Posted by : Jameson Durall Friday, October 07, 2011

Today's question comes from Michael Isaacs who is currently a student at Full Sail in the Game Development Bachelors program.  The curriculum is focused mainly on Programming, but he has the desire to be a Game Designer in the industry.  He's reading articles on Design as well as doing mods, etc to help develop his design skills in his spare time.

His question is: "What can I do to make myself more appealing to a company as a Game Designer?"

Well, I personally came from this exact degree and can say it worked pretty well for me.  The first benefit you have is that using scripting languages to create gameplay will come easily to you since you have a programming background.  I've also worked with designers who continue to keep their tech roots and help build tools, etc for Designers so your flexibility is appealing to employers.

The other big advantage is that you can speak intelligently to programmers about Design topics.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen a design idea get dismissed because they were so unaware of what the limitations are that a Programmer couldn't take them seriously...at the very least it made it hard to get on the same page sometimes.  Having a programming background means you at least understand enough of what's going on to make realistic requests and this goes a long way at gaining the respect of Programmers around you.

Now, as for how else you can make yourself more appealing as a Game Designer, you are already doing a lot of the things that I would suggest.  Keep playing games and analyzing what makes them fun, be prepared to talk about what the best features are and what you would change if you could.  I'd suggest even doing game reviews so you can showcase your thought process for Game Design.  I also always suggest reading The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, a fantastic book for anyone interested in Game Design.

I would also highly recommend learning one of the Game Development Editors...like UDK.  This knowledge will not only give you a way to showcase your talents in a way that employers can experience, but that knowledge translates easily to whatever tools and editors are being used at companies around the industry.  If you can present yourself as an expert of an Editor like UDK...combined with your technical background, you'll be a very nice find for a game studio.

Feel free to add any follow up questions below or head over to the Facebook page to discuss!

See other Game Design posts

One Response so far.

  1. I took a page from your notebook when I started reading your blog, I made my own, speaking on Game Ideas, Development Process's and things that I see wrong with major Designers and or developers, and how to fix them and why. My latest one is on Invisible walls and how it kills immersion. I will definitely take a look at UDK and Ill buy that book, using your link ;), when I get paid my living expense check.

    Thanks for taking the time to answer my question! I'm sure your a busy man! If you get time though take a look at my blog and tell me what you think.

    http://gamedesigngeek.blogspot.com

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