Video Game Design – Do You Have What It Takes To Design Games?

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Hitoshi Jones asked:

If you’re an avid video gamer and while sitting at home playing your favorite game, you think to yourself, “I could do this better”, video game design might be the perfect job for you someday. But there are some key skills you’ll need to have before you can enter the field and truly make an impact on the video game market. Here’s a description of the most important ones.

Programming

Everything you see in a video game is boiled down to 0s and 1s, the basics of programmers everywhere. If you decide to aim for this job, you’d better start early. Programming is the building block of any good video game design job. If you’re great with numbers, better with details, and don’t mind spending long hours staring at a computer screen looking for a missing line of code, programming is a great place for you in video game design.

You’ll need to learn a combination of three to five different programming languages to be really successful in this job, so you’d better be prepared for a lot of work. While C++ is the groundwork for any programming job, you’ll also be learning Java and Visual Basic to supplement it.

Most video game design uses a combination of whatever works in a given situation to get the job done. If you’re in high school though, interested in a job in video game design and programming, you should try your hardest to take courses in or learn C++ as preparation.

Story Writing/Game Theory

For every good video game, there’s someone (or many someones) whose job it is to write the story and develop the ideas for the game. You might think this sounds simple, having sat in your basement telling your friends how much better you could do at writing the ending for a particular game. But there’s just as much schooling to get a job writing or brainstorming ideas in video game design as coding.

For writers, you’d better get a decent degree in creative writing or English. Most video game design jobs require at least a Bachelors degree in English to apply for a story writing job. Second, they want experience, so start early, working on projects in school, taking specific courses in Game Theory and developing long story lines for use in video game design projects.

Your job will be writing dialogue, script and concepts for a massive world with hours of interaction. You’d better have a decent idea of how you’re going to do that.

Computer Animation

The face of video game design, the job that everyone thinks of when they envision their future designing video games, is computer animation. First off, you’ll need to still learn the programming languages of your programming coworkers. This job requires a lot of different skills, many of which are programming languages. So C++ had better be on your resume along with Maya, 3DS Max, and a handful of other image rendering mega-software.

Video game design courses are perfect for the potential Computer Animator as well, as you’ll learn how to operate vast, high tech computers and machinery and utilize the newest software in doing so.

Computer Animation requires not only the technical expertise of a programmer, but the visual, artistic mastery of a story writer or sketch artist. This job requires the best of both worlds in the video game design industry.

There are plenty of jobs for all different skill levels in video game design. If you’re capable of writing a good story, drawing a decent picture, or remembering vast strings of numbers, you can find a job in game design. It’s all about where you’ll best fit in.

Video Game Testing – Can I Become A Paid Video Game Tester?

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Sean Saunders asked:

Yes, its 100% true, You can get paid to test video games. But, the questions is: do you need a degree? are there special qualifications? Or, do you need to meet any other certain guidelines in order to achieve this? In this article, I will answer all these questions and more so that you can get an idea of who has the best chances of becoming a video game tester.

First of all, you do not need a degree from college or any special training to become a video game tester. While you can likely benefit from having a degree, developing contacts and such, it is not required. And in the absence of a degree, large amounts of ambition and persistence must take its place. Either that or an insider who can show you the ropes.

The “insider approach” can either be done by befriending somebody in the gaming industry, preferably a well known tester, or by buying an in-depth book or guide on how to become a video game tester.

Basically, there are two easy-to-meet requirements that need to be met in order for video game developers and programmers to be interested in hiring you. The first: you must have a high level of skill & experience when it comes to playing video games and you have to have an excellent attention to detail. Remember, you’re job is to test games thoroughly; it’s not to try to beat them quickly. As a video game tester, you’ll be looking for glitches, problematic issues, and other factors that detract from the overall gameplay.

The second requirement step is being able to document glitches and bugs properly. You have to make it very simple for the developer/programmer to understand what is happening during the glitch. This way, when it comes time to fix the problem, they won’t have trouble locating it.

If you have a good attention for detail, and can document bugs/glitches properly and clearly, then you’re exactly what many companies are looking for in a video game tester.

If you’re unsure about your abilities, I urge you to test your abilities by playing more video games. However, don’t just play it for fun. I want you to play it like a video game tester would. Expand the horizon of your vision so that you notice all of the elements on the screen as you play the game. This may feel somewhat different than you normally play, but it is necessary to get the practice you need.

Once you have relaxed and have become “one” with the screen, be aware of all the things that are going on on-screen. See how things relate to each other and how one thing can cause another thing to happen. If you spot something peculiar, write it down and document it asap. Write down what happened to cause that abnormality and explain what you deem as problematic.

If you have no problem with these requirements, then you should definitely consider becoming a paid video game tester.

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