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Getting into the Gaming Industry - Start Your Own Company

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So you want to get into the gaming industry. What's the easiest way? Start your own gaming company. No, seriously. I'm not suggesting you do this to be in the industry as a technicality. I'm talking about using a business as a tool to get you that first job. Start building your demo as an actual product. Enjoy the benefits. Learn the process.

You already know you need a demo to get into the industry. I'm suggesting taking that demo all the way and releasing it. Don't expect to make money (though I wish you luck). This is part of the learning process. Polishing a game to the point that it's ready to release to customers takes more attention to detail and understanding of the entire process than a demo does. This shows your ability to follow through. Why should you be chosen over all the other candidates? Because you've published a game and you understand the process better than the others.

Having a game company comes with all kinds of conveniences. You can sign up for E3 and GDC. You can sign up for developer networks. Microsoft loves developers. Check into programs they have for supporting you and getting you useful software cheap or free. Go to the conferences and meet with people. Make connections. Those connections are what drive a career more than anything.

So what's the process? There's a good chance you and your friends talk about making video games. Otherwise you wouldn't be reading this article. You probably have lots of ideas. Well, stop sitting around talking and start sitting around designing. Come up with something that has a small scope that you can deal with. Keep in mind you're not trying to change the world with this first game. You're learning the process. Change the world with your second game. Mobile phone and tablets give you a target platform that is kind to casual low budget games. You don't have to limit yourself this way though. Check into Xbox Live Arcade or Steam.

Decide how to break up tasks. You need a programmer, you need art, you need audio, you might need a script, you need a business plan, and you need someone to take care of the paperwork. Find other people with the same goals and collaborate. Write down the design (yes there is work involved). Outline some milestones and start proceeding. You aren't going to get everything right on the first try, so don't worry about it too much. Learning is the point, and if you aren't making mistakes you probably aren't learning. Learn how the different disciplines interact. How does the animation get from Maya to the game? What's a good way to put the text in? How do we set it up so it's easy to translate? Knowing these things will give you an edge when you're trying to get that job, so find answers.

With the shift to casual and mobile games there is space for small developers again. Take advantage of it and position yourself for that dream job. It's hard to get the first job in the industry. There is a lot of competition. A published game will help distinguish you from the pack better than any resume.

Last Updated on Monday, 18 July 2011 15:01  


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