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View Full Version : How do I become like Warren Spector/Hideo Kojima and the guy that screwed up IW?



JCpies
26th Feb 2012, 16:34
(I'm joking, he didn't screw up IW... on purpose.)

But yeah, how do you work your way up to that sort of job? Where would you start? What do you do before you can become a level designer and then rank up?

Jerion
26th Feb 2012, 16:53
It's generally a combination of school (read: getting a relevant degree) and experience. Modding is a good way to build your skills and eventually develop a portfolio. Modding is usually an easier route than full-on indie development; Building a game from scratch pretty much requires building a team, and what you can't convince or pay someone to do you need to learn to do yourself...and there is a lot to do. I'm speaking from experience here!

So! Arm yourself with a game, a SDK, and make yourself a mod. Then make another one. Don't be afraid to explore the other aspects of game dev; You're going to get at least somewhat familiar with the art, sound and programming sides of things no matter what you do. My first mods were for Halo PC. The tools have improved since then, to say the least.

In the meantime, look around at what colleges offer game design programs.

I'm not sure what is available in the UK, but here in the 'States there are several colleges and universities that offer such programs- and good ones too. For example, Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont has regular contact with the industry hub in Montréal. Full Sail, SCAD, Academy of Arts, the list goes on.

In theory, it's possible to break into the AAA games industry with a less-specialized degree and a very strong portfolio. You could approach things from the indie direction too- that route is generally more friendly to experience-heavy, academic-weak backgrounds.

EDIT: Oh, you'll probably need to learn a 3D modeling app at some point. Some folks I know use Blender, others prefer Z-brush. There are a range of these, from high-end professional tools to easy-ish freebies like Wings 3D.

EDIT 2:TrickyVein's method works too. To get into the industry though, you'll need to master the Spectral Wolf, and he only fears fire. Godspeed.

TrickyVein
26th Feb 2012, 16:53
First, take a goat and let its blood on a stone at the base of the altar to your god. Then pull up a webpage with examples of level design and touch your forehead to the screen. Through the process of osmosis this knowledge will flow through your body. Finally, don a leather glove and sew it onto your hand with needle and thread. Rip it off, and vow yourself to a life of poverty and chastity. The level-designers guild will hear your call and contact you in time.

Serendip1ty
26th Feb 2012, 18:45
To get the "legendary" status of a Warren Spector/Hideo Kojima you need raw talent, managing/communication skills, broad game design expertise achieved by years of experience combined with the factor luck & last but not least: have the skill to surround yourself with very talented people. They will only increase your status to the public eye. You'll get all the glory as the leader while your team may not get the full credit they deserve.

Shralla
26th Feb 2012, 20:21
A degree in game design is a complete waste of time and money, don't ever consider it. Pick one aspect of video games and get a degree relevant to that, whether it be animation, modeling, writing, audio design, etc.

TrickyVein
26th Feb 2012, 20:52
In all seriousness, I've read it's better to market yourself - once you have the skills and the education - towards a specific position/task in development and not try to make yourself out to be a jack of all trades. There are people for each one of those positions, so if you want to be a "3D modeler" what kind of 3D modeling are you good at? High poly? Character? Architecture? Build a portfolio from doing projects for mods that tailor yourself towards a specific skill set and one that you can do very well. Learn how to use the industry standards. These are 3DS max, Maya and other Autodesk technology, ZBrush, and photoshop just to name a few. These are expensive programs. If you're serious about it, ditch blender and gimp.

Serendip1ty
26th Feb 2012, 22:20
A degree in game design is a complete waste of time and money, don't ever consider it. Pick one aspect of video games and get a degree relevant to that, whether it be animation, modeling, writing, audio design, etc.

Saying it's a complete waste of time & money is foolish. I know it's possible to do it this way because i know a handful of people (not personally) who got a degree in game design & believe me: it does open doors.

It's true you need to excel in one field in particular but if you're motivated/smart enough to also succeed in the others (don't underestimate the motivation part here & the difficulty) you have the opportunity to do an internship in a game company as part of your scholing. (you have to survive 3 years first)

The degree i'm talking about in particular:

http://www.digitalartsandentertainment.be

Senka
1st Mar 2012, 06:21
EDIT: Oh, you'll probably need to learn a 3D modeling app at some point. Some folks I know use Blender, others prefer Z-brush. There are a range of these, from high-end professional tools to easy-ish freebies like Wings 3D.

You have to ask yourself what you want to do. Traditional modeling programs like Autodesk Maya, Max, Luxology's Modo, blender etc are brilliant for low poly and hi poly hard surface work, so anything from guns to architecture etc. They're also important for creating basemeshs of say a human or animal, retopologising / cleaning up models from sculpting programs, rigging/animating, rendering, and a lot of other things. These generally require a lot more technical knowledge which is why I'd recommend learning one of these types of programs first.

Programs like Zbrush (Which is godly) and Mudbox (Which isn't) are sculpting programs that are absolutely required for organic modelling, high poly sculpting characters etc, and can also texture/render and do a few other important tasks that can overlap what other programs do. Some programs can mix both worlds (Modo lets you sculpt too, I haven't tried it myself yet but I imagine Zbrush can do a better job regardless). These programs are as likely to be used by artists creating just for art as game designers creating characters for games etc etc. As a game artist there is more technical knowledge / work required as you've got many many limitations to conform to, whereas an artist using Zbrush for a beauty render doesn't have to worry about having the model look good at an acceptable polycount when being rendered in real time with lots of other objects. Creating a game-ready character takes a LOT more time, effort and thought than just pushing out a good looking model.

Anyway, back to the main question..

I'm trying to go for the same career myself. I just this week started studying at University doing a bachelor of arts, where I will most likely major in Writing and Art History, I'm also doing electives in philosophy this semester. When I can be motivated I practice Zbrush/Modo (I recently ditched max for modo) in my spare time (I've got zbrush open at the moment but ended up alt+tabbing to google how to do something and ended up here..) so I might be able to get an industry job if I have enough skills in that field. I have tonnes of ideas for an indie project but whether that will eventuate is another thing entirely. Think if you were to create a game, what would the design be? Don't just say "Well like Dx1 but with better AI and a longer plot and more things to do", think HOW you can create something better through design while paying attention to limitations. HOW can you create something with say more plot variables than dx1? If you have lots of story branches, there's suddenly a lot of writing / continuity work that needs to be done. Is that viable? Is there another way I could improve upon that design without needing an unlimited budget?

A degree in game design is a complete waste of time and money, don't ever consider it. Pick one aspect of video games and get a degree relevant to that, whether it be animation, modeling, writing, audio design, etc.

Kinda. You still learn skills which will be useful, but if you're trying to get into say a 3d artist position it's about your portfolio, degrees don't mean ****. I nearly went to a college for a game dev course but changed to an arts degree because of the costs and I'll come out of the arts degree with a wider range of skills.

OMGITSJASON
13th Mar 2012, 23:24
I would start with school personally.

TrickyVein
14th Mar 2012, 00:40
^^ LOL