Do you love playing video games? Does the idea of creating a career in the game industry excite you? If you have a passion for the virtual universe of video games and see yourself participating in the creation of digital games, you’re in the right place!
Read on as we uncover the path to building a career in video game design and video game designer job outlook.
What Do Video Game Designers Do?
Before you start looking for courses in game design or development, it is important to understand what a game designer does. Simply put, game designers are responsible for a wide array of functions that culminate into the final product. Broadly speaking, these may include:
- Conceptualization: Thinking of novel ideas for a video game and developing them into a marketable concept or pitch.
- Scripting and storyboarding: Putting the concept down on paper and creating a comprehensive narrative for the game, including the detailed storyline and what roles each character or object is expected to play.
- Design: Creating the various aspects of video gameplay from scratch, including characters, environments, props, levels, etc., using a variety of tools and software.
- Collaboration: Partnering with different teams, artists, technicians, and game programmers to ensure that the game concept is brought to life according to the community plan.
A game designer is involved in the entire process in different capacities – from a video game’s inception to the completion of the final product.
Careers in Video Game Design
The video game industry is a fantastic avenue for creative professionals and young technicians to create a long-term career, especially within the United States. The entertainment and multimedia domain offers rewarding career opportunities to those who have the right credentials.
The average salary for video game designers, according to PayScale, is $64,800. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this is a ballpark figure. The pay would largely depend upon factors like your:
- Educational qualifications
- Skills and proficiencies
- Number of years of experience in the game industry
- Employer (type of company)
- Specific role
As the industry continues to evolve further, specialists are becoming more and more sought after. Some of the most coveted roles in this domain include:
- Video Game Designer
- Storyboarding Artist
- Character Designer
- Modeling and Texturing Specialist
- 2D/3D Animation Artist
- Game Environment Designer
- Level Designer
- Game UI Designer
- Technical Designer
While each role requires distinct skill sets and capabilities, you can begin building your foundation with a degree in video game design.
Want to learn more about the various career opportunities in video game design? Read this career guide now!
How to Become a Video Game Designer?
Video game design jobs usually require formal training in the subject, practical exposure, and some experience in the field. Most employers would typically need you to have a degree in video game design. It also helps if you have a natural flair for creative arts like drawing and sketching.
Over the past two decades, several universities and colleges have added video game-specific courses to their roster for a good reason. The game industry is evolving rapidly, and there is a huge demand for qualified professionals across job functions in this domain.
Perks to learning the trade at a reputed institution has a host of benefits:
- You get to learn from experienced faculty members with relevant industry experience.
- Video game design degree courses are comprehensive in nature to arm you with a solid foundation in the subject.
- You get access to industry-standard game creation tools and software.
- Video game design programs provide a good blend of theoretical and practical training.
- You can explore internship opportunities both during and after completing the program.
If you are serious about a career in this domain, getting a degree in video game design will help you break into the field.
New England Institute of Technology offers two types of degree programs to students who wish to pursue a career in game design:
Associate Degree Program in Video Game Design
This course has been meticulously designed to offer aspirants a complete under
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standing of how games are created. The associate degree curriculum includes subjects like:
- Game Development
- Digital Graphics for Gaming
- 2D Asset Creation
- Storyboarding and Design
- 3D Modeling
- Visual Communications
- UI/UX Design Principles
- Level Design
- Game Studio
- Applied Math for Business
This program can be completed in 18 months and opens up a wide range of career options in game design, animation, and digital media production industry.
Bachelor’s Degree Program in Video Game Design
The bachelor’s degree is meant to equip aspirants with the right set of skills required for intermediate-level careers in the field of game design. Some of the key concepts and subjects covered under this program are:
- Advanced Animation
- Advanced 3D Modeling
- Video Game Designing
- Digital Sculpting
- Game Analytics
- Virtual Reality (VR) Development
- Advanced Texturing
- Motion Capture
- 3D Scripting and Advanced Rigging
- Game Engines
This degree program is split into six terms and can be completed within 18 months.
Complementary Skills and Requirements for a Career in Video Game Design
Apart from a formal education, it is also essential that you have a strong portfolio when applying for jobs. It is important to choose a college that will help you build a great portfolio while you study. A rich and relevant portfolio that describes your practical experience can create a good first impression on prospective employers. While experience in the industry is not necessarily a prerequisite for an entry-level job in game design, it gives you an edge over your peers. This is where an internship experience can give you a head start on the competition!
You can decorate your video game design portfolio with diverse projects like:
- Novel game ideas, concepts, and illustrations
- Mini-games for mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.)
- Animated videos that explain fresh gaming concepts
- Character sketches and environment illustrations
- Game demos
Let’s take a look at some of the other skills and qualities that can help you get ahead in the field:
- Art: As mentioned above, good drawing and sketching skills can give you a leg up since the game design process begins with an idea, which is then converted into a detailed storyboard.
- Imagination: Being imaginative and having the ability to think out of the box are great qualities for someone who wishes to become a game designer.
- Tech friendliness: The game industry is replete with cutting-edge tools and ultramodern software. Being comfortable with new technology is a definite advantage.
- Love for gaming: Having a natural liking for games of different types and exposure to a wide variety of digital games can help you understand the game design process better.
- Problem-solving: Critical thinking abilities are extremely important for designing games, since the process may involve lots of challenges and roadblocks along the way.
- Communication: Game creation is a largely collaborative process since it involves multiple professionals and teams working together to create the end product. Having excellent communication skills can help make this collaboration easy and efficient.
According to the Princeton Review, New England Institute of Technology is among the top 15 colleges for video game design. A preferred choice for those who want to make their mark in the gaming, electronic entertainment and simulation industry, NEIT’s is known for its:
- All-encompassing video game design degree curriculum
- State-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities
- Game development clubs and networks
- Exciting and fun student life
- Experienced faculty members and instructors
- Focus on practical training and project work
- Small class sizes (good student-instructor ratio)
- Financial assistance and scholarships
If you see yourself creating the next hit in the video game industry, you’ll want to get your start here at NEIT. Learn how you can begin your journey towards designing user-centric, iterative and agile video games using core game design concepts, game engines and other industry-standard tools.
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