What are the reasons people choose to follow a path in the video game industry? For the most part itís the familiarity with the games they grew up with; in my case, I really enjoyed the Sega Genesis and Nintendo 64 and the classic games they etched into history. The reasons may vary from being a devote fan to video games, art, or youíre your favorite video game characters. Often, the same people who enjoyed games growing up may realize they now have a chance to create and ignite change in the same industry responsible for years of excitement.
Yet, with a passion for games itís also important to know that developing and/or having multiple skills is a great advantage to have if you want a job in the gaming industry. This may come as a surprise to many people but positions in a video game studio are meant to be flexible. For example, a director may be responsible for helping the flow of creation in managing the workers involved, but may also possess the art skills or programming skills needed to handle certain emergency situations. Key skills that help aid personal or portfolio development are centered on computer programming, design, good writing skills and of course being an artistic individual. To give a clearer view on game design and an option as to the aspects of game design, I will try breaking down the topic into several areas so that you can see which ones you could excel at or are interested in.
Game Concept Design
Concept design is an early phase and is done primarily by writers and game concept specialists. This is the area where game ideas are thrown around and ultimately the foundation is established. The writers and concept specialists are responsible to create parameters for the game, such as the overall goal or objective in the game, and what type of skills will be used throughout. Most people have a game idea they would like to share or develop, and so those having an awesome game idea, or if just interested in improving upon some games youíve played this is the area in the industry to become acquainted with.
Also the game play and rules fall under the concept area, since no video game can be played without guidelines or rules. The rules and guidelines though come with their own problems and are quite complex, and so another available field is for designers who are good at understanding and applying these regulations as well as developing new ones in a creative and rational fashion.
Layout and 3D Modeling
If someone enjoys Photo manipulation, Computer Aided Drafting, Design, and artwork then they would most likely enjoy working in layout and design. There are companies that even hire people strictly to do characters or backgrounds for games in order to give a game a certain style or in a way personality. This is the area that gives most games a distinctive look and feel throughout, while other games may just be dull and lifeless because they are lacking a distinctive touch. Itís this distinction in look that inspires a great fan following.
To get more specific in regards to layout and 3D modeling, there is the process of object placement which is primarily associated with the proper placement of objects that may be significant in having special powers, revealing a secret to advancement, or providing a key to the next level. Larger companies are usually at the helm of hiring people to work on extremely specific tasks such as object placement; a sub-category branch in game design.
Plot Development and Scripting
An area in video games that is very important and known to the player but is sometimes overlooked or not fully developed in games is the scripting and plot development. Scripting refers to the dialogue of the characters in complex games, and this alone can either make or break the game because although games focus on game play it is the dialogue that provides the story telling and forward direction in a game. Therefore, unrealistic or awkward scripting can prevent a game from succeeding or even being published, since this aspect is so crucial and central to the design of the game. Scripting in video games could be compared to the writing of a movie script, so having great writing skills while understanding dialogue is necessary to have.
Plot development is equally if not more important than scripting, because the plot in a video game may be incidental to the action. Plotting the game right moves the story forward, and relies heavily on having an understanding of how human nature, character, and motives work. A challenge in plot development for video games is that it should be able to keep the player excited, interested, and driven to complete the game, and so the plot should follow an interesting thread, but also make sense.
Video game design isnít linear or static, but a complex and evolving media, and so attaining diverse skill sets is required not only for being open to a number of diverse job positions, but to ensure longevity in the industry as well. To help with having more skills, there are art colleges and online programs that offer specialized degrees that would enable someone to combine various disciplines ; such as scripting, art, story development, or 3D art, and into one degree. Doing a degree of this type would save you time and money and would also increase the chances of getting hired by a studio.