Careers in the Video Game Industry by HC120711071744


									                               It’s not all fun and games...

...but it’s better than a lot of other things I can think of.
                                                 Tom Sloper
Lots of careers in games
 Programming       Audio
 Art               Producing
    2D             Testing
    Concept art    Customer Support
    3D             IT
    Animation
                    Marketing
 Game Design       Legal
 Level Design      Financial/accounting
 Writing
Types of companies
 Publishers
    Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, THQ...
 Development studios
    Pandemic, Savage, Naked Sky...
 Platform holders
    Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft...
 Quality Assurance providers
    iBeta, VeriTest, VMC...
Big vs. small companies
 Big companies – for experienced candidates only
    Narrow specialization
    Numerous specialties
    Numerous departments or studio teams
    Opportunities for lateral, diagonal, vertical movement
 Small companies – good for beginners breaking in
    Everybody wears numerous hats
    Few departments/teams
    Opportunities vary, but boy will you learn a lot!
 The most in-demand position, and the most
 Requirements:
   4-year degree or better (CS preferred)
   Solid portfolio (“demo disc”)
 Salary: the highest in the industry (see
  GameCareerGuide Salary Survey); avg. $83K
 Entry-level positions abound, mostly at smaller
  companies (don’t hold out for top companies only).
  Internships may be available
Programming specialties &
languages, etc.
 A.I.                C++
 Engine              C#
 Tools               Flash
 3D Graphics         Java
 Physics             Brew
 Online/networked
 Mobile              Scripting languages
 Web games, IPTV     Engines
 Also highly in demand, but very competitive
 Requirements:
    Art degree
    Outstanding portfolio
    Comfort with Photoshop, Maya, 3DS Max
 Entry-level positions plentiful but don’t hold out for a
  job at one of the top companies – be willing to start
 Salary: avg. $67K
2D Art
 Yes, 2D. User interfaces, mobile games, web games,
 Requirements:
   Art degree
   Outstanding portfolio
 Entry-level positions plentiful but don’t hold out for a
  job at one of the top companies – be willing to start
Concept Art
 Niche position, requiring extraordinary talent and
 Requirements:
   Art degree
   Exceptionally outstanding portfolio
   Optional: film, comic book / graphic novel experience
 The extraordinarily talented candidate might be able
 to get a full-time job making concept art for games. But
 mostly it’s freelancing...
3D Art
 Highly in demand, but very competitive
 Requirements:
    Art degree
    Outstanding portfolio
 Entry-level positions plentiful but don’t hold out for a
  job at one of the top companies – be willing to start
 Narrow specialty
 Requirements:
    Art degree
    Outstanding portfolio (“demo reel”)
    Knowledge of MoCap and Facial MoCap & other
     animation tools
 Entry-level positions unlikely. The candidate may need
 to gain experience first in film, TV, commercial, or
 Web animation
Game Design
 Highly competitive position. It’s not what you think.
  (It’s not about “ideas.”)
 Requirements:
    Bachelors degree, liberal arts
    Strong résumé (a lot of industry experience)
 Entry-level positions do not exist. Game industry
  experience required. Usual entry paths: QA, Level
  Design, Programming
 Salary – lower because of the high competition (the
  glamour and cachet of the title); avg. $64K
Level Design
 Very much in demand
 Requirements:
    One or more degrees: Art, Game Design, Programming,
    Outstanding portfolio (“demo disc”)
    Comfort with 3DS Max and/or other level design tools
 Entry-level positions exist, but the candidate must
 demonstrate proven ability to create levels that are fun
 to play. Internships may be available
 Demand vs. supply: many want to do it; few are
  qualified; few openings
 Requirements:
   Writing degree
   Writing experience credits (film, episodic/dramatic TV,
    comic books, graphic novels)
 Entry path: Writers for games are normally freelancers,
  not full-time employees. (Exceptions exist.)
 Freelancing...
 Demand vs. supply
 Requirements:
    Bachelors degree
    Audio experience credits (film, radio, TV, commercials,
     books on tape...)
 Entry path: Audio engineers are often freelancers, not
  full-time employees. (Exceptions exist.)
 Freelancing...
 Average income: $73K
 Every project needs someone to manage the details,
  communication, expectations; only open to industry
 Requirements:
   Bachelors degree a plus
   Outstanding game industry experience
 Entry-level positions do not exist. Most producers
  migrate into project management from other jobs: QA,
  programming, art, design, marketing, legal...
 Salary – not as high as you might think; avg. $79K
Testing (Quality Assurance)
 Demand vs. supply: testers are always needed; lots of
  people want to be testers; easiest entry path
 Requirements: good communication skills; good
  technical skills; experience playing games
 Opportunities for advancement: can be a good entry
  pathway, depending on company type. Best
  opportunities with smaller companies; no
  opportunities at independent test labs
 Salary: the lowest in the industry; avg. $39K. And
  expect frequent layoffs
Customer Support
 Demand vs. supply: not highly competitive. Openings
  may exist, when the position isn’t outsourced.
 Requirements: candidate must be a helpful “people
  person” with excellent communication skills
 Opportunities for a move into the studio: depends on
  the company and whether or not it has an internal
  game studio
 I consider game masters as belonging to this category.
  Sometimes unpaid volunteers (but pay is available)
Information Technology
 All big companies need IT (at small co., someone in
  engineering handles IT)
 Requirements:
   Degree
   IT experience
 Entry path: none (just apply at a large company)
 Opportunities for a move into the studio: depends on
 the company. If there is an internal studio, may be
 possible to migrate into game creation
 Requirements:
    Marketing degree
    Marketing experience a plus
 Entry path: apply when nearing completion of
  marketing degree. Internships a good way in.
  Experience in other industry? Apply!
 Salary: avg. $73K
Legal (in-house counsel)
 Requirements:
    Law degree (contracts, IP)
    Bar exam
 Entry path: none (just apply at a large company).
  Internships a good way in
 Opportunities for a move into the studio: Depends on
  the individual
 Requirements:
    Degree
    A plus: CPA or MBA
    Professional experience (good résumé and references)
 Entry path: none (just apply at a large company)
 Opportunities for advancement: managerial only (no
  movement into game creation is likely from here)
Switching into games from another
 More doable than you might think
 Professional experience means a lot
 Game degree not needed, but might help
 Solid portfolio essential
 The path of least resistance
Switching jobs within the industry
 Doable but requires patience and serendipity
    Depends on company type and structure
    Depends on individual’s experience, cooperative/
     collaborative attitude, and what the company needs
    Individual must prove he’s capable, enthusiastic, hard-
     working. Self-driver who’s not afraid to seek assistance
     and learn
 Realistic approach required; willingness to do
  whatever is needed
     The Egg

   The egg is “the game industry.”
   The yolk is whatever job it is that YOU want.
   Moving around in the egg white is comparatively easy.
   Getting into the yolk takes time.
   The really hard part is getting inside the shell in the first
Job vs. Indie vs. Lone Wolf vs.
 Many seem to think they have to start a company right
  out of high school or college!!!
 Indie (or modding) is good preparation for Job.
 Job is best preparation for Startup
   Experience
   Contacts
   Maturity
   Money
 Lone Wolfdom is only for the exceptionally
 accomplished Renaissance Man
The keys to breaking in
 Location, location, location
 Realistic targeting
 Research, research, research
 Networking
 Solid portfolio (body of work)
 – yellow zone
 (job aspirants, professionals)
 (indies and lone wolves)
 (students, wannabes)

 Introduction to Game Development (Rabin)
 Secrets of the Game Business (Larramée)
 Game Design Workshop (Fullerton)

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