Job hunters all over Anchorage, Alaska are pursuing careers in animation and video game design. Home to about 300,000 people, Anchorage is surprisingly full of employment options in this high-tech field. Less surprisingly, most jobs available to Alaska-based video game designers are located somewhere in Anchorage.
Anchorage Schools and Training Programs for Video Game Design
Aspiring animators and video game designers are often communications majors with special focus on digital media. Others might learn computer programming with emphasis on animation. Some are math majors who minor in Game Theory. Residents of Anchorage, Alaska earning degrees in video game design typically attend the University of Alaska at Anchorage. Other local residents enroll in online degree programs. The largest schools offering online degree programs in video game design are University of Phoenix, DeVry, ITT Tech and The Art Institutes.
Working as a Video Game Designer in Anchorage
Thanks to the internet, professional animators and video game designers can amass a fair amount of wealth from almost any physical location. The pay rate for these positions varies depending on experience, effort, talent, ability, performance, productivity, networking and geographic location, among other things. Reportedly, the median income for an animator or video game designer in the United States lies somewhere between $35,000 and more than $200,000 per year. However, this data fails to account for the unreported incomes of many million self-employed designers.
Businesses in Anchorage, Alaska hiring animators and video game designers may include software publishers, mobile phone service providers, colleges, graphic design firms and animation studios. Some designers work for top local ad agencies like Berry, Bradley-Reid, Marketing Solutions, Nerland or Walsh-Sheppard. Others team up with Anchorage motion picture producers like Alaska North Star, Alaska Video Postcards, Crossroads Productions and Regal-Dimond.
Video game designers often work in pressure-filled environments with tight deadlines and massive commercial competition. They are expected to increase a company's revenue by producing successful, innovative products. With occasional exceptions, employers typically require a degree and related field experience, even for entry level positions.
Video game designers do not always work for a firm, thanks to millions of start-ups with websites seeking interactive design features. Animators and video game designers often are freelance professionals, setting their own schedules and working from home. Some are independent contractors for corporations and private businesses. Some invent and sell games. Some build interactive websites.
Recommended Skills for Video Game Designers
A video game designer first conceives an idea. The next steps are to devise a set of rules, calculate a playable scoring system and add special features like sound effects and unique challenges. These might include puzzles, mazes, traps, maps, detours, obstacle courses and any other surprising twist that strike the designer's creative fancy. The designer often includes a time limit and implements increasing difficulty levels.
Finally, the designer either creates the artwork or hires an animator to do it, and chooses a color scheme and visual style appropriate for the game. Mechanical engineers manufacture a prototype of the completed design. The prototype is often used in corporate presentations. Prototypes are also used in play-testing sessions that help determine a game's potential for commercial success.
Math, engineering, computer programming, fine arts, digital media, communications, business management, game theory and character development are just a few topics of interest to video game designers who strive to create realistic, fun-filled, action-packed best-sellers. Their collective aim is mass market appeal.