Tom Sloper, from the Japanese manga "Kindai Majan" (2007年10月1日 issue, in the comic strip "愉快な人々," by artist 有元美保)
Welcome to the GAME BIZ ADVICE zone of Sloperama.com.
My intent here is to help game biz aspirants learn what it takes to get in and move up in the game business. I write occasional articles to answer Frequently Asked Questions ("FAQs") about designing and making games - computer games, video games, even board games. I also write a monthly column, The Games Game, on the website of the International Game Developers Association.
So, wanna learn something or find out something about the game biz? Get comfy and grab your mouse. Let's get started.
FAQ 1. "I have a Great Idea for a game. How do I sell it?"
FAQ 2. Basic Outline For a Game Design Document.
FAQ 3. Preparing For a Career in Game Design.
FAQ 4. Applying For a Job in Game Design.
FAQ 5. Testers -- The Unsung Heroes of Games.
FAQ 6. Trade Shows and Conferences -- Are They Worthwhile? (Note: contains some outdated material)
FAQ 7. Various Jobs In The Game Biz -- Which Are You Suited For?
FAQ 8. Recommended Reading For Aspiring Designers
FAQ 9. Professionalism and Attitude
FAQ 10. All About The Process (How Videogames Are Made)
FAQ 11. "Lesson 1 Redux" - MORE About What To Do With Your Game Idea
FAQ 12. Things You Can Do At Home to Build Your Portfolio
FAQ 13. More Game Design Tips
FAQ 14. The Job of Game Designer
FAQ 15. The Job of Game Programmer by Marc Vaughan
FAQ 16. Developing Independent Games by Noah Decter-Jackson
FAQ 17. More About Testing (The View From Inside Q.A.) by Matthew S Burns
FAQ 18. How I Got My Start: The GAME TIME Watch
FAQ 19. Game Calculator (another blast from the past)
FAQ 20. Board Game Design
FAQ 21. The Submission Process
FAQ 22. Classic Games Q&A
"Catch-23." Quandaries, Contradictions, and Oxymora of the Game Biz.
FAQ 24. Ten Stupid Things Wannabes Do
FAQ 25. How To Choose A College/University
FAQ 26. "How Hard Is It?"
FAQ 27. Barrier-Busting Tips
FAQ 28. A GLOSSARY OF GAME BIZ TERMS
FAQ 29. Starting Your Own Development Company
FAQ 30. "If You Have To Ask..."
FAQ 31. "What If I Have The Ultimate Idea?"
FAQ 32. Writing For Games
FAQ 33. The Korean Game Developers Conference 2003
FAQ 34. A Question of Degree
FAQ 35. More About Submissions
FAQ 36. Learn How to Fish
FAQ 37. A's to Teacher-Assigned Career Project Q's
FAQ 38. Prototyping Card Games
FAQ 39. Legal Stuff
FAQ 40. Passions! vs. Feelings
FAQ 41. Switching Careers
FAQ 42. Producing
FAQ 43. The Idea Man Calleth... Again
FAQ 44. Regular College vs. Game School
FAQ 45. (Deprecated. Don't ask.)
FAQ 46. Conferences Redux (December 2004) (Note: contains some outdated material)
FAQ 47. Words of Wisdom
FAQ 48. So You Want to Work In Japan
FAQ 49. "Is It Enough?"
FAQ 50. "Is It Possible?"
FAQ 51. "Waste Of Time?"
FAQ 52. Two-Choices Questions
FAQ 53. Graphics & Audio
FAQ 54. Networking Tips
FAQ 55. Life In "Perfect Land"
FAQ 56. "How Do I Make My Own Video Game?"
FAQ 57. How To Succeed In The Game Biz
FAQ 58. Legal Stuff Part 2: Contracts in the Game Biz
FAQ 59. Exceptions to the Rules
FAQ 60. The Publishing FAQ; Making A Game Is The Easy Part
FAQ 61. So You Want To Copy Somebody Else's Game
FAQ 62. The Finances of Game Development
FAQ 63. Freelancing
FAQ 64. Stuck In A Non-Game Country
FAQ 65. How To Ask Good Questions To Get Good Answers
FAQ 66. "Is It Worth It?"
FAQ 67. So You're Still In High School And You Want A Job Now
FAQ 68. "Game Time" Watch vs. "Game & Watch"
FAQ 69. Level Design
FAQ 70. How To Make a Decision Grid
FAQ 71. "Am I Screwed? Am I Too Old?"
FAQ 72. "I Dream of Coming to America"
FAQ 73. "Applying Long Distance"
FAQ 74. "Thirtysomething And No Degree"
FAQ 75. "How To Write A Game Bug Report"
FAQ 76. "A Matter of Degree... Masters Degree" (The Games Game)*
FAQ 77. "Game Schools Trifecta" (The Games Game)*
FAQ 78. "The Language of Game Design" (The Games Game)*
FAQ 79. "Everybody Wants to Design" (The Games Game)*
FAQ 80. "Developing In a Vacuum" (The Games Game)*
FAQ 81. "Gushers Not Wanted" (Cover Letters) (The Games Game)*
FAQ 82. "Budding Community Manager?" (The Games Game)*
FAQ 83. "The Experience Experience" (The Games Game)*
FAQ 84. "Location, Location, Location" (The Games Game)*
FAQ 85. "Playing the Upgrade-to-Designer Game" (The Games Game)*
FAQ 86. "Student Projects In My Portfolio" (The Games Game)*
* Since the IGDA website was relaunched on October 1, 2013, my column, "The Games Game," was moved to archived legacy pages, not linked to from the new IGDA site. Some of the internal links are broken.
So, as needed by questions asked on The Game Design Bulletin Board or other forums, I am re-upping those columns as FAQs here on an as-needed basis.
Some, but not all, of the columns are still available at http://legacy.igda.org/games-game-archives. No guarantee that the columns will remain available there.
Log of FAQ updates, changes, corrections, etc..
The Game Design Bulletin Board Ask questions, you'll get straight answers. On the bulletin board. In this online format only. Please don't ask for special treatment, like phone answers, or emailing the FAQs to you... Tom is programmed to be helpful in this online format only.
Links to lots of essential sites about game design and the games industry.
How To Search For Any Kind of Information On the Internet (from our Mah-Jongg Zone; concepts apply equally to any kind of info search).
Who the heck is this Tom Sloper guy anyway? I mean, you know, what games did he ever design or produce? (For the answer, CLICK HERE.)
Read my 2008 article "Am I In The Wrong Degree Program?" on GameDev.net.
I spoke at E For All's Game Career Seminar in the summer of 2007. The talk was entitled "Switching It Up: Changing Career Paths" and you can download the slides at http://www.gamecareerseminar.com/. If you can't find them there, let me know and I'll tell you where you can find them here on Sloperama.
Game Design Perspectives and Secrets of the Game Business tell inside secrets of the game industry, written by game industry professionals like me (I wrote two chapters in each book). See Lesson 8 or http://www.cengage.com.
How To Sell Your Video Game Idea (a "Reader's Digest" version of some of our most popular lessons).
"Classic" Videogames - My CGE speech about how the classic Vectrex game SPIKE was designed.
Our Lesson 2 has been translated into Italian. Click here to go to Game Programming Italia!
Some of our Lessons have been translated into Korean at Gamedesignerz.net, a Korean-language site about game design. There was an interview with me there somewhere (conducted in April 2001 while I was in Tokyo). I happen to have the English version.
Webmasters: want to translate the lessons for your non-English site? Email the webmaster to request permission.
Some pictures I took in Japan. I've been there only seventeen times... (^_^) [Number 17 was to participate in the 2002 World Championship in Mah-Jongg.]
Some pictures I took in Hong Kong when I went to the Toys & Games Fair 2002.
Pictures of Seoul, South Korea, from when I went to speak at the 2003 Korean Game Developers Conference.
More pictures of Seoul, South Korea, from when I went to speak the following year at the 2004 Korea Games Conference.
Pictures of Beijing, from when I went to participate in the 2003 China Majiang Open Championship.
Pictures of Seoul (KGC and G*Star 2006) and of Tianjin (China Majiang Championship 2006).
Pictures of Mumbai, 2009
Got a question about the game biz? Email me and I'll respond on The Game Design Bulletin Board.
Website content ©2000-2011 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission.
Email the webmaster with updates, link requests, and link removal requests. Or to request permission to translate any content on this site.