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Old 11-09-2011, 10:26 PM   #1
Lonmarg
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Default Getting into Design through Writing?

Hello, so I have no idea if I will get an answer on here but I dont know where else to ask so I am asking here. I am currently a 23 year old college student and will be graduating with a degree in English, specifically Creative Writing this summer. I would like to work as a game designer doing character design, or level design, or whatever, just some kind of design. I am actually not really interested in writing, though wouldn't mind doing it as long as I did mainly design of some kind.

I have been looking at Digipen in Redmond WA for awhile and know if I went there I could get a good job in Design afterwards. My problem lies in that I am already 23, and could get a job as a writer at a video game company out of college this next Fall. Or I could go to Digipen, spend the next 4+ years getting a second bachelors in design, have $100,000 in debt, and then start as a designer.

So I guess what I am wondering is how difficult would it be for me to move from getting hired as a writer, to being more of a designer? Would it be better for me to go to Digipen, get the design degree, and start out designing with the ability to write, or start out working as a writer, somehow work my way into the design department, and learn how to design at a company? Any help, comments, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-10-2011, 11:15 AM   #2
tsloper
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Default Re: Getting into Design through Writing?

Lon wrote:
Quote:
1. I am already 23, and could get a job as a writer at a video game company out of college this next Fall.
2. Or I could go to Digipen, spend the next 4+ years getting a second bachelors in design, have $100,000 in debt, and then start as a designer.
3. So I guess what I am wondering is how difficult would it be for me to move from getting hired as a writer, to being more of a designer?
4. Would it be better for me to go to Digipen, get the design degree, and start out designing with the ability to write, or start out working as a writer, somehow work my way into the design department, and learn how to design at a company?
1. Are you certain you could be hired as a writer right out of college? Really? (Do you already have an offer?) http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson32.htm
2. That's all correct except the last six words. It would be very rare and unusual to start as a designer right out of college. http://www.igda.org/games-game-august-2011
3. Don't ask "how difficult." Everything is difficult. It all depends on you. http://www.igda.org/games-game-april-2006
4. My crystal ball is in the repair shop. I could do a tarot reading though, if you want... Or you could make a decision grid. http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m70.htm
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Old 11-10-2011, 12:33 PM   #3
Lonmarg
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Default Re: Getting into Design through Writing?

Quote:
1. Are you certain you could be hired as a writer right out of college? Really? (Do you already have an offer?) http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson32.htm
2. That's all correct except the last six words. It would be very rare and unusual to start as a designer right out of college. http://www.igda.org/games-game-august-2011
3. Don't ask "how difficult." Everything is difficult. It all depends on you. http://www.igda.org/games-game-april-2006
4. My crystal ball is in the repair shop. I could do a tarot reading though, if you want... Or you could make a decision grid. http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m70.htm
1. No, I do not currently have a job offer. Though after reading articles and looking at application requirements I am pretty confident I could get a job, probably not a particularly exciting one, but still a job at a game company writing something. This would allow me to not only work at a game company but to make more then negative financial progress with loans, and make connections with people in the fields I want to work.

2. I don't think its unreasonable to assume I could get a job working in game design after having obtained a bachelors in English, and a bachelors in Game Design. Again, not a lead game designer or anything super awesome, but an entry level designer at an average company. I base this assumption on, again, application requirements posted on companies websites, articles I have read, as well as Digipens statistics on successful job placement.

3. I am sorry if my use of the words "how difficult" were troublesome for you. I was merely trying to get an idea of how likely it is for someone to transition between these two fields. In the link you gave for this question Tom says it takes a lot of networking and hard work in both your current position as well as meeting and being noticed for the other position. This is good advice but doesn't really answer my question.

Going from Customer Support to Game Design I think would be a little different then going from Writing to Game Design as CS isn't really related to design, while writing is. I think in a lot of cases I would already be working with the design guys, for example, to work out what kind of character I am writing a script for. Is he a cold hearted murderer, or a scrawny push over that will cower in fear.

4. You seem to assume I am being a pretentious college guy who seems to think he will be able to waltz into any old game company and acquire a high paying position with no real experience. I apologize if I have came off in this way. I am simply trying to decide if it would be a better decision to take my English degree and use it to pursue a career in Game Design, or would it be worth my while to go significantly farther into debt and spend another four years to get an actual bachelors in design.

I don't think this requires any fortune telling. I never asked "How successful will I be at doing this?" I was asking which would be more worth while. Which would be more likely to get me into design considering the factors of time and money.

I have emailed a number of different companies asking this question with little response. I thought maybe I could get some insight on these forums. Thank you for the links to those articles though, they were helpful in some areas.
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Old 11-10-2011, 12:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Getting into Design through Writing?

1, 2. My long experience in the industry leads me to disagree with you on these two.
3. If you rephrase your question we can take another stab at it.
4. I really think that the decision grid will help you make this difficult decision. Also there are career guidance counselors in your school who can help you make this kind of decision too.
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Old 11-10-2011, 01:34 PM   #5
Lonmarg
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Default Re: Getting into Design through Writing?

I would like to know how likely it is for someone to transition from a writing position to a more design oriented position without any formal experience in design?

Do people actually ever accomplish this feat or is it a dream many people have that is rarely fulfilled? Are companies willing to train, or send employees to be trained that show a strong interest and promise in design?
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Old 11-10-2011, 01:38 PM   #6
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Default Re: Getting into Design through Writing?

3. How difficult? Do you have a killer portfolio with lots of good levels and games? Have you been networking, letting people know you are looking for a job?

Quote:
or would it be worth my while to go significantly farther into debt and spend another four years to get an actual bachelors in design.
I personally don't think it be useful. What are you expecting the course to teach you about design? Or are you looking at it from a networking point of view?

Quote:
I would like to know how likely it is for someone to transition from a writing position to a more design oriented position without any formal experience in design?
As likely as someone who isn't transiting at all. With no industry experience related to design, it will be more or less purely based on your portfolio work regardless of the education background.

Last edited by yaustar : 11-10-2011 at 01:41 PM.
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