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If you’re a fan of video games, you may have thought about video game design as a career. What may surprise you is that this career requires a set of skills far beyond a love of games and a knack for using computers and video gaming systems.
Developing video games is a cost and time intensive process that draws on a variety of skills and talents that may surprise you. In fact, most developers with successful games under their belts are artistic and have good writing skills as well as a solid background in computer programming and design. If you are considering a career in video game design, consider the many aspects of game design and think about which area you would excel at:
Game Concept Design
This is an early phase of the process and is done primarily by writers and game concept specialists. These are the individuals who create the parameters for the game such as the overall goal or objective, what type of skills will be used in the game, etc. If you’ve ever thought you had an awesome game idea or felt that you could have improved on a game you’ve played, you might want to go into game concept design.
Game play and rules also fall under the concept area. No video game can be played without particular guidelines and rules. These can be quite complex; designers who are good at understanding and applying a variety of regulations as well as developing new ones are in high demand. Creativity is also needed so that rules can be both interesting and rational within the parameters of the game.
Layout and 3D Modeling
If you enjoy photo manipulation, Computer Aided Drafting and Design and artwork, you may like working on layout and design. Some companies hire individuals strictly to do backgrounds or characters for games in order to give a game a particular style or ensure realism. This aspect of video game design is what can give a stellar game a distinctive look and feel that inspires a great fan following.
Object placement is a part of layout that is primarily associated with the proper placement of significant objects that may have special powers, provide a key to the next level or a game or reveal a key secret to advancement. Some larger companies have individuals who focus on this sub-category of game layout.
Scripting and Plot Development
The dialogue and actions of characters in complex video games can make or break the success of the game. Scripting is the part of video game design that develops the actual dialogue for characters and keeps the action moving forward. Awkward or unrealistic scripting can be a death sentence, so scripters are central to the design of the game. This is similar to writing the script for a movie or play, so writing skills and an understanding of dialogue and character are essential.
Proper plotting moves the story forward and, like scripting, relies heavily on understanding human nature, motives and character. A plot in a video game may be incidental to the action. However, some games are becoming increasingly plot driven, but it must make sense and follow a recognizable and interesting thread that will keep gamers interested.
New Degrees Combine Skills
Because video game design has taken off in recent years and is now a billion dollar industry, the need for good designers is increasing. In the past, a game design team might have included writers with liberal arts degrees, artists and computer programmers who had to pull it all together. Today there are many colleges and universities that offer specialized video game design degrees. These degrees are valuable because they cover the many skill sets needed for success in the business. These skills include scripting, 3D art, story development, content development and animation by combining elements of several different disciplines into one comprehensive degree focusing on the needs of the video game design industry.