The mechanics, gameplay, and overall experience of a video game are created and designed by a professional known as a video game designer. They are essential in determining the player’s path, interactions, and level of immersion in the game environment. To bring the game concept to life, game designers collaborate closely with other members of the development team, such as artists, programmers, sound designers, and producers. In this article, we will examine the different aspects to become a Video Game Designer, and hopefully, it can help you in your career path as a high school student.
Skills needed to become a Video Game Designer
You will need a blend of technical expertise, artistic talent, and character traits to become a video game designer.
- Game design principles: Gain a thorough understanding of the theories, mechanics, and guiding principles of game design. To discover what makes games engaging and pleasant, research and study the ones already in existence.
- Creativity and imagination: Develop a strong sense of creativity and the capacity to come up with original, cutting-edge concepts. In game creation, it’s essential to be able to think creatively and generate original ideas.
- Strong communication and collaboration: Collaboration with team members, communicating your design ideas, and giving constructive criticism all require effective communication skills. Since game production is a highly collaborative process, it’s imperative to have the ability to work successfully in a team atmosphere.
- Problem-solving and critical thinking: Making judgments and finding solutions to complex challenges are both part of game design. To solve problems and come up with solutions that improve gameplay, develop excellent problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
- Programming and technical knowledge: Even though it’s not always necessary, having a fundamental knowledge of game development tools and programming ideas can be quite helpful to help you become a video game designer. Learn how to work with game engines like Unity or Unreal Engine and become familiar with programming languages like C++ or C#.
- Storytelling and narrative design: Develop your storytelling, character, and narrative design talents. The player’s immersion and emotional connection to the game can be substantially improved by an engaging plot and well-developed characters.
- Level design and spatial awareness: Learn the fundamentals of level design, such as flow, pace, and layout. Recognize how to design engaging and difficult situations that encourage exploration and progression.
- User experience (UX) design: Learn about UX design principles to produce entertaining and logical player experiences. Learn how to create compelling and accessible user interfaces, menus, and interactions.
- Adaptability and willingness to learn: Since the video game development industry is always changing, to become a video game designer you will need to be flexible and willing to pick up new skills in terms of tools, technology, and design fads. Keep up with the most recent developments in the industry.
- Attention to detail and organization: In game design, attention to detail is essential. You must make sure that every aspect of the game—from the graphics to the gaming mechanics—works well together. You’ll stay on track and fulfil deadlines if your work is planned and meticulous.
What can I include in my high school portfolio to become a Video Game Designer?
To apply for a relevant video game design degree, you should have your portfolio ready and relevant. You should highlight your abilities, originality, and experience with game creation in your portfolio when you’re a video game creator. The following are some important factors you should take into account:
- Game Design Documents (GDDs): Give examples of the organized, in-depth design documents you’ve written. The concept, mechanics, level design, character descriptions, and any other pertinent information should be outlined in these documents.
- Game prototypes or playable demos: Make little playable prototypes of your game concepts to show off your design abilities. These might be interactive demonstrations of your level design, gaming mechanics, and overarching gameplay philosophy.
- Level design examples: Display your talent for creating interesting levels with a good balance. Include screenshots or videos of the level designs, environments, riddles, enemy placements, and any other features that demonstrate your proficiency in level design creation.
- Game mechanics and systems: By describing and displaying original or creative gameplay elements you have built; you can demonstrate your mastery of game mechanics and systems. Diagrams, flowcharts, and other visual representations of your thoughts are examples of this.
- Storytelling and narrative design: Include samples of your storytelling abilities if you have experience with narrative design. This can take the shape of storyboards that show crucial scenes from a game’s plot, character profiles, dialogue samples, or textual narratives.
- Industry experience or internships: Include details of your duties and responsibilities if you have worked in the gaming business or completed internships. Any unique contributions you made to the projects you worked on should be highlighted.
What video game projects can I include in my portfolio?
- Puzzle Game: Make a puzzle game that increases in difficulty to test players’ skills. To become a video game designer, you create engaging puzzle solutions, interesting level designs, and original mechanisms that keep gamers interested and amused.
- Side-Scrolling Platformer: Create a side-scrolling platformer game with intriguing level layouts, original obstacles, and character skills. Create challenging levels that call for precision platforming abilities and smart thought.
- Role-Playing Game (RPG): Create an RPG with a compelling plot, interesting characters, and a realistic gaming environment. To provide players meaningful options and a rich gameplay experience, create missions, character growth systems, and branching narrative routes.
- Narrative Adventure Game: Develop a narrative-driven adventure game with a strong focus on storytelling and player choices. Design branching storylines, engaging characters, and meaningful decision-making moments that shape the player’s journey.
- Mobile Game: To become a video game designer, creating mobile games is getting more lucrative due to the high volume of mobile users. Make a mobile game with simple touch controls and engaging gameplay elements. Create stages or tasks that may be finished in brief play sessions so that it is appropriate for gaming on the go.
- Serious Game or Educational Game: Create a game that attempts to inform or confront current issues. Design gaming elements and mechanics that support education, problem-solving, or topical awareness.
Which universities offer Video Game Design degree?
While there is no specific degree required to become a video game designer, there are several university degrees that can provide you the relevant skills and experience necessary for this professional path. Here are some universities and colleges that offer game design degrees.
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation
- Bachelor of Arts in Game Design
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Art and Animation
- Master of Science in Computer Science
Full Sail University (United States):
- Bachelor of Science in Game Design
- Bachelor of Science in Game Art
- Master of Science in Game Design
University of Southern California (United States):
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Games)
- Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Entertainment
- Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Media & Games
New York University (United States):
- Bachelor of Science in Integrated Digital Media
- Master of Science in Integrated Digital Media
- Master of Fine Arts in Game Design
Savannah College of Art and Design (United States):
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Development
- Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Design and Game Development
Rochester Institute of Technology (United States):
- Bachelor of Science in Game Design and Development
- Master of Science in Game Design and Development
Vancouver Film School (Canada):
- Bachelor of Arts in Game Design
- Diploma in Game Design
Abertay University (United Kingdom):
- Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and Production Management
- Master of Professional Practice (Games Development)
- Master of Science in Game Development
Breda University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands):
- Bachelor of Science in International Game Architecture and Design
- Master of Science in Game Technology
University of Skövde (Sweden):
- Bachelor of Arts in Game Design
- Master of Arts in Game Design
To become a video game designer requires dedication, hard work, and a passion for games. Even though it’s a cutthroat industry, you can pursue a lucrative career in game creation if you have the necessary qualifications, experience, and tenacity.
Next, you may be interested to read more about our game design student here.