Video Game Design Schools

Unleash your creativity and shape immersive worlds as a video game designer, where every idea becomes a playable reality. Learn more about this amazing career opportunity.

Education & Training

Salary

The average wage, according to Game Developer Magazine, is around $66k. The amount of pay can vary depending on a designer’s experience, location, and responsibilities.

Below is a table that contains average salary and hourly wage for each state.

State Salary Hourly Rate
Alabama $73,309 $35.24
Alaska $102,507 $49.28
Arizona $86,666 $41.67
Arkansas $78,019 $37.51
California $106,458 $51.18
Colorado $86,587 $41.63
Connecticut $99,993 $48.07
Delaware $112,119 $53.90
District of Columbia $111,386 $53.55
Florida $76,332 $36.70
Georgia $71,688 $34.47
Hawaii $71,496 $34.37
Idaho $100,082 $48.12
Illinois $77,600 $37.31
Indiana $100,948 $48.53
Iowa $71,700 $34.47
Kansas $69,981 $33.64
Kentucky $89,732 $43.14
Louisiana $97,924 $47.08
Maine $98,920 $47.56
Maryland $100,825 $48.47
Massachusetts $97,622 $46.93
Michigan $88,630 $42.61
Minnesota $74,295 $35.72
Mississippi $91,469 $43.98
Missouri $83,511 $40.15
Montana $83,374 $40.08
Nebraska $81,839 $39.35
Nevada $119,434 $57.42
New Hampshire $95,737 $46.03
New Jersey $85,381 $41.05
New Mexico $93,409 $44.91
New York $93,700 $45.05
North Carolina $79,886 $38.41
North Dakota $84,908 $40.82
Ohio $97,974 $47.10
Oklahoma $74,961 $36.04
Oregon $87,218 $41.93
Pennsylvania $85,248 $40.98
Rhode Island $109,261 $52.53
South Carolina $88,220 $42.41
South Dakota $81,450 $39.16
Tennessee $77,716 $37.36
Texas $91,038 $43.77
Utah $93,451 $44.93
Vermont $91,977 $44.22
Virginia $84,145 $40.45
Washington $106,982 $51.43
West Virginia $98,514 $47.36
Wisconsin $101,229 $48.67
Wyoming $70,150 $33.73

source: Zippia

Most professionals maintain regular full-time schedules. However, when under deadline, they may need to put in overtime to complete their work. Each studio’s game design benefits package will be different, but most employees can expect to see perks like:

  • Medical insurance
  • Dental and vision coverage
  • Stock options
  • Vacation time
  • Sick pay
  • Bonuses
  • On-site childcare and gym
  • Free drinks and discounted lunches

Career Overview

What Is Game Design?

Game design is the process of planning the details of electronic games for consoles, computers, and mobile devices such as smartphones. Designers are the dreamers behind the game. They brainstorm to come up with the plot, the pace, and decide how the characters will interact. They also determine the number of levels, the obstacles players will face, and what sorts of puzzles or enemies they will encounter.

When making a video game, people with a game design career need to ensure that the end product is fun and engaging. It must be easy for people to understand, but challenging for them to complete so that they continue to play. To do this, game designers work together as a large team of other creative professionals at a studio.

Planning a game requires many different roles, including a lead designer, content designers, game mechanics designers, level designers, and writers. Each of these workers attend game design schools to learn the skills they need to succeed. Some specialize in a particular part of a game’s development, while those in leadership positions manage the work of others.

Are There Special Requirements for Game Design Jobs?

Most interested in this profession earn game design degrees. Many major in subjects like computer science, graphic design, or English. Some game design trade schools offer specialized programs with concentrations in interactive media. High school students with a desire to enter the field should focus on studying math, writing, and visual arts.

One of the easiest ways for hopefuls to enter this field is by getting involved in testing games. These jobs are usually part time and require no formal experience. While in school, students should also consider looking for internships at any development studios nearby.

Other game design requirements include having a basic understanding of computer languages such as Lua and Python and other types of software. Certain roles may need additional expertise in skills like 3D image modeling.

What Are a Game Designer’s Job Duties?

Designers oversee the creation of the entire experience a player has with a game. They decide on a storyline, theme, and rules, as well as characters, dialogue, and setting. There are several specific game design duties that these professionals complete during the development process. This includes tasks such as:

  • Decide on the game’s concept
  • Lay out a detailed design plan
  • Create storyboards
  • Write narratives and short scripts for each character
  • Oversee demonstrations of the game

What Types of Skills Should Game Designers Possess?

While attending a game design trade school, students learn basic programing languages as well as how to use software essential to the design process. There are other important game design skills, however, that are more general in nature.

Employees in the gaming industry need to be highly creative, flexible, and have the ability to make changes while a project is in progress. During the making of a new game, designers work closely with musicians, artists, programmers, and producers to create a finished product.

They should be comfortable brainstorming and collaborating with other professionals.

Communication Skills

The ability to communicate well with others is a vital game design skill. Prospects should be able to share their ideas verbally as well as in writing. Additionally, knowing how to make persuasive arguments can help game designers succeed when pitching their ideas to various members of their creative team.

Other Useful Skills

  • Having a strong team mindset
  • Ability to communicate well with many types of people
  • Understanding of scripting languages
  • Adaptable to change
  • Working well under pressure
  • Knowledge of computer programming and software
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to solve complex problems
  • Time management
  • Leadership skills

Work Environment

One of the perks of a game design job is the casual work environment. People in this role tend to be very passionate about what they do and spend their free time playing games at home as well.

Although they work hard, employees at a game studio also get to have fun and be creative every day. Because of this atmosphere, many find the career to be both challenging and rewarding.

Hours

Some positions in game design are part time or short term. Team members can also put in long hours or have evening or weekend shifts as they try to meet deadlines.

Additionally, not all games make it to production due to limited time and resources. Many find it frustrating to put in considerable work and not see the results they expect.

Can You Work Remotely?

Sometimes.  But because of the high level of collaboration between departments, professionals in this industry are unlikely to work from home on a regular basis.

Some of the game design equipment they use may only be available at the studio. However, this may vary by employer and a person’s specific job requirements.

Who Do They Work For?

Game design jobs are more plentiful in certain parts of the country. States like California, Illinois, Maryland, Texas, Washington, and Massachusetts often have more positions available than others. While some professionals can find jobs in large studios, many work for smaller companies that make mobile applications or games for platforms like Facebook.

After completing their game design training, hopefuls can use these tools to help them locate potential openings and internships:

  • Internet job boards
  • Newspapers
  • School career counselling offices
  • Game company websites
  • Online forums

How Do Game Designers Promote Their Work?

Some professional game designers create portfolios of their recent projects that showcase their skills and experience.

Some build small games or modify existing ones and present them to potential employers as examples of their work. This also helps them gain exposure as they network within the industry.

What Other Career Options Do They Have?

Workers who have earned a game design certificate could also consider getting additional training to become game programmers. These professionals write the code that make video games work.

A programmer uses specialized languages to tell computers every detail about gameplay, including difficulty, graphics, and how the user interface should operate.

Game programmers earn an average salary of more than $85k. That amount can vary based on the size of the company, location, and experience.

Just like designers, there are many different types of programming specialties that these technicians can choose from.

Hopefuls can also pursue related work after attending game design school. Some may choose to become customer service representatives that give players tips by phone. Other employees provide technical support for issues relating to software or hardware.

Additional necessary roles include artists and audio developers. Animators are artists who help to create the movement of characters and other objects. Other workers create logos and designs for packaging and manuals. People responsible for soundtracks record dialogue, sound effects, and music included in the game.

Career Outlook

Gaming is an over $10 billion industry and continues to grow. Additionally, as the popularity of mobile devices and smartphones increases, there is higher consumer demand. However, the job market is very competitive, so having a strong portfolio will be vital to a prospect’s success when looking for work.

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