SITE LINKS  

Click to visit these other parts of Sloperama.com:

Game Design Lessons
Game Biz Articles
Game Career FAQs

List of Tom's Games
Tom's Game Biz LINKS page
Tom's Consulting Services (green zone)

The Games Game

How 2 Search The Net
How To Ask Questions The Right Way.


Beware of sites that ask you to pay money for game tester jobs. Don't buy the hype. Read FAQ 5 and FAQ 24.

The Mah-Jongg FAQs (blue zone)
Hanafuda & Go-Stop (red zone)

Sloperama.com Home

 

Share

If you appreciate the free information on this site, your donation would be gratefully accepted, and would help keep this site running as a free service.


Thank you!

nosmoke44.com keeps spamtexting me, using different phone numbers so I can't block them. BOYCOTT these jerks! "Hey Tom, not sure if you or anyone you know still smokes. But www.etc. is giving away free e-cig trials. - John" ... Jerk. I never smoked cigarettes in the first place.
   GAME Q&A BULLETIN BOARD

WELCOME to the Sloperama Game Q&A Bulletin Board.   It's a place to ask questions about the game industry and game design. You'll get free answers, here on this board.

PLEASE READ THE FAQs BEFORE YOU ASK!!!

And read the questions and my answers below, before you ask me anything.

Privacy policy: "ALL YOUR EMAIL ARE BELONG TO ME." Questions and answers are handled in this public forum only - I give free answers, but I don't give free private answers. The "price" of the free answers is that they are given in this public forum for the education of all readers. Emailing me, or sending me a PM on any website, with a question or comment on this site's topic constitutes permission for your email to be made public. No information you provide with request for free advice shall be deemed confidential. I won't reveal your email address unless I think you're a spammer. DO NOT come back later and ask me to anonymize your email in any way. If you do not want your personal information to appear on this board, do not put any personal information in your email to me. If you do not want your question to be used in this public forum, then be prepared to hire my professional services, or do not send your question to me. This privacy policy is stated in numerous places on this website.

I'M NOT HERE TO BABY YOU. I'm here to teach you, to help you learn about game design and about the business of making games. Have you seen The Karate Kid or Kung Fu or those martial arts movies where the hero has to learn from a hardnosed sensei -- a rough-edged taskmaster with a secret heart of gold? I'm a little like that. As Randy Pausch said, "When somebody rides you, they're doing that because they care to make you better." Dumb questions and sloppy writing habits aren't exactly welcomed with open arms here. Babying isn't helping. If you want somebody to just pat your head and tell you how clever and talented you are, or to commiserate while you whine about how unfair the world is, go to your mama -- don't email me. If you want realistic game biz advice, though, I'm your guy.

I DO NOT REVIEW résumés, demos, websites, portfolios, schools' curriculums, or amateur designs. I do not follow links to read stuff for you. I do not choose schools for you. I do not make your decisions for you.

I AM NOT A PROGRAMMER, so please don't ask game programming questions here. There are other forums for that topic. This board is about game DESIGN, game producing, and game career advice.

EMAIL YOUR QUESTION to WebmasterSloperama.com, or any email address you know to be mine (it doesn't matter which Sloperama email address you use to get email to me) -- or click the picture below to submit your question or comment. In order for me to give you the best game career advice that's tailored for your individual situation, the first time you write me, I need to know these 5 tidbits about you:
How old are you?
What's your level of education?
What's your current occupation? (If student: "student")
Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for?
And depending on your question, I may need to know what country you live in (where in the world are you?).

And make sure you write an appropriate subject line for your email. Read http://wordwise.typepad.com/blog/2007/03/subject_to_chan.html.


To ask a question, click the image or email the address above.

After you submit your comment or question, RETURN TO THIS BOARD SOMETIME LATER (like several hours, or the next day) to see the response (below) - and keep coming back to see followup discussions. Clicking the picture above might not work for everyone. If you do not see a reply (below) within 24 hours, then email your question directly to WebmasterSloperama.com.

On this website, all the marbles are mine -- so you have to play MY game. Here are the rules:

  • Rule #1: read what I wrote above, and act accordingly.
  • No shouting. Nobody is allowed to shout here but me. (^_^) If you type your question in all caps, I'll convert it to lower case. Then everybody will think you're a sissy poet, or beatnik, or chatroom pervert... or something.
  • Don't send me confidential information and expect me to keep it to myself. It all goes right here.
  • Don't send me your game design for my "thoughts" about it -- the only way I can comment on it is to post the whole thing right here for everybody to see.
  • In fact, don't send me any attachments, photos, or anything. This board is for words. Ask me a question in your own words - I'll answer it in mine - or just send me your comments and I'll respond with mine.
  • Please do not try to friend me on Facebook or link with me on Linkedin. If I don't know you, we're obviously not friends. If we haven't worked together, we're obviously not colleagues.
  • I do not recommend you send me a PM on some other website (like GameCareerGuide or GameDev or LinkedIn or ReachMahjong...) for a number of reasons, but especially since if you do that, I might never notice that you did that. If you want to contact me, email me. Don't PM me.
  • Humor and entertainment for the readers is also part of what's offered on this site. Don't ask me for advice if you can't take a little good-natured ribbing. Oh OK, so I'm kind of like Dr. House or Mr. Miyagi sometimes. Take it like a man!
  • Don't use the word "gaming" to me. Look it up at dictionary.reference.com if you don't know why I dislike the term.
  • I give this free advice only by email - please do not telephone me with any game career advice questions! Business or journalist queries are of course welcome. If you do phone me with a business query, please make it clear very quickly that it is a business query and not an advice call.


  • Have I screwed myself studying the wrong stuff?

    >From: Dominic K
    >Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2012 10:11 AM
    >Subject: Environment Artist or Level Designer?
    >Hello Mr Sloper,
    >I am 20 years old
    >Currently in my third (and final)year of University
    >Occupation is a student
    >I aspire to be a games designer or level designer someday.
    >I am from the UK
    >
    >I have written in before but since it's been a long time I just did the tidbits again. I've always had in my head that I have wanted to be a level designer. I have always loved the thought of creating the environment, modelling the terrain, building the houses and hallways, placing down assets, lighting it and so on. But recently a associate of mine who works in the industry based on his experience has given me a slightly different description. He told me level designers work on the more technical side of the environment. Such as placing down AI navigation, scripting events into the level, managing collisions and so on. While Environment Artist deal with producing art assets, lighting the environment, placing down the art assets (trees, props, chairs, you get the picture I bet), texuring it and so on.
    >
    >This is where my confusion comes from, because after looking around on job listings and such, the lines between the two roles seem very blurred, almost the descriptions of the roles are even flipped. It's creating a lot of doubt and confusion in me. So far I've only been creating levels from level editors using stock assets and textures, sometimes downloading other ones to help me. I haven't really dabbled in texturing or modelling it seems and that's where I am getting frustrated. It's as though I have not been doing nearly enough to get experience in areas that I need to get experience from.
    >
    >So basically I am asking you, from your point of view (because after reading a few articles from your site, I respect your blunt opinion and information greatly), what are the roles of a Level Designer? And what are the roles of a Environment Artist? I want to focus more on the visual side then the technical side to it. Such as building the environment, placing down the assets (making the place look pretty is a simpler way to say it)
    >
    >What areas should I be getting experience in? Drawing? Modelling? I feel like I've almost wasted 3 years of my time not doing the right things, my drawing skills aren't the best and I don't want to be sitting around for years after I graduate. Since I know these sort of skills take years to get good at.
    >
    >Sorry if this has seem like a babble, but I am just very confused at the moment of what I need to do.
    >Thank you,
    >Dominic

    Welcome back, Dominic. You wrote:

    I have wanted to be a level designer. I have always loved the thought of creating the environment, modelling the terrain, building the houses and hallways, placing down assets, lighting it and so on.
    I was going to say that the lighting is more an artist's job. But the lighting is useful for guiding the player, so, so far so good.

    a associate of mine ... told me level designers work on the more technical side of the environment. Such as placing down AI navigation, scripting events into the level, managing collisions
    Except for "managing collisions," I agree that these, too, are part of what a level designer has to do.

    Environment Artist deal with producing art assets, lighting the environment, placing down the art assets (trees, props, chairs, you get the picture I bet), texuring it
    This is not wrong, and it is not inconsistent with what you thought a level designer does. A level designer has to rough the layout of the playing field. An artist makes it look beautiful. So "placing the trees and game-involved furniture" is actually something the level designer needs to be involved with -- the artist dresses them up. And any lighting that does not exist just to guide the player should rightly be handled by the artist.

    the lines between the two roles seem very blurred
    Change the word "very" to "somewhat," and change "seem" to "are." The lines between the two roles are somewhat blurred.

    I haven't really dabbled in texturing or modelling it seems and that's where I am getting frustrated.
    If you want to become an environment artist, then you need to learn those. If you want to go for level design, you don't.

    I want to focus more on the visual side then the technical side to it. Such as building the environment, placing down the assets (making the place look pretty is a simpler way to say it)
    I thought you wanted to focus more on the gameplay side? Making the place look pretty is the artist's job, not the level designer's job. Of course, if you want to learn how to make beautiful art, then you should do so.

    What areas should I be getting experience in? Drawing? Modelling?
    Modeling is a necessary skill for level design. But what you really need to focus on is play patterns, and what makes a level playable for different types of gameplay. I assume you've read FAQ 69?

    I feel like I've almost wasted 3 years of my time not doing the right things,
    Oh please! Don't give me that old whine. Learning is not wasted. You are not dead, you are still young, so you are not screwed. Read FAQ 71.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 30, 2012


    Please validate my educational path (v2.0)

    >From: Simon B
    >Sent: Saturday, September 29, 2012 11:04 PM
    >Subject: Career advising
    >Hey Tom, how you doing? My name is Simon and I have some questions, hoping if you can give me some hint about it, or take it as a discussion if you will. I have been to your website, Sloperama, and I do find it very informative, but I dont seem to find what I am looking for specifically.
    >
    >I am also one of those many people that want to work in the game industry, and my passion lies on design, media art and animation, but here is the thing that I have been thinking about, literally even when I am asleep (or dreaming about).
    >
    >Just because I have a passion on media art, doesnt mean I have to major in it in college. In the design field, and not just video game industry, employer look at your portfolio or demo reel more than your degree. So I always think, what do I pay 43000 a year for a degree that employers dont even really care for ? So here is my plan
    >
    >I want to major in something that is considered "safe and easy to find job" as a back up; a formal education, so in case if i can not find a design job, I will have a practical degree to fall back on. I know you would think of something like engineering or even computer science, which fit the best bill, but they really dont interest me at all, thus it would be a struggle. So I am intending to major in economics.
    >
    > I have taken a 3d modeling class and the way i see it, they pretty much teach you how to use software, something that can be done by spending like 80 bucks for a book, or go online like digital tutor (now thinking about it, the instructors constantly tell us students to visit digital tutor. Then what do I pay tuition fee for ? Just to tell us to learn something ourselves?). When we stumble problem, Google helped us even more than the instructor. Even if its going to school, I feel like I am paying tuition fee just to self taught myself.
    >
    >In conclusion, I will learn 3D modeling and animation on my own, while holding an economics degree. Do you think this is a good plan ?
    >
    >Also I know economics has nothing to do with game development, but my questions is if my portfolio is great, they dont care if my degree is a business one, right ?
    >
    >That will be my questions. Thank you for your time reading this. Thanks again.
    >-Simon

    Hello, Simon. You wrote:

    design, media art and animation
    I don't know what "media art" is.

    In the design field, and not just video game industry, employer look at your portfolio or demo reel more than your degree. So I always think, what do I pay 43000 a year for a degree that employers dont even really care for ?
    You should not pay $43,000 a year unless your daddy is filthy rich. A $176,000 education tab would take a VERY long time to pay off. And if you choose a degree based on what a potential employer might want, rather than what you're interested in, then the person who chooses your degree is a fool.

    I want to major in something that is considered "safe and easy to find job" as a back up; ... So I am intending to major in economics.
    Nothing is safe and easy. Are you interested in economics? Have you read FAQ 40? Have you read FAQ 26?

    I have taken a 3d modeling class and the way i see it, they pretty much teach you how to use software, something that can be done by spending like 80 bucks for a book, or go online like digital tutor (now thinking about it, the instructors constantly tell us students to visit digital tutor. Then what do I pay tuition fee for ? Just to tell us to learn something ourselves?). When we stumble problem, Google helped us even more than the instructor. Even if its going to school, I feel like I am paying tuition fee just to self taught myself.
    Wow, you are cynical! Teachers are not useless. Maybe that entry-level class could have been mostly self-learned, and maybe not. But advanced courses could well be beyond your ability to self-teach, and it's likely that there are necessary aspects of a subject that you would skip over or overlook.

    I will learn 3D modeling and animation on my own, while holding an economics degree. Do you think this is a good plan ?
    Great. Another "please validate my educational path" question (like the last one, below).

    if my portfolio is great, they dont care if my degree is a business one, right ?
    If your portfolio is great, and you don't have any degree at all (and you don't have any game industry experience), they might never even look at your portfolio. I thought my FAQs say that it doesn't matter what subject your 4-year degree is in. Are you sure you've read my FAQs? And I thought you said you were majoring in economics. Now you say you're going to major in business instead. Anyway, right. They'll look at your cover email, they won't be put off by an illiterate introduction, so they'll go to the next step and look at your resume. They'll see that you got a 4-year degree, so they'll know you have stick-to-it-iveness, so they'll go to the next step and look at your portfolio. If your portfolio is great, they'll go to the next step and invite you to an interview.

    So all you have to do is get a degree, make a great portfolio, do all the things in FAQ 27, and... be lucky.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 30, 2012


    Please validate my educational path

    >From: Antonio d
    >Sent: Saturday, September 29, 2012 4:01 PM
    >Subject: Questions from an aspiring game designer
    >Dear Tom:
    >First of all, thanks for your website; it has been my only reading material for the past week. I found it informative and fun to read. Letís get to the basic info:
    >Age: 18 years old
    >Level of Education: Iíve just started my first year at university, Business.
    >Current Occupation: Student
    >Game Job: Game Designer
    >Country of Residence: Spain
    >As I have stated in the basic info above, I want to be a game designer. Iím determined to do so as Iíve never been about anything before.
    >Although Iíve read the vast majority of your FAQs and Articles I still have some doubts I hope you will answer. Most of my doubts are really vague such as ďAm I going to make it?Ē, but there are a couple of them that need professional advice; here they go:
    >
    >Iím passionate about art; Iím good at it and I enjoy it, but I didnít choose a fine arts major because I believed that marketing myself as a game designer that holds his ground in the artistic field and also in the business one would be much better (I would have done a minor in art if the possibility existed in Spain, but we donít have a major-minor system). Do not take me wrong, Iíve read your articles about passions and, as much as I consider art one of them, game designing would be on top of it. And besides, I enjoy studying business too. I just took the decision that I thought would help me to get my ďdream jobĒ (and no decision is flawless).
    >In Spain public universities are better seen than private ones (because you are not paying to get degree). Iím in the best public business college in Spain (no showing-off intended, itís relevant) so itís the best education I would be able to get in my country, but Iím terrified about the fact that a business degree is not the way to get into the industry. There are a couple of gaming schools here but I personally donít trust the quality of the education they give, and my parents canít pay for an American game school so Iím playing with the cards the world gave me.
    >I enjoy studying business, not as much as I enjoy drawing, but as I said my priority is to get into the industry. So my questions are; is business a good path to enter this industry? Or are fine arts a much better choice to make it? What do you think of what I said about ďmarketing myself as an artistic and business-savvy game designerĒ?
    >
    >Either if I stay in business or end up in fine arts my plan is to have 4 years of traditional education (while I work on my portfolio) and then complete my studies in a good game school in America (my parents and I are both saving money for this).
    >Thank you for your time and for the help provided by your site;
    >Antonio.

    Hi, Antonio. You asked:

    is business a good path to enter this industry?
    Sure. You could get into production if you are good with managing people, reading contracts, writing budgets and schedules. From a producer position you could prove your design chops, and wind up doing design eventually.

    Or are fine arts a much better choice to make it?
    "Better" is subjective (YOU have to decide what's "better" for YOU). An artist who gets a job in games could prove his design chops, and wind up doing design eventually.

    What do you think of what I said about ďmarketing myself as an artistic and business-savvy game designerĒ?
    I had to do a search through your email for the word "marketing," and I found this:
    I didnít choose a fine arts major because I believed that marketing myself as a game designer that holds his ground in the artistic field and also in the business one would be much better
    Your question is "what do you think of what I said." I think you have a good head on your shoulders. If you ask me a better question, I can give you a better answer. But seriously, I can't help you make your decisions, and I don't pass judgment on people's decisions. I don't "validate." It seems to me that you are someone who thinks and judges and considers carefully, but it seems to me that you also don't trust yourself.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 29, 2012


    Interested, part 3

    >From: Napoleon M
    >Sent: Monday, September 24, 2012 10:47 AM
    >Subject: Farewell For Now
    >Thanks for all the help. I really appreciate you taking the time out to reply to me and my questions.
    > USC is actually one of the twenty-some schools I have been considering, though I honestly haven't looked too far into it and it's a bit far from home.
    >Who knows though, maybe one day I'll be able to ask you questions in person, it's a small world after all. For now, salutations and a good day to you sir!
    >(At least until I have another confusing question for you, haha.)
    > Goodbye and thanks for all the fish, Napoleon M.

    You're welcome, Napoleon.

    thanks for all the fish
    Douglas Adams achievement!
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 24, 2012


    Interested, part 2

    >From: Napoleon M
    >Sent: Monday, September 24, 2012 9:53 AM
    >Subject: A Few Questions from Napoleon, Part 2
    >Salutations again, I obviously had a problem with my conciseness and clarity. For instance, by "acceptable email" I was refering to my e-mail address, which I now see was unclear. To restate one of my questions: Is nappyxiii@███████. ███ unacceptable to be used for proffessional contact. Would you suggest creating a different email address?
    > I did read FAQ 24, which is what I meant to reference and should have been more clear about, and it simple states to avoid obnoxious and immature habits like a Gamer Tag might include. Does something like Nappy suggest immaturity?
    > I also apologize for the lack of a subject field. I meant to put one but spaced out on it.
    > On an unrelated note, I was wondering what you do today. And what's with the bugs on the website? They make me think I have a smuge on my screen.
    > Also you mention Game Developer magazine a few, not sure how many, times. Do you recommend it is a reputable magazine to take interest in? Something worth investing time and money to subscribe to?
    > I hope this is a bit better form of questions. I do remember reading somewhere where you wrote on how one should ask better questions.
    > Thanks, Napoleon M.

    Hello, Napoleon (it is a cool name, btw). You asked:

    Is nappyxiii@███████. ███ unacceptable to be used for proffessional contact. Would you suggest creating a different email address?
    You can look up "nappy" at numerous sites, like thefreedictionary.com, urbandictionary.com, wiktionary.org, and dictionary.reference.com, for instance. The only "bad" definition I see is where it's used derogatorily in reference to tightly-curled hair. It has enough other meanings, though, and since it's obviously a nickname for Napoleon, I don't see a problem. Note that I blacked out your email provider. I try to protect my correspondents from spam, and especially when the correspondent is a minor. I do not recommend you post your unmasked email address on the internet, even after you turn 18.

    Does something like Nappy suggest immaturity?
    No, not necessarily. Especially if your friends call you that. Try it (as your email address), and consider changing it if you get negative comments.

    I was wondering what you do today.
    I teach about video games at USC, and I consult on the side.

    what's with the bugs on the website? They make me think I have a smuge on my screen.
    One of the topics I teach is Quality Assurance (testing... to find "bugs" in games).

    Also you mention Game Developer magazine a few, not sure how many, times. Do you recommend it is a reputable magazine to take interest in? Something worth investing time and money to subscribe to?
    Why would I mention it so many times if I didn't recommend it? It's now called GDMag, and it's online only now.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 24, 2012


    Interested in working in a particular genre

    >From: Napoleon M
    >Sent: Sunday, September 23, 2012 10:36 PM
    >Subject:
    >
    >Hello, my name is Napoleon (Cool right?) and I'm a 16 year old junior student in high school.f I've only been researching your website for the last couple of days but as far as I can tell I am an aspiring level designer/producer/game designer. It's a work in progress as I'm also figuring out college and all that jazz. Oh and lastly, for thoroughness sake, to answer your last question I'm in the U.S. On to my questions(s). Firstly, not trying to be a kiss up, I'd like to thank you for your comprehensive (and hilarious) advice. It's surprising to find so much credible and helpful information these days, especially online. Anyways, I digress. I am a student editor for my school newspaper so I have natural and work experience in writing and game designing seems like it would fit within my passionate ideals for my future. So since I know you've written that game designing often has you putting aside your ideas and feelings about a project and working dilligently on a project assigned to you anyways. I have many ideas, I am a inspired teenager, though I understand why many, if not all, are not realistically going to made. But, when it comes to my ideas about video games I like to envision games that have a lot of meaning like Heavy Rain or a game with a world, a sense of adventure that allows you to explore things otherwise impossible. (Like Jak and Daxter.) From what you say I often will not be able to just say "oh, yea I don't like this idea," and will have to work for what I am assigned. (Finally the question.) Will I have the opportunities to work on games are similar to what I envision or will it be on a "if the company decides so" kind of process. Myself I imagine it must be more along the lines of "if you want more of what you envision you must either create your own company or find a job with a company that supports games with such a vision like Company X." Would a position as a producer give a different effect or, since the idea is usually determined before the producer is, will it be the same situation? If I need to search for companies how do you actually go through the process of looking for the jobs and what locations are good places to start looking? California perhaps? I may have more questions but that's all for now since A) This is getting pretty long and B) It's late and that's all I can think of for the moment, so would it be acceptable to resubmit questions if I have further need? Oh, last one, is my email acceptable or should I create a more proffessional one? Your FAQ did not touch upon the idea of nicknames in an email address. (FYI, Nappy is the nickname, XIII is my favorite number.)
    >
    >Thanks, Napoleon M.

    Hello Nappy, you wrote:

    Will I have the opportunities to work on games are similar to what I envision
    I cannot foretell the future, Nappy. You might. Especially if you work for a company that makes the type of games you envision.

    or will it be on a "if the company decides so" kind of process.
    The company is always the boss of you, unless you own the company. You are free to submit game concepts, but all decisions are business-based, made by businessmen. Read FAQ 10 for more about the Concept phase (phase A).

    Myself I imagine it must be more along the lines of "if you want more of what you envision you must either create your own company or find a job with a company that supports games with such a vision like Company X."
    See, now, you could have saved me some writing if you'd just said that first, then asked "am I right?"

    Would a position as a producer give a different effect or, since the idea is usually determined before the producer is, will it be the same situation?
    The company is still the boss of you.

    If I need to search for companies how do you actually go through the process of looking for the jobs and what locations are good places to start looking? California perhaps?
    I would start by using gamedevmap and gameindustrymap (see the Links page), and I'd look in my local area (and, when in college, in the local area of my college). You have 6 years before you'll be ready to go job hunting, so there's plenty of time.

    Oh, last one, is my email acceptable or should I create a more proffessional one?
    A "wall of text" daunts the intended reader(s). Always break up your writing into discrete thoughts by using the Enter key before starting on a new thought.
    Always write a subject line for your emails. When I saw "no subject" in my inbox this morning, I thought it was going to be spam.

    Your FAQ did not touch upon the idea of nicknames in an email address.
    I have many FAQs. FAQ 24 touches upon email addresses (screen names).

    (FYI, Nappy is the nickname, XIII is my favorite number.)
    Cool.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 24, 2012


    How to level-up my résumé?

    >From: Kostas D
    >Sent: Saturday, September 22, 2012 3:08 AM
    >Subject: Making baby steps towards the industry
    >Hello,
    >I've been reading your articles for quite a while, and I wonder if you could find some spare time to answer some of my questions.
    >First things first, i'll fill in the basic info you required when mailing you the first time:
    >
    >How old are you? -- I am currently 20 years old.
    >What's your level of education? -- Going for final year at university (4th) , Computer Science
    >What's your current occupation? -- Currently a student, though i am also a Microsoft Student Partner.
    >Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? -- I'd like to go for Game Design.
    >And depending on your question, I may need to know what country you live in -- Greece.
    >
    >Who am I in short (or at least i try to)
    >I have working experience as a web developer, and i have been a Microsoft Student Partner for a year or so. Mainly developing applications for the Windows Phone 7. I am also lecturing my fellow classmates in co-operation with Microsoft and my professors, mainly for .net technologies. As for my game developing stuff now: I have messed around with GM, RPGMaker and Multimedia Fusion II dev version, in which i have made 30+ games (Though not one of them is a full game, i did it mostly to see if i could make a single level of a specific game idea I had in mind and then i moved on, mostly to grab a whole lot of techniques that later i would implement in a single full game).
    >
    >I have bothered going through the asset creation all by myself, and tried grabbing free-to-use music to use in my games. My thesis is the completion of an educational game for children, which i will utilize in MMF. This will also be my first "full" game, writing the GDD and stuff. I have been reading game design books, and mostly those i have found in your "Lesson 8" section. I also have experience with Unity3D and UDK with which i have also lectured other students around my age and lower to get them into the world of game development.
    >
    >The question
    >So, I would like to know how to "boost up my cv" so it can be more appealing to the game industry as a game designer one. (Yes, i have read "Lesson 12", though based on my current work i would like a more "professional diagnosis") So far I was reading about the industry, watching others making games from afar. Unfortunately, I haven't met anyone around yet who can team-up with me and help me create some indie games (Since the industry is out of reach at this point.) Of course i know very well that a job in Game Design is no entry-level, so if you advised me to check for Game Programming or QA (As a starting point, since i am aware that a game designer with "coding" background is valued more in a way that he knows what can and what can't be done with a game engine for example) i wouldn't find it weird at all.
    >
    >I have background in programming and my work is around programming mostly(With the mobile applications, the websites and unity/udk scripting), even though i'd prefer design. Most of the things i know about came development though come from personal experience working with projects solo, studying game design books or just online research. What would you advise to someone like me who would like to get his hands dirtier with the whole industry thing?
    >You can also see a way more detailed version of my work by following the link in my signature.
    >
    >Thank you for your time,
    >Kostas D
    >Microsoft Student Partner at Microsoft Hellas
    >.NET developer - Indie Game Developer
    >Check me out here!

    Hi, Kostas. Out of all those words above, you asked:

    I would like to know how to "boost up my cv" ... What would you advise to someone like me who would like to get his hands dirtier
    Do stuff. Then do more stuff. Then keep doing yet even more stuff. Like I said in the FAQs, to get the job, you have to be already doing the job. Prove that you can do the job by doing the job.

    (Yes, i have read "Lesson 12", though based on my current work i would like a more "professional diagnosis")
    That's pretty much all I got for you, Kostas. You need a portfolio. With 30+ games, you presumably have a portfolio -- but if there's mostly student projects in there, those aren't worth all that much (see my May 2012 IGDA column). If you're not getting anywhere with a topnotch portfolio, see FAQs 24 and 27.

    You can also see a way more detailed version of my work by following the link in my signature...
    >Check me out here!
    Sorry. Like it says above, I don't follow links for you.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Autumnal Equinox, 2012


    College: yes or no, part 2

    >From: shaheed w
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 4:23 PM
    >Subject:
    > [what] if all i can afford to go to is a community college?
    > Go to community college.
    > i always hear associate degrees are the new high school diploma.
    > Find a community college that offers bachelors degrees. Or figure out how to transfer credits to a cheap university.
    >
    >What? I'm starting wonder why I'd stoop so low by asking questions to a man that doesn't even know that community college don't have bachelor degree programs!
    >
    > What if i ... pick all my classes according to what i like but they don't equal up to a major?
    > Then you won't get a bachelors degree. You should get a bachelors degree.
    >
    >The only reason i asked this was to see if you would contradict your advise in the lessons section, "Mission Accomplished".
    >
    > what if your passion isn't that sensible to major in?
    > If you know that, why would you major in that? All my rules can be trumped by other rules. The unwritten rule, "Don't do something nonsensical," is a given.
    >sen∑si∑ble?
    >Synonyms
    >1. intelligent, sagacious, rational, reasonable. See practical. 2. conscious, understanding, observant. 4. perceptible, discernible,palpable.
    >adjective
    >
    >1. having, using, or showing good sense or sound judgment: asensible young woman.
    >
    >You not answering the question with common sense has led me to believe that you don't know the meaning to the word so i have laid it out for you. What this question asks is if your passion isn't intelligent to major in meaning statistically etc... should you still major in it. Nowhere in my question did i state it to be nonsensical. I meant if its not sensible objectively speaking.
    >
    > for example I've wanted to major in philosophy or photography but when i think of my job prospects after schooling is over i imagine a HR person laughing at my wasted degree and finances.
    > So you're saying you want to live your life the way an HR person wants you to live it. You want to live THEIR life, not your own. A true Renaissance man doesn't care what HR persons want. Philosophers and photographers only go for philosophy careers or photography careers (and I don't think those involve much in the way of HR staff).
    >
    >I'm not saying i want to live my life the way an HR person wants me to live. The farther i make it down your list of answers the more i notice your lack of analytic skills. I apologize for overestimating you and not writing everything in black and white! Hr in my question is more of a personification of the hiring process hence being laughed at is, the job not hiring me exaggerated. If i "Wanted to live my life the way a Hr person wants me to" college wouldn't have even been questioned the last couple years i would already have a degree.
    >
    >Please leave your fairy tale world where no one has to abide by any rules. You also cant use your situation as evidence to the opposite being true due to it just being anecdotal evidence at best.
    >
    > how can a renaissance man who only dabbles into game design along with many other things make a difference or even become heard in the game industry?
    > A real Renaissance man would not ask this question. He wouldn't have to ask it.
    >
    >I'm going to go out on a limb and say you have no idea of what the theory of a "Renaissance Soul" is. A renaissance soul would actually be your most likely candidate to ask due to most of us not knowing how to concentrate or apply all our passions and interests. Unlike most people who can simply jump into something that they wanted to do the majority of their life so they perfect it quicker in most cases. Most Renaissance man dabble in everything making them known as the dreaded "Jack of all Trades, Master of None". There obviously are exceptions such as Leonardo Da Vinci. The average "Renaissance soul" isn't as blessed as him though, Most actually just jump from entry level job to entry level job due to them not knowing how to focus so many unrelated skills, knowledge, and short lived experiences.
    >
    >All my question was asking is how does a person who's not a specialist make a difference in the video game industry.
    >
    > i'll [sic] try to remember to sight [sic] you
    > I don't mean this unkindly: I recommend that you read books, and work harder in English class. I also recommend that you make an appointment with your high school guidance counselor. I am positive that he or she will be delighted to help you make decisions about college. You can also make a decision grid as I outline in FAQs 25 and 70. Good luck, Shaheed.
    >
    >Assumptions is the obvious theme of the collective of your thoughts above . You recommend that i read books and work harder in English not knowing that I've most likely read more books than you at the young age of 19 and finished high school at 17, So what high school counselor do you speak of? Work harder in English class? Every college that I've took the placement tests for would beg to differ, I've gotten a 97 in every one of the English tests at the colleges I've visited since my college search putting me in advanced English classes if i decided to enroll in the school. Nice try Grammar Nazi, I just don't see the point in sending you a college grade essay because i felt the mood was lighter but once again i made the same mistake you have by making assumptions!
    >lighten up if your referring to the Subject having bad grammar it's just a pun on Shakespeare.
    >p.s Good Day Sir

    I'm sorry you're unhappy with me, Shaheed. I hope you find answers to your questions about your further education options. Good luck to you.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 18, 2012


    College: yes or no

    >From: shaheed w
    >Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2012 8:43 PM
    >Subject: college to go or not to go? that is the question
    >i apologize for the cheeky subject but sometimes i need to joke to stay sane. I've read all of your lessons because i was very interested in becoming a video game designer but i had a misconstrued idea of what the job persisted of. I messaged not too long ago about marketing in the video game industry ( refreshing your memory because you most likely forgot).
    >
    >My questions are pretty straight forward should i go to college if all i can afford to go to is a community college? I ask this because i always hear associate degrees are the new high school diploma.
    >
    >Is college possible for a Renaissance Soul?
    >
    >What if i follow my passions like you said and pick all my classes according to what i like but they don't equal up to a major?
    >
    >Or do you mean look at the classes you like then see which major has the most?
    >
    >I've never seen you say this but what if your passion isn't that sensible to major in? for example i've wanted to major in philosophy or photography but when i think of my job prospects after schooling is over i imagine a HR person laughing at my wasted degree and finances.
    >
    >In your opinion not speaking facts, Do you think cc would give me the same life experience as the usual university? I bring this up because you always thank your education for your growth and development and I wouldn't want to miss that.
    >
    >Last but not least how can a renaissance man who only dabbles into game design along with many other things make a difference or even become heard in the game industry?
    >
    >Thank you for the help and the website it has been a large help in my search for me.
    >I hope to one day get the patience to build me a blog to help others one day, If i do i'll try to remember to sight you as one of my inspirations and motivators.

    Welcome back, Shaheed. You wrote:

    college to go or not to go? that is the question
    Go. That is the answer.

    [what] if all i can afford to go to is a community college?
    Go to community college.

    i always hear associate degrees are the new high school diploma.
    Find a community college that offers bachelors degrees. Or figure out how to transfer credits to a cheap university.

    Is college possible for a Renaissance Soul?
    Read FAQ 50.

    What if i ... pick all my classes according to what i like but they don't equal up to a major?
    Then you won't get a bachelors degree. You should get a bachelors degree.

    Or do you mean look at the classes you like then see which major has the most?
    No, I don't mean that.

    what if your passion isn't that sensible to major in?
    If you know that, why would you major in that? All my rules can be trumped by other rules. The unwritten rule, "Don't do something nonsensical," is a given.

    for example i've wanted to major in philosophy or photography but when i think of my job prospects after schooling is over i imagine a HR person laughing at my wasted degree and finances.
    So you're saying you want to live your life the way an HR person wants you to live it. You want to live THEIR life, not your own. A true Renaissance man doesn't care what HR persons want. Philosophers and photographers only go for philosophy careers or photography careers (and I don't think those involve much in the way of HR staff).

    Do you think cc would give me the same life experience as the usual university?
    The only thing you'd be missing would be dorm life. Not all "usual university" students experience that. Dorm life isn't critical.

    how can a renaissance man who only dabbles into game design along with many other things make a difference or even become heard in the game industry?
    A real Renaissance man would not ask this question. He wouldn't have to ask it.

    i'll [sic] try to remember to sight [sic] you
    I don't mean this unkindly: I recommend that you read books, and work harder in English class. I also recommend that you make an appointment with your high school guidance counselor. I am positive that he or she will be delighted to help you make decisions about college. You can also make a decision grid as I outline in FAQs 25 and 70. Good luck, Shaheed.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 13, 2012


    Should I take the part-time job?

    >From: XuTian T
    >Sent: Sunday, September 9, 2012 11:07 PM
    >Subject: Some question about contract and other random stuff
    >Hi, Mr. Sloper.
    >Thanks for your fast and helpful advices all those months. :) I'm going back school really soon and guest what ... the company wants to keep me as a part time remotely~ I was happy at first, because that might mean I was good and irreplaceable to the company. Then I felt troubled, because I was already ready to move on from this work:
    >
    >They are going to keep me writing some texts, researching and managing the social media of company, including the company page, utility and maybe games. I feel confident that I know company's customer pretty well, I know how to connect to them and I know how to analyze data to improve the strategy. What troubles me is that I'm not sure if I will be comfortable working part time for the company remotely. I did not have a contract when I started the internship. I'm not sure if I should ask my boss a more competitive paying for hiring me as a part time.
    >
    >I asked my coworkers do they have a contract and they did not have one either. One of your article mentioned about the importance of contracts, that's why I feel so unprotected. I mentioned last time that there was another guy working remotely with the company and he is still a college student, too. I am not sure if the lack of security of working remotely should be my reason not to take this offer.
    >
    >If I take this offer, am I count as a member in the game industry/business? That will mean so much to me ... even I'm not involved as a designer or artist.
    >
    >Hope to hear from you soon~
    >PS: My internship ends in a week. My boss haven't talk to me about this part time job in details yet. It's crazy that I know I will be making all those real world marketing decisions that will potentially influence the success of a utility/game. The company trusts me to do it, but I'm not sure if I trust myself enough to take this trust. :(
    >Don (the guy who thinks too much)

    Hello Don, you wrote:

    I'm going back school really soon and guest what ... the company wants to keep me as a part time remotely~
    Then the question ought to be whether or not you want a part-time while in school. While in school, the schoolwork needs to be priority one.

    Then I felt troubled, because I was already ready to move on from this work:
    This is not much of a reason to feel troubled.

    I'm not sure if I will be comfortable working part time for the company remotely.
    Make a decision grid, then. FAQ 70.

    I did not have a contract when I started the internship. I'm not sure if I should ask my boss a more competitive paying for hiring me as a part time.
    You should ask him, "how much are you thinking to pay me?" But before you ask him that, you should think about how much pay would be "worth it" for you, given that you would be working while in school.

    I asked my coworkers do they have a contract and they did not have one either.
    That makes me wonder if you're dealing with a rinkydink company. A low-level company whose top guy hasn't yet adopted best practices.

    I am not sure if the lack of security of working remotely should be my reason not to take this offer.
    No, because the "lack of security" is the same with this company, whether you are within their walls or not. But you should make this a criteria in your decision grid, for sure.

    If I take this offer, am I count as a member in the game industry/business?
    You think there's some kind of firm and clear line somewhere. There isn't. Someone who had an employment contract with a game company (a game company that has a website and has released some games) and who worked with that company for two years would definitely be over that line. Someone who works part-time for a game company that doesn't have employment contracts...? Not so definite where that person stands, as regards that hypothetical line. Right now, you can say you interned with a game company (based on what you've told me before), and some people would take that as you having crossed that invisible line.

    Don't worry so much about appearances. Make decisions based on your own best judgment. If the pay is going to be fair, and you can manage it while finishing your education, take it. If it's going to be too much work for too little money, turn it down.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 10, 2012


    I am not a great student, part 3

    >From: Jeremy Hildebrant
    >To: Tom Sloperama
    >Sent: Monday, September 3, 2012 6:49 PM
    >Subject: More Questions
    >Well I haven't had any luck getting into the field so I thought of some more questions to see if you could help me out.
    >You said before that you didn't need a degree to get into game testing but you said it definitely helps.
    >1). Are their any tester jobs that you could work from home or are they all at the building site?
    >2). How do I go about applying for testing jobs?
    >3). What can I do to help build my resume so I could get noticed for testing jobs? I have only worked Retail.
    >4). Do you have any recommendations on resume layouts?
    >5). Can I email you some ideas to see if I am on the right track at becoming a game designer, and to see if you would think they would actually work?

    Hi, Jeremy. You wrote:

    More Questions
    I searched the board and found that you'd previously written in May. Welcome back.

    Well I haven't had any luck getting into the field
    How many of the "stupid tricks" from FAQ 24 have you been doing, and how many of the barrier-busting tips from FAQ 27 have you been doing?

    Are their any tester jobs that you could work from home or are they all at the building site?
    Read FAQ 5.

    How do I go about applying for testing jobs?
    See FAQ 5 and FAQ 4. Have you read any of my FAQs?

    What can I do to help build my resume so I could get noticed for testing jobs? I have only worked Retail.
    Retail jobs are fine. As long as your résumé shows you're a reliable worker who understands the concept of "job."

    Do you have any recommendations on resume layouts?
    No, just Google how to write résumés.

    Can I email you some ideas to see if I am on the right track at becoming a game designer, and to see if you would think they would actually work?
    I don't see the point. I'm sure your ideas "would actually work." But then my definition of "would work" might be totally at odds with yours (in other words, I don't know what you're asking when you ask "would they work"). And, of course, you know my rules -- if you email me your game idea, the only way I can respond to it is by posting your idea here on the board for everyone to see. You can do that if you really want, but like I said, I need a better question than "would they work." I also can't answer the question "are they good," because like I said in FAQ 43, all ideas are good. And they all suck. What matters is what you do with them. Actions, not ideas, are what count.

    Next time you write me, please make sure to include key information I need to give you the best answer for YOU. Like, what's your eventual goal? What is it you want to be doing in 5 or 10 years? FAQ 65 discusses how to ask a good question. You can access the FAQs via the FAQs link, above left. The reason I say this is that your posts are all over the place. You want a testing job, you're not a good student, you have game ideas, you have suggestions for improvements to existing games -- there's no focused question I can answer, and I don't know what advice you need.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 4, 2012


    Thank you.

    >From: Chris S
    >Sent: Friday, August 31, 2012 1:10 AM
    >Subject: Thank You.
    >Tom,
    >I have no questions. I just want to thank you for creating an excellent web-site for those seeking to enter the gaming industry. It's taken me a while to find a resource like one you've provided--I'm sure it represents a great deal of personal investment over the years. I appreciate that investment and have found your candour a sobering experience.
    >Sincerely,
    >Chris S

    I appreciate your taking the time to write, Chris. Good luck 2 U.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 31, 2012


    Fanmail from some Justin

    >From: dontjostlejustin
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 10:09 PM
    >Subject: GameDZ Fanmail
    >Mr. Sloper, I just happened to stumble upon your website (Game Design Zone section specifically) and I wanted to thank you one thousand times for the effort you put into making it the amazing, no-nonsense barrel of learning material that it is.
    >With your "how to search the web" section I hesitate to write that I've had much difficulty gleaning some useful and enlightening content about the topic of game development, publication, distribution etc. etc. via typical web searches. So when I happened upon a sloperama link in a forum thread about game development posted by one of the forum users, I knew I had better scramble to add a bookmark to your site on any device I own capable of running a browser! (I'm not kidding)
    >I'm really really new to game development and even newer to programming in general, but I've decided to dive in as deep as I can possibly go and commit myself to starting off with learning C. After which I will move on to learning the superset ++, and from there I should have a good foundation to start moving forward into learning actual game design.
    >Anyway, even if this may seem like an email from a naÔve pipe-dreamer, the fact remains that your entire website kicks butt, and very much helped me learn some new key ideas and concepts about "The Biz". So even if I never bring any of my ideas to fruition, your website will never not have kicked butt, and you deserve a thank you for the time and effort you put into it.
    >Your writing skills are superb by the way.
    >Regards,
    >Justin

    Well, gosh! Thanks, Justin. I'll try not to jostle you. (^_^)

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 29, 2012


    I'm trying to advise a wannabe, part 3

    >From: Joe
    >Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2012 10:00 PM
    >Subject: Re: Advice for beginning a career in game development?
    >My bad then just a miscommunication no need to reply or post just apologizing for calling you a dick then haha misunderstood

    Yes, haha.


    I'm trying to advise a wannabe (I'm not the wannabe)

    >From: Joe
    >Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2012 8:34 PM
    >Subject: Re: Advice for beginning a career in game development?
    >Haha no need to call me a wanna be, dick move. But I told him about your site whether he emails you is up to him. We happened to be in the conversation about jobs when I came across this site. I will be sure to tell him about the maps with the local gaming places I appreciate the help. But seriously dick move I'm not a wanna be since I have no interest in the field.

    Hello, Joe. You wrote:

    no need to call me a wanna be,
    I wasn't. I was referring to your young friend (he's the wannabe whom you're trying to advise). The title of your post is as if it was written by you, not me.

    dick move.
    I beg your pardon?

    But seriously dick move I'm not a wanna be
    I knew that, Joe. It's too bad you misunderstood me. (And it's too bad you were insulted by the affectionate term we sometimes use for people like your young friend, if he really does wanna be in the game industry.)

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 23, 2012


    I'm trying to advise a wannabe

    >From: Joe
    >Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2012 6:38 PM
    >Subject: Advice for beginning a career in game development?
    >Hey Tom I got to your website looking for help for a friend of mine who wants to create/develop games when he is older. He is 16 and is beginning the search for jobs obviously he can't or most likely won't have success by jumping or attempting to jump straight into a company or creating a new game now. But would you have any advice on a job that he can get now at such a young age that would look good on a resume for college in this field or possibly a job application later something that might give him an edge over other competition in this field of work.He lives in Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh if that gives you any help for a job possibly located near his area. Please get back to me with any advice i can give my friend Thank you so much!!

    Hi, Joe. I always prefer it when the info seeker himself or herself is the one contacting me, rather than an intermediary. It's easier to teach a student than to teach a mentor. At 16, your friend is old enough to get his advice from my site by himself. To answer the questions you wrote:

    would you have any advice on a job that he can get now ... that might give him an edge over other competition
    It's very rare for any game company to hire a minor. Because it's so rare, I cannot tell you how to tell him how to accomplish it. It's possible, mind you, but he'll have to be very enterprising and very lucky.

    He lives in Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh if that gives you any help for a job possibly located near his area.
    Tell him to use gamedevmap and gameindustrymap, and see what game companies are within daily commuting distance.

    Please get back to me with any advice i can give my friend
    Tell him about my site, and tell him to read a lot of my FAQs (answers to Frequently Asked Questions about getting a game job). He should read about the types of careers available in games, what kind of education to go for, how to make important decisions and how to ask good questions. He's welcome to email questions directly to me, once he's done his homework.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 23, 2012


    Marketing or community management, part 2

    >From: shaheed w
    >Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2012 4:18 PM
    >Subject: Thank you very much for answering my vague questions
    >Thank you for answering my very vague questions( something i just noticed), But i would like to ask you a few more if you dont mind.

    >I'm 19 yrs. old
    >soon to be in college
    >I wanted be a game designer before lots of research
    >Now that that's out the way, From what your say I should study into customer support for a job as a community manager and marketing
    >degree for a marketing job. I always looked at community management as a sub division of marketing, because it's like getting a good name
    >out there about the game company while also collectin data from the general consensus of what the game should change, add, patch etc..
    > ďmarketingĒ is the planning of, and steps taken, to bring merchants and consumers together.
    >Quick questions since you've popped my little dream of what working in the video game industry ( definately game design) would be like :).
    >Is community management a common job for game companies to have?
    >What would you advise someone aspiring to be a community manager to minor in?(major customer support right?)
    >Am i tryin to hard to get into the video game industry lol, should i just follow your advice and learn until i just fall into the wright career?
    >p.s thanks for the help you helped me dodge a bullet because i was very close to going into a game design bachelors program at a school
    > that i noticed later was really a degree in game programming anyways.

    You're welcome, Shaheed.

    Today you wrote:

    Is community management a common job for game companies to have?
    Only certain companies would have jobs for community managers. But it's fairly common for that type of company.

    What would you advise someone aspiring to be a community manager to minor in?
    What would you LIKE to minor in? Read FAQ 40.

    (major customer support right?)
    I told you last time -- I don't know if there is such a major. What would you LIKE to major in?

    Am i tryin to hard to get into the video game industry lol, should i just follow your advice and learn until i just fall into the wright career?
    Why would I give advice and then advise someone not to follow it?

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 19, 2012


    Marketing or community management

    >From: shaheed w
    >Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2012 5:04 AM
    >Subject: Question regarding the applicaion of bussiness in the video game industry
    >I've been reading up on information on your site(which i must say is very well written and informative). Your website has helped me come to the conclusion that my experience and critiqieing of games doesn't necessarily make me a good game designer. I've always been a one dimensional gamer, which i say because I'm only interested in social gaming such as multiplayer games whether online or offline. From what I see from your website it's not a field i can go in the video game industry where i only work on multiplayer games without working on or story is it?I'm not sayin that i cant it's just that i'm not passionate about level design, screenwriting, and story design etc... which are very important parts of becoming a game designer. To get to the point i wanted to know if i could get into working with game companies through marketing, Community management, and if i could would i still be apart of the creative aspect as in giving ideas etc? How hard is it to get a job as a community manager? What college education would i need to be prepared for being a marketer or community manager for a video game company? Even if you dont get a chance to answer my question thank you for your time.

    Hello Shaheed, you wrote:

    i wanted to know if i could get into working with game companies through marketing, Community management, and if i could would i still be apart of the creative aspect as in giving ideas etc?
    You would most likely be apart from the creative team (you would most likely not be a part of the creative team) if you held either of those very different jobs.

    What college education would i need to be prepared for being a marketer
    You would need a marketing degree.

    or community manager
    You don't necessarily need a degree to be a community manager, but a degree is advisable for your future life. To become a community manager, you need to inhabit a game's community and become a valuable participant in it. That might lead to a job offer, or you could also apply for a job at that company for a job in customer support. To qualify for a job in customer support, you would want a degree. I don't know if there are any degrees in customer relations or anything like that.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 19, 2012


    Leveraging experience, part 2

    >From: XuTian T
    >Sent: Saturday, August 18, 2012 4:34 AM
    >Subject: Thank you for your reply
    >Hi, Mr. Sloper:
    >Thanks for your advice~
    >By the way, my first name is Tian-Tong and my last name is Xu. And if you try to pronounce "Xu", it's not "Zu", but more like "Shu".
    >Don


    Leveraging experience, and networking

    >From: [deleted]
    >Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2012 5:22 AM
    >Subject: Some networking questions
    >Hi, Mr. Sloper.
    >Hopefully Iím not on your list of the most annoying guys yet. My job advanced a little. Iím more of a marketing assistant now. I took your advice and applied it to do a competitive analyze on our utilityís competitors. Now, Iím trying to construct a new branding strategy for the utility. Knowing what position we are in the market, our advantages and what user like and dislike about our product makes this work easier. I have about a mouth left in this company and Iím trying to figure out my next moves:
    >How should I take this experience and apply it in the future? I mean, working as an artist or doing art is still my biggest interest now. I donít dislike marketing. In fact, Iím going to take an intro marketing class next term to see how much I like it. Iím going to apply for an internship again a year and half later, because of the way how my college works. How much emphasis on what I did with this intern I should put on my resume? Should I ask my boss for a recommendation? Should I ask it now or when I look out for an internship again?
    >I happened to notice one of my coworkersí mom is in charge of Disney in South Asia. Wow, that puts me 3 degrees of separation from knowing someone in Disney Interactive (Am I right?). However, he is working with the company remotely as a freelance game designer. I only talked to him once. He is a college student that studies game design. How should I network with him when I may or may not ever see him again?
    >Please forgive me if the questions are out of topic. And ... I want to do you and myself a favor and say Ö you can stop withholding my information now, so that I donít need to type an extra line every time I write to youÖ
    >Don

    Hello, Don. You wrote:

    How should I take this experience and apply it in the future?
    Put it in your resume and ask the boss for a good reference.

    How much emphasis on what I did with this intern I should put on my resume?
    If you have stronger experience, emphasize that more. If you have weaker experience, emphasize this internship more.

    Should I ask my boss for a recommendation? Should I ask it now or when I look out for an internship again?
    I already said in a previous reply to you that you should do a good job so you could get a recommendation. On your last day at the job when saying goodbyes, you can ask him. What most people do these days is simply say yes. Then you list him as a reference, and if somebody is considering hiring you, they'll call him and ask him about you.

    one of my coworkersí mom is in charge of Disney in South Asia. Wow, that puts me 3 degrees of separation from knowing someone in Disney Interactive (Am I right?).
    Wrong. Disney is a gargantuan behemoth. That guy's mom is probably not even 3 degrees of separation from anybody in Disney Interactive.

    How should I network with him when I may or may not ever see him again?
    You should know him, have lunch with him, say "hey, can I have your email address." But his mom is not a mighty piece in your networking chess game since you aren't buddy-buddy with her son and haven't had dinners or sleepovers at their home.

    you can stop withholding my information now
    What a relief! Good luck, XuTian.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 16, 2012


    My Future Salon LA presentation, The Future of Video Games, is today from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM (PDT) at...
    Microsoft Store
    10250 Santa Monica Blvd. (Century City mall, upstairs) Los Angeles
    http://futuresalon11-eorg.eventbrite.com/


    Like my fb page

    >From: marc <mcmarc44@googlemail.com>
    >To: webmaster
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 8, 2012 7:33 PM
    >Subject: BECOME A GAME TESTER
    >Hi friend
    >I would like to share with you our new facebook fan page where we like to help people like you to become a Game tester
    >Like our Fan page on www.facebook.com/ProGameTester.

    No. I will not Like it. If I could click a Dislike button, I would. I've seen so many scams luring wide-eyed hopefuls to spend money on "beta testing jobs" it makes me sick. Beta testing is not a job. Nobody hires people to work a full-time job in beta testing. QA testing and play testing, yes. As a full-time job. And nobody should ever pay to get a job. I see nothing on your fb page to indicate to me that you're any better than any of the rest of the testing scammers.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 8, 2012


    Which specialty is most in demand, part 2

    >From: yun b
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 12:22 AM
    >Subject: Thanks for your answers
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >
    >Thank you for your answers to my questions, although I feel you interpreted them incorrectly.
    >
    >>>different areas of focus - infrastructure, cognition and games, immersion and serious games. Do you know which of these fields are most in demand?
    >>Your question is flawed. You should not be trying to live your life based on the expectations of hypothetical future employers. You should live your life based on your own interests and abilities.
    >
    >At this point, I would be equally satisfied with a job in any of the above specializations, so I'm not basing anything on the "expectations of hypothetical employers," but was hoping that you as an insider in the game industry would have insight into which areas of game programming are most in demand, and which are not. I am going back to school to start a career, make money, and save for retirement. I've actually spent a lot of time traveling the world and thinking about what kind of life I want and what will make me happy, and I've also tried out many different things. So, I'm not really looking for advice on how to live my life, but work related advice. I have chosen a field that interests me and pays well (computer programming), so I can enjoy the second half of my life, while also trying to achieve certain financial goals. That is what I'm basing my life on, and choosing a field that is in demand, and will help me quickly pay of the tens of thousands of dollars in student loans I'll have after graduation before I'm 60, is a priority.
    >
    >As you should know from your time in Japan, many people in the world pursue degrees and careers that make them money, regardless of how spiritually fulfilling it is. I have many American friends who pursued degrees in art and music (their "passions"), as you suggest people should, and many ended up very unhappy and unable to make money afterwards. As an interesting side note, some 90% of art majors never work in an art related field after graduation. In my ten years in Asia I also knew many people who were forced to become engineers, accountants or doctors by their parents, and still ended up happy (and wealthy). You oversimplify a bit, I think. Following your passion is only advisable when one knows the big picture, for example, there are only a few degrees that will make one any considerable amount of money after graduation (unless one is very lucky), and a useless degree plus $40,000 USD in debt plus a minimum wage job (because of a useless degree) is not a recipe for happiness. I have seen MANY people in that situation.
    >
    >>>A related question is if the specialization one makes is based more on one's own set of skills than one's interests?
    >>When you follow your interests, you develop higher skills in the area of your interest, and will find opportunities to use your skills in your area of interest. If you read FAQ 52 you'll see that you've asked a classically flawed Two Choices question, to which the short answer is, "both."
    >
    >I don't see this a classically flawed Two Choices question. When I wrote that sentence I believed there could be other possibilities. If I was convinced there were only these two choices I wouldn't have written you. I don't think specializing in one field out of interest is any better or worse than the difficulty of the field naturally weeding out people unable to do it. Not everyone is capable of everything. Most people are capable of most things, but some kinds of jobs require abilities so specific or exacting as to be exclusive to anyone lacking those abilities. Perhaps it would have been better to ask game programmers the questions I asked you. Anyway, from what little I've seen online, game engine design is very difficult, and requires a very high math skill (just to name one skill some people will never have) to pull off. I'm not saying that I'm unable to do it, but I was hoping you'd know something about the job-side of these different game programming specializations.
    >
    >Thank you for your time and answers!

    Hello Andrew, you wrote:

    was hoping that you as an insider in the game industry would have insight into which areas of game programming are most in demand, and which are not.
    And I insist vehemently that this is a flawed question. Nobody can tell you (other than from a narrow per-company perspective) the answer you are seeking, and nobody can tell you definitively what will be the "in demand" field in the future time when your degree is in hand. And even if somebody could tell you that, I insist that the factor of which specialty was most in demand should not be the sole criterion (or the most important criterion) for your decision making process. If you are indeed equally passionate about game infrastructure, game cognition, game immersion, and serious games, then pursue serious game infrastructure, immersion, and cognition. If you have to choose one of those four so you can check a box on a piece of paper, check serious games because those other things can all fit within that wide category. But do I expect you to check that box just because I said to? No. Nor would I want you to.

    I'm not really looking for advice on how to live my life
    Nobody ever does! But that's what work-related advice amounts to. I understand you're older than most who ask me for advice here. I'm giving you the best advice I can.

    pay [off] the tens of thousands of dollars in student loans I'll have after graduation before I'm 60, is a priority.
    And I'm totally in favor of not racking up excessive student loan debt. The price of the education must be a heavily weighted factor in your decision grid, as discussed in FAQ 25.

    some 90% of art majors never work in an art related field after graduation. In my ten years in Asia I also knew many people who were forced to become engineers, accountants or doctors by their parents, and still ended up happy (and wealthy). You oversimplify a bit, I think.
    Then why you are still asking my advice is a mystery to me.

    a useless degree plus $40,000 USD in debt plus a minimum wage job (because of a useless degree) is not a recipe for happiness. I have seen MANY people in that situation.
    Yes. I have, too (aside from the "useless degree" point, since I don't think a degree is either a ball and chain or a barrier). I never advise anyone to pay huge amounts of money for a degree unless it is necessary and affordable and/or there is likelihood of paying it off.

    I don't see this a classically flawed Two Choices question. When I wrote that sentence I believed there could be other possibilities.
    I should have read your mind, then, instead of just your words.

    Thank you for your time and answers!
    You're welcome. Good luck!

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 7, 2012


    Which specialty is most in demand?

    >From: yun b
    >To: webmaster
    >Sent: Monday, August 6, 2012 9:51 PM
    >Subject: Game programming specialization
    >Dear Mr, Sloper,
    >My name is Andrew. I am 36 years old. I currently have an Associates degree, am enrolled in a Computer Science Bachelor's program, and am planning to get at least a Master's degree. I was an English teacher in Asia for roughly ten years (mostly China and Taiwan), but I guess I'm a student now. I live in America, but I plan to move abroad after graduating (probably Australia).
    >
    >My question is about the different fields of programming available to a junior game programmer. I've decided to get a Bachelor's in Computer Science, and not game programming, as I'm not sure I want game programming to be my main source of income. I may keep my game programming interests as a hobby. However, if I do decide to focus on game programming, I was wondering which field is most in demand? For example, the MS in Computer Science with Specialization in Game Development at USC has different areas of focus - infrastructure, cognition and games, immersion and serious games. Do you know which of these fields are most in demand? A related question is if the specialization one makes is based more on one's own set of skills than one's interests? Meaning that some people are better for game engine design, for example, while others are better suited for dealing with game-related networking issues?
    >Thank you,
    >Andrew

    Hello Andrew, you wrote:

    different areas of focus - infrastructure, cognition and games, immersion and serious games. Do you know which of these fields are most in demand?
    Your question is flawed. You should not be trying to live your life based on the expectations of hypothetical future employers. You should live your life based on your own interests and abilities.

    A related question is if the specialization one makes is based more on one's own set of skills than one's interests?
    When you follow your interests, you develop higher skills in the area of your interest, and will find opportunities to use your skills in your area of interest. If you read FAQ 52 you'll see that you've asked a classically flawed Two Choices question, to which the short answer is, "both."

    Meaning that some people are better for game engine design, for example, while others are better suited for dealing with game-related networking issues?
    Sure. By pursuing work that you're good at and are interested in, you'll attain a better life. Read FAQ 40.

    If you come to USC, come say hello.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 6, 2012


    Is this possible?

    >From: John S
    >Sent: Thursday, August 2, 2012 5:22 PM
    >Subject: Game Industry Q+A
    > I understand that, in order for you to give me the best game career advice suited to my unique situation, the first time I write you, you need to know that...
    >My approximate age is: 45_
    >The level of education I've completed is: ged_
    >My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: self-employed_
    >The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: my own_
    >The country I live in is: us_
    >My game biz question is: _Is it possible to make a game with MMORPG,RTS, and Third person Shooter all in one?

    Hi, John. You have asked Frequently Asked Question #50. Please scroll up and find the links to the FAQs, above left (they're easy to find since they're indicated by a blue and yellow flashing arrow, emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Bookmark the FAQs page for your future reference. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. In particular, I recommend you read FAQs 16, 29, 58, 62, and 65. Thanks!
    Standing by for the next question...
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 2, 2012


    Third thoughts

    >From: Francesco A
    >Sent: Sunday, July 29, 2012 7:52 AM
    >Subject: Re: Game Industry Q&A: Computer Science and creativity
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >Thanks for your answers. You said:
    >
    >> Well, it could, if you're good enough at programming. Programmers are so much in demand that even if your official title is game designer, when the company is in need of extra programmers, you'll probably be drafted to program until that game is past the crunch.
    >But like I said, that's a danger only if it turns out that you are a good programmer.
    >
    >But if I turn out not to be a good programmer, I suppose I would find it hard to find a job through that, wouldn't I?
    >
    >>You should take CS if you are passionate about programming. Not because it's your entry pathway -- especially if you're concerned about being pigeonholed if you take that path. If you enjoy programming, then it's a good way for you to go. If you don't enjoy programming, then taking CS would be a terrible idea. Have you read FAQ 40? Have you read FAQ 3?
    >
    >I don't think I'm that passionate about it. The thing is, I think that I've picked it up only because I need to, since I don't know any programmers and me and my friends are always trying to make some games in our spare time. As long as I can afford to program just the gameplay-side of my games (which lately I've been able to using Flashpunk), it's fine. But any of the stuff that doesn't directly help with making the game "itself" easily turns me off. That's why I'm reconsidering my choice: I feel like I enjoy the results, not the process.
    >Outside of game making, my passions are mostly languages and storytelling. I always come up with new characters and ideas, and I really enjoy learning new languages. As of recently, I've started learning some Japanese. I've thought about studying foreign languages in university, but I think that I can learn them without it, and that one such degree wouldn't be that useful, working-wise, besides the obvious translation work.
    >Am I wrong in thinking this? Can such degree help me get into the industry, or should I keep learning new languages in the spare time like I already do?
    >I should also mention that I like both art and music, but my interest in such disciplines has surfaced just recently. I would like to compose, as I'm always amazed when listening to all the great soundtracks that are out there. Yet, I feel that I'm really a beginner among beginners in those fields.
    >Am I wrong in giving them low consideration for this reason?
    >
    >> Sounds to me like you're enjoying it. So I don't see the problem. Hey, here's an idea. Have you looked into level design? FAQ 69.
    >
    > There's some truth in that: as I said, I like being able to deal directly with the game's mechanics. It's the more abstract stuff that worries me.
    >Regarding level design, that's actually a pretty good suggestion. I just remembered that we used to work on a small mod for an online FPS, AssaultCube, and make lots of maps using its cooperative editing mode. Other than that it was mainly texture editing and tweaking config files, no programming involved.
    >It's a very interesting path. What kind of studies would be helpful when aiming for level design?
    >FAQ 69 mentions game schools, but those are probably off-limits for me, both for financial and time reasons (it's probably too late to enroll, and I would have to move outside the country).
    >I just realized I've been all but brief this time. My apologies, but as you can probably guess this decision is being a really though one to take.
    >Thanks again,
    > - Francesco A

    Ciao, Francesco. You wrote:

    But if I turn out not to be a good programmer, I suppose I would find it hard to find a job through that, wouldn't I?
    Obviously. You do need to choose the right entry pathway for you.

    I've thought about studying foreign languages in university, but I think that I can learn them without it, and that one such degree wouldn't be that useful, working-wise, besides the obvious translation work.
    Am I wrong in thinking this?
    Yes. First and foremost, it's your passion. Have you read FAQ 40? Secondarily (the issue of "applicability"), of course it's useful. I mean, duh!!! You'd be able to work with developers and publishers in, and make games for, any country whose language you speak. You don't think that's "useful"?

    Can such degree help me get into the industry,
    Read FAQ 50. Nobody cares what degree you have, as long as you have a degree and an awesome portfolio.

    or
    Read FAQ 52.

    or should I keep learning new languages in the spare time like I already do?
    Read FAQ 70. And read FAQ 40 again.

    Am I wrong
    Yes. Read FAQ 40.

    What kind of studies would be helpful when aiming for level design?
    Read FAQ 69.

    FAQ 69 mentions game schools
    Does it say "you must go to an expensive game school"? Does it say "you can't get a level design job without it"? Read it again.

    this decision is being a really though one to take.
    Welcome to adulthood.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 29, 2012

    [On July 31, I edited FAQ 69 to clarify the education question.]


    Second thoughts

    >From: Francesco A
    >Sent: Friday, July 27, 2012 1:23 PM
    >Subject: Game Industry Q&A: Computer Science and creativity
    >Age: 19
    >Education: High School
    >Occupation: Student
    >Game job I aspire to: Game Design
    >Country: Italy
    >
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >First of all, let me thank you for all the advice you've put up on your website. I found it really helpful and I'm thankful for all the time you've spent helping us wannabes. I don't want to waste your time, so I'll cut to the chase and be as brief as possible.
    >
    >I am about to choose which university and course to attend, and I'm having some trouble with my choice. I've been thinking a lot about this for the last two months or so, and I had reached the conclusion that studying Computer Science would be the best course of action to try and break into the game industry, and then attempt to switch to a game design position.
    >
    >Lately, though, I've been doubting my choice. I think of myself as a creative person, and I like to express something through my work. Maybe I'm horribilizing, but I'm worried that my choice could lead me to an unsatisfying and "mechanical" job.
    >
    >Therefore, my question is: should I reconsider my choice and aim for something more creative than Computer Science? Is this risk real?
    >
    >Some information that you might find useful in answering my question: my attempts at creating a game started when I was about 15 and tried developing stuff like a Zelda clone using Game Maker. I ran a little italian videogame community and ran some interactive stories and a Civ-like of my design game via forum. Right now I'm experimenting a bit with Flash development.
    >
    >I hope you can answer my question. :)
    >Thanks in advance,
    >- Francesco A

    Ciao, Francesco. You wrote:

    I had reached the conclusion that studying Computer Science would be the best course of action to try and break into the game industry, and then attempt to switch to a game design position... I'm worried that my choice could lead me to an unsatisfying and "mechanical" job.
    Well, it could, if you're good enough at programming. Programmers are so much in demand that even if your official title is game designer, when the company is in need of extra programmers, you'll probably be drafted to program until that game is past the crunch.
    But like I said, that's a danger only if it turns out that you are a good programmer.

    should I reconsider my choice
    It's always a good idea to be sure of a decision. It's normal to re-evaluate, when time has passed after the initial decision was made.

    and aim for something more creative than Computer Science?
    You should take CS if you are passionate about programming. Not because it's your entry pathway -- especially if you're concerned about being pigeonholed if you take that path. If you enjoy programming, then it's a good way for you to go. If you don't enjoy programming, then taking CS would be a terrible idea. Have you read FAQ 40? Have you read FAQ 3?

    Right now I'm experimenting a bit with Flash development.
    Sounds to me like you're enjoying it. So I don't see the problem. Hey, here's an idea. Have you looked into level design? FAQ 69.

    Ciao.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 27, 2012


    How do I prove that a game feature will increase a game's sales, part 2

    >From:
    ██ ████ ████
    >Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2012 1:50 AM
    >Subject: Thank you
    >Mr. Sloper:
    >Thank you for your advice. :) You have a pretty good point about I should focusing more on the given assignments. I never thought that I would like working with words everyday, but I started to enjoy it.
    >Have a nice day~
    >Don(the guy who still wants you to withhold his information)

    You're welcome, ███!

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 22, 2012


    How do I prove that a game feature will increase a game's sales?

    >From:
    ██ ████ ████
    >Sent: Saturday, July 21, 2012 12:45 AM
    >Subject: question on how to improve a game design document and to prove your idea is marketable
    >Hi, Mr. Sloper:
    >It's me, Don, again. My company just wrapped up the last game and move to a new one. The new game is an update of a game our company made before. We only finished a rough draft of the new game design document and time table. I volunteered to fell the missing details and improve upon the original draft. My boss said something like, ďSure, but I expect to see something professional and ready to be used right away.Ē I was given the freedom to make suggestion on what aspects I think the game can be improved and how to improve the game. However, my boss specifically said that I need to prove to her that why I think the idea will work and why people will buy this idea.
    >Iím reading a few books about design and brainstorming. They are helpful in coming up with ideas, but not so helpful in proving your idea marketable. And here comes my questions:
    >Can I sell my idea like ďGame A, Game B, Game C with the same category of our game dose this, therefore itís a good idea to include this feature in our gameĒ or ďGame X, Game Y, Game Z with different category does this and I think it will work in our gameĒ or ďArticle A, Article B and Article C said that this feature is or will be popularĒ Ö Is there a more convincing way to sell my ideas?
    >Should I suggest 2~3 features I think they are the best or 5~7 features to let my boss choose from?
    >Hope to hear from you soon~
    >Don (The annoying guy who always ask you to withhold his information)

    Don,
    It's impossible to prove that a feature will improve a game's sales. Nobody can predict the future. If such a proof was possible to obtain, everybody would be making successful games and only those who'd never bothered to work it out would make unsuccessful games. For more on this concept, you should read FAQ 31.

    But what you can do is write a competitive analysis - kind of what you suggest with games A, B, C, but with analysis of why the feature was popular with the players of games A, B, and C. Never forget that a game does not exist in a vacuum -- the people who play the game are all-important. Analyze the feature and its use in games that compete with yours, sure. But also analyze the people who play your company's game, and what they like, why they like the game, and why they will like the feature you suggest.

    Think of this as planting seeds. When you express an idea or make a suggestion, you should not expect it to suddenly be accepted. When you sow a seed, you don't expect it to suddenly sprout up and grow into a tree instantly. It will take time to germinate; it needs to be watered from time to time. You don't just plant one seed, either. You toss out a handful. You don't want to get too emotionally attached to each and every seed you sow, because many will die without ever taking root. You must expect that your ideas will not be taken up -- that way, you can be pleasantly surprised if one does turn into something. It would be very bad form to show depression or dejection if your ideas are not accepted. Make the effort, but do not put your job on the line over it.

    Don't spend too much time on this. Your job is to do the stuff they want you to do, not to do the stuff you want to do. It's essential that you do your job well, so that when you want to take on side tasks, your superiors will not begrudge the time.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 21, 2012


    Should I give up one of my two passions?

    >From: Chris S
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 6:13 PM
    >Subject: Jack of some trades or master of one? (Game Design or Game Art)
    >Age: 20
    >Level of Education: Studying for Degree
    >Current Occupation: Student
    >Game Job I Aspire to: Art or Design
    >Location: London
    >Hi Mr Sloper,
    >Firstly Iíd like to say that I have read through every lesson on this site and it was an absolute delight to do so. In my opinion there is a dire lack of education about the games industry from a design perspective so Iím grateful that you took the time to create it to help game design hopefuls. I apologise if the answers to my questions are within your articles somewhere, but I havenít found anything specifically related to my sort of dilemma.
    >
    >Now, before I ask you any questions, Iíll just give you a brief summary of my situation. I live in the UK, and have been passionate about games, art and design from a young age. However, I was discouraged from pursuing a games/art/design related career by family members, in favour of a more traditional career. I did A Levels in three humanities subjects (English Literature, History and Classical Civilisation) and realised that I had a flair for writing when I put my mind to it, and soon this also became my passion. Then I studied a year of Psychology at university and found it highly unfulfilling.
    >
    >I decided that I should have followed my original passions, and so I transferred to a course at my university called Multimedia Technology and Design, which mainly deals with 2D and 3D art, animation, web design and programming. This summer I have used what I learned during the first year of the degree in order to collaborate on numerous indie game projects. I steered clear of programming since Iím rather terrible at it, and so stuck to what I was good at, art. Initially my role was typically an artist of some kind, and I branched out to experience unfamiliar artistic roles such as UI design. I loved every minute of the gave development process, and seeing my artwork within games.
    >
    >Now, this is where my dilemma begins. While working on indie game projects with teams/partners, I came across several writing and design positions within game projects. I jumped at the chance to join these, since I enjoy writing and design as much as I enjoy art. I discovered that I had really missed purposefully writing, so I began to take on more writing roles in teams, create GDDs for my ideas, and found myself dividing my time between design (and writing in general) and art. I feel like my two passions in life are clashing, and Iím worried that by trying to pursue both art and design I wonít be able to compete with focused individuals when searching for a games industry job.
    >
    >Ok sorry, maybe that wasnít brief, but what can I say, I love writing! :D
    > Now, here are my questions:
    >1. Are people with a variety of skills less favourable with the games industry than those who are entirely focused on a specific skill?
    >2. Is there a place in the game industry for someone skilled in both art and writing/design?
    >3. Would it be more beneficial to continue to advance in both art and writing/design or just focus on art for the time being (due to the degree)?
    >Thank you for taking the time to read about my dilemma, and I look forward to any advice you may be able to provide.
    >Regards,
    >Chris

    Hi Chris, you wrote:

    Ok sorry, maybe that wasnít brief, but what can I say, I love writing! :D
    Yeah, well, I hate reading, so I I didn't read anything except your questions:

    Are people with a variety of skills less favourable with the games industry than those who are entirely focused on a specific skill?
    Pretty much. A hirer usually has a specific need. "I need a writer of children's mysteries." "I need an artist who specializes in gothic horror."
    However, it's too bad that you asked this question, because my answer will probably give you the wrong impression. If you had not asked that question, you'd be more inclined to follow your passions, and following your passions is precisely what you should do.

    Is there a place in the game industry for someone skilled in both art and writing/design?
    Sure. Usually a small company will have opportunities for multi-talented individuals. Imagine also the possibility of being asked to storyboard a story scene for a game. Or there may be good reasons to include illustrations in the writing that you are assigned to do.
    But again, you should not let my answer affect your plan. If those are your two passions, you should pursue them.

    Would it be more beneficial to continue to advance in both art and writing/design or just focus on art for the time being (due to the degree)?
    This question has problems. I can't foretell your future, and I can't predict which of your two choices would be "more beneficial," and you have completely disregarded third and even fourth choices in your hypothetical comparative futures.

    As I was getting ready to post this, I was thinking about what to title it, and I noticed the subject line from your email:
    Jack of some trades or master of one? (Game Design or Game Art)
    Game design? Where'd that come from? Your questions were about writing, weren't they? You said, "what can I say, I love writing!" Oh wait, you also equated writing with design: "someone skilled in both art and writing/design?" Writing and design are two things, not one thing. I'll figure out a title for this post despite this.

    The main thing you should come away with is this. If you have two passions, you should pursue them. If you have to decide which to major in while minoring in the other, make a decision grid. But the kinds of questions you've asked me are not going to help you in making that decision -- you need to zero in on better questions, ones that will actually help you make your career plan. You should not plan your life based on what some hypothetical future employer would look for. You should follow your passions and make a life that you will enjoy. Because it's YOUR life, not theirs, you will be living.

    And, at risk of confusing you even further, here's some writing of my own that you've probably missed:
    http://www.igda.org/games-game-february-2012
    http://www.igda.org/games-game-may-2005
    http://www.igda.org/games-game-august-2003
    http://www.igda.org/introducing-games-game-may-2003

    Cheers,
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 18, 2012


    Why won't anybody hire me? Should I move? Part 2

    >From: Zack Ribbe
    >Sent: Monday, July 16, 2012 11:00 AM
    >Subject: Thanks
    >Hey, I read your response and I appreciate you taking the time to answer. I should have read the website a little better and known not to private message you.
    >Either way I just wanted to say thanks for the advice!
    >Zack Ribbe

    No problem, Zack. You're welcome. Ask again anytime, either on GameDev GameCareerGuide, I mean, or by emailing me. And I'm serious about lunch, if you come to L.A.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 16, 2012


    Why won't anybody hire me? Should I move? Critique my portfolio!

    >Game Career Guide Forums > User Control Panel > Private Messages > Inbox > Private Message: Question
    >Today, 09:43 AM
    >ZackRibbe
    >Junior Member
    >Activity Longevity
    >1/20 0/20
    >Today Posts
    >1/11 ssssssss5
    >Default Question
    >Hey, I see you around the forums and I saw your website, very helpful website by the way. You have a very good understanding of the game industry that's why I'm messaging you.
    >
    >Alright, let me first give you a little backstory and then I will get on with my question. I graduated from Brown College (Minnesota) in October 2011 with a Bachelor's degree in Video Game Design. I am currently still living there working two part time jobs to pay the bills (not ideal but like I said it pays the bills). I have applied for a TON of jobs, have only heard a couple positive responses. (One I was supposed to have a phone interview but it fell through, and on a couple of others I have gotten feedback on my portfolio but no positions were open). I will continually apply, I know I need to work hard and keep applying.
    >
    >All of that being said, I have had the opportunity of a lifetime coming up. Three of my friends are moving to California and asked me if I wanted to come. After a lot of thinking and weighing the pro's and con's I decided that I will take the risk and move out there (this September). It seems like a logical decision given all of the job opportunities, not just in video games but in film as well; and also I will not have a better time for an opportunity like this.
    >
    >My question is, would it be better if I wait to apply until I'm out there or is it a better idea to put in my cover letter that I will be moving out there in September? After reading through some stuff in your website, I see that employers like local candidates much better so I'm just trying figure out the smartest way to go about this.
    >
    >Also if you have time to check out my portfolio and give me any feedback I would appreciate that as well. (http://zackribbe.prosite.com) I just recently updated it and I think it looks a lot better than what it was. Thank you in advance! Hope to hear back from you.

    Hello, Zack.
    My gamecareerguide sig asks people not to use gamecareerguide's PM feature to send me private mails, for multiple reasons.
    (1) I have an easy-to-find email address which I check numerous times daily...
    (2) It sometimes happens that I fail to realize that I've even gotten PM for WEEKS...
    (3) Also if you'd visited my website before PM'ing me, you would have read that I don't give free private advice (that privacy policy is clearly stated on my site). I believe in "giving back," but on a public basis. Apparently you didn't want to ask me this on a gamecareerguide forum. But now (as per my policy stated above) you are asking me this on my forum.
    You wrote:

    I have applied for a TON of jobs
    Since you live in Minnesota, you must have been doing Stupid Wannabe Trick #6, in violation of the Barrier Buster rule "location, location, location." Of course that's never going to work.

    would it be better if I wait to apply until I'm out there or is it a better idea to put in my cover letter that I will be moving out there in September?
    You shouldn't apply now; too long until you move. If you're going to do that, wait until no more than 4 weeks (3 is better; 2 even better yet) before the move. But even then, you need to make it clear in the first sentence of your cover email that you are going to be local soon. You don't want your application to go into the cylindrical file. Read my March 2010 "The Games Game" column, "What's The Trick To Avoid Getting Filtered Out?" -- click the Games Game link above left, then on IGDA.org, click Archives and scroll down. While you're at it, read the July 2010 column, "Location, Location, Location," too. Then use gamedevmap and gameindustrymap, do research on every game company in the area where you're moving. Make sure you do the "Realistic Targeting" barrier buster -- don't shoot for only the companies who would never hire you. And don't forget that the first interview is practice (never interview first with the one and only company you most want to work for).

    Also if you have time to check out my portfolio and give me any feedback
    Sorry, dude. Like it says in my policy above, I do not do that. If you are moving to Los Angeles, email me when you're here. Buy me lunch and I'll be glad to look at your portfolio and give you all the advice you want.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Friday the 13th, July, 2012


    What skills do I need to be a game designer

    >From: Paarth G
    >Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2012 10:08 PM
    >Subject: What skills I need for a game designer.
    >Name:Paarth
    >Age:20
    >Occupation:Student
    >Hi I want to know a few things. First off I'm a bad artist and I'm only good in drawing amateurish style but I can communicate as to what needs to be done perfectly is that good for a game designer?
    >Also I'm not intending to work on huge companies but rather these small indie game companies like Nicalis, Rovio etc. So since these companies are different than the big ones, I'm worried of how I can be perfect as I'm a very bad artist.

    Hi, Paarth. Long time no see. You wrote:

    What skills I need for a game designer.
    Read FAQ 3 and FAQ 14.

    I'm a bad artist
    Okay, then nobody will hire you to be an artist.

    I'm not intending to work on huge companies but rather these small indie game companies
    It doesn't matter. Nobody will hire you to be an artist if you are a bad artist. If you want to be a game designer, you need an entry path -- and it cannot be art. (And as it says in my FAQs, it cannot be game design, either.) Maybe QA, or community management (game master), or level design, or office worker... You have to find an entry.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 12, 2012


    Don's dream, conclusion

    >From: [name withheld]
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 4, 2012 2:47 AM
    >Subject: Thank you from the buttom of my heart
    >Hi, Mr Sloper:
    >Thank you from the bottom of my heart, truly.
    >I admit that I am being selfish, but I prefer to think I love myself very much. The good news is, my boss and the art lead like me, because I do my best at my tasks given and handle emergency tasks well.
    >I just mean that I did put my heart into this work and be a good team player, even through I had my own concerns.
    >It's summer time, so I hope you will enjoy the sun shine and beaches~
    >Thanks again for withholding my information.
    >Don

    Good. I'm glad to hear you're giving it your all, in a professional manner. Good luck 2 U.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    The 4th of July, 2012


    Don's dream, part 5

    >From: [name withheld]
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:58 AM
    >Subject: I don't see how documentation expericen going benefit me as an artist
    >Hi, Mr. Sloper:
    >Sorry if I offend you in any way( I see you only use orange text when you may be offended).
    >I have no mean to sound like I'm arrogant or so on. It's just confusing that all the advices I received are about enhancing what I'm best at, so people will hire me.
    >Right now, art is what I'm best at and it's my selling point. I might not notice the value of my assignment now, but I just don't understand how this internship experience going to benefit me as an artist if I don't have involvement with art. Please don't be offended by my words.
    >Thank you so much for withholding my information. Good luck with your work~ :)
    >Don

    Don, you wrote:

    I don't see how documentation expericen going benefit me
    I know you don't see that. It's sad that you are so self-centered that you only care how the work benefits YOU, and that you do not care whether or not it benefits the company who gave you the opportunity to intern with them.

    Sorry if I offend you in any way( I see you only use orange text when you may be offended).
    No, that's not how my color-coding works. See the color key at the bottom of this board. Orange text represents somebody saying something weird that shows far-out thinking. When somebody says something that throws me for a loop (throws me a curve ball from left field), then I color that text orange.

    I have no mean to sound like I'm arrogant
    Nobody ever intends to sound arrogant. But you are. You're only focused on you, and your wants.

    I just don't understand how this internship experience going to benefit me as an artist if I don't have involvement with art.
    Several points I hope you take away from this:
    Interning at a game company benefits you since you aspire to work in games -- no matter what tasks you perform while interning.
    Did you not see that I suggested a way you could subtly show your coworkers that you are an artist at heart? Maybe you should re-read my previous post.
    If you do your very best work while interning, even though it's not something your selfish heart appreciates, that is called "professionalism."
    If you do your very best work while interning, your employer will be a good and positive reference for future job opportunities. That's another reason for putting your best effort into any task you're given, even though it's not what you want to do.
    Adults constantly have to do things they don't want to do. A child can often get by by sulking or throwing a tantrum, but an adult realizes he has no such option. You've gotten past the tantrum stage, but you haven't gone all the way to adulthood and its concomitant responsibilities yet.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 3, 2012


    Don's dream, part 4

    >From: [name withheld]
    >Sent: Sunday, July 1, 2012 9:27 PM
    >Subject: A artist is working as an designer ... should I ask to take more responsibility with graphics?
    >Hi, Mr. Sloper:
    >It's me again~ Thank you for your replies. :)
    >In the first e-mail I send you, I told you that I got an internship as an game artist. However, the contents of my work is not what I imagined.In fact, my employer thought that I was studying game design and he meant to have me here as an game design intern.
    >At the time I got into the company, they were wrapping up a project. There was not more art for me to do, but I was given the tasks to draft some e-mail responses, game descriptions and do marketing researches. So far I have been pretty good with getting my tasks done on time with satisfying quality.
    >Should I ask to take more responsibility with graphics when the next project starts? I really want to practice my artistic ability with a real publishing project, but I can't figure the right time and the right way to ask...
    >Don

    Hello, Don.
    It sounds to me like you were LUCKY... let me repeat that... LUCKY, to get that internship. Most people I know would KILL to get the assignments you got. But you! You are so... what's the word... I don't know if "arrogant" or "ambitious" quite fits.
    Rather than whining (let me repeat that... "whining") to your boss that you want to do something other than what he's given you to do, be sneaky and creative about it. Just pin up some of your best art, or new art you might make for the company's current project, around your workspace to subtly (let me repeat that... "subtly") show them that you have artistic talent.
    And keep on doing the jobs they give you, and do them well. You might not realize the value of that experience now, but someday you will.

    By the way, next time you write me and your real name is included in your email, please remind me that you still want your real name withheld. I almost forgot this time, and I might forget next time. Most people do not make that request, so withholding the correspondent's name is not a thing I do naturally.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 2, 2012


      Color key


        Blue = an FAQ, a question that's been asked frequently or is answered with a frequently given answer.
        Purple = an unhappy email from a dissatisfied reader.
        Green = a happy email from a grateful reader.
        Red = a career interview from a student (usually but not always high school).
        Orange = a strange, weird, unusual, or off-topic email.
        Black = none of the above. Regular question or comment.

    CLICK HERE to read older Q&A postings!


    Hit Counter

    See who's visiting this page. View Page Stats
    See who's visiting this page.

    © 2011 Tom Sloper. No part of this website may be re-published without written permission of the author.