Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Game Design Programs Offer a Number of Career Options

Character and level designers, character and 3D modelers/texture artists, concept and environments and effects artists, character animators and game concept artists are just some of the positions available to those who have graduated from a post-secondary level game design program. Schools Game design starts with an idea, which may fall within one or several genres. The game designer usually produces an initial game proposal document containing the concept, game play, feature list, setting and story, target audience, requirements and schedule, staff and budget estimates. From there, production begins with each game professional contributing his or her talents at different stages. For example, the Level Designer creates the levels that build upon skills of the gamer. This person must plan how the player interacts with the game to move onto the next level. Meanwhile, Character Animator, who is the “actor” behind the performance.

At Centennial College, students who have an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent or are 19 years of age or older, may apply for its Game Art and Design program. In addition to this requirement, they will also have to have completed the compulsory English 12C or U credit, a skills assessment or equivalent. Another requirement is a portfolio assessment. Pieces may include 10 to 15 life drawings, sketches, paintings, sculptures or digitally produced artwork. Preference for the game design program will be given to applicants who can demonstrate some familiarity with one or more graphics applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator, 3DS Max or Maya. If one does not submit digital artwork, he or she will be tested to determine your level of computer proficiency.

This 14-month undertaking offers its students hands-on training, which teaches them how to build 2D and 3D art assets for games, develop game environment and characters and express their one-of-a-kind creativity. Because industry professionals and instructors developed the game design program, the curriculum has a uniquely combined emphasis on both game design and creative story development skills. Specific lecture-based courses include Game Theory (gives students an overview of the gaming industry and includes a discussion of the history of games, an exploration of different game genres and platforms, as well as in-depth lectures on story development for different game platforms) and Social History of Design (introduces students to the history of design and encourages analytical thinking about the development of design form in human communication). Meanwhile, hands-on learning in the game design program is obtained through courses such as: Drawing for 3D Modeling and Animation, Character Design, Digital Painting, Post Effects and Material Editing, Lighting, 3D Modelling and Texturing, and many others.

Additional hands-on training occurs via a field placement in the last semester of the game design program. As part of the professional experience, students are expected to send their portfolios to the company of their choice in order to show their work. Once they are accepted into their chosen field placement, students are exposed to the world of design where they will work alongside professionals obtaining new knowledge and applying what they have learned in the game design program.

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