Sunday, March 4, 2012

New Career Path?


The Game Developer's Conference is next week. As usual, I'm nervous and excited. I'm excited to see and learn about new technologies and game design approaches, but I'm also nervous because of the networking. Mostly I'm just going to try and be myself, outgoing, personable, yet professional and I'm hoping to make some new, important contacts.

However, the more important thing I wish to accomplish is a rebranding of myself and my career path. Right now, at Schell Games, I'm technically a programmer. I program things usually from other's designs, but I've been contemplating, especially since I'm more of a self-taught programmer and with my art and design background from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, if I should venture into the world of becoming a designer. One particular reason I think this would be a good fit for me is that I enjoy writing, and I know writing is a very important part of being a designer whether one is designing the story of a game, the UI, or the gameplay elements, but I think more importantly, is that because I can program and enjoy doing it, I can prototype a majority of my ideas. So not only can I write a well-thought-out, crystal-clear design document, I can build and portray what I'm actually writing about, so I know that what I'm asking for isn't insane because I've already implemented it to a degree.

Don't get me wrong, I like programming a lot, but I'm not getting any younger and in an already competitive field, competing with people who've gone to college for 4+ years to learn programming is not going to get any easier. Design positions are in no way any less competitive, but design is so much more...subjective. You can't really learn how to be a good designer. You just need to design and keep doing it. Battle High was definitely the first place I did this in a way. Though I was programming it, I had to design how pieces would work together with the assets I was given, and that was my favorite part of the project and continues to be as I work on the sequel.

Overall, I'm going to see how this plays out for me in the weeks to come, this attitude of designing instead of just a programming purists. I may write more blog posts about designs, heck, maybe throw a Unity prototype up here every once and awhile, but the true goal will be to transition from pure tech to a tech / design hybrid.

Anyway, wish me luck on my way to GDC. I'll do a report like I have in prior years when I get back!

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