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Ciergan

Anyone feeling the urge to make a game themselves?

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I thought for a long time becoming a programmer would allow me to eventually become a designer, but as time passes it seems that's far from enough after all. In fact, it's sad how many game designers do not even know the basic concepts of programming.

Going from programmer to designer is HARD, but not as hard as getting into the games industry in the first place. It took me eight years to do, but I'm finally a designer, and it was definitely worth it. The necessary skills in organization and logic required to be a good programmer are also a huge boon to working as a designer, not to mention being able to quickly create small functional prototypes to push my own ideas.

The other thing I would highly recomend is do not judge the industry by working for one or two companies. Every company has it's own culture, it's own problems, and the difficulty or ease of changing roles will also vary. If you can't get to designer in your current company, move somewhere else as a programmer, or a technical designer, or a 'scripter'...

Congratulations! Now I'm jealous though. :lol:

Personally I had zero trouble getting in the game industry. I just started as a QA tester for a shitty subcontracting company and three months later BOOM I found myself working for an awesome big company instead, just like that.

I don't want to generalize all companies, but I've seen very good and very bad in my career so far, but even the very good were not open to the idea of a smooth job transition. And one thing's for sure: I won't do a job that completely drains my energy for 8 years. It would probably be better at a different game company (no opportunities in my area so far), but the fact remains that programming is an extremely tiresome activity for me and I could not have predicted it in advance. That's why I'm seriously considering to take a step back, do something fun and completely unrelated for a few years, and then maybe go back as indie when I'll have the opportunity.

All I know is that I need some tangible portfolio to get a job closer to design, but pretty much all I have are design documents and no time to realize them in my free time. The only one I did realize turned out to be so hard it wasn't even worth going beyond the prototype stage.

In any case I'm quitting my current job ASAP because of how poorly managed my current company is in my opinion, but it's pretty much impossible to determine what's for the best afterwards. To be honest, I've never been so pessimistic about my career path of becoming a game designer. I'm writing this and I should be sleeping instead, but I just can't make up my mind about what to do next in my professional career... really tough times for me.

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I want to make games. That's why I have started University at age 29 doing Computer game development and its almost the end of my first year. I have a white board where I keep all my ideas and my phones notes is full of different ideas I have had and don't want to forget.

I made a really basic side scrolling shooter in my first few months and my avatar was one of the basic enemy types I made.

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These tips really are great for those living in a community where they've got buddies they can meet for a coffee and to talk game design but what if you're home is filled more with people who, at best, look only at it by the money to be made than the artistic or storytelling aspects we all love? The internet is good but perhaps its just not sufficient enough to give you the moral and social tools you need to go beyond dreaming? Well, as one in such a situation, I can give some tips to help you survive just long enough to move to a better place for your passion and keep the dream alive.

1. Look to alternatives to the computer. If like me you also lack the programming skills neccesary to make a videogame a good place to start is offline with a physical game. D&D offers a good working framework to begin with but all you really need is an idea, a pen, and a piece of paper to really begin honing your skills. As these also are the most basic skills any game designer needs to make the rts or fps of their dreams you'll definitely benefit.

2. Read a lot of game related stuff. Look to the works of C. Crowsley Holland or pick up a copy of Final Fantasy and Philosophy. Make no mistake, moral is both your ticket to following your passion and also your worst enemy if it gets too low. Keep it high by surrounding yourself with stuff that both validates what you really want to do and informs you.

3. Look to other works than Call of Duty or Double Fine Adventure. Star Wars didn't gain its fame just by ripping off Flash Gordon but also because it used the work of Comparative Mythologist Joseph Campbell to inform both its structure and content. If you want to stand out you need to say something new so reading, watching, and doing things besides gaming on your x-box is essential. Just look at Flower, a game more informed by gardening and humanities' ecological problem of overdevelopment and how it helps destroy nature, as one of many examples of this.

4. If you do decide to make a game the best advice I can give is to figure out just what the main mechanic of the game is and focus completely on that. This main mechanic is what the player actually does and all of the greats, whether it be the timeless Chess or the father of modern console games Super Mario Bros., focused entirely on this idea for the action that happens in them. It goes beyond keeping things simple though as even complex titles like Age of Empires and Spore don't stray too far from one basic gameplay element. And if its good enoughfor the likes of Miyamoto or Will Wright why try doing something more than they did?

I hope that these tips will help give comfort to those who don't have a billion developers living in their backyard.

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I would also add Christ Crawford's writing about game design, and probably Raph Koster's Theory of Fun too, they are recognized books about how games work in general, not necessarily video games.

And while on the topic of not video games (like Star Wars, or storytelling in general), I really enjoyed Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, especially because it's not just about comics, it's a very smart book.

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These tips really are great for those living in a community where they've got buddies they can meet for a coffee and to talk game design

If that includes my tips, I very much disagree. Yeah, it might be difficult to find a local jam at certain places, but the core of my advice is quite the opposite of sitting with a cup of coffee while talking about making games.

It is valuable to speak to people about it too, just like it's invaluable to learn a lot of things from outside the game world to become a good game designer. But it's completely meaningless if you're not making games already.

Remaking Pong doesn't require an active social life and intricate knowledge on gardening.

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Can't say I agree about it being pointless to go any route other than yours where you already are designing games. Even with something as simple as Pong if things prove to be too difficult or some negative criticism comes your way, it can be enough to crush your spirit and turn you off from this path for the rest of your life. There are many paths to the same goal and while yours works for you there's no need to be negative about alternatives. Whatever works, so long as you stay with it, is a good metho to go with.

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There are many paths to the same goal and while yours works for you there's no need to be negative about alternatives. Whatever works, so long as you stay with it, is a good metho to go with.

Yes, there are several paths. Your D&D advice is one path, and starting up Unity is another one.

I wasn't negative about your alternatives, I was negative about you claiming my advice was only good if you had an active social life filled with other game designers. I certainly don't have one.

The only path that's bad is the one going in a circle while you're waiting for another day to make games. Well.. that one and the path leading into the bear cave.

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Indie dev with 15 games behind me including some AAA games here. Still making games. :)

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For those artists with no coding experience (or don’t know how to) but still would try to make a game.

There is an engine called Visionaire studio

You can make games with the same mechanics of MI3/fullthrottle (or any Lucasarts adventure games in HD) without writing a line of code.

Sounds to good to be true, but it is ^^. Is not kids stuff and is not a dumbed down program, it’s a serious engine and you still need to know how to create the art and know how to set things up, you focus on the content creation and not the code.

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All the time. My advice for anyone wanting to make a game but somehow never getting round to it is: do a jam. Team up with a programmer or use a codeless system like Stencyl if you have to and keep your ambitions low, but just get something done, over a couple of days. Getting over the hurdle of 'Oh, I actually CAN make stuff' is a great first step. The next hard part is getting that game from proof-of-concept to final, polished design.

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