Lars Espeter on the importance of education in Game Development. - Angry Ant Entertainment

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Lars Espeter on the importance of education in Game Development.


Why is an education in Game Development and Game Technology a good future perspective? Is it?

As a department head and teacher at the School of Design Schwerin, Game design faculty, I very often have to answer that question.
I am a Game Designer and Producer of games and interactive entertainment, as well. For more almost twenty years I gained experience in the games industry as a developer and know very well what requirements you need to have and what the professional life and career challenges in this area are like.
In the following text I iwll try to answer most questions as comprehensively and short as possible.

The computer games industry today

The production of computer -, console - or handheld games is very complex.
By the increasing demands of the players in terms of graphics, complexity, technology and story even smaller productions, such as the so-called casual games or mobile games . that can be carried out under a production budget of no more than tens of thousands of euros - need a better and better educated workforce. The production of internationally successful titles costs between several hundred thousand to several million dollars. In such productions several dozen to over a hundred graphic designers, programmers, writers, sound designers, project managers and marketing specialists are involved. Depending on the complexity of a production they work for six months, twelve months, two years and - in rare cases - even longer in the project.

Without the appropriate professionals who know their craft and know what their task is in the production of a computer game and how to work with other specialists a company takes an incalculable risk.
Therefore, more and more professionals are in demand as the market grows rapidly.

A reputable profession?

Countries as Germany, South Africa and others have neglected this important and hugely successful industry for far too long. France and Great Britain promoted and supported their video game industry for years, with public funding, and educational institutions followed already more than ten years the reputation of the industry for well-trained professionals and train in computer game development. The result was a rapidly growing professionalism of the products that are not inferior to those of North American companies any more.
With similar budgets and production length as Hollywood film productions today's computer game productions are dependent on specialists who understand their craft - and they must be trained.

A job with a future?

Interactive digital entertainment and the use of game technology is growing rapidly.

The demand for game production increases dramatically and thus the demand for skilled labor.

What careers are there?

When parents ask me that question, I was glad to take the approach compared with a film production.
If you enjoy a movie at the weekend, whether in movies or on television, you waste when the movie is good, no thought that everything you see is fake. A writer who invented the story, and for several months filed on the script, a director has put this together with a storyboard artist in the scene descriptions and led eventually to an actor, an illustrator who created drawings of scenes and places built by set designers and other artisans was a costume designer who designed clothes and established, a composer who wrote the music and reacted with an orchestra, computer experts have created the effect of visual effects, and so on and so forth.
All these occupations can be found in computer game development with an almost congruent match. I've listed the most common occupations in the following:

Game Designer (Writer) - developed the rules of the game, the story, the basic ideas for the game which is based on the later production of the various development departments.

Programmer - these ensure that the rules of the game, graphics and sound effects and interpreted by the computer as desired to appear on their screen and respond to their actions.

Graphic Artist - this area is probably the most wide gefächertste:

   Level Designer (set designer) - created the landscapes, spaces and scenarios, in which the characters experience their adventures.

   Character designer (costume / mask) - designed the characters and creatures that appear in the game.

   3D graphic - create objects and characters that are used later in the game and fill the scenes.

   Concept Artist (concept artist) - designed the first sketches and drafts of all places, scenes, characters and objects in consultation with the game designers, in order to specify the different departments and artists with a single line.

   User Interface Designer - creates the user interface of the games and the menus in the game that allow you later in the game to find your way.

Producer (producer) - he holds the organizational reins and coordinated with the project manager, production processes

Sound effects specialist - games, such as movies, depend on great sound fx and soundtracks when it comes to atmoshphere and player feedback that are created by sound designer.

This list could go on, but these are the most common occupations in the gaming industry and particularly in the field of graphics the directions very often overlap.

What requirements are there?

That you are developing games does not meanthat is a playful job, at all. It is creativ, yes, but you always have to be proffessional and to the point. Especially during the end phase a project, which will always be published on a certain date
(and therefore be completed by the development team), everybody has to work overtime where long days are the rule, not the exception.
But it pays as soon as you experience the great feeling when you see how one's own and the contribution of other employees is finally playable and enthusiastic gamers worldwide have a good tim ewoth it.
In addition to this basic requirement of course there are others that are also important:

High school or secondary school certificate, depending on whether a vocational school or equivalent education, or study (Project Manager / Producer) is sought.

Basic English skills are often rquested as international cooperation with other teams and publishers (video game publishers) is common. The correspondence and documents are usually in English.

having knowledge in some sort of graphic design is, of course, a big advantage. Everything can be learned, even sketching, but a talent for drawing, designing and visualizing one's own ideas is a great help.

For training as a programmer or a computer science degree course having prior knowledge of programming languages (C++, Java, XML), good math skills and an analytical approach to problems is very important.

All the candidates have to have an affinity for computer games and must be able to deal with basic word processing programs.

Practical experience gained in hobby projects, working with graphics programs during spare time, or (for game designers) having designed and thought out game ideas or having experience in writing stories and a reasonably safe spelling
are additional advantages when applying for a training course and the subsequent job search.

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