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Help!!! Please!!!!

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Anonymous

Hi, I'm a Senior in my high school and I'm graduating soon (yay) So for my Senior project, I have to pick a career and research on it. So I picked the career Game Designer cause I love to play games. But there is alot of questions I don't know about. Can you help me? And do you have an reliable sites for me to look at?

1) Describe the career in details and the major responsibilities associated with this job.
2)What are the qualifications for this career? What education is required? Are internships available? Any special training or certifications?
3) What is the expected salary? Entry level? Pay scale? Patterns of salary increase?
4)Describe the work environment. Will you be in an office? On the road? Working with a team? Working independently? Who will you report to?
5)What opportunities are there for advancement in this field?
6)Identify the most positive and negative aspects of this job. You should be able to find a lot of information on this topic. What do professionals in this field find most rewarding? What are they required to sacrifice in order to be successful?
7)Is there a specific geographic location where this job is in demand? Will you be required to move and/or travel?
8)What are the prospects of finding this job in the future?

Thank you all!! Please reply asap!!

-AznTiger-

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Help!!! Please!!!!

Congrats on your impending graduation. While there are many full time computer game designers, the number of full time professional board game designers, who fall under the purview of this site, you could probably count on one hand, if there are that many. So, to do research on board game design as a "career" will be difficult, since the sample size is so small; it would be hard to identify something like a "trend".

People who I believe are professional designers, and who you could try to contact:

-- Rob Daviau and Craig Van Ness, of Hasbro (Rob posts in the rec.games.board newsgroup, you could track him down there)
-- Reiner Knizia, from Germany
-- Alan R. Moon, Boston area. He's the president of a game designer's group called the SAZ, you might contact him in that group's yahoo group,groups.yahoo.com/group/saz

There are probably a few others, but I suspect many would fall under the umbrella of designers/self publishers. Not sure.

Anyway, with the very limited amount of time you have, you'd probably have a much easier time picking a different profession. If you want to stick with game design, maybe go with computer game design, for which full time professionals will be much more readily accessible.

Good luck!

-Jeff

Nazhuret
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Help!!! Please!!!!

as for addressing number ONE [edit : actually all of your points...]

i'd say check out this web site... http://phillips.personal.nccu.edu.tw/games/index.html

most specifically the topics :

* Simple Justice - Why don't you know who are the designers of the games you play?

* Why Games Cost What They Do - How come something that costs $3 bucks to make costs you $30 at the store?

* What Those Credits Mean - Who does what in creating a game?

* Publish or Perish? - The problems of publishing your own game.

* Submitting Games - How to submit your designs to prospective publishers.

* Collaborating in Game Design - Working with others to create a game and how to handle it well by Noah Falstein and David Fox.

but pretty much every single link on this page is absolutely excellent in terms of online content for the would be game designer. as far as i am personally concerned "required" reading.

hope this helps you and others....

Anonymous
Help!!! Please!!!!

I think jwarrend has it right.

I am a full-time game designer, but that is a misnomer... because I don't spend all of my time simply designing and writing games. Were such the case, we'd probably have two releases a month, rather than 4-6 a year.

I spent a LOT of my time doing layout, advertising, legal paperwork, answering e-mail, picking and packing orders, running the production equipment, etc. A time-study we did last quarter of last year showed that I only spend about 25% of my time actually writing/designing games. The recommendation from the firm that did the study was that I hire people to do those tasks so that I could concentrate my efforts wherein my strength lies... designing and writing. I prefer to 'keep the money', and leave our production at its current level.

I'd say that means I am not the person described in your inquiry: a "game designer". I am a game publisher first and foremost. The fact that 90% of the games I publish I have also written does not change that fact.

...and I think you'll find that to be true of most small press outfits.

To be 'this kind of game designer' you need a solid background in business, finance, or a related field... or you will inevitably fail when you start self-publishing.

Who's the best at it that I know? Mark McKinnon of Guardians of Order. That man is a pretty decent game designer, and a genius on business.

I'd suggest that jwarrend hit the nail on the head with his list of 'professional game designers'... there are a lot of people that produce/design profesional quality games... but few are simply professional game designers.

In paper gaming, the vast majority of the industry is a bit colloquial :-).

XXOOCC

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Help!!! Please!!!!

I would bet $10 that the original post is referring to videogames.

Just in case I'm right, AznTiger168, this is a site about designing physical board games and card games. All of the advice above applies to physical board games and card games.

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Help!!! Please!!!!

Oops, I found the wrong board. :( Is there any other place you guys know of? First of all, thanks for trying to help me. Yeah, I can't wait to graduate. :D

-AznTiger-

Brykovian
Brykovian's picture
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Help!!! Please!!!!

If it *is* computer game designers that you're trying to get a hook on, then I'd recommend:
Gamasutra
GameDev

Although there are plenty of hobbyists and wannabe's at those sites, there are some fulltime pro's there as well.

Good luck with your research!

-Bryk

phpbbadmin
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Joined: 04/23/2013
Help!!! Please!!!!

FastLearner wrote:
I would bet $10 that the original post is referring to videogames.

Just in case I'm right, AznTiger168, this is a site about designing physical board games and card games. All of the advice above applies to physical board games and card games.

-- Matthew

LOL. Why is this so hard for people to grasp. I IMed someone that the site was for board games and they cussed me out. Geez, how much more blatant does it need to be?

-Darke

Anonymous
Help!!! Please!!!!

"The Board Game Designers Forum That's Not Even A Little Bit for Computer, Console, or Video Games"

Problem is, I do think we discuss those here too :-).

XXOOCC

Brykovian
Brykovian's picture
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Help!!! Please!!!!

XXOOCC wrote:
Problem is, I do think we discuss those here too

If it's strictly a game *design* issue -- on what makes good game -- then I hope that remains to be considered "on-topic" ... most of my designs will end up in a computer version eventually, anyway -- but I still consider them "board games".

Now, it's obviously not the right place to discuss the details on how to program/produce a computer game (or any other computer application) ... but ... ;)

-Bryk

Anonymous
Help!!! Please!!!!

XXOOCC wrote:
"The Board Game Designers Forum That's Not Even A Little Bit for Computer, Console, or Video Games"

Problem is, I do think we discuss those here too :-).

XXOOCC

Lets see ... that would be: BGDFTNEALBCCVG.com ... someone register that before anyone else gets it!!! lol

Actually, I worked in the computer game industry for about 3 years before I wised up and got out (ok, I was forced out of my job, but I coulda got another one...). I was a programmer, not a designer, but I did participate in the design for our final game enough that I got designer credit (among others) :)

I'll try to address each of your questions below, though bear in mind that I am a bit jaded on the computer game industry:

1) Describe the career in details and the major responsibilities associated with this job.

At my company, the designer sat around and thought up ideas with little to no regard what was technically possible. Then the programmers reigned him in as much as possible. Everything from the overall point of the game, to missions, to cool features to what the UI would look like are part of what the designer does.

2)What are the qualifications for this career? What education is required? Are internships available? Any special training or certifications?

the computer game industry is not as standardized as other computer fields, though within the last 5 years, several computer game design schools have poped up. Whether a 'degree' from one of those schools would help, I cant say. Our game designer was Erick Wujcik - we hired him specifically because of his background in RPGs (the focus of our computer games). A lot of it is who you know, a lot of designers also start out in the playtesting department for the larger game companies (sony, etc). For the smaller studios, you have to pretty much be a name, or a friend of a name to get in.

3) What is the expected salary? Entry level? Pay scale? Patterns of salary increase?

for programmers it's Small (I meant that capital S). Smaller than for peers in other fields of computer software. And the software engineers are typically the highest paid guys, not counting big industry names. Sallaries are tiiiinnnnyyyyyyyyy.

4)Describe the work environment. Will you be in an office? On the road? Working with a team? Working independently? Who will you report to?

Allmost allways in a team, in an office. There's no reason to be on the road, and since its a team project (pretty much has to be these days) there is no working independantly. Also, depending on your specific job (UI designer, etc.) you might have to interface pretty closely with one or more programmers. You will report to your boss, of course :) (who is usually the lead designer)

5)What opportunities are there for advancement in this field?

That really depends (like most of my answers, actually) on the company. In a small one (like where I used to work) 'advancement' wasn't really a good word for it ... more like "more work added on, same pay". There are politics, as in most companies, but in computer game companies, it's much more childish (another reason I'm not in it anymore).

6)Identify the most positive and negative aspects of this job. You should be able to find a lot of information on this topic. What do professionals in this field find most rewarding? What are they required to sacrifice in order to be successful?

Negative: hands down: long hours, little thanks. For the last three months before our game went gold, I worked every day. weekends, holidays. sometimes all night. that was a huge sacrifice for me, and at the end of it, the people who did hardly nothing got just as much as I did - a "thank you". I will never, ever work that many hours again in my life, no matter what you pay me, unless I'm the boss. By the time we shipped the game, I was so burned out that I just didn't care about anything. It took me more than a month to get back to normal.

Positive: usually fun atmosphere, big long break after the game shipped. We got a month paid leave after the game shipped, which I definately needed. Also, I was lucky enough to go to several shows (E3, CGDC) which are allways a blast.

7)Is there a specific geographic location where this job is in demand? Will you be required to move and/or travel?

California and Seattle. Maybe Chicago. If you don't live there, your chances go way down. There are other studios scattered around (mine was in Cincinnati, OH), but they are few and far between. If you take a job, you will definately have to move to wherever they are. Travel will be to tradeshows (2 big ones each year, E3 and CGDC) but not for the first few years probly, since you will be the low man on the totem pole.

8)What are the prospects of finding this job in the future?

Everyone and his brother wants a job in the computer game industry when they are just starting out (at least it seems that way). Your chances of getting one aren't good, because there is a lot of competition. Also, you have a better chance of getting an Art job than a Programmer job, and a better chance of a programmer job than a designer job.

At least for the programming jobs, they mostly all are in the habbit of giving trick based programming quizes. These are pretty much useless, but I think they do it because it was done to them.

For any job in the game industry, demos are the key to getting in. You need to have a good demo so you will be noticed. For artists, its a portfolio, for programmers, an actual game demo that they wrote, for designers, ???

Unless you already have a name in the industry, I think most companies would rather promote from within for design talent, because they are getting a known quantity.

Hope that helps ...

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