Your Game Design College Questions – Answered
This guide will answer the most common college questions I get from aspiring game designers and developers.
1. How to Choose the Right School for You
First, everyone’s situation is different. Some may have lots of time and no money for school. Others may have lots of money, and time … No two people will have the same exact educational needs – keep that in mind.
To choose the best school for YOU, you have to first establish your goals.
I asked you to do this in a previous email. If you’re reading this I’ll assume your goal is to become a professional game designer or developer. Which means you’ll either be paid by a company to assist creating games, or you’ll make games on your own and sell them for your income.
For career game designers, the most important part of your training are theses two things:
1) Expertise in at least ONE valuable skill.
2) A degree that you can leverage for different jobs and pay.
In an older email I asked you to try and identify what your specialty may be:
- Level design
- character design
- etc …
Whatever you came up with will guide your college major decision.
When looking at potential schools, ask these two questions:
1) Is the degree accredited? (Basically, this means that the degree will carry some weight in the real world)
2) Will this school help me become an expert in something specific? Or do they teach a more broad curriculum? (Remember, you want expertise)
Right now, the best accredited school for gaining expertise is this:
2. How to Choose a Major?
Again, the goal is to become amazing at one skill so you can walk into a studio job interview and say, “Hire me! I’m the best character designer you’ve ever seen.”
How could they turn that down?
The trick is to make sure your major aligns with that goal, but isn’t too specific to limit your options.
So look through the majors offered by the schools you’re interested in and try to find degree programs that are more specific than “Digital Media” or “Interactive Education”.
These programs are more broad and will make becoming an expert more difficult.
If the school offers an accredited “Game Design” or “Game Development” degree, perfect.
3. Should You Relocate for college?
The answer depends …
Do you want to move?
If you don’t want to move then you definitely don’t have to.
This isn’t welding or the police academy, you don’t have to be present if you don’t want to be.
These days you can get a high quality accredited degree via remote learning if that’s more convenient for you.
If you’re open to moving, then go ahead. It can be a fun and exciting experience to try something new.
Just keep two things in mind before you do that:
1) Is the area you want to move to good for gaming careers?
Moving to San Jose is much different than Kansas City.
2) Is the move worth the cost?
Sometimes it’s worth the expense to gain to networking opportunities of a certain school or location, sometimes it’s not. (It may be worth it for these schools)
Keep in mind that out-of-state colleges tend to cost a lot more. That doesn’t mean you can’t do that, just make sure you factor that cost into your decision.
4. Are Online Schools a Realistic Option?
The internet has changed the way we learn – forever. A vast majority of US Colleges offer remote learning opportunities now. (Even schools like Harvard and Stanford)
But does this mean it’s a good idea for you?
Answering this questions comes down to three things:
1. Accredited degree: If the school doesn’t offer an accredited degree, move on. Simple as that.
2. Specialization: If the the program is more focused on gaming technology, or general gaming solutions, move on. We want a school that will dig deep. A school that uses the latest pro software and tools to teach you through hands-on experience, and not lecture after lecture.
3. Your situation: Do you live near a quality college? Do you want to move near one? Can you afford to move? These are questions only you can answer.
With that said, here are the best accredited online game design school right now:
5. Why do you Need a College Degree Again?
Getting a real college degree isn’t required to be successful in gaming. It just helps a whole lot.
If you’re a gifted artist, programmer, or mathematician, you may be able to succeed on your own. But for the rest of us, the benefits of attending a real game design program far outweigh the cons.
Again, this is for those who want a career in gaming. If you’re just interested in building stuff on the side for fun, you may prefer to just learn as you go from home.
Or maybe instead of spending the full 4 years, you’d prefer to attend a high quality essentials course online.
Like this one: The Best Beginners Game Design Course
That’s pretty much the best online certificate program available right now. They’ll teach you the basics of game design on your own time, from your own home. It’s pretty awesome if you don’t need a full degree.