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Video Game Design Articles

Featured Video Game Design Articles
How to Become a Video Game Designer

One of the most exciting jobs out in the market today is video game designing. Many have the impression that it would take too much time and skills to accomplish this. Well reality check people...it does not! If you are into video games and love spending your leisure time (even your work time!), playing games then you have already passed the qualifying stages to becoming a video game designer...

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What is a Video Game Tester?

The Game Tester is the person in the game industry that plays one or more games over and over and over again for months. One misconception from industry outsiders is that a tester shows up to work and plays Skyrim for an hour, then moves onto Starcraft II for a few hours, and then plays Angry Birds Space for the rest of the afternoon. They’ll often ask, “All you do is play a stack of games all day, right?” Not right. A tester might play the same Nintendo 3DS game for 6 months straight. Throw in crunch time, and those 6 months now includes a six or seven day work week, 12+ hours a day, on the same game! So you’re probably wondering what they do with all that time sitting in the QA department.

A game tester’s primary objective is to play a game and find where that game fails to perform or be presented as intended by the game developers. All areas of a video game – design, art, animation, audio, or programming – are susceptible to bugs. These shortcomings are a result of developer oversights, or even carelessness and fatigue. Once found, the tester must then report the issue to the developer so it can be corrected. Then, when the developer has confirmed the bug is fixed, the tester must attempt to reproduce the bug on an updated version of the game to confirm it no longer occurs. This cycle continues until the game is ready to be shipped. At the end of a project, some games can have over 10,000 bugs found by the QA department.

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What is a Video Game Designer?

Who’s the Game Designer? When you play a video game, it’s very easy to pinpoint what a 3D modeler or animator contributes to the game experience. Same goes for the sound engineer and music composer. Of course, the game wouldn’t even run were it not for the thousands of lines of code written by the programmers. But what about the not-so-obvious components? For example, in a first-person shooter, who determines how many rounds a gun will hold? Or how powerful each round will be? Or the rate of fire? Or reload time? In an adventure game, who causes the red door to open when the red key is used? In an RPG, who sets up the skill trees and economy? Last of all, and most important, who is responsible for making the game fun to play? Relax, your intelligence is not being insulted, but what you’re going to see is the Game Design role is arguably the most diverse in the industry.

A Game Designer’s main function is to conceive the elements of gameplay, and to turn those elements into an interactive experience for the player to enjoy. This requires a robust skill-set both technically and artistically, because the Designer uses level editing software to build levels in a game, as well as high-level programming (scripting) to make things happen in the game world. What you must understand is that a Game Designer does not show up to work and simply write stories, character bios, and game ideas. Brainstorming and coming up with cool concepts are what a Designer does 10% of the time. The remaining 90% is comprised of the execution of the ideas; and, in order to make this happen, the Designer utilizes numerous artistic and technical tools.

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Video Game Design Articles
What is a video game producer?

Who is the Video Game Producer? There are many clear-cut roles in game development: a programmer programs code; an artist creates art; an animator animates characters and objects; and a game tester tests games. You can basically call a producer a project manager, because that’s what they do. They manage the production schedule, budget, development team, licensors (if they’re involved), and outsourcing parties. Producers also work with PR and the media, QA teams, and are an integral part in getting a project greenlit and determining when it’s time to ship the project at the conclusion of development...

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Sample Article I wanna get into the games industry!!, but how?

In order to be a video game artist you have to have a good mix of traditional art skills and modern computer based art skills, the balance of which will depend on the eventual specialization you go for. Within the title "games artist" are many sub-categories of artist including animators, texture artists, character modelers, object modelers, concept artists, etc etc...

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How to design your own video game

A question we get asked a lot is "How do you pitch your own video game idea? Is it possible to do so?" The quick answer is...no. It's not possible. Not from the outside. You need to work your way into the industry first before your ideas will be taken seriously. Not to mention all the potential legal ramifications that a video game studio could face if they even hear your pitch and are already developing something similar they could be faced with lawsuits, that's why most game companies don't even read pitches. So if you have a great idea for a video game your best option is to design your own video game. Have a low budget demo of your game developed first...

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Sample Article The role of a Video Game Artist

As you might expect, artists in the game industry do a range of diverse jobs, and as such, several specific job categories have developed over time. Each of the categories is associated with different styles, techniques and areas within the game development process. Although the details will vary between companies, the following list of definitions should be useful at least as a guide:...

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Sample Article The role of a Video Game Developer

To come and work in the games industry as a programmer you really, really have to be into games. Just thinking that this is more exciting than going and working on databases or in accounting isn't enough motivation. Too many people have been lured by the false image of young programmers with fast sports cars, and been predictably disappointed. Sure, it can happen, but that shouldn't be your reason for wanting to write games...

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Sample Article List of the best Video Game Design Schools

The following is a list of colleges and universities with programs that would help someone in their pursuit of a career in technical direction ,character animation and Video Game Design. The list is dedicated to schools that many game houses feel caters to both the technical direction and to the more artistic field of character animation and Video Game Design...

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Sample Article Salary Overview for the Gaming Industry

Artists/Animators - There is still a shortage on the market of experienced 3D animators. Top grads from programs like Ringling and Vancouver are still getting offers in the $50-$60K range. Of course, that is for the top talent. There are more bad demo reels out there than there are fish in the sea (a little hyperbole never hurt anyone). Lead artists with a hit console title to their credit are entertaining offers in the low six figures...

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character animation The Increasing Role of Character Animation in Video Games

"Almost every video game today uses character animation. It's become a standard element in modern entertainment software," says Mark Stuart, who is a video games designer for Bionic Games and is currently working on Spyborgs...

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Animating for Video Games Animating for Video Games

Video game animation offers a plethora of exciting opportunities and hurtles. For those involved, this digital playground offers a rich and rewarding experience, creating animation that connects to the audience on a more personal level then ever before. (Most sudios also mostly hire full time, rather than by contract!) For those interested in pursuing a career in this field, Sam recommends, "Find your passion, and just do it."

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Sample Article Game Design School

With the peaking interest in animation and video game design among budding artists, there is suddenly a host of options as to how to get the best training for these colorful field. However, as with any worthwhile endeavor, the "right" training isn't always the most convenient, or the cheapest...

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Sample Article Video Game Design

(By Jennifer Olsen with Jill Zinner)

The demand for video game designers has grown dramatically through the years. This has caused the burgeoning influx of aspiring video game developers and designers into video game design schools armed with the faith that they too can cut in as soon as they have acquired the necessary skills for the job. By arming yourself with the right skills and attitude, being a video game designer will not remain a dream forever. You can be part of the team that will recreate Sims, WarCraft, Counter Strike and many others...

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Sample Article Tips for Creating a Video Game Animator's Demo Reel

(By Dave Vasquez)

Today there are as many game studios as there are games being made. There's not one standard formula. Just like in film, studios have their own styles, requirements, etc. I've tried to summarize some tips below that may help you if you're looking to put together an animation demo reel for a game studio...

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Sample Article Going to Video Game School

(By Elisa Batista)

However, he ended up scrapping those plans when one of his brothers -- a 37-year-old computer programmer -- encouraged him to apply to DigiPen Institute of Technology -- a four-year college in Bellevue, Washington dedicated solely to the study and development of video games. After witnessing Akhtar spend 3 to 4 hours a day after work playing video games, his brother was convinced he would not be happy as a chemist...

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Sample Article Off to college to major in ... video games?

(By Mark Clayton)

This fall, Southern Methodist University in Dallas will enroll 32 students in its new 18-month master's level certificate program in video-game design. Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, is offering for the first time a full-blown undergraduate major in "game and simulation arts" as part of its bachelor of fine arts degree program. A few big-name universities are toying with the serious side of video games...

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Sample Article Writing for the Video Game Industry

So if your thinking writing for video games is easy then think again. With an audience that is increasingly becoming older, the need for a good storyline has become a monumental task for industry leaders. It is this demand for complex writing that gives those with creative ideas and passion for writing an opportunity to shine. The natural love and familiarity with video games are much needed ingredients one must possess to be a great video game writer...

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Video Game Artist
Sample Article Video Game Animator

Patrick Beaulieu

Starting in the 3D field was a header for me I didn't know a thing about computers, all I knew to do was drawing, so I decided to take a one year 3D course in Quebec City. What really helped me to decide to go into animation is when I started to work in a small video company, after I finished school; I met a 2D animator with a lot of talent by the name of...

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Sample Article X-Men Legends 2 Art Director

Dan Hay

Raven is a first class place to work. It's really cool to work at a studio that prides itself on the ART side of making games. As for projects, I started on X-men Legends, jumped right onto XML 2, helped a tiny bit on Quake, and am currently hammering on something new...

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