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How Do I Become a Computer Or Video Game Maker
Professional game designers need fairly advanced skills. They need skills in computer programming, digital animation, physics and mathematics. It’s about entering what in 2005 was a $31 billion per year industry worldwide. The road is not easy to land that valuable job at leading game-creating companies such as Electronic Arts and Sony. There are four ways to gain the knowledge to create video games depending on whether you want to compete for an elite job at one of the big corporations or just want to tinker on the weekends. Also, you need to consider your age. There are different options available for adults versus minors. You could spend four years at a traditional university. You could spend two or more years in a special school. There are summer camps for teens, usually two-week programs. And finally there are online tutorials. If you’re like me, you’re an adult who has creative ideas but doesn’t want to spend a lot of time creating video games. I will go through the options available in this article and then tell you what worked for me at the end.
First there are the traditional university game design courses. Many fall under the title of digital media degrees. The advantage of a traditional design course is that some students immediately receive job offers from large companies. When these companies recruit, they usually go to these schools. The main disadvantage of these schools is the cost. A degree can cost close to $100,000 for an international student. Then you have to add the cost of extra years spent in courses unrelated to creating video games but required by the school for a degree. I speak foreign languages, English and some sciences. This time could be spent making money by creating games. Another downside is that they are limited to high school graduates only. Also due to their inflexibility in scheduling, an adult working with a family would find themselves unable to attend. The most popular traditional schools for creating video games are Georgia Tech, Carnegie Mellon, and USC.
Then there are the specialized colleges. These colleges are created specifically to train people for the vocation they choose. They differ in that some were created solely to train game makers like Digipen and Fullsail. Others have a variety of offerings like Devry and ITT tech. Either way, once you get started, you immediately get into game design courses. Some of these schools receive immediate job offers for their graduates. Their duration varies from 18-month programs to 3-year programs with accelerated training paths. They tend not to be as expensive as traditional schools; however, you will shell out quite a bit of money. Schools that specialize solely in making games have just as rigid schedules as traditional colleges. Institutions offering multiple offers generally have more flexibility. Some offer evening classes or even online classes. Again, like traditional colleges, most are limited to high school graduates, but multi-offer schools offer more options for working adults.
Next on the list are summer camps. These camps begin to appear with more frequency each summer. They teach minors under the age of 19. This gives focused training on creating games for a full day or half a day. Most programs last one to two weeks. It is ideal for this period when there is not much to do. It also gives kids the chance to befriend other kids who share the same interest. However, these benefits come at a cost and usually quite significant. They can cost two to three times more than traditional summer camps and daycares. And while their schedules fit the lives of many kids, they don’t fit those of kids with other commitments like sports. Many of them organize their program for one or two weeks during the summer. Then there’s the fact that summer vacation should be planned around camp rather than the other way around. It can be painful. Two of the most popular camps are Emagination and iD Tech Camps. Both of these camps are sponsored by colleges.
The final options are online tutorials that teach video game creation. Most are inexpensive or free. They are downloadable so access is immediate. Suitable for all ages and will give you the ultimate in planning flexibility. Heck, you use it when you’re good and ready, whether it’s 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning. So what are the downsides? Well, some can be hard to follow, especially the all-text tutorials. There are many multimedia tutorials that are easier to follow. however, there’s almost always a part where the tutorial doesn’t match what’s on your screen. At this point there is no one to call and you either realize this or get frustrated and leave. A few sites with tutorials are juniorgamemaker.com and yoyo games.
Now for my decision. Because I’m a worker and I don’t want making video games to be a profession, the university option was ruled out. Even going to an online college would be a problem due to the time it would take and the prohibitive cost. I have three kids lined up for college in the not too distant future, so I have to watch my spending. Of course, at my age, I can’t do summer camp, however, I find it difficult to organize one for my children because of softball, football, holidays and other things that come up during the summer. For me, my best option is downloadable video tutorials.
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