Orange County is one of the entertainment capitals of the United States. From Disneyland to Surf City, Orange County brings recreation and entertainment to millions of tourists every year. But the fun doesn't stop at the county line.
Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., based in Irvine, Calif., is creator of the popular Starcraft and Diablo games. Blizzard's online multi-player game World of Warcraft is one of the most popular online games in the world, with millions of players who not only meet online but also at in-person conventions like the company's BlizzCon and Blizzard Worldwide Invitational. Many former employees of Blizzard have gone on to start a variety of other gaming companies, such as ArenaNet, creators of GuildWars, and Runic Games, creators of Torchlight.
So how can you play a real role in this game of game design?
Careers in Game Design
Game design can include everything from computer programming to graphic art to user interface, marketing, and packaging design. Game design professionals may handle it all, or specialize in different pieces of the final product.
Studies for game design are offered at a variety of technologically-based colleges, where some detailed programs may be 80 weeks long.
Using sophisticated graphics and specialized design tools, you'll learn how to design, script, and develop various categories of electronic games. If you're interested in designing your own game from start to finish, you'll need to develop skills in statistics and probability since game design programming has a mathematical nature. Good writing and communication skills are also critical.
The main career paths within the game industry are Programmer, Artist, and Producer.
Because so many who enter the field wish to design their own games, professionals often operate their own software businesses. Along with software for their own games, these businesses may also create training materials and related software for businesses, government agencies, and schools. Employment opportunities also exist in the larger software production industry, but the market is extremely competetive.
A bachelor's degree is required for most game design and game art positions, though occasionally an associate's degree will be sufficient. Master's degrees in game design or animation are most helpful for advanced positions like Art Director.
Animation and web design skills are of course key, but classic visual arts skills like drawing and sketching are necessary as well.
Schools that offer degrees in animation, game design or visual communications include:
The Art Institute of California - Orange County
Related degrees: Bachelor of Science degrees in Game Art & Design, Visual & Game Programming, Media Arts & Animation, Graphic Design, Visual Effects & Motion Graphics, and Web Design & Interactive Media
Westwood College, Anaheim
Related degrees: Game Art & Design, Graphic Design & Multimedia, Visual Communications, and Game Software Development
ITT Technical Institute - Orange, CA
Related degrees: Bachelor degrees in Digital Entertainment and Game Design, and associate degrees in Computer Drafting and Design, and Visual Communication.
For more game design schools and programs across the U.S. and California, visit DesignSchools.com.