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Career Exploration

Video Game Designers
 
Video game designers often work as part of a team to create video games. They come up with the games' concepts, characters, setting, story, and gameplay. Designers must work with artists and programmers to create the scripting language and artistic vision for a game.
 
How to Become a Video Game Designer
 
The following are steps you can take to become a video game designer.
Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree
Designers may need a bachelor's degree, especially if they're planning to work for a large game studio. Although some schools offer a degree in game design, aspiring game designers can get the necessary training from computer science, software engineering, or related degree programs. The coursework for a game design program covers subjects like 2D and 3D modeling and animation, level and interface design, storyboard rendering, drawing, and scripting.
 
Step 2: Determine a Career Path
Even within this specialty, there are different types of designers, including lead designer, level designer and content designer. Additionally, game designers have a diverse array of responsibilities that may not immediately be obvious, so aspiring professionals in this field should consider what type of game design career they want to pursue.
 
Step 3: Gain Experience
Even after completing the required education, getting a job with a game studio can be difficult. Since employers require game design experience for most mid-level positions, aspiring game designers need to find ways to get relevant experience. Some companies offer internships and co-op positions for prospective designers. Small businesses may be willing to hire inexperienced game programmers or artists, which could lead to game design positions later on.
 
Step 4: Develop a Game
Game design candidates can get an edge over the competition by designing their own game. Students can use free or inexpensive programs to create simple games at first and begin working on more complex projects after grasping the basics. Each game can be added to an individual's portfolio and count as design experience.
 
PAY
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2015 that the average annual salary for multimedia artists and animators was $70,300.
 
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List of Top Video Gaming Schools

School Overviews

Video gaming programs prepare students to design games for entertainment, as well as what's referred to as 'serious gaming' for use in education, medicine, and military training. Under subjects such as game and art production, interactive media and digital media, these programs are offered at the undergraduate and graduate level. Students take such courses as 2-D and 3-D animation, level design and storyboarding. Graduates can work as video game designers and animators, among other options.
1. University of Southern California in Los Angeles

School Highlight: The University of Southern California is home to the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts, the Marcia Lucas Post-Production Center and the Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg Center for Animation.

The University of Southern California (USC) is located in one of the world's major hubs for entertainment. U.S. News & World Report ranked the school 23rd among national universities in 2015. USC's School of Cinematic Arts is home to the Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Entertainment program. The liberal arts curriculum includes coursework in character development, cinematic techniques and interactivity programming for games.

Also available is a 3-year Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Media program which allows students to focus on video gaming after fulfilling initial course requirements. Related class electives cover game business and management, as well as interface and sound design.

2. Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

School Highlight: Drexel students have taken top prizes in the Microsoft Imagine Cup, the Unity Awards, and the Adobe Achievement Awards

Drexel University was ranked amongst the top 10 national universities by U.S. News & World Report for 2015. The university's Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design offers programs at the undergraduate and graduate level.

The Princeton Review ranked the Bachelor of Science in Game Art and Production program among the top 4 for undergraduate game design programs. The program highlights animation and interactivity as well as design and programming of games used for entertainment and educational purposes. In addition to classroom studies, students also undertake a 6-month co-op experience.

Drexel's Master of Science in Digital Media program includes courses in gaming, 3-D interactive environments and computer-generated imagery. Another option for professionals with a bachelor's degree and experience in traditional media is a post-baccalaureate certificate program in digital media.

Top Colleges and Universities to Learn Video Gaming

 

School Name

Distinction

Location

Elmhurst College

A computer game and entertainment technology undergraduate degree is offered at this private liberal arts college outside of Chicago

Elmhurst, IL

Emerson College

Game design is covered as part of this Boston school's bachelor's, Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in visual and media arts

Boston, MA

Marist College

Pre-college students can participate in the 2-week, 3-credit Summer Game Institute, and fully enrolled college students can earn an interactive media and game design undergraduate degree

Poughkeepsie, NY

Michigan State University

The interdisciplinary game design and development degree melds telecommunications, art, information studies, and media and computer science courses

East Lansing, MI

Northeastern University

Majors in digital art and game design and in computer science and game design are available along with a game design minor; the school's co-op program allows for up to three 6-month internships

Boston, MA

Savannah College of Art and Design

Interactive design and game development degree options at SCAD include a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) as well as a Master of Arts or a Master of Fine Arts

Savannah, GA

University of Wisconsin - Stout

UW-Stout's game design and development program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering Teaching (ABET) 

Menomonie, WI

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