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  • Game Design Career Preparation

    [08.30.06]
    - Tom Sloper

  • Follow Your Interests

    InterestsBecome very knowledgeable about the things that interest you. You will never go wrong following your interests. Interested in snowboarding? Great—watch TV shows about snowboarding, read magazines about snowboarding, play snowboarding videogames. Don't just whine about the fact that your college doesn't offer any classes in snowboarding. Get out there and learn about it on your own.
    Which opens one more of my favorite topics:

    "Winning vs. Whining"

    People can be divided into two classes: winners and whiners. Whiners are people who go around constantly complaining about the unfairnesses of life. Winners are people who figure out how to deal with the unfairnesses of life and get what they want in spite of it all.

    Oh, a whiner might win a little victory once in a while, but for the most part he's just a perpetual "victim." Nothing is ever the whiner's fault—bad stuff just seems to always happen to him.

    And a winner might whine once in a while (especially in his/her formative years), but s/he soon realizes there are better (more constructive) uses for his/her time and energy.

    Ask Good Questions

    One last bit of advice about preparing for a design career. By all means, use the internet and chat rooms and bulletin boards—and especially the newsgroups—to learn more about what it takes to get into the game business. Don't be afraid to seek advice, but don't expect all knowledge to be spoon-fed to you. You will have to do your own research. When seeking advice, keep this thought in mind:
    Ask good questions and you'll get good answers.

    Game designers are good communicators. Want good information? Communicate your questions well. A good question contains a lot of information for the advice-giver.

    Here's an example of a bad question: "Any advice you can give me?"

    That's a bad question because the asker didn't request specific advice. And the potential advice-giver doesn't know what the asker is looking for. My typical answer to this question is, "Yeah. Learn to ask better questions. Have a nice day, now!"

    A good question involves equal effort by both parties. A seeker who asks "give me advice," or "tell me all about making games," is being lazy. The lazy seeker is asking the advisor to work harder than the seeker does – which not only puts the advisor on the spot but makes the advisor suspect that the seeker may not even listen to what is said!

    You can ask questions at the Game Career Guide Community or directly to Tom Sloper at his Q&A Bulletin Board.

    © Tom Sloper 2000-2004

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