A Game Plan for getting a job in the Video Game Industry (Level by Level)
INTRO TO THE GAME
Ok, so you want to embark on the adventure of a career in video games. That's terrific. Who wouldn't want to do this? You have been playing video games all your life and it would be so cool to work in the industry. Think about being part of the team that makes games. Wow!
There are lots of jobs in the industry. That is true. And there is a lot of money in the industry. But, there is also a whole lot of competition. Yup! Of course there is! So, if you are really serious about working in gaming then you have to be real serious about it and you have to make yourself into something desirable by the industry. In this Walk through I give you tips and techniques for doing that. I show you some of the things you have to do in order to get it done.
LEVEL 1: Become the Wizard -Do the scholarly research and Gather up some herbs and materials
Your task in this first level of the game is to begin your training as a wizard. And that means hitting the books and learning the skills needed. There are many skill branches you can follow in this skill. You don't have to choose your skill tree this early in the game but here is an overview of some of them to think about. As you gain training and knowledge in the world of game design you can start to move your skill set to where you want it to be. Here is a quick overview of some of the different types of work you could do:
Game Designer, Level Designer, Audio designer, Programmer, Engineer, 3d Artist, animator and more.
And there are also a whole lot of platform options to think about including PC, consoles, tablets, phones and social media platforms (which are currently very hot). Each one of these platforms poses its own set of problems and software demands.
I have a page with more in-depth descriptions of these jobs right here.
Here are some books you might want to take a look at ( I have a wider selection of books right here)
Get in the Game: Careers in the Game Industry Have you dreamed of obtaining a game industry job? Get in the Game will help you achieve this! This friendly guide shows you step-by-step how to prepare yourself for a game industry career. With insights from over a dozen industry experts, it's the only guide you will need for training yourself then finding a game industry job.
Breaking Into Video Game Design - A Beginner's Guide (Kindle edition)
Game Plan: The Insider's Guide to Breaking In and Succeeding in the Computer and Video Game Business The video game industry is hot and becoming more and more popular every year. -One of the fastest growing entertainment industries (even larger than film!) -Over 50,000 people in the U.S. alone are employed by interactive gaming companies -Video gaming makes more than six billion dollars in annual revenue. Game Plan-the only insiders guide to the video game bus-iness-reveals how to break in, survive, and produce video games for successful game companies. Industry insiders Gershenfeld, Loparco, and Barajas take readers on a journey from game conception to pre-production to launch and behind the scenes to detail everything from job types to assessing skills to getting a foot in the door. With Game Plan, getting a job in the gaming industry has never been simpler!
Level 2: Do some work on your own (get to the alchemists table)
Ok, if you really want to build a career in the game industry you have to be self-motivated and driven. Like I earlier said it is a very competitive field and you have to push yourself toward excellence. Make yourself into an attractive asset.
It might be a little tricky at this point of the game but if you can get a little specific that would be great. Then you could start either writing scripts and stories or a game design document. Or you could start creating levels in a game. Or you could start designing 3d artwork. This is important and this is how you can start to create a portfolio of work for yourself.
I have some early beginner tutorials for you that can help you get started right away in a couple of different ways.
If you are undecided about your career path that is quite ok. You might want to go through all three of the above subject areas and see what you like. You might find a strong affinity for one of the paths. And of course there are plenty of books that can help.
Level 3: Adventuring into the world
This part can be kind of scary for some people but its time to move away from the desk and get out into the real world. Take a look see whats out there and make some progress in your career. I recommend you take a class that is involved in video game design. It is now time to adventure out into the real world and get some traditional training.
I suggest you try just one or two classes for a couple of different reasons. First off, these classes are expensive and you minimize your financial commitment for now. Secondly you get a feel for what it is all about. College is not for everybody and a four year commitment in your life is a whole lot. So, take a class or two to see how you do.
You do have some options here:
There are a lot of different side quests that you can do in your goal of getting into the video game industry and one of them that I want to talk a little bit about is making connections and interviewing people. So, try to make some connections with people in the industry. Send out some emails and make some phone calls. But, be professional about it. These people are willing to help but you have to be serious about it. Do your research first. Don't just say you love video games and want to get a job. Find out what the person does and ask questions that make sense.
This also could become a valuable connection for you when you finish your degree. You never know.
Level 4 Facing The Big Level Boss (College)
This is the single biggest thing you have to do in order to work in the game industry. You have to get a college degree. At least a Bachelors degree. And if you can, going further to a Masters would be terrific. It is a long commitment, four years or more but it is worth it. You will get the intruductory training that is needed. And you will make a lot of great contacts that will be a big help in your career.
It will cost a lot of money but you have to ask yourself how much do you want this? I say go for it.
Level 5 Your portfolio ( filling your weapons cabinet)
This is an important part of developing your career. You have to keep a record of your work so you can show it to potential employers. And it doesn't matter what kind of work you are going to do. If your goal is to be a 3d artist then you keep a portfolio of your artwork. If you want to be a level designer you should keep track of any levels you design or any mods that you create. (Mods are a great way to get some good work done. They can show good creativity and good understanding of a particular game and how it works.
Level 6 - Job Hunting (Time to Open the Treasure Chest)
After all this hard work you have made it all the way to the treasure room. There is a chest in front of you and you need to start picking at the lock to reveal your reward. This can be very frustrating but just as in all the other levels of this game you have to be persistent!
Every big company has ways for you to contact them and submit your resume. And there are lots of agencies and services that can help. Here are some links to get your started:
Wrapup - Ok, you can see that it takes a lot of work to break into the video game industry. But, isn't anything worthwhile worth the work? Can you imagine what it would be like if you are a part of the team that releases that next big video game? I say go for it. But you have to have a plan and you have to stick with it. It's worth the work.
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