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How to Become a Video Game Designer in Minnesota
Animation and Video Game Design are among today's choicest careers for artists and video gamers everywhere. The skills involved in this high tech profession appeal as much to mathletes and competitive gamers as to multimedia artists who can earn a handsome living at their craft. Countless Minnesota businesses hire Animators and Video Game Designers. Many of these jobs are located in or around Minneapolis. However, similar employment opportunities exist throughout the state, not to mention in neighboring states like Iowa and Wisconsin.
Minnesota Schools and Training Programs for Video Game Design
Lately, more and more colleges and Universities throughout Minnesota are offering degree programs related to Animation and Video Game Design. Some game design professionals majored in Computer Science with special focus on Digital Graphics. Others earned Programming degrees with emphasis on Animation, or Math degrees with emphasis on Game Theory. Minnesota schools offering degrees Interactive Game Design include Globe University in Minneapolis and St. Paul, The Art Institute of Minneapolis and Rasmussen College, with campuses in Circle Pines, Lake Elmo, Mankato, Minneapolis, Moorehead and St. Cloud. Training opportunities and degree programs are also available online.
Working as a Video Game Designer in Minnesota
A great many talented Animators and Video Game Designers enjoy financial stability doing what they like to do. As you might expect, the pay rate for this type of work varies depending on experience, effort, talent, ability, personality, networking and geographic location. The average annual salary for an Animator or Video Game Designer in the United States ranges from about $35,000 to more than $200,000 per year. However, this data fails to account for the unreported incomes of many million self-employed individuals.
Minnesota businesses hiring for these positions include software publishers, mobile phone service providers, colleges, universities, graphic design firms and animation studios. Some designers work with top local ad agencies like Mobium, Kraus-Anderson and Fallon Worldwide. Others work for local motion picture producers like Red Line, Drive-Thru, Hoffman and Media Loft..
Entry level positions for this line of work usually require a degree, proven skills and some professional experience in the field. But rules are made to be broken. Employers will sometimes hire dedicated, talented beginners. Additionally, you don't have to work for a firm, thanks to a universe of private companies and websites featuring (or wanting to feature) their own interactive animation. Video Game Designers often choose to work as freelance professionals, setting their own schedules and telecommuting to work. Some secure gigs as independent contractors for corporations and private businesses. Some create and sell games independently. Some build their own game-related websites.
Recommended Skills for Video Game Designers
A Video Game Designer is someone who conceives the idea for an original interactive video game, or creates a game based on an already existing game. The designer works out the game rules and calculates a plausible scoring system. The designer then enhances the game with a series of compelling puzzles, sneaky tricks, unique traps and other clever challenges. The game is usually programmed so that the difficulty level increases with each successive challenge. The designer then creates the artwork and/or consults with professional Animation artists to capture a visual style appropriate to the elements of the particular game. The designer also conducts play-testing sessions featuring enough players to give some idea of the game's potential for commercial success.
Most professional Video Game Designers study Math, Computer Science, Fine Arts, Digital Graphics, Communications, Game Theory, Story Lines, Character Development, Marketing, Promotion and all sorts of related topics to create high-quality, realistic, action-packed interactive products. The ultimate goal of a Video Game Designer is mass market appeal.