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Animation. Graphic Design. Game Art.

How to Become a Video Game Designer in Phoenix

Written by ACR StaffFebruary 7, 2012
Did You Know.....Full Sail University offers online degree programs in computer animation, game art, and game design? Learn more about Full Sail University's online programs.
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Today's high-tech job market is ripe with opportunities for Animators and Video Game Designers.  The skills involved in this profession appeal as much to tech-savvy gamers as to artists who can finally make a living at their craft.  Arizona businesses employ thousands of interactive video game designers.  Most of these companies are in Phoenix.

Phoenix Schools and Training Programs for Video Game Design

Many good colleges and Universities offer degree programs in Animation and Video Game Design.  Someone who is seriously pursuing this career might major in computer science with emphasis on digital graphics.  Another might major in programming with a special focus on animation, or perhaps math with emphasis game theory. 

Phoenix area schools offering degrees interactive game design include Collins College, The Art Institutes and University of Phoenix, which has campuses all across America.  Training programs in Animation and Video Game Design are also available online.

Working as a Video Game Designer in Phoenix

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Dedicated Animators and Video Game Designers can often draw generous paychecks doing what they like to do.  As you might expect, the pay rate for this type of work varies drastically.  Starting salaries depend on various factors like experience, effort, talent, ability, productivity, networking and geographic location.  The average annual salary for Animators and Video Game Designers in the United States is (very roughly) about $60,000, with salaries ranging anywhere from about $35,000 to more than $200,000 per year.  Video Game Designers in Phoenix can reasonably expect to earn, on average, about $45,000 annually.  However, this data fails to account for the wages of the millions of self-employed Americans among us. 

Companies in Phoenix hiring Video Game Designers include software publishers, mobile phone service providers, colleges, universities, graphic design firms, animation studios and local advertising agencies like EB Lane, Riester or Lavidge & Baumayr.  Some designers work for Phoenix-based movie producers like In Motion, HGI, Kendon or Great Scott.     

Entry level positions for Animators and Video Game Designers often require a degree and a background in video game design.  But you don't necessarily have to work for a firm, considering the many private companies and websites featuring (or wanting to feature) their own video games.  Video Game Designers often work as freelance professionals, setting their own schedules and working from home.  They often secure gigs as independent contractors for corporations and private businesses.  Some design and sell games independently.  Some build their own game-related websites.

Recommended Skills for Video Game Designers

A Video Game Designer creates a game with a set of rules and a plausible scoring system, then enhances the game with intriguing puzzles, tricks, traps and other compelling challenges.  The designer then creates the artwork and/or consults with professional Animators and graphic artists to capture the perfect visual style for the game.  The designer also conducts play-testing sessions featuring enough players to give some idea of the game's potential for commercial success. 

Professional Video Game Designers study Math, Computer Science, Fine Arts, Digital Graphics, Communications, Game Theory, Story Lines, Character Development, Marketing, Promotion and numerous other subjects in hopes of developing realistic, action-packed interactive products.  The goal of a Video Game Designer is mass market appeal.