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Old 03-15-2011, 08:49 AM   #1
Dodo
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Default Specialization vs Generalization

I'd really like to become game designer. I read whole bunch of topics (from here, gamasutra, sloperame and some blogs) and I saw whole bunch of videos (some good stuff on the escapist). And from what I read and heard, game designer must have wide spectrum of knowledge from every possible part of education (programing, art, psychology, history, politics, sound design, etc.). Therefore, it seems to me, that is impossible to become master in all of these branches of knowledge . So should be game designer som kind of Jack of all trades? Or should i still develop my knowledge in one branch more than it other's? It's helpfull for aspiring game designer to have mastered one skill above others? Or it's better to stick to pure variety of skills? Or even otherwise, should game designer be master of all abilities? Decisions, decisions...
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:40 AM   #2
tsloper
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Default Jack of all trades, master of none

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodo View Post
1. from what I read and heard, game designer must have wide spectrum of knowledge from every possible part of education (programing, art, psychology, history, politics, sound design, etc.). Therefore, it seems to me, that is impossible to become master in all of these branches of knowledge .
2. So should be game designer som kind of Jack of all trades?
3. Or should i still develop my knowledge in one branch more than it other's?
4. It's helpfull for aspiring game designer to have mastered one skill above others?
5. Or it's better to stick to pure variety of skills?
6. Or even otherwise, should game designer be master of all abilities?
7. Decisions, decisions...
8.
Hello Do.

1. Yes, you don't have to be a MASTER of all that knowledge. You need to have a wide base of knowledge. Those articles are not suggesting you have to be a Renaissance Man.

2. Yes. Some kind.

3. Yes. You should.

4. See answer #3 above.

5. No, that would be crazy-making.

6. See answer #1 above.

7. When you have a decision to make, make a decision grid.

8. When you are lacking the knowledge to make a complete decision grid, you can spend a bit of effort to try to gain that knowledge (get those answers). Some questions, however, can never be fully satisfactorily answered, in which case you have to make your decision based on what knowledge you do have -- and also on your own interests, abilities, passions.
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:40 PM   #3
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As a friend of many graduate students of development-related degrees (and to some extent, personal experience hunting internships), I can say that one of their most common laments is that over-generalization lost their job opportunity to a guy specialized in the field.

When you go to a company's website and check out their job listings, you'll never find one for a "Red Mage." In video game terms, raiding parties look for tanks who are good at tanking and DPSers who are good at DPSing; they already have the other position covered.

Given that, there's definitely something to be said about the designer who can communicate to the programmer or the programmer who can communicate with an artist. And most lead designers I've had the great fortune of meeting worked their way up from a programming position.
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:20 PM   #4
Dodo
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Thank you for your comments. I'm going to do some research on my options and then make decision grid. I'm glad to hear that programming is good skill to start with (as i like mathematics and logic).
But i'm willing to learn other stuff too. This article is very inspiring: Becoming a Level Designer and Enviroment Artist
Right now my biggest concern is time (i know, i know, stupid concern) and then pile of smaller concerns sticked together (like finance, my knowledge of English, contacts, location, no specialized college in my neighborhood, etc.)
But asi i said (wrote) a will do reasearch on my options...
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:27 PM   #5
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I think you have missed one critical part of the puzzle. Business Education. For example I'm a business major, but have a computer science degree (with lots of programing), and have spent time doing everything from drawing games to making garb (apparently I'm a natural at sewing). This wide experience is not impossible as long as it's about a topic you are interested in. If you are passionate about your topic (say fantasy based live action role playing games) ever little aspect will become easy to learn about.

Fortunately you do not need to master every possible subtopic. It takes 10,000 hours of legitimate practice to master a single topic. It is not possible in a human life to master more than a few things (unless your brilliant). BUT it is very handy to have general knowledge of lots of things.

I'm jumping in to this computer design thing before my business degree is even complete, and I have tons of new things to bring to the topic of creating games. I have an editors credit for a book, I though I new stuff about making games for nothing.

Get some specific knowledge in one area. Find a team of people who have skills in the areas you lack, and jump in. For me as an example check zorts.com We may burn out and die. Or we may burn brightly. I have no idea. But finding out is fun!
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