TL;DR? No problem. Here's a short summary:
- If you want to break into the Game Design Industry, you have to start from the bottom in order to reach the top.
- A great way to do this is by designing board games.
The Game Crafter has low-cost, print-on-demand board games just for you. I have yet to find a better service - and I doubt I will.
- With a tangible, artistic product, you can more easily promote yourself. Board games are an excellent way to do this.
- If you're interested in The Game Crafter, check out what they're up to.
When I was a wee lad - actually, when I was about 12 - I bought six composition books and filled each and every one of them with information on a single RPG (I called it Rasiedep Ithgar, which really made little to no sense and was nearly impossible to pronounce). I had a fantastic time designing it, even though it would never be played. This is where my interest in game design began, and it was only furthered by experiencing the wonder and magic of games such as The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Metroid Prime, and Kingdom Hearts. I began to seek out ways to create games. I downloaded the fantastic, open source software known as Blender at the age of about 13, going on 14. After messing around on that for three to four years, I came to realize that Game Design is what I wanted to do with my life.
Why does this matter to you, though?
Well, the Game Design Industry is impossible. It's something that you can't simply get out of college and start in. Game Design - of any kind
- is a field which needs to be worked into. You have to try. Sure, some people get lucky (Angry Birds, anyone?), but that is for the very few. I, however, have connections at various companies, including the famed Valve, and each one has given me the same advice: to build a tower to the clouds, you have to start from the ground.
When I began working with Blender, I thought Game Design started there. That I could simply design a video game and be done with it. That someone somewhere would see it, like it, rate it, and offer me a job. I was delusional, clearly, and yet I spent so much time pursuing this desire. My goal is to keep others from making that same mistake. You need to find the ground - you can't build a tower from the third story. You have to have a foundation.
I was surprised at how much fun that I had doing it, but I followed the advice of Game Designers and Lead Animators at various Video Game Companies (again, with Valve being my favorite to brag about, heh). I started small. Smaller than you'd think. I went all the way down to board games. Back to the fundamentals of Game Design. I used The Game Crafter to create, design, edit, and order my game (you can even sell on their site). It has been far more enjoyable than I expected board game design to be. If you are interested in pursuing a career in Game Design (of any kind) I strongly suggest using their site. In fact, several people have actually been picked up by large Board Game/Game companies *through* The Game Crafter! I'm disappointed that more people don't know about this incredible service.
I am well on my way to having a tangible, well-put-together game (if I do say so myself), which I plan to bring to various conventions, publishers, and review boards. My game is called Protegat, and I am more than proud of it. This isn't to promote my game (it's not finished yet, and won't be available for viewing or even sales for quite some time), but rather to promote the idea of game promotion. If you can sell the idea that you can compose excellent rules and that you can see a project through to the end, you'll have a far better chance at breaking into the Game Design Industry than you would if you tried to head in cold turkey. In fact, some game companies don't even require college experience, they simply require at least 3 shipped games! That feels like something that I can do, and it's something that you can do, too!
If you're interested in the Game Crafter, you can check out what they're up to here.
I hope that this article was helpful for you! You don't have to give up on getting into Video Game Design, you just have to decide how badly you want it. Do you want it badly enough to pursue any means necessary to work your way up to that desired level?