Posted in Career Insights

how to become a video game designerVideo games are fun, complex, and profitable. For many, especially those with a bit of programming knowledge and a flair for the artistic, video game designing can be a great career.

But what are the steps to achieving that goal? Many people want to know how to become a video game designer—how to take a concept and turn it into a functioning game that people can play on their personal computers or home consoles.

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a game designer, there are a few ways to achieve that goal.

Here is how to become a video game designer.

Independent Route

It has never been easier to bring an independent game to fruition or to make money doing it. Even the consoles have become more accepting of independently-created games like Limbo, Braid, and Minecraft. PC is always open to games from independent developers.

To make an independent game, you just need to know how to program a game in a common language. You can create the game on your own or with a small team.

A great upside to the independent route is that many people who put together a successful indie game end up being able to write their own ticket to a job at a AAA game company, whether they have a college degree or not.

For this route, as long as you can program and your code is functional, it often doesn’t matter if you have a degree or not. Results can speak louder than certificates and degrees.

College Route

As video games became more popular, colleges began to offer courses in game design, level design, and even video game art.

This created a new route to video game designing: a college course.
These degrees are mostly four-year degrees, and a talented and lucky student may have a chance of getting a job at a game designing company.

For years, game designers didn’t usually have ‘game design’ degrees. They were people who taught themselves or who took a class, such as those offered by Stratford Career Institute. They then developed a portfolio of their own work before going to a studio looking for work.

However, as the market became more valuable, that all changed.

Modder Route

Ever heard of Counter-Strike? Team Fortress? Portal?

All are famous games, all are owned by Valve, and all were made first as mods to the popular and ground-breaking game ‘Half-Life.’

Gabe Newell and Valve developed Half-Life, and when they saw how well the modified files created by independent groups of people (who were distributing them for FREE) were doing, and how much they were in demand, they hired the modders. Together, they made Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Portal 2, and Team Fortress 2, as well as improving and officially releasing the games they made as mods.

If you can make a mod that takes an existing game and makes it better and that mod gets popular, it’s a quick way to get a job in gaming. It doesn’t require much more than a basic knowledge of the program you’re modifying, and there’s no need for a four-year degree.

If you’re looking to become a game designer, there are multiple ways to go about doing so. A four-year college isn’t the way for everyone; some people, especially those who are motivated and autodidactic, may do better just going out on their own and creating a portfolio of good, quality content.

Interested in a Video Game Design Course?

Stratford Career Institute offers an introductory course on video game design. This can be a great place to start to see if a career in this field is for you. You can learn on your own time while experimenting with video game design and building your portfolio.

Learn more and enroll today!

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