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How Do I Become a Computer Or Video Game Maker
Professional game designers need some pretty hard skills. They need computer programming, digital animation, physics and math skills. That’s to enter what in 2005 was a $31 billion a year industry worldwide. The road is not easy to get this prized job at major video game manufacturing companies like Electronic Arts and Sony. There are four ways to get the knowledge needed to make video games depending on whether you want to compete for an elite job in one of the big companies or if you just want to play on the weekends. Also, you have to consider your age. There are different options available for adults compared to minors. You could spend four years at a traditional university. You could spend two years or more at a specialist school. Summer camps are available for teens, usually two-week programs. And finally there are online tutorials. If you’re like me, you’re an adult who has some creative ideas but doesn’t want to spend a lot of time creating video games. I’m going to summarize the available options in this article and then tell you what worked for me in the end.
First there are the traditional university courses in game design. Many fall under the heading of digital media degrees. The advantage of a traditional design course is that some students receive immediate job offers from large corporations. When these corporations hire, they tend to go to these schools. The main disadvantage of these schools is the cost. A degree can cost close to $100,000 for an out-of-state student. Then add in the cost of additional years spent on courses unrelated to video game creation but required by the school for a degree. I speak about foreign languages, English and some sciences. This time could be spent making money creating games. Another drawback is that they are limited to high school graduates only. Also because of its inflexibility in the schedule, a working adult with a family would find it impossible to participate. The most popular traditional schools for video game creation are Georgia Tech, Carnegie Mellon, and USC.
Then there are the specialized colleges. These colleges are created specifically to train people in the vocation they choose. They differ in that some were created just to train game makers like Digipen and Fullsail. Others have a variety of offerings such as Devry and ITT Technology. Either way, once you start, you’re right into game design courses. Some of these schools receive immediate job offers for their graduates. They range from 18-month programs to 3-year programs with accelerated training itineraries. They tend not to be as expensive as traditional schools; however, you will be shelling out quite a bit of money. Schools that specialize only in game creation have schedules that are just as inflexible as traditional colleges. Multi-offer institutions tend to have more flexibility. Some offer evening classes or even online classes. Again, like traditional colleges, most are limited to high school graduates, but multiple-offer schools offer more options to working adults.
Next on the list are summer camps. These colonies begin to emerge more frequently each summer. They teach children under the age of 19. This offers training focused on game creation for a full day or half day. Most programs last one to two weeks. This is great for that period of time when there isn’t much to do. It also gives children the opportunity to make friends with other children who share the same interest. However, these benefits come at a cost, and usually quite substantial. They can run two to three times more expensive than traditional daycare centers and summer camps. And while their schedules fit the lives of many kids, they don’t fit the schedules of kids with other commitments like sports. Many of them do their program for periods of one or two weeks during the summer. Then there’s the fact that summer vacations should be planned around camp and not the other way around. This can be a pain. A couple of the most popular camps are Emagination and iD Tech Camps. Both camps are sponsored by universities.
The final options are online tutorials that teach how to make video games. Most are low-cost or free. They can be downloaded so access is immediate. Suitable for all ages and will give you maximum flexibility when it comes to scheduling. 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 drawbacks? Well, some can be hard to follow, especially all the text tutorials. There are tons of multimedia tutorials that are easier to follow; however, there’s almost always a part where the tutorial doesn’t match what’s on the screen. At this point, there is no one to call and you either find out or get frustrated and quit. A couple of sites with tutorials are juniorgamemaker.com and yoyo games.
Now for my decision. Since I’m a hard worker and don’t want to make games a profession, the college option was ruled out. Even going to an online college would be a hassle because of the time it would take and the cost is prohibitive. I have three kids ready 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, but it’s hard for me to schedule one for my kids because of softball, soccer, vacations, and other things that come up during the summer For me, my best bet is the downloadable tutorial videos.
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