How cool does creating your virtual world, with its magical powers, characters, and maps sound? Derived from the disciplines that are related to programming, computer science, and graphics, game design is indeed a wide field that not only reveals a fun and dreamy set of jobs, but also requires a lot of patience, creativity, and determination. If you are a game-driven passionate person who is maybe at this moment considering embarking on the thrilling journey of game design, then this article fell in your hands at the right time.
Read on to find more about this broad field, and what it takes to enhance your skill and knowledge in the pursuit of your dream career!
Evolution of the Game Design as a Field
1. The First Video Game
Being the first game developed in 1970 by Atari, Pong can be considered as the starting point of game evolution and revolution. This black and white game qualified as rather simple and direct lacks the story-telling complexity we can see today in most games. However, it was, without doubt, a groundbreaking start at the time, through the combination of various hardware.
However, many sources state that despite having caught the public’s eye and interest blindly, Pong was preceded by Higinbotham’s “Tennis for Two” and Russel’s “Spacewar” game in 1962.
2. The First Video Game Console
Developed by Ralph Baer, the Magnavox Odyssey is the first video game console that was developed in 1972. This invention was the heartthrob of many, for it allowed the players to enjoy gaming from the comfort of their home and saving themselves the trip to the public arcade places at the time.
3. The Impressive Arcade Games
Arcade games were the earthquake of the 1970s 1980s games evolution. Having brought considerable success and excitement to the market and the field, Space Invaders and later on Pac-Man were the big hits of that era of game design.
4. The Nintendo Entertainment System
Despite the big boom that was brought to the market and the public through the arcade games, other gaming options started to rise, shattering little by little the magnificence of its predecessors.
From 1983 up until 1996, the game design world was marked by the impressive NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) whose firsts and main releases were Donkey Kong, Popeye, and later on Super Mario and the Legend of Zelda. Miyamoto, who created Mario for instance, was very focused on the aspect of designing the game and deciding in advance the levels, the colors, the plot, etc. to then allow the users to experiment and enjoy the game in much more pleasant coordination, therefore improving its quality. This specific game, whose design can be referred to as “user-centric” evolved through time up until now.
In 1996, Nintendo 64 was released with the characters now all in 3D graphics, making the experience more lived-through and enjoyable. In 2017, Miyamoto created Mario Odyssey, thrilling, innovating through its different levels and highlighting the immense advancement in technology and game design throughout the years.
5. Sony and its PlayStation 2
In 2000, Sony Computer Entertainment made an outstanding move, by marketing the successful PlayStation 2. First released in Japan, it sells like cookies, over 155 million units! Thanks to the backward compatibility it offers, the players were able to enjoy original PlayStation games, in addition to the new games it brought along such as Final Fantasy X, FIFA 14, etc. Due to its immense popularity, the console was still being produced in 2013, even after the creation of the PS3.
6. Microsoft and its Xbox
In parallel to the release of Sony’s PS2, Microsoft released its first console, Xbox, despite having been mainly focused on PC gaming. The game Halo came along, with its sequel Halo 2 thanks to the live version of Xbox that followed, which allowed players to interact against each other online.
7. Nintendo Wii
Hyping players to stand up from their couches, take hold of the Wii and dive in full arm motion into their adventures, this home video game console was released back in 2006 with the intentions of ending the rivalry between Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, through its new approach of novel gameplay. Aside from its special abilities of motion sensing and wireless control, the Nintendo Wii is the first Nintendo console to support Internet connectivity.
8. 2021 and Forward
Game design is with no doubt an ever-evolving field, and new consoles and games keep emerging in the industry year after year. Whether through the best gaming console, best portable play, best android gaming devices or best gaming laptops and set-ups, our generation is at the peak of evolution in this field, with maybe, even more, to come to impress through a promising virtual reality setup.
Career Scope in Game Design
It is agreeable that Game Design is a very wide field, and thus the scope of careers that it is associated with is as wide and diverse. Joining the gaming industry opens a variety of doors and opportunities and the jobs enlisted can go on as: Game Animator, Game Audio Engineer, Game Designer, Game Programmer, Game Artist, Game Marketer and PR, Game System Designer…
Moreover, the responsibilities vary between developing the characters, storyline, dialogue, rules, scoring system, building the interfaces and environments, the levels, the programming, scripting, image rendering, digital editing, and the list goes on and on…
Qualifications Needed and Skills Requirements to be a Game Designer
Serving educational purposes as much as entertainment purposes, game design is a field that requires a large range of skills and capability, passion, and patience at their core. Being a game designer means creating a new world and succeeding in immersing the players in this world. The game designer, therefore, plays the role of a writer, a storyteller, a programmer, and an artist all at once. Moreover, having a certain level of understanding in the marketing and sales field is a big plus when it comes to selling the game.
A numerous set of courses and majors can help any individual interested in the field of game design acquire the needed knowledge and competencies.
Here is a list of the fields of study to consider:
- Bachelor of Science in Graphics
- Animation & Gaming
- B. Tech in Computer Science and Game Development
- BA in Digital Filmmaking & Animation
- M.Science in Multimedia and Animation
- M.Science in Game Design and Development
- Adv. Diploma in Game Art & 3D Game Content Creation
- Adv. Diploma in Game Design and Development Application
- Certificate in Game Art & Design
Top Countries for Game Design Aspirants
The United States is considered as the top country in game development and design, followed right after by England, and Canada. In the US, the average salary for a videogame designer is $90,270 per year, in Canada $105,628 or an equivalent hourly rate of $51, and in the United Kingdom £56,292 or an equivalent hourly rate of £27.
Online Courses to Enroll into and Enhance your Skills in Game Design
It is possible to come across many different sets of courses related to game development and design that can help you as a student in the field or a simply passionate individual to enhance your skills, expand your knowledge and earn a certificate.
1. C# Programming – Unity Game Development Certification (via Coursera)
This course teaches students to program in C# and then use those new skills to create Unity games, with no programming experience needed.
2. Complete C# Unity Game Developer 2D (via Udemy)
This course teaches students to create playable game projects and become adept at using the Unity game engine, develop transferable skills like coding, problem-solving, and apply knowledge from this course to .NET and other languages.
3. Computer Science for Game Development (via edX)
This program teaches students how to build a broad understanding of computer science, programming, and software development, as well as empower them to feel comfortable in the fundamentals of game design and development.