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What is the formal education needed for becoming a video game designer?

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I want to know what type of education you need to become a video game designer and what courses are recommended. #computer-science #computer-software #computer #video-games #computer-games #video-game-design #video-game-development #career-details

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4 answers

Scott’s Answer

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Hi -


I earned a Bachelor's degree in Game Art Design at a college in San Francisco, California. It was hard to make ends meet at first, but after a while I got into the swing of things and found my way. Game Development is such a growing field that colleges all over the country are offering great courses on the topic. I would contact colleges in your area to see what they offer in the field of games, and if possible you can even look into how their grads are doing (job placement after earning the degree, etc...).
If all else fails, you can consider relocating to a place where lots of games get made. From the top of my head, the San Francisco Bay Area is probably the most densely populated place in America for game studios, then Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin Texas, maybe Boston?
One benefit of going to school in San Francisco was that many of the instructors there either also worked in the industry or recently did, so doing well in a class was also making a contact that could help you find your first job. Also, you may have an easier time finding a meaningful internship if there are lots of game companies around your school.


Good luck!

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Kevin’s Answer

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Let's make sure you are asking the right question. Game designers create the mechanics and systems of games. Maybe even the story, too. Game developers usually refers to the whole team or the programmers specifically.


So if you want to be a game designer, there are schools that offer degrees in that, but most designers majored in economics, history or other liberal arts. You need a broad education to draw upon for your designs. It is then on you to play as many games as you can (digital and tabletop) to learn about the mechanics and how they can be used.


If you actually meant game developer, then any school with a strong computer science degree will serve you well. You can learn the specifics of the game you are working on as you go.


Be careful. Many schools get this terminology wrong too. Many say they offer a game design degree when it is actually game art or game development.

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Ed’s Answer

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First of all, there didn't used to be any specialized programs and now there are quite a few. I would research them carefully, as you will probably want to move near the one you think is the best for you and not try to find courses at the school you might have gone to otherwise. It's the kind of thing that if I was already in school and realized that I want to make games and found a school I thought could help me, it would be worth transferring and moving there.


To be more specific in your search, would you be more interested in programming the game or creating art or 3d models to go into the game. Once you know which one you prefer and would more likely do better at, then that will help your search. Asking to be the designer is like asking to be conductor of the orchestra without knowing how to play a single instrument. You might get a job at a game company as an entry-level artist or programmer, but unless you have a portfolio of previous game credits I doubt they would give a new hire a chance to be the sole designer of a major game project.

Yes. Everything Ed said. Kevin O'Gorman
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Molly’s Answer

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Hello! This totally depends on what majors are available at your selected college, but any type of graphic design would be helpful in this career field. I know some colleges even have majors or classes with a video game focus.

Additionally, computer science or programming would be helpful! Molly Breen
Graphic design has nothing to do with game design. Game design is focused on the mechanics and systems of games. Not the visuals. A knowledge of programming is helpful. Kevin O'Gorman
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