Home Career & Education

Game Design or Game Artist

Hello Everyone!

Not that age matters but I am a 37-year-old man that has followed the advice of family all my life.  You should be a doctor, nurse, lawyer and so on and so on.  Through my years I've done everything from customer service to driving semi-trucks across the USA.  However, the careers I've had has been nice, my main problem is wanting to do something that doesn't seem like a job.  You know the saying if you do what you love you'll never go to work again? Or something like that.  So I thought long and hard on what it is I truly love to do.  Not yet the greatest at it but will be once I find that thing I love.  Starting out talking with friends and family and also most importantly my spouse.  Everyone says the same things; you use to love drawing, you always loved building things, we could never get you to stop playing the damn games!  
So after long thoughts, this is what it came down to, even at the age of 37 I love playing video games.  Judge if you want but I enjoy games like Second Life, Army of Two, UFC, Splinter Cell, Need for Speed, Call of Duty, inFamous and the list goes on and on.  As a kid my father placed a blocky computer in front of me and said: "This is your future, learn it!". Of course, the first thing I turned to was games like Doom and Flight Simulator.  Anyway, yes games I love but it's more in-depth than just loving to play the games.
Oddly, a lot of people that play the game Second Life on PC kind of keep that part of their lives as a secret because from what I gather, it's a highly adult-rated game. Giving you a sense of escape from Real Life and conversing yourself into a world known as, you got it, a Second Life!  Because of how I am, the adult sexual nature of the same never really grabbed me as it did to my friend that the main focus is creating an avatar and working in gameplay strip clubs (please don't ask lol).  What got me is the fact that people created an already generated character and they are able to update it any way they see fit.  Doing so they are able to purchase clothes, accessories, guns and all kinds of things to indulge in any roleplay that fits them.  For me what grabbed my attention was all the creativity.  Who made this shirt?  Who designed this house?  How did someone animate the avatars to smile or cry?  How can I make an outfit?  How can I make my own version of a body?  So through self-teaching myself which was a long long journey. I learned how to do some of these things and still learning.  I love creating!  I mean I really love creating!  All I want to do is create characters, their environments.  I love the concept of how you make things called "mesh" and then use lighting and shadows via programs I've taught myself on like; Blender, Photoshop, Marvelous Designer just to name a few.  Then I found programs like Unity and Unreal which took it to a new level of being able to create my own game.

So long story short, sorry for typing so much.  I learned I simply love creating and I love to make items in games and I'm sure once I learned more about creating games that would grab me too.  However, I knew at the age of 37 to give my love for the art of creating a boost.  Sadly, we all only are all getting older.  I want to spend the rest of my life doing what makes me happy. 
Looking into the gaming world and creating things in Second Life, I found this is my calling 100%.  However, applying for FASFA and applying for school is already in play for me.  Where I'm struggling now is where to start?  What I mean is so far I know I love creating characters, environments, clothing as well as the idea of making what I create have movement and making it usable in all aspects of gaming and even animated movies (maybe).   So the school I'm applying for as programs that all sound great like a game artist, game design and game development.  I want to know and make sure that what I'm going into is my passion since I'm still learning what is what in the gaming industry period!  So with that being said can any way give any advice on the differences between a game artist and game designer?  Which one seems to fit me more with my passion for being creative?  Which one will allow me to do what I love and enjoy making a huge career change to use my newly found skills that I've come to love doing more than anything?  Any advice or tips are greatly appreciated!  Thank you, everyone, for reading!

Sincerely,
Leon

Replies

  • defragger
    Offline / Send Message
    defragger sublime tool
    Hi there,

    you can find a bunch of useful information here: (polycount wiki)

    Sounds more like you want to be a 3d artist. A game designers job is to think about how stuff like story missions, quests, tech- or skill-trees work in games.

    Age doesn't matter in the games industry. I have seen people getting hired at age 50+ and even 67 in one case.

    A common mistake is to put a lot of trust in schools. Most of the game art schools don't prepare you well for the games industry. Many people in the industry are self taught. Art is a lot of practice. Schools will explain fundamentals and give you time to work on your skills basically.
  • JustAfterDark
    @defragger I always wondered how a game designer works, like, what tools, programs, program suites they use. For me this is one of the 1st questions that I seeked for me to understand how a 3D artist works, but in the case of a game designer I never found a definitive answer.

    Many game designers come from really varied professional backgrounds that have nothing to do with videogames, like for example, Hideo Kojima was studying film direction back when he was hired at Konami and so on and forth.

    Do you need to be a programmer, do you need to only have a maginificent imagination to support your ideas? What does it actually take to become a game designer? Just asking out of curiosity, even if I love to dwell into creating a game, I enjoy more the artistic part of it. And sorry, maybe you don't know the answer either haha
  • defragger
    Offline / Send Message
    defragger sublime tool
    @JustAfterDark usually designers don't have a programming background but the ones that end up in lead positions know how to build / try different game mechanics in the engine. Not the final implementation of course but enough to get an idea how stuff could work. Sometimes they work hand in hand with level designers and will also do blockouts of mazes or puzzles. The guys I know carry a sketchbook around all the time. Not so much for drawing but for brainstorming and writing.
  • JustAfterDark
    @defragger So, let's say in a nutshell, that to become a game designer one has to be creative, imaginative, be able to express yourself so that others can understand your idea (including all gameplay mechanics and so on and forth), be able to express those ideas inside a game engine and be lucky enough that a studio likes your idea or build your own game from scratch if you have the knowledge to do so. I'm more or less on point? Thanks man :)
  • NikhilR
    Offline / Send Message
    NikhilR interpolator
    You should talk with @Alex Javor since from what you wrote, it does seem like going indie and making your own game (at a manageable scale) may be a good way for you to use all your ability.

    As a 3D artist, in production and especially in AAA, all you'll be doing is what you're told. 
    Sure there is some creativity in it, but not to the magnitude when you have full control on your work.
    The environment at a studio is another matter, one thing I've heard consistently is that most people stay on because of the people.

    As a 3D artist in freelance, it really depends on your ability to sell your work, for instance I found a way to repurpose my work and make revenue from multiple sources like 3D printing, poster prints, architecture visualization and VR.

    Some clients simply wanted something unique in that regard, so were easy to negotiate with which made for a good transaction.
    In the end I found that you only need so much to keep going on your own projects which if you're smart about them should provide greater returns in the long term. 
    So its good to have some business sense in that regard. 

    It also depends on where you are in your self learning. For instance a person starting out that hasn't quite had the full grasp on a 3D art pipeline may gain a lot from the experience of working at a studio.

    The work experience gained can also lead to new opportunities in other studios, though give your age and life experience moving around may or may not be practical depending on what's offered.

    If you want to learn more, everything is on the internet for free. Considering a CGMA course can also help streamline this and maybe the contacts you make might help with securing a studio job? 
    I wouldn't be able to guarantee that once you're in a studio, the skys the limit and everyone is very encouraging. I would recommend watching the For Honor documentary to understand just how challenging the corporate environment can be for a designer.
    (also watch the indie game the movie for a perspective on that side of things)

    If you read up glassdoor, it should give you a better picture of what life is actually like on the inside.

    The game industry is notoriously mismanaged and this can lead to a pretty challenging life which may not be the best for the position you're currently in. 

  • defragger
    Offline / Send Message
    defragger sublime tool
    @defragger So, let's say in a nutshell, that to become a game designer one has to be creative, imaginative, be able to express yourself so that others can understand your idea (including all gameplay mechanics and so on and forth), be able to express those ideas inside a game engine and be lucky enough that a studio likes your idea or build your own game from scratch if you have the knowledge to do so. I'm more or less on point? Thanks man :)

    well, yes and no.
    Established game studios / publishers already have their IPs they are working on. It's not like one guy comes up with a game idea "hey lets build this or that" and the studio hires the guy and builds the game. There are many people involved in creating a new IP and it can be a long process.

    Think about the complexity of AAA games or even indies. Someone had to come up with a name and functionality for every skill, character class, all the bosses and levels, every mission or quest ... the list goes on and on.

    In order to become a game designer you need to demonstrate in a portfolio (most likely video in blockout style) that you are able to come up with unique gameplay mechanics. The ability to iterate ideas and not stick with the first thing that came to mind is very important. Everyone has ideas all the time. You need to separate the good ones from the not so great ones. ;)
  • Alex_J
    Offline / Send Message
    Alex_J high dynamic range
    try making a game. Something really, really simple. Like a 3d tic-tac-toe with some personal spin. Like, if you are into mechs turn the pieces into simple mech models that shoot each other or something. Just an example.

    You'll learn the entire process of what making games involves and you'll get a better idea which part interest you the most. You'll also come to understand how much work and tedium is involved in even the simplest of games.
  • Darth Tomi
    Offline / Send Message
    Darth Tomi polycounter lvl 12
    NikhilR said:
     I would recommend watching the For Honor documentary to understand just how challenging the corporate environment can be for a designer.


    LInk? I'd like to watch that myself.
  • NikhilR
    Offline / Send Message
    NikhilR interpolator
    NikhilR said:
     I would recommend watching the For Honor documentary to understand just how challenging the corporate environment can be for a designer.


    LInk? I'd like to watch that myself.
    Its on netflix, 
    https://www.netflix.com/ca/title/81083880
    You could watch it with a trial subscription.

    Read about the documentary here, (spoilers)
    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/neajbz/new-documentary-playing-hard-for-honor-shows-that-making-games-can-be-hell
  • AlphaOmegaDesigns
    @defragger Thank you so much for the link to (polycount wiki), that did come in very useful  =) 


  • AlphaOmegaDesigns
    @NikhilR Thank you for the recommendation!  I will contact him as well!  =)
  • AlphaOmegaDesigns
    @Alex Javor  Thanks for that feedback, I will actually work on making that game and show it to you :)
  • AlphaOmegaDesigns
    @DarthNater I didn't see anything on Netflix titled "For Honor", but @NikhilR I'm watching that video link you posted in Netflix now +1:

  • AlphaOmegaDesigns
    For Honor was a very sad story to me :(
Sign In or Register to comment.