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(re: Question for Ken Williams) This is a question I’m not sure there is any one right answer to.
At Sierra, it really was a matter of being “in the right place in the right time”. If market research told us there was a market for a fishing product, and I happened to know someone who fished, you stood a good shot of getting your chance. I usually picked designers based on targeting a demographic for a product, and then looking around for someone who had the pulse of the target market. (a fancy way of saying I identifyed the niche in the market first, and then looked for a person who fit the niche).
Now that I’ve confused you, I’ll tell you what I would do if I were trying to break into the business today:
My sense is that distribution is in the process of changing. In the past 99% of PC product was sold through retail outlets. My guess is that this numbers has dropped significantly, and that 10% or more of PC product is being sold over the internet. Selling games over the internet requires not much more than the ability to build a great game. Artists and programmers can be found who are also trying to break into the business. Check out
(Jeff Tunnel – formerly from Dynamix). I’d try to assemble a team and build a product – then distribute it free on the web. If people like it you can sell them a sequel, (or more of the same game) or use it as your resume to get an interview at a game company. Nothing speaks louder than success.
In other words, don’t wait for someone to GIVE you a chance. Instead TAKE a chance. Prove yourself – and, perhaps you will make some serious money, or break into the industry, along the way.