What other areas of study are related to my video game design program?
There are a number of similar occupations that may interest students in a video game design program. Art directors, for example, create the visual style and images in magazines, product packages and movie or television productions. They manage others who develop the artwork and layout and, like video game designers, must cooperate with artists to achieve the proper visual style.
Computer programmers write code to create software programs. They turn the program models generated by software developers and engineers into instructions that a computer can follow. Similarly, students in game design programs will learn how to write code for games in order to devise the missions, challenges or puzzles encountered in game play.
Graphic designers develop visual concepts, by hand or using computer software, to communicate ideas to consumers. They help create branding by selecting color, images or logo designs that represent a particular idea or company to be used in marketing. Game designers are heavily invested in the branding and marketing of their products and will interact with graphic designers on a regular basis.
Finally, web developers use information technology to create websites that represent the public face of a company. Game designers will work closely with web developers to create the ideal website for their creations.
What internships should I pursue during my on-campus or online video game design degree program?
Internships for students in the best game design programs online or on campus are usually available through major publishers. Smaller game studios often do not have the resources to train interns, so focus on the larger studios like Microsoft, EA, Sony and Ubisoft.
If information about internships is not available online, send an e-mail or call the company’s human resources department. You can attach your cover letter and resume to your e-mail, which will allow your information to be redirected to the correct person. Some studios will visit campuses that have strong math and computer science programs, such as MIT, and conduct on-site interviews.
Students in online programs should have few issues securing internships as long as they have the necessary educational background. You can find information on internships with major studios with little effort.
Microsoft, for instance, has a page dedicated to internships in their Game Design department. Likewise, ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks and creator of major franchises like the Elder Scrolls series, lists internships on its website. Students should also visit websites like Game Artist, which lists the studios currently hiring interns.
Are there any movies or TV shows that I might enjoy during my video game design degree program?
Indie Game: The Movie is one of the few films to explore not only the making of a video game but also how independent companies do it without the resources of a major studio. Students who may be thinking about starting their own company will be treated to an informative exploration of the struggles and successes they can expect as independent developers.
The Guild, a popular web series about a group of online gamers, was financed entirely by donations from fans. It has been running since 2007 and is now distributed through Xbox Live. Game design students should find a great deal of humor in the way that the show pokes fun at the obsessive nature of online gamers.
Level Up was a film that originally aired on Cartoon Network and has since become a series. Students may find it enjoyable for the way it spoofs popular games.
Grandma’s Boy is a comedy about a 35-year-old game tester forced to move in with his grandmother. Though goofy, the film may be of interest to students as it explores some of the stereotypes associated with the gaming community.
Are there any accelerated campus-based or online video game design programs to help me finish my degree faster?
Full Sail University, a for-profit career school, offers an online bachelors degree in video game design that can be completed in 32 months. Students learn the production processes used by top studios to design popular games. They also study the fundamentals of narrative design and the tools used to translate their ideas to the screen, concluding with a final design project.
The New York Film Academy (NYFA) offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Design that can be completed in 3 years. This is a campus-based program that educates students in the art of professional game writing and design through lectures, seminars and total immersion workshops. The school has accredited online programs at the associates, bachelors and masters levels.
Post University offers accelerated online game design programs as well. Students learn game theory, genres, design principles, 3-D programming, character animation, game engine architectures and artificial intelligence. This is a certificate program that can be completed in 1 year to 18 months.
Digital Media Arts College offers a computer animation Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in game art. Students sketch out game concepts, create characters and then learn how to use industry technology to bring their ideas to life. The degree can be completed in 3 years.