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Design Portfolio Article on Game Career Guide / Gamasutra

November 13, 2007

This morning, my Game Design Portfolio piece appeared on Game Career Guide. I welcome your comments on the article as well as suggestions for future articles.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2007 8:57 pm

    Thanks for the linkage.

  2. November 15, 2007 11:22 am

    I loved this article! I’m a long-time subscriber to Game Career Guide and Gamasutra, and your article was refreshingly eye-opening. You really give a good idea of the scope of the industry, and work away from buzzwords. I agree that games are games, and fun is fun, and that’s what our industry is built on.

    I disagree with the statement that the software needed to develop games is expensive. I’ve found that organization and dedication are normally what’s lacking for developing games. Even a basic understanding of a programming language (or a few friends who have a basic understanding) and a whole lot of dedication, combined with some free time every week, is enough to develop a video game. Of course, it won’t be a AAA title, but my team is currently in the process of developing a game completely on open-source (free, in every sense of the word) toolsets and engines.

    I really wish I had you around 5 years ago, when I was taking my very first wavering steps into game design, and tried to break down how designers of the games I loved and hated came to the end product they had created.

    As far as GDC is concerned, it’s pretty expensive for budding designers. If people can elbow their way in or somehow come up with the money to get a ticket, that’s excellent, but based on what appears to be your target audience, it may be a bit of a stretch.

    Didn’t you just speak at the last IGDA?

  3. bbrathwaite permalink
    November 15, 2007 12:27 pm

    Thanks, DP.

    I’ve talked at a few IGDA events and will be at the Orlando meeting in December.

    You make an excellent point about software, too. There’s are a couple groups here at SCAD that are doing exactly what you suggested – making a game from the ground up. When I publish an update to the article, I’ll be sure to include your point. Thanks.

  4. November 15, 2007 1:36 pm

    I wish I could be there. I’ve never been to an IGDA event before, but I’m relocating to the West Coast at the end of this month.

  5. bbrathwaite permalink
    November 15, 2007 4:37 pm

    Then you’re set. There are many events out there.

  6. November 15, 2007 6:07 pm

    That was a really great write up! Thanks a lot for taking the time to do it.

    I should add that those board games looked really interesting. I want to play!

  7. Courtney permalink
    November 15, 2007 7:23 pm

    I too have been a long-time subscriber to Game Career Guide and Gamasutra and remember asking this exact question of Marc Mencher. No disrespect meant to Marc in the slightest, but your answer was far more concise and specific.

    As for future articles, I would love to see your opinion as a designer on the whole designer/writer distinction. Unless you’ve already written something similar, of course. In which case the back-browsing I’m about to do will help.

    But in regards to the question, I am a writer with aspirations of working for a studio as a writer or writer/designer and eventually a lead writer. I currently work for Rogue Dao Studios, a great group of modders working on a Planescape trilogy for NWN2, and with them I will likely find my way into the industry fairly soon, so I know my place as an actual writer is secure on this team. But I know many studios do not see the need for writers, and when more and more games are incorporating -some- form of story, I feel that is a mistake.

    Of course, I am a bit biased. 😉

  8. ai864 permalink
    November 15, 2007 10:46 pm

    I’d second Courtney’s idea. IGDA’s “breaking in” description of the Game Designer job role is a bit out of date, with all the specialization in the field we’ve seen in the past few years (lead designer, content designer, level designer, story writer, core mechanics designer, AI designer, UI designer) it’s past due for someone to write an article about all of the different specialties within the mysterious discipline that is Game Design.

  9. bbrathwaite permalink
    November 16, 2007 5:08 am

    That’s an article I can write. Oddly enough, I think I’ve actually done all those different roles at one point or another, too. Thanks for the suggestion, Courtney, and the second (not that it was needed, but hey…), Ian.


  10. November 16, 2007 12:08 pm

    To me, “breaking in” has a few different meanings, as there are effectively two video game industries. There’s the casual/indie industry and then the AAA industry. Breaking into the AAA industry is definitely segregated, as production pipelines (including design) is becoming more and more production-line-esque. Indie games tend to have more diverse employees and a more focused goal.

    I also believe that “writer” has a few different connotations, ranging from screenplay-type writing to actual scripted voiceovers and deciding exactly what kind of lines will be seen/heard by the player at any given time. As AI and storylines become more involved (which is really the next revolutionary breakthrough we need as an industry) the stories will become ever more poignant and writers will be in high demand.

    In response to moving to the west coast: the number of experienced people out there is one of the main reasons my studio decided to set up shop there instead of anywhere else in the world. I’m very excited, especially because I’ve never been west of the Mississippi. I’m especially looking forward to the GDC coming up in February.

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