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  • Game Design Career Preparation

    - Tom Sloper

  • Courses for Game Designers

    Here's a list of things you must study (as classes, not necessarily as majors):

    o Physics
    o Math
    o Psychology
    o History
    o Drawing / Painting / Sculpture (learn how to make your own art)
    o Music Appreciation
    o Writing
    o Literature
    o Mythology
    o Foreign language (any language that interests you; especially one from a country where there are game developers)
    o Computers (even if you want to design board games)
    o Acting
    o Playwriting / Screenwriting
    o Film Appreciation
    o Public Speaking / Debate
    o Marketing / Salesmanship
    o Management / Leadership (especially, how to inspire and manage people)

    The above subjects are necessary if you are going to design games—you need to understand what makes the world work and what makes games fun. What should you major in? That's up to you. Probably one of the above, but your passions should be your guide.

    Game designers are, above all, effective communicators and storytellers. Don't sleep through your writing, acting, and speaking classes.

    Additional Subjects

    It would also be good if you study some of these things too:

    o Music (learn how to play an instrument)
    o Geology
    o Astronomy
    o Paleontology / Archeology
    o Ethnic Studies
    o Biology
    o Art History
    o Radio / TV
    o Drama / Film
    o Business
    o Fencing or karate (some kind of one-on-one martial art)
    o Archery
    o Sports (try lots of different sports; find one that you enjoy and get good at it)
    o Crafts (learn how to make stuff with your hands and simple tools)

    The point is that game designers, as creators of worlds for players to inhabit, need to have a solid understanding of what worlds are made of. They are not just made of stone, metal, dirt, and water—they are also made of people with an extensive body of knowledge.

    One day you're going to be having lunch with some guys from a game company. If they start talking about the parts of a... flower, say, then you don't want to be sitting there with a blank look on your face when they're punning about a "pistil-packin' mama" or something.

    It's unlikely any game designers are actually going to get raucous over flower parts, but you get the point. Get a good education.

    © Tom Sloper 2000-2004


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