Skip to main content
5 answers
5
Asked 1822 views

What major should I get if i want to be a game designer

Hey! Im 16 years old from balboa high school. Im interested in this carrer because video games are a huge part in my life and I wish i could do something related to video games for living. #majors #video-games

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

5

5 answers


0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Daryl’s Answer

Best of the Village

Hi Alejandro!


Congratulations for having the courage to follow your passion!


Game Design is a robust and complex field, and as such, designers tend to come from many diverse backgrounds. Quality Assurance, Comp Sci, Art, Storytelling, Production. I personally like to think of Game Design as "Narrative wrapped around Systems" a fancy way of saying "Storytelling and Math."


An entry level game designer in a more corporate/team environment will likely be tasked on a single system in a game production - such as tuning a weapon system in a shooter, scripting enemy encounters in an RPG, or balancing tuning values in a simulation. The job might also involve implementing content (data entry) such as story text, loading tips, color swatches, UI elements - that sort of thing. On a smaller, more independent production (where there may only be one or two designers) you would be involved in more (or every one) of these systems.


As for which major is best for you? I agree that game-design specific education is one avenue to explore these days. Another avenue is hands-on tinkering. Download Unity or Unreal (which are both free to learn), watch the tutorials or buy a book and have fun tinkering. Make your own game, or mod an existing one, keep iterating on it, and use it as a platform to get yourself noticed.


Hope it helps!

0
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Andy’s Answer

Hi Alejandro,


I know that Carnegie Mellon University actually has a specific game design curriculum and degree program: http://ideate.cmu.edu/undergraduate-programs/game-design/


There are other schools that also have game related majors as well though I would advise caution when looking at for-profit schools. I don't have direct experience with any of those but just be aware that those types of schools generally have their shareholders' best interests as priorities. Just make sure to do research before applying.


But just because there are specific game design majors out there now doesn't mean that you can't major in something else. I understand that math, psychology, and programming majors are also useful for people who want to consider going into the game design field.


I hope this helped a little.

1
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Garrett’s Answer

I'm going to offer my personal experience of how I started working as a product manager (very similar to a game designer) at Zynga.


I go to university in Canada at the University of Waterloo for a unique kind of engineering called systems design engineering. Part of Waterloo's appeal is their co-op program, where they offer six four-month work terms to help students get work experience and earn money. For my second work term, I worked as a QA intern at a game studio called Uken Games. That experience helped me get the job I have now as a product manager.


You don't need to have a special degree to work as a game designer. It will definitely help, but keeping an interest in games is key.

0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Teddy’s Answer

I would echo the previous answer. There are lists of schools that offer dedicated majors in game design: http://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings?rankings=top-undergraduate-schools-for-video-game-design


Some are closer to SF like UCSC, or even down south in LA, e.g., USC.


But also know there are other career paths related to video games that don't require a major in game design. For example, I am a patent attorney for a gaming company, which means I bring value to the company by protecting its inventions. And I play a lot of video games in order to understand what's new and potentially patentable. But there are also business folks, finance folks, marketing folks, and other folks that help make a gaming company work. So you can have a number of different roles in the video game industry. It's no different than other industries out there.


It's just more awesome.

Thank you comment icon I agree with both of the above posts but should you want a post graduate degree with emphasis on disciplines within the game industry, I highly recommend either SMU's Guildhall Program (https://www.smu.edu/guildhall) and Digipen (https://www.digipen.edu/). Both of those schools will apply your knowledge as well as nurture and grow your skillset in environments that are as real world as you can get. I will warn you, they are very difficult programs to get into and only the most passionate and dedicated need apply. That said, they turnout some of the best game designers, programmers and artists I've ever worked with. JD Livergood
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

John’s Answer

Hi Alejandro,
I agree with the previous answers but will also add to it based on my experience.
You should be wary of the for-profit schools. I personally went to Full Sail University out of Florida and received my B.S. in Game Design, all online. I did this 10 years after graduating HS and I financed my entire tuition. The bill comes out to about $1,000 a month on the $60,000 tuition. That's a hefty chunk of change EVERY month, especially for a young student without a reliable income. While I loved my time at Full Sail and I'll never regret choosing them, the majority of the curriculum points the students at resources that are available online to learn the tools of the trade. On top of that, though, they simulate the real-world software development environment very well, building leadership and team skills that are invaluable.
However, my biggest takeaway from that schooling was that the most important thing in the industry is a portfolio of the candidates work. You can learn all of the tools from sources that are freely available on the internet. You can practice and build your skills with the tool(s) of your choice. I'd take a look at some of the job postings on the sites of various game developers in order to see the tools and engines that they use.
A college education within the sciences or math spectrum will help fill most requirements for a game designer position.

0