How to get started with game design, from someone who has done it before

Video games have a moment. Thanks to a growing number of big studio titles and beloved indie gems, games are finally being recognized as a true art form.

What was once considered a niche hobby has grown into an increasingly mature and rapidly growing industry, worth $ 4 billion in Australia alone. There is more to games these days than just filming bad guys, and even the bad guys turn into big blockbuster productions.

Now games are used to tell complex and emotional stories. With so many amazing games available now and bigger and better games released each year, there has never been a better time to get involved.

So, to find out how to get started with game design, we spoke to three people at the Billy Blue College of Design at Torrens University in Australia who work in the industry about how to turn a passion for games into career.

What kind of career will a game design degree give you?

Many people associate game design with straightforward coding. And while that’s partly true, Dylan Faith, a graduate of Billy Blue’s game design program, says making games is more like working in the movie industry.

“The director can provide the artistic direction, but the film is edited by hundreds or thousands of talented people.”

That includes the artists who make it look good, the coders who make it work, and the designers who put it all together. Then there are the marketers who sell the products and the administrative teams who handle everything behind the scenes.

What skills will prepare you to study game design?

Alexandra Sheather, junior designer at Unreal Engine and graduate of Billy Blue, says Google and YouTube are your best friends when you get into game design. “There are so many creators who share their knowledge. “

She recommends choosing an engine, like Unreal Engine, CryEngine, or Source 2, and experimenting with predefined assets. This will help you determine what you like the most and which study options are right for you.

“The only thing you really need to get started in the video game industry is a passion for games and a willingness to learn,” says Faith, who says it’s as easy as revising. your math if you’re interested in coding or drawing your own concept art if you’re an artist – all of which are conveniently covered in Billy Blue’s play classes.

Image: Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock

What would you say to young girls interested in studying game design?

“The world needs your unique perspective,” says Tece Bayrak, senior lecturer in the game development department at Media Design School New Zealand – the sister school of Billy Blue College of Design.

She encourages any passionate person to get involved. If you are not a serious gamer but want to tell stories, create code, or design worlds, you are adding a new perspective to the industry.

The game design industry is very welcoming to women these days, but Sheather always recommends joining a club. “There are so many play clubs, especially women in play clubs,” she says, and they can provide support, encouragement, and a network of friends and mentors to anyone new to them.

Besides providing entertainment, how can games help people?

Games don’t need a deeper meaning to be validated. But Bayrak, who is leading a research project to use games to aid in Parkinson’s rehabilitation, says there’s a lot of work being done to find new uses for them. “I truly believe that games are more than entertainment devices, and their potential is limitless.”

Games are used as education, forms of therapy and rehabilitation, and to help people stay fit and healthy.

“With the advent of virtual reality, we are seeing a whole new range of uses for video games outside of entertainment,” says Faith. VR games are interactive only and are even used to help train emergency service personnel and doctors.

What are the most exciting things happening in the game design and development industry?

There really has never been a more exciting time to get started with game design. Amid a constant wave of technological advancements, Unreal Engine 5 was announced earlier this year with plenty of new developer tools that Sheather says could dramatically change the things that games are capable of.

Bayrak says there is an abundance of tools like the Unreal Engine that are available free to everyone. “You no longer need to work in a large company or have a large team to have access to professional tools.

“The games industry is still growing, unlike many other areas,” she said. “The variety of games is increasing, we are seeing more and more examples of storytelling and emotional exploration. It’s really exciting on all levels.

Venture into game design and join a $ 4 billion industry in as little as 12 months with a game design and development degree from Billy Blue.

(Main image: Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock)

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