You were just a kid when you played your first video game, but it blew your mind. You fell in love with the medium instantly, and you knew this was what you wanted to do. Video games are more than just a hobby or pastime for you: they’re your passion. You want to break into game design, but you’re not sure where to start. Well, worry not, because we’ve got some tips and advice to help you out. Let’s talk games!
Stop Worrying About the “Right Way”
There is no right way to break into the field. There’s not a path that’s going to be a guaranteed road to success. Whether you have a degree in game design or you’re just a passionate, self-taught programmer, you’re going to need to try a wide variety of strategies. Get ready to diversify how you handle things.
The first step you should take is posting examples of your work online. Forums, developer communities and the like are a great place to share your mods or created levels. Exposing a wide audience to your work is a good way to get developers to see what you can do. If you’ve already made your own full-fledged indie game, releasing it on Steam or some similar platform is another great way to get attention.
Become a Game Tester
Game testing is a great way to get your foot in the door with a company. While it’s not as glamorous and doesn’t pay as well, it’s a good intro to the field and a great networking opportunity. After all, sometimes it’s not about what you know, but who you know! Along these same lines, getting an internship at a game studio would be another way to network.
While internships can be daunting, since they often don’t pay well (or at all), they can pay off. If you can afford to spend the time interning, you may well make life-long career connections. If you’re already making indie games to support yourself, this would also be a great experience. Being exposed to professional designers and their styles could up your own game design, making you a more successful developer.
Consider an Education in the Field
If you haven’t gone to college or went to college for something other than game design, consider heading to school to get a degree. While it’s not a surefire guarantee that you’ll find work, it makes you a more desirable candidate. This works best when combined with some of the other tips in this article. A more well-rounded candidate will often have the edge in landing jobs with a big studio.
Don’t Give Up
If gaming is your passion and you know you want to be a dev, don’t give up on that dream. You may have to get a day job to support yourself while you look for better work. You may have to live in a small place and not splurge much. But remember, your career should be your passion. Keep your chin up, stay positive and make your dream a reality! You can do this!