Want to get into the industry? Check out these resources.
Easily half the letters I receive are from people asking for advice about how to get into
the game industry, or what to study in school or college in order to become a game developer. Unfortunately, I don't have time to answer them all, so I've collected a list of resources here to help out.
- To begin with, buy my book, Break into the Game Industry: How to Get a Job Making Video Games. The book is now ten years old and parts of it are a bit dated, but this is no mere "how to write a résumé" book. It tells you what to study in high school and college, what jobs are available, and how to go about getting one. It also has sections for people who don't
have the opportunity to get a formal education, and information for people who want to switch from a different career. Click on the cover for more details.
- Look for jobs on the Job Board of Mary-Margaret.com. The Mary-Margaret Network is the game industry's premier recruiting firm, and the founders are old and trusted friends -- they contributed to my book. They also offer a variety of resume services to help you put your best foot forward.
Visit the website www.gamecareerguide.com. This resource includes news and features for students and educators, and a listing of schools with game programs. These are the same people who publish the annual Game Career Guide magazine, which you can buy at their site.
- "Getting into the Game: Skills and Careers in Game Development" is a solid introduction to the subject, an article I wrote for Game Developer magazine's Career Guide issue in 2002. You can read it here as a 319K PDF file.
- Designer Tom Sloper has an extensive collection of lessons for wanna-bes on his web site. He's got a lot of other interesting material there too.
- Here's an article from the Game Career Guide with some general advice about choosing a school
(mostly of use to Americans).
- Need to know where the jobs are? Visit www.gameindustrymap.com for a worldwide map. It's free.
- "How to Get Started in the Game Industry" is a two-part article I wrote for Gamasutra in 1998 to
help answer some of these questions. Although it's a little out of date now, and intended primarily for Americans, it should still be helpful.
- Indezine has a handy little article on how to create auto-running demo discs, which every wanna-be developer with a creative skill (art, animation, music, programming, etc.) should have.
- GameDev.Net is second only to Gamasutra as a resource for developers generally, and it
actually has more stuff for beginning and garage-style developers. A well-organized and comprehensive selection of articles and tools.
- Chris Taylor, the designer behind Total Annihilation and Dungeon Siege, has written a very useful design document template, which you can download from this site in Microsoft Word format (20K ZIP file).
- FOR WOMEN
: The IGDA has a Women In Game Development (WIGD) Committee, whose purpose is to create a positive impact on the game development industry with respect to gender balance and equity. Visit the WIGD page at their site for more details. In addition, an organization called Women in Games International delivers frequent and relatively inexpensive
conferences at different locations in North America and Europe. I sit on the advisory board and know a lot of the organizers -- these are good people.
- FOR MINORITIES: The only organization that I know of that's currently active is a Facebook group called Blacks in Gaming. If there are any other organizations aimed at other minorities, I'm afraid I don't know about them.
I'll add more here as I learn of additional resources. And if you know of anything I'm missing, by all means let me know.
Still want to write to me for advice? Then read this first to find out how to get a prompt reply – and how not to.
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