“Yeah, I make video games for a living…”
Then comes these common questions!
- Is it all fun and games?
Yes! and no… but mostly YES! How could you complain when you’re making games for a living right? It’s awesome to be working in teams of people who are also passionate about games and it’s a lot of fun. And sometimes not so fun when dealing with game engine issues, tight deadlines, and worst of all, getting laid off. Mostly though, when you’re in the zone and making fun games with your fellow team members, it’s worth all the bad things! I love it and I’m sure you will too!
- How much money can I make?
Getting started in the industry, you should be able to make 50k+ when starting, but this all varies depending on your experience, expertise, and negotiations. For instance, programmers tend to make more than artists right off the bat. Also your experience level will make a great difference. Obviously seniors will get paid more than juniors. Good negotiations also lead to a good bump in your pay as well so know your worth. I’d highly recommend you guys to check out sites like Glassdoor.com and study which field makes however much. Click here for more detailed information about this subject.
- Do you play games everyday at work?
Not really. Most of the time I’m working in various programs to create assets for the game I’m making. There’s playtests of the game I make at times but these are never that fun because you’re always testing a very early and broken version of the game. I do get some game time in during lunch at times, but I usually like to get some fresh air for lunch.
- Do I need to go to school? Do degrees matter?
I dropped out of mine after 3 years to study on my own. Never got a degree and I did pretty well. Do you need school? No, you don’t. I think with the internet around, you really don’t need school to get educated. Art schools especially are very expensive. If you’re fortunate enough to attend an Art school, by all means go for it! It’ll be a great experience and you’ll be able to make friends who’ll maybe in the future help you get into other companies. But if you don’t have a ton of money or simply don’t want to be under a ton of debt, you don’t have to. I know programmers who studied Psychology in college but learned programming and got hired as a programmer. Great game designers I know started off being QAs at a game company and climbed the ladder to be game designers. Artists who just studied online and joined amazing art communities like Polycount.com got jobs. There’s so much resources out there for you to learn from. Use it! There’s absolutely no excuse that you can’t educate yourself to learn these skills! With passion and ambition, you can do anything! Degrees don’t mean anything honestly. It’s your portfolio and skill set that matters.
- My young relative wants to get into the industry. Where do they start?
First find out what they would enjoy the most doing. Are they into good looking graphics (Art)? Are they more technical minded(Programmer)? Are they really good with people(Producer)? Do they make games of their own(Designer)? Are they amazed by characters’ movement(Animation)? There’s all these different routes one can take. They just have to decide where they want to start and go from there.
*Above image is owned by Samsung GearVR