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Old 04-07-2008, 06:21 PM   #1
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Default Game Design vs Programming..?

To put it bluntly, my dream job is designing games.

I was repeatedly dealt bad hands during my high school years. I was forced to move a lot and there were only a handful of geeks here and there. The only tech-related class I was fortunate enough to get involved with was a small AutoCAD course. While most of my classmates were goofing off and checking their MySpace profiles, I was off in the corner modeling a Gundam...after completing the required assignment of course. While I didn't learn much at school, all I ever did at home was mess with programming languages.

I know the basics of object-oriented programming and I'm not too shabby at writing my own software. Though to me learning to write in any language is more like learning to speak Spanish rather than learning long division for the first time. But, I guess working with the professionals means I would have to crank up my math skills.

I love tinkering with things. I love stringing together mini-games and plot devices to form coherent stories. I have notebooks full of the stuff. The thing is, that's what I love to do the most. I like designing games rather than programming them. Math isn't my selling point either. While I'm not brain dead and retarded when it comes to numbers, crunching them just doesn't seem that all that appealing to me. I wouldn't want to make a career out of it.

I graduated from high school last year and I'm looking around for a college that suits my needs. I'm just not sure which "career path" I'm supposed to take; I can assure you it isn't Blockbuster Clerk. I'm not out to make the most money, I just want to make games. What are my options?
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:11 PM   #2
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What type of things do you do to design games? Level design? Story Writing? World design? Casual games? Content development? Character design? 3D modelling? Modding?

Math doesn't have as much as an emphasis as some people believe, although it is useful in most fields. Personally, I find things like networks, pathfinding, data structures, FSMs and predicate logic really easy and fun, so I'm aiming for a career in AI. When it comes to physics and graphics, my skills are...lets say lacking! I also enjoy making mod tools, that are usually just utilities and file design which requires little math until you get into packing and compression (which I usually use libraries for anyway) - ie. Tools Programming.

If you wanted to go the programming route, I would personally reccomend a conventional Computer Science degree. However, since you don't really like math, this may not be the best option. You really have to love programming to get along because the bar is so high now. Scripting is another option you may wish to investigate.

There are alot of articles on this website that cover information on different roles and traditional entry routes. I would suggest browsing through them before making any decisions.
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:50 AM   #3
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I actually have the same question. I'm a senior in high school this year with no experience in either the artistic, nor the programming side of game design(my high school has very limited opprotunities). Though I have decided that some form of Game Design is what i want to do.

I'm going to Ohio University next year, who has an excellent program for Computer Science, but they also have a Digital Media: Special Effects, Games, and Animation major as well. Though my dream is to be a level designer, I almost want to go into the computer science major just to have a backup plan in case my game design career path doesn't work out. With computer science i could have more job security, but with the Digital media, I could be doing what i want to do. I just don't know if the risk will be worth it.
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:16 AM   #4
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Yes,I'm a freshman in the high school and my dream is becoming a programmer and I know I have to love math.A user suggested a conventional computer science degree for programmers.Is that really enough?
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spookifire View Post
I actually have the same question. I'm a senior in high school this year with no experience in either the artistic, nor the programming side of game design(my high school has very limited opprotunities). Though I have decided that some form of Game Design is what i want to do.

I'm going to Ohio University next year, who has an excellent program for Computer Science, but they also have a Digital Media: Special Effects, Games, and Animation major as well. Though my dream is to be a level designer, I almost want to go into the computer science major just to have a backup plan in case my game design career path doesn't work out. With computer science i could have more job security, but with the Digital media, I could be doing what i want to do. I just don't know if the risk will be worth it.
If you do do the Digital Media course, what is stopping you from pursing a job that deals with special effects and animation outside the games industry? Why does the backup have to be programmer related? Why can't it be art related?
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:39 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by publicinvasion View Post
Yes,I'm a freshman in the high school and my dream is becoming a programmer and I know I have to love math.
No you don't, you just have to understand it and know how to apply it.

Quote:
A user suggested a conventional computer science degree for programmers.Is that really enough?
It can be enough but to make yourself stand out, you should be working on projects in your spare time outside the curriculum to show in your portfolio.
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:14 PM   #7
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Question

I have the same question.. not sure how may people or if anyone at all is reading this thread anymore.. but what I also want to clearify is my intent on working in the game industry, and what would suit me best.

I am an artist. I want to draw, design characters/plots/storyline, storyboard, modeling and concept art.


I want to emphasize story design, and all aspects of art, when considering game design.


so.. would that encompass anything to do with math? I as well am not very affluent in that subject.. and I really don't believe I could be.

I have a strong will to design and conceptualize things. Anything (but especially) writing the story and developing/drawing characters/objects/worlds/etc fits as my cup of tea.


Any suggestions/comments for me to consider?

I assume "game designer/artist" would best accommodate my needs

Last edited by SeCALPHA1 : 06-11-2008 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:35 AM   #8
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so.. would that encompass anything to do with math? I as well am not very affluent in that subject.. and I really don't believe I could be.
Yes I'm affraid it would... You would be asked for say 10 character sketches, and would have to utilize a mathematical forumla to work out how many you need to do, based on the number you require and how many you have already completed.

Otherwise... no why would it? Programming needs maths knowledge, because the game needs to work out what to draw that way, but artists just need to be artistic (and follow the instructions for creating assets in the correct format).

I feel the need to emphasise what Yaustar said earlier, since there's a lot of the idea that "You need to be a mathematical god to do programming", but that's not necessarily the case. You don't have to be able to work out the square root of 530,490 by hand. You just need to know when to tell the program to do it.
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Old 06-12-2008, 05:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeCALPHA1 View Post
I assume "game designer/artist" would best accommodate my needs
Yes! If you love art, then gun for an artist's position.

Depending on the specific role, you may need some knowledge of scripting and/or software packages (ie. Maya, Lightwave, etc.), but that would by no means require any mathematical background.
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Old 06-12-2008, 01:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Adrir View Post
Yes! If you love art, then gun for an artist's position.

Depending on the specific role, you may need some knowledge of scripting and/or software packages (ie. Maya, Lightwave, etc.), but that would by no means require any mathematical background.
This is exactly what I was talking about.


I have a light background with general scripting, and haven't had the chance to use much of anything beyond MS3D (Maya 8 i'm saving for ;] )

but otherwise, its all design, art, and modeling for me.


Claxon, thanks for your input as well. You both helped me out a lot with questions and concerns I've had to deal with for quite some time.

Getting into the gaming inustry isn't relatively difficult to understand; it's the specific roles that encompass game production thats seems to be much more vague to most.
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