We’ve all sworn we’d sit down and play Grand Theft Auto for half an hour, only to be sucked into a time vortex. Half an hour becomes an hour, which soon becomes a day. That’s the true test of a great game – when you’re wondering how long you can hold off the urge to use the bathroom.
Just. One. More. Go. It’s the eternal phrase of the avid gamer, and it’s what every games designer wants to hear.
But do you ever yearn to know how the greats make their games so successful? Why you’re so obsessed with matching three in Bejewelled or endlessly levelling up in World of Warcraft? What motivates you to hunt down your opponents in Team Fortress 2?
These questions are the fundaments of good design (although a splurge of creativity is also required) and more universities are offering courses to teach you them.
Design by degrees
Indeed, a BSc games has become the modern equivalent of a Nintendo seal of quality in the industry. Although designing games has become more competitive than ever, a degree can still make all the difference when sending a CV to major companies.
It’s the most important avenue for professional development, but it’s by no means your only option.
On top of your degree, gaming’s indie community is well worth exploring.
Spawning modern classics like Fez, The Binding of Isaac, Minecraft and Gone Home, these small teams have garnered millions thanks to a dedicated collection of fans supporting them.
Outside of the big hitters of the industry, these indie developers have created worlds for players to become lost in – and some using basic programs requiring minimal training.
Twine, Flash, Unity – these engines are the fuel setting the minds of games designers alight, and they can be available to you at the merest click of a button.
The perfect combination
Just imagine what the combo of a degree in games design and a moderately successful indie game could do for your career – employers will be salivating onto their graphics tablets to offer you a job.
Ultimately, the game industry is still anyone’s for the taking. Rockstar, creators of the multimillion selling Grand Theft Auto, were once a meagre startup working out of a warehouse in Dundee. Gearbox, developers of cult favourite Borderlands, were once doing odd jobs for Half Life creators Valve.
Success stories replicate through the gaming world like cash was germinating in the code. Whether you fancy being an indie maverick or a company person through and through, the possibilities to strike it rich are growing all the time.
The point is, your aspirations to break into gaming don’t have to be a pipedream. With the right application, you could be designing the next rip-roaring platformer or adrenaline-pumping first person shooter in no time. So get off the couch – there are games to be made!