A Career as a Video Game Designer

Tyler Dardis

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Overview

Video Game Designers are the people who make and design the blueprints and plans of the game they are making.


There isn't just one person making the game. It is composed of a large team, from level creators, to team leaders, they create the code, and also the artistic design of the game. It makes it both interactive and beautiful. They have to write the story, rules and every other aspect of the game. They need to communicate clearly with everyone they are working with to make sure everything works together smoothly and efficiently.


Once again, there are teams of programmers, artists, musicians, etc, all working together to form a game. Whether it be Zelda, the new Call of Duty, or a little indie game that you are releasing from your kickstarter company.

Skills and Interests

As a Video Game Designers you need to be able to communicate, like I said about. You have to be able to both say and listen with everyone in your team to make sure everything works efficiently. Along with that, you need problem solving skills. You have to be able to go around obstacles of coding, and artwork, and being able to realistically create something that is possible. Taking in mind of technology boundaries and all. Finally, you have to be able to manage your time. With deadlines, managing your time so you don't get off schedule is an important skill that you need to possess.


For the artists, you need to be able to visualize, and create something. Whether it be a character, landscape, or story, you need to have that skill of being able to visualize something new, to create something unique to your game. If you aren't able to create something unique your game and ideas won't stand out from the millions of other in the industry.


Helpful High School Courses:


  • Art
  • Computer Programming
  • Creative Writing
  • Drawing and Painting
  • Graphic Design

Working Conditions

As a Video Game Designer, you need to have some interpersonal relationships. Being able to communicate and work together with your workers. By doing that, being able to accomplish tasks in time for deadlines and other reasons. That works along with another condition, which is your performance. You need to be able to perform very efficiently, while being able to control your time and other factors of the work place. You are mostly in front of a computer screen, making models, artwork, and possible code for a game. There isn't much else where you do your work, other than a desk. Finally, the work hours are pretty standard compared to other jobs. There is usually a 40 hour work week, with possible overtime. Along with that, there is usually no travel involved.

Wages and Outlook

Video Game Designers usually get paid on average, in Minnesota, $70,810. On the high end, they get paid around $92,020. Once again, they have possibilities for overtime, so pay may vary that way.


The growth in this industry is very high, with the boom of the computer and technological industry, video games and their designers have boomed as well. With Minnesota marked as "very high" in growth, there is many new job openings in this area.


Hourly Wage $34.47

Salary Wage $70,810

Related Occupations

The careers listed below are similar to the career of a video game designer:


  • Animators and Multimedia Artists
  • Art Directors
  • Computer Designers
  • Computer Programmers
  • Graphic Designers

Program of Study - Animation, Video Graphics, Special Effects

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Overview

This program of study includes things from Animation, Art in general, to computer graphics, and even film graphics. In this program you would be working on the art style, and effects of what a game would look and feel like. The environments, characters, etc.

Admission

Some of the requirements to be applicable for this program include:

General Courses


  • 4 years of English
  • 3 years of Math
  • 3 years of Social Studies
  • 2 years of Science


High School Courses


  • Art
  • Commercial Art
  • Computer Graphics
  • Computer Systems
  • Drawing and Painting

Typical Work Course

You will start to form a portfolio in college, having all the works and projects that you have worked on, so you can show employers, etc. You can also get internships to get on the job, valuable experience.

Related Programs

  • Art and Fine Arts
  • Arts
  • Cinematography and Film production
  • Computer Graphics
  • Game Design
  • Illustrator

Schools that Offer my Program of Study

State Colleges


  • Riverland Community College - Austin/Albert Lea
  • St. Paul College
  • Hennipen Technical College - Eden


Private 4-year College


  • Bethany Lutheran College
  • Minnesota College of Art and Design


Vocational


  • Rasmussen College
  • Minneapolis Media Institute

College Choice - Minnesota College of Art and Design

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College Information

Size and Location - MCAD is located in Minneapolis, and there is about 785 students that go to the MCAD.


Admission Requirements - There is a rolling deadline to May 1st, Priority deadline to February 15th, regular decision deadline April 1st. ACT (between 20-24) or SAT, as well as a 2.5 GPA required, the average is 3.25.


College Expenses - College tuition, along with books, and other costs around $34,146. There is a $50 application fee.


Financial Aid - For Financial Aid, the deadline for the FAFSA forms are March 1st. The scholarships are for both merit based, and need based.


Housing - For housing there is co-ed buildings, full apartments (furnished and un-furnished)


Activities:



  • Choral Groups
  • Drama and Theatre Groups
  • Radio Station
  • Student Government



*There is a total of 38 group activities.

MCAD Pre-College Summer Session—Explore Minneapolis

Informational Interview - Architecture


Briefly record your thoughts and feelings about the workplace and the person you just visited.

-The workplace was very nice and organized. Located in Downtown Mankato, it was a very cool location, especially with the style of the building, being very open with large windows, overlooking the Civic Center, and the river. Jeremy was a very nice guy. Seemed like he really enjoyed his career, and has been at Paulsen Architecture/I & S for 7 years.


What did you learn in the interview?

-Overall, I really did learn what it is like to be an architect. From what they do to how they do it. From the collaboration it takes to get a project done, and everything. It cleared up some confusion about the job as well, which was very helpful for me to know so I know exactly what I will be doing if I do decide to go into that career or something like it. It was a very interesting and information interview that did expand my knowledge on what it is like to be an architect.


What did you like? What didn't you like?

-I really don't think there was anything that I did dislike. It was all interesting, though everything wasn't new to me, a lot of it was. I have never been exposed to that real employee and experienced architect in my life, so it was some very useful, and I don't see anything bad or unlikable about that.


Did you uncover concerns or advantages to this occupation?

-Other than the college education, which is 5 years, plus the steps of being a certified professional (1. Get BA or MA/ 2. Complete internship/ 3. Take 6-7 tests analyzing your knowledge on subjects of architecture.


What advice did you receive?

-His advice was pretty much, if you want to be an architect, goes through that process of certification. From the college education, pluscertification and tests. He said he went to NDSU, and schools like U of M offer Masters for Architecture. After those 5 years at schools like NDSU and U of M, you need to take 2 years of professional certification.


Did you discover another occupation to explore?

-Sort of, but it was very broad. Occupation like graphic designers, and renders are some of them. Mostly all in the artistic realm of occupations.


How was the work environment?

-The environment seemed very modern and new. Along with that, there was a large sense of teamwork and closeness there. With people walking around, meeting with other people, and working as a team. With engineers and architects working together in one building, makes it a very awesome environment.


Do you think you would be happy in this occupation?

-I do think it would be a fun and happy place to work. I am still not sure whether I will actually do this, but I think the interview did make me look even closer into that occupation.

Plans to Reach Your Goals

I believe the best opportunity for me, and the career choice that I chose, would be to go and get my college degree, and after my college education, go find and internship. With that internship, I would be able to learn valuable experience that I don't learn in college. With that on my resume, I might be able to get an entry-level job from there, and with hard work, and good work, I can work myself up the ladder. Both in pay, and responsibility.