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Animation. Graphic Design. Game Art.

What You Need to Know to Be a Video Game Designer in Seattle

Written by ACR StaffFebruary 8, 2012
Video Game Designer in Seattle
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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These days, video gamers around the world are transforming their passion for gaming into an exciting career in Animation or Video Game Design.  The skills needed to work in this promising profession appeal as much to competitive gamers as to fine artists who can finally make a living at their craft.  In the United States, more than one in ten video game design jobs are located in Seattle and surrounding areas.

Seattle Schools and Training Programs for Video Game Design

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A number of colleges and Universities in Seattle offer degree programs in Animation and Video Game Design.  Some aspiring designers become computer science majors with emphasis on digital graphics.  Others might choose programming or math with emphasis on game design or animation. 

Seattle schools that offer degrees in interactive game design include The Art Institute, The International Academy of Design and the Academy of Interactive Entertainment.  Other professional training and degree programs are available online.

Working as a Video Game Designer in Seattle

The standard pay for this type of work varies depending on experience, effort, talent, ability, productivity, networking and geographic location, among other things.  The average annual salary for Animators and Video Game Designers nationwide is about $63,000, ranging anywhere from about $35,000 to more than $200,000 per year.  Game designers in Seattle might expect to earn, on average, maybe $100,000 a year.  However, this data fails to account for the ghostly incomes of countless self-employed individuals.  In any case, animators and video game designers in Seattle can earn steady incomes doing work they enjoy. 

Seattle businesses hiring video game designers include software publishers, mobile phone service providers, Universities, graphic design firms and animation studios, in addition to top local advertising agencies like Creature, Evans Group, Merkle, Razorfish and Wunderman.  Some designers work for local movie producers like Screen Play, Digital Kitchen and Intermedia.     

Corporate, entry level video game design jobs generally require some kind of degree and a background in video game design.  However, qualified designers who are self starters don't necessarily have to work for a firm, considering the huge assortment of private companies and websites featuring (or wanting to feature) their own video games.  Animators and Video Game Designers often work as freelancers, arranging their own schedules, setting their own pace and telecommuting.  They often find work as independent contractors for companies and private businesses.  Or they design and sell  games independently.  Or they build their own game-related websites.

Recommended Skills for Video Game Designers

The Video Game Designer's work is to create a game with rules and a plausible scoring system, then enhance the game by way of unique thinking puzzles, booby traps or other clever challenges aimed at keeping the players engaged.  The designer then creates the artwork and/or consults with professional Animators to capture a visual style most suitable to the game.  The designer also conducts play-testing sessions, hoping to gain some insight regarding the game's potential for commercial success. 

Professional Video Game Designers study math, computer science, digital graphics, game theory, story lines, character development, marketing, promotion and many other subjects in an effort to create the most realistic, action-packed interactive products.  A video game designer's high score is mass market appeal.