skip down.)
[skipped]
So, in summation:
An aspiring designer with no other game making skills going to get a game degree.
Dead man walking?
Skill-impaired design aspirants are advised to break in through QA. http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson5.htm
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Old 09-27-2010, 07:35 AM   #3
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I've spent the last month looking into The Art Institutes myself, I scoured the website, i've been on the phone with the Assistant Admissions Director constantly, I went to the Open House and most recently I even went to a Portfolio Presentation day to see exactly what the seniors were coming out of the school able to make as well as talking to some of them about job prospects.

After all that I decided the 90K tuition was not worth it, in fact the tuition would have to be at community college levels for me to even consider it at this point.

I don't say any of that to discourage you just to encourage you to do a ton of research before you pick a school, any school.

The reason you feel like you are getting such conflicting arguments is because there is no one clear cut path into game design. It really and truly comes down to who YOU are, what YOU want out of life and a career in games, any career, and what your interests and abilities are.

Sure there are "easier" or "more straightforward" ways into gaming but just as one example of a roundabout way I have a friend who has a degree in Creative Writing. He got a job as a receptionist at a game studio and during the first year spent his spare time making mods and showing his work to coworkers. After a year a junior level designer position opened up and they offered it to him.

Also keep in mind if you have never messed around with programming, have not picked up a free game/level editor or modeling software then you probably don't even know if you will enjoy it.
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:45 AM   #4
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Also keep in mind if you have never messed around with programming, have not picked up a free game/level editor or modeling software then you probably don't even know if you will enjoy it.
Quoted for truth.
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:04 PM   #5
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Hmm... Yes, I understand that I don't even know I like making games... but I've messed around in Construct and RPGmaker. Uh... that's not too kiddy, is it?

And I've reviewed some things, like price tags (how in the HELL did I miss $90,000?) and how I've reacted to tasks in the past. Given how much I love exp grinding in MMO's, I don't think there's a job out there that can bore me.

I also did this brain storming exercise, and from the results I'm at least cut out for coming up with ideas. I took some mechanics, asked how they would work... got a whole page from two ideas only by asking questions.

I'm competent at drawing characters. I've been drawing... for at least seven years now.

And recently I started on the basics of C++. The results haven't gotten me enthused, but I can stand it. I can imagine loving it once I actually got good.

So I was thinking of getting into a Programming course in college, getting some job programming games, and then switching over to Designer when I'm ready. I could experiment in UDK and FlashDevelop while I'm in college and hopefully make some games before I even graduate. In my off time I could hone my skills in art.

I'm thinking, if I do this right, I could become some freakish triple-threat. Is this a reasonable goal?


(Wait... dude. Looking back at my first post, it made me sound like I'm a talentless hack. Sorry for dragging your chains.)

Last edited by DennisPeckham : 09-27-2010 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 09-27-2010, 02:01 PM   #6
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I also did this brain storming exercise, and from the results I'm at least cut out for coming up with ideas. I took some mechanics, asked how they would work... got a whole page from two ideas only by asking questions.
I don't understand what all that means.

As for the rest, from the way you are describing your dabbling in various areas it looks like you haven't found an area that gets, or holds, your interest. It's pretty common for people who like to play games to decide they want to "design" games. Being the person who comes up with a cool game idea and then tells other people how to make it according to their plan is not a position you go to school for, it's a position you earn. Or, it's a position you get because you made your own company or are making your own games, which takes a lot more than just a good idea.

Don't worry about trying to be a "triple threat" for now, first you need to find out if there is even a single area you enjoy enough to make it a job and work to become a "threat" in that area.
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:30 PM   #7
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I'm thinking, if I do this right, I could become some freakish triple-threat. Is this a reasonable goal?
Except for the "freakish triple-threat" part, I suppose. But why bother asking if your goal is reasonable or not? Just pursue your passions.
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Old 09-27-2010, 05:48 PM   #8
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Ah! I move too fast. I have to fix that.

And about the "reasonable" thing... I guess I was looking for a second opinion for something I need to do myself. That's where I went astray.

But I'd like to say, hey, I've learned a lot nonetheless. After taking in a few opinions that I mistook for fact, my confidence kind of wavered. I think... I think I have it all straightened out now.

I hope I haven't confused any of you guys too much. Thanks, and hopefully I won't do something like this again.
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Old 09-27-2010, 09:25 PM   #9
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After taking in a few opinions that I mistook for fact, my confidence kind of wavered. I think... I think I have it all straightened out now.
Good. Now go forth and learn whatever you want to learn, young Jedi.
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