Advice for the Next Generation of Game Designers

Video Gaming Industry

On the day of graduation for Game Design’s 26th class, some consideration of how to present themselves as the next generation of game designers to the game industry might be in order. It just so happens that Gamasutra, the website that focuses on all aspects of video game development, published last Tuesday (February 19, 2013) some good advice by game designer Elliot Pinkus on how to shape your resumé to communicate the important things about your skills and capabilities, using his recent running of the interview process at Uken Games as his basis.

Here’s a quick list of his 6 main steps (for more details, have a look at the original post):

Make sure you’re applying for the right job.

This is about knowing your own strengths, your own expertise, and your own interest — but more importantly, it’s about knowing what the job is really asking for.  If you experience is slightly different from what they are asking for, then figure out a way to show what you’ve done can contribute in a relevant way.

Write a solid cover letter.

This is sometimes the most difficult part for many people, but it’s your first opportunity to show that you understand what a job requires and how you are prepared to meet the challenge and make a contribution. It’s also your first chance to show some of your personality. Don’t exaggerate or tell your whole life story — be precise about how your experience relates to the position.

a) I DON’T care how many GDD’s you’ve written or how many pages they were.

Elliot Pinkus offers a hand link to Stone Librande’s presentation about One-Page Design Docs.

b) DO mention that you have experience writing documentation, but tie it into the development process.

a) Show passion.

A great caveat here is “You’re not applying to be the #1 fan, you’re applying to do great work.”

b) Express why you’re passionate about being a Game Designer.

An important distinction here — passionate about Game Designing, not just Games. It’s not just about the fun, it’s about the work.

Be able to describe what it is you do as a game designer.

Don’t just describe the technical process, show insight — speak to the challenges and how you dealt with them.

Be familiar not just with the studio, but the space they operate in.

It’s to not only know about the company you’re applying to, but also their competitors, as well as developments in their areas of interest.

Of course, there are always a number of factors involved in a successful interview, and your soft skills can be as important as your knowledge of software and systems. It’s a good idea to be prepared. In some ways, the VFS Game Design program is like a long intense job interview, and all the things you have to bring to bear upon making your time in the program successful, culminating in your final project, are critical also in the industry afterwards. So, the time is always now to think about how you want to present yourself — sometimes you can be surprised by when a great opportunity will present itself.

Good luck to all the graduates!