Are there any professional organizations that provide information about video game design training?
The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) provides information on video game design training through its special interest groups. These groups focus on specific elements of game development, such as game design, specific platforms and specific genres, and they may be able to connect you with information on online training in your area of interest. IGDA also provides information on top quality education programs for those interested in design and development.
If your school has a strong game design program, you may also be able to find information on video game design training through your school alumni association. Members of these associations include previous graduates of your program who may have advice on training. This is also a good way to network with professionals who have already found success in the industry and will have inside perspectives on what training is the best.
How can I network with professionals who have training in video game design?
A good way to network with professionals is through events held by professional associations. Many associations host conferences, trade shows, networking brunches and other events that allow you to meet with industry professionals and discuss game design concepts. These professionals may also be able to direct you toward good resources for online training.
The video game design field is diverse, however, and many of those you network with may not have formal training. Many currently successful designers, such as Markus Persson, designer of Minecraft, have little formal training. You may encounter these professionals at conferences as well, and you should not discount what they have to say just because they lack training.
You may also be able to network with trained professionals through campus groups for those in your program. These clubs often bring in speakers or other professionals who can provide you with more information on game design training.
What supplies or tools do I need for my training in video game design?
You will want a notebook and some means of relieving stress during your training. A notebook will allow you to jot down notes during lessons and sketch concepts. Graph paper can also help strongly if you are training in level design, which requires you to consistently measure lengths relative to one another.
A good computer can help with your online training. Many designers have strong programming skills, especially independent designers, so a computer capable of working with current design platforms like Flash and the Unreal engine will help you if you pursue that aspect of the industry. You may also want a word processor designed specifically for coding, such as Notepad++. If you prefer to use a laptop computer, you should consider a tablet computer that can serve as a notepad as well.
Can you recommend any books to read during my training in video game design?
A Theory of Fun for Game Design by Raph Koster highlights the need to be creative in game design. This book can supplement online training by reminding you to keep your ideas fresh, as many games fail not due to poor technical quality but rather due to predictability.
Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design by Scott Rogers, designer of the God of War series, offers a perspective on how to design good games. This book supplements video game design courses online or offline with information on how to envision good challenges and understand what gamers are interested in playing.
Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games is a practical text regarding game design that focuses on hands-on exercises. It also offers thoughts from major designers such as Peter Molyneux and American McGee, which can help you understand the thought processes of top industry professionals.