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Old 11-28-2010, 05:58 PM   #1
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1. Where should I start?
2. Or is there any luck that U.S. companies will actually accept me for a starter level job?
3. Or should I actually design a big game write a 1k page report
4. and try my luck getting some company to show interest in it?
5. Or should I try getting my masters degree in software or "another program you suggest" in the U.S. ?
1. Start by doing more reading:
2. No.
3. You should definitely write designs. But read about the portfolio "unsolicited submission" problem at
4. No.
5. Go for a Masters IF YOU WANT TO.
And do it wherever you can or is appropriate.
But a Masters degree is not necessary. Just break in however you can.
Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.

PLEASE do not use this website's PM feature to contact me.

Last edited by yaustar : 01-22-2014 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 11-28-2010, 10:17 PM   #2

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Make no mistake: getting into the games industry through design (or production) is near possible. However, I'm living proof that it can be done.

The #1 thing that you should understand is that designing games is not a game. A lot of people get so enthralled by how awesome video games are that they think the work that goes into them is equally incredible. An equivalent would be that McDonald's French Fries taste so awesome, therefore making them must be so awesome. The reality is that making games is a brutal job that entails countless hours of work at a sub-par pay rate.

If you want to be a designer, the #1 thing you should do is design games. It's that easy. There are tons of free (or near free) tools at your disposal. There is absolutely nothing stopping you from designing your own games. Part of the reason that so many individual game studio's exist is that the entry-cost for gaming id so low. Just to go through a few examples of things you could be doing.
- Warcraft 3 Map Editor. DotA started here, and it's one of the greatest games to date.
- Starcraft 2 Map Editor. You can get featured on the front page and get several thousand downloads.
- World of Warcraft add-ons. Design UI elements.
- Steam Hammer. Design Counter Strike or Team Fortress 2 levels. There are continual contests each month for fantastic designs. Make those.
- XNA Studio is free at most universities. You can program your own game.
- OpenGL is an industry standard. Again, make your own game.
- iPhone games are easy to design and produce. $99 at most Universities, assuming you have a Mac already.
- Droid games are even easier (free to program).

There's absolutely 0 excuse for not doing these. If you say "well, I don't really enjoy that," then you don't want to be a designer. Those above things are what designers are paid to do. If you don't enjoy doing it, then this industry isn't for you.

-I am in fact a skilled programmer but too lazy to learn the languages. So I didn't make too much progress in that field.
You're not a skilled programmer, trust me. If you can't learn new languages in hours, you have no idea what programming is. And if you're "too lazy" to learn the languages, you're never going to make it into the industry. Gaming has a way of quickly weeding out the "lazy gamers" who thought it would be cool to dream about video games rather than putting in real work.

Just to give you an idea of what worked for me:
- I made 4 World of Warcraft add-ons. One is the #1 in its category and over 15,000 downloads. If I were "too lazy" to learn Lua and XML, languages that are extremely rare in the gaming industry, this wouldn't have happened.
- I made 2 stand-alone PC games on the XNA platform, complete with installers. Again, "too lazy" would have eliminated me from the pool.
- I've written a blog that now contains over 200,000 words (2x the size of the average American novel) and over 1,000 daily readers . "Too lazy" doesn't give you an excuse when you have readers (or customers) that demand regular entries.
- I'm the guild leader of the #55 World of Warcraft guild in the United States.
- I competed (past tense) in Starcraft and WoW arena's at a national level.
- I'm graduating with a degree at an elite university.

A master's degree will do absolutely nothing for you. If you're asking "how can I be a designer" while playing 315 Warcraft 3 hours, I think you're lacking the passion, not degree.

Last edited by MAEnthoven : 11-28-2010 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:28 AM   #3

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My suggestion is to first try to complete a project, and there are several reasons I say that.

- A good portion of what most game designers do every day is make sure things are completed. If you can't discipline yourself to finish your own projects, no one is going to pay you money to make sure their projects get finished.
- The pool of aspiring game design/development candidates is full of people who come up with lots of 'ideas.' Ideas are worthless - execution is everything. One person with one idea properly executed is worth more than a thousand people with a million 'great ideas.'
- Completing a project may show you how much more there is completing a game than you are probably aware of. The point where you feel your game is about 80% done is when you are probably about halfway done, if that far. You'd be surprised how much more this is to most of the projects that you started.

My advice to anyone that wants to get into game development is to get the phrase 'Game Designer' out of your head. It's the single most unrealistic goal in the entire industry for most established developers, let alone someone new to the field.
__________________ - Random Thoughts About Virtual Worlds

Last edited by Osmethne : 11-29-2010 at 05:52 AM.
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:47 PM   #4
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Pick one language to learn. Python, Processing (Java for artists), pure Java, Game Maker script, C, C++, Ruby, PHP, Actionscript, etc...I don't care which one you choose.

Choose one of following depending on the amount of free time you have per week:

1) A simple 2D platformer.
2) A simple 2D top down shooter.
3)A simple 2D point and click adventure game.
4) A simple text adventure.

Just make a game by yourself. It can have crappy open source music/images if you just want to be a programmer/designer. Give yourself a deadline of 2-3 weeks. Talk about your progress with friends frequently so you feel guilty if you have no new progress to brag about. Then make another game in that same language you just picked. Repeat.

When you feel ready to take on another language, make sure you have a vague idea of how you'll do it in the language you first chose. That way, if the code overhead gets to much, you can always default back to a language you feel comfortable with and still get something playable.
-[FONT="Trebuchet MS"]Sharon Hoosein[/FONT]
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:07 AM   #5
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Hey Matthew, cool post!

From the stuff you posted and your CV I cannot understand how you EVER come outside your door though. All your occupations are so time-consuming you would need almost two human lives.

Also, I don't think being a "guild leader" or "competing on national levels" for world of warcraft are good things to mention here, because they'd rather mark you as a gamer instead of worker.

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