Reply To: Getting into the biz…


(re: Getting into the biz…)


Obviously you can seek a designer position, but in most start-ups, the designer either has also be a programmer, artist, public relations, or accountant. Do you possess any of those other skills?

If you can, find a friend who programs, and find a friend who can do art. Sit down and develop a concept. Flesh out the concept with flow charts. There are some good books on the market, I think one is called Game Design, it’s a few years old, but still incredibly relevant (I think it went for $19.95, if you want me to look up the ISBN, just say so, and I’ll go find it in my bookshelf).

I’ve wanted to work for Sierra since I was 11 and have since gone to college for Digital Media. This summer, I co-developed a small prototype computer game in Director MX in 10 weeks (4 weeks research, 6 weeks programming, we’re entering public beta 1 on Friday). I got lucky, my college said, “Hey, this is a good idea… if you promise to do it, we’ll give you $2,000 ($5/hr) and we’ll even give you a $500 supply budget.” This was arranged under the CUR (undergraduate research) program, and I might present my game at the National CUR conference in April, if I can get my act together.

Anyway, just find some friends, and sit down, get some pizza and soda, talk about what you used to love about computer games, throw around some ideas, go home, come back in two weeks, revise your ideas… once you find one you like, commit to it, plan it, program it, draw it, beta test it, and distribute it. Even if you don’t sell 50,000 copies, you still have the satisfaction of creating an incredible piece of work.

Good Luck,

>I grew up playing and appreciating the Sierra adventure games, not necessarily for their graphical updates, or the puzzles for that matter, but for their stories and their characters. I love writing and just graduated from college with a degree in cinema.

I realize that the software business is not the same as it was during the time of the former Sierra, but I’m very much interested in telling stories through games. I guess my question is how does one get into this business? I’m not a programmer, nor do I have much desire in knowing the technical aspects of creating games to a certain point. Do the designers start out as technical experts, and does one need to have both technical and creative skills in order to pursue this line of work? <