How long does it take to have a game designer degree? Would college be expensive for a game design degree? What if I can't afford college, is there something or somewhere were I can learn from?
I'd definitely listen to what Eric has to say. If you want to make games, start building games now! They don't have to be digital games, either! I started by making board games. It was easier for me to wrap my head around building interesting games without having to also worry about the technical aspect of games (programming, how various game engines work, etc.). After I made some board games, then I moved over to game engines like Game Maker and Game Salad, which are very user friendly and easier to grasp if you're not familiar with programming. From there, some of the meatier options like Unity, Unreal Engine, and CryEngine are super powerful and they have the power to make some really awesome games!
Regardless of where you decide to start, there are tutorials online for anything you decide to explore! Definitely try those out, and don't be afraid to ask for help on the forums for whatever you decide to explore (Unity's forums in particular are great and super helpful).
I'd also recommend checking out your local IGDA chapter; you meet some fantastic people with tons of industry experience, and every meeting typically has a speaker, which is a great source of knowledge and inspiration! Your location is set to San Jose, so I believe this would be your local chapter: http://www.meetup.com/IGDA-Silicon-Valley/
If you have any questions, feel free to ask! I'd be happy to assist further. Good luck!
Hi Sammy! So yes, degrees are important, but more importantly, in my opinion, is a person's actual ability to do the job they are wanting to do. That being said, the best advice I can give you is to tell you to start learning how to make games right now. Start making them. Do not wait for college or anything else. If this is really what you want to do, spend your free time learning how, now. Download a game engine like Unity. https://unity3d.com/ It's completely free. The website has a ton of sample projects and tutorials. Do them. Learn to code. It's not as hard as you may think. Find game design events in your area to attend. Try looking on meetup or see if you have an IGDA chapter in your area. Check your local library or community center for game design focused events/classes. Another plus to starting right now is you may find that it's not actually something you enjoy and you could save yourself a lot of stress by figuring this out now. Best of luck to you!