While there are many ways to learn Game Development, I firmly believe that ‘Game Schools’ are an increasingly attractive option for many people. This having been said, they aren’t for everyone, and even if you would like to attend one, unfortunately they aren’t available to everyone.
One of the most common requests I’ve received is for advice on what to do if a Game School isn’t a realistic option. This is the case for many of you, whether due to financial restrictions, geographical restrictions, or other factors such as age.
I’m going to try to give you some starting points for self-directed learning. I’ve known a lot of developers who are self-taught, so it is certainly possible to do, but there will be some big challenges ahead.
I’ll start by providing you with some tools and techniques to structure your learning, and then give you some tools and resources to start you off with Game Design, 3D Art or Programming.
Since starting the blog, the single most common role that people have asked about has been ‘Narrative Designer’. Unfortunately I’m hardly an expert on this subject: this blog is really the first ‘writing’ that I’ve done to any extent, and so I decided to seek out some professional help.
Fortunately, I’m surrounded by talented individuals, so I went straight to the amazing Navid Khavari. Navid is a Narrative Designer here at Ubisoft Toronto, who is currently working on Far Cry 4 in collaboration with Ubisoft Montreal. I worked closely with Navid on Splinter Cell Blacklist, and was blown away by his ability to keep track of so many different threads, updating all of the departments constantly and revising the story on the fly due to restrictions or changes that came up. Truly a masterclass in ‘plate spinning’. Additionally, Navid is an all-around great guy and I’m so happy that he has graciously agreed to answer some questions for you all.
Everyone has their own journey to get where they want to go in life. Like many of you, I decided at a young age, that I wanted to create video games. There are many valuable lessons that one can learn from the journeys of those that have traveled the path before, and while I have high hopes for sharing many of these stories on Game School Prep, and have already been in contact with several friends in the industry across many professions who are happy to share, I wanted to start with my story.
Specifically, I wanted to tell you about some of the rougher edges; the things that my friends may not be comfortable sharing. These aren’t my brightest moments; they are embarrassing, and do not reflect my values. The biggest reason most people don’t succeed in following their dream is because they give up in moments like these – I want to share so that you can see that by persisting you not only survive, but often come out stronger on the other side. These days we’re inundated with positivity – people tend to only post “the good stuff” on social media, and so it is easy to fall into a trap of thinking it is easy for everyone else, or everything is always going well for them. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth; in fact, there is no way I could have achieved any level of success if I had not made mistakes like these along the way to teach me the valuable lessons that I needed to learn. More…
One of the most common requests I’ve received is for an overview of what the typical roles at a game studio are, and how this changes in studios of different sizes.
Here’s are my 3 goals for what you should learn by the end of this article:
I’m going to walk you through the growth of a fictional company, ‘Arrow Knee Games‘. Keep in mind game studios come in all shapes and sizes, and the amount and types of employee can vary drastically. While this particular company is completely made up, it is based on a composite of some of the studios I’ve worked at before – from tiny 5 man indie teams, to mid-sized studios like Relic, and all the way up to giants like EA and Ubisoft.
Choosing the right game school can be overwhelming. There are many out there, and many factors to consider: faculty, placement numbers, awards and reputation. I’d like to help narrow down your choices by focusing on the best cities to consider for game school.
Obviously not everyone is able to move for college/university, and it can make a lot of sense to stay at home. If you are able to relocate, I’d recommend choosing one of the cities listed below.
So you’re interested in enrolling, or have already enrolled in a game development program – maybe at one of the big schools like Digipen or Fullsail, maybe a local option in your hometown, or maybe you are moving to attend school in one of the big game development hubs, such as San Francisco, LA, Seattle, Austin, Vancouver or Montreal.
There are hundreds of game development programs in North America alone, each graduating up to 150 students per year. That is a lot of competition. I aim to help you stand out from the crowd. More…