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For Video Game Designer, what things would I need to do and accomplish to make myself as appealing as possible for hire at a professional company?

I, while having enough dedication and intelligence to go into other fields primarily medical, have always been interested in story telling, character creation and development, and interactive experiences just to name a few. As an avid gamer, reader, and watcher of movies, I really enjoy cohesive visions that involve all the different aspects of communicating a story to the audience. This industry however seems so difficult to get into and I don't know what to do or where to start so that I could break into it. I know that I would be an asset to any creative team having written pieces of fiction ever since I was young in addition to having studying gaming in my free time when I'm not busy with life or playing one. I want to best I can be and to work on a project is my greatest dream. Nothing would make me happier.

#gaming #designer #videogamedesigner #videogames #creativity #storytelling #art #technology


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Ted’s Answer

Create!

There is nothing more valuable than a portfolio of work that you have actually completed that shows that you're able to do some part of the job you want.
If you want to work on professional AAA video games, those are made by hundreds of people working together, each on one very small part of the finished product. There's one person making sketch artworks, another making 3D models, another doing animation, another building landscapes, another writing dialogue, creating game dynamics, etc. etc. etc.

Which part are you interested in? What skills do you have now that you can use to create something interesting to show off?

I am a big fan of [Twine](https://tedcurran.net/2018/10/use-twine-for-branching-learning-scenarios/), the open source interactive fiction writing platform that allows you to create "choose your own adventure" games simply, for free, on your desktop. If you can make a compelling experience with simple tools like that, you can build up from there to making bigger and better games.

My company Autodesk is a major player in the world of game design, and [we make all our software free for students](https://www.autodesk.com/education/free-software/featured) for at least one year, so you can build skills in industry-standard game design software.

But even if you just keep creating, posting work to your blog or Instagram account, that can quickly turn into a personal portfolio of work that you can include on job applications so potential employers can see for themselves what you can really do.

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Steve’s Answer

Hi Ethan,

Start with finding a college that offers a degree specifically in this area. For example, the University of California, Irvine has a Computer Game Design degree, check it out at:

https://www.ics.uci.edu/ugrad/degrees/degree_cgs.php

They are also located in Southern California, where many video game companies have their HQ, so you have good prospects there for internships and jobs.

Good luck!

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Mira’s Answer

Ethan, I will be very frank: getting into the video gaming industry is tough because there are millions like you who are passionate about the industry. This leads to a lot of underpaid workers doing a lot of overtime and layoffs abound. (Blizzard laid off tons of employees after making record revenue: https://www.businessinsider.com/blizzard-layoffs-2019-2, https://www.polygon.com/2019/3/5/18233699/game-developer-layoffs-unions-katie-chironis, https://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/unlivable-wages-in-expensive-cities-are-plaguing-the-video-game-industry/)

I am not trying to discourage you but rather provide a stark look at this field and the risks involved.

If you are determined to work in video games, I'd recommend starting small and sticking with pure video game development skills:
- build up your graphics and storytelling skills; you'll need more than just writing skills: sketching, storyboarding, character design, etc.
- try collaborations with other artists online; you need to build up clout in the gaming world (maybe you write the story and someone can illustrate it; you design a character for a fake game; anything game-related is still experience even if not a real game)
- build up a small portfolio and post it everywhere (Behance, Dribbble, LinkedIn)
- find a job or internship for a small indie studio or small gaming company
- gain experience at this small company and slowly work towards the role you actually want
- find other small gaming companies as needed to shift to the specific role you want (story development)
- after 5-7 years (my guess), try to go for roles at bigger companies

Any career takes time to develop the right skills and experience required to land that "dream job." You may fail. It may be discouraging at times. It might take longer than 7 years to get where you want to be. As long as you set up realistic goals for yourself, you can definitely keep moving forward.

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Bonnie’s Answer

Get busy developing games at Udacity and earn a Nanodegree at the same time

Bonnie recommends the following next steps:

Contact Udacity.com and ask these same questions of their representative. They have Nanodegrees you can earn and they will help you land a job developing games.
Udacity also has free courses
I also earned a Nanodegree and the cohort group I was in had students from all over the globe.
Since you stay with your same cohort for each degree you establish relationships
Get started Udacity.com

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