These days, animation and video game design are among the most promising high-tech careers in Birmingham, Alabama. With a decent local economy and a population of more than 200,000, Birmingham is booming with businesses that hire video game design professionals.
Birmingham Schools and Training Programs for Video Game Design
Several Birmingham, Alabama colleges and Universities offer degree programs in animation and video game design. Some game designers major in computer science, perhaps with special focus on digital media. Others might earn programming degrees with emphasis on animation. Some are math majors interested in game theory.
Birmingham, Alabama schools offering degrees related to interactive game design include Virginia College, Samford University, Birmingham Southern College and University of Alabama at Birmingham. Similar training opportunities and degree programs are also available online.
Working as a Video Game Designer in Birmingham
As you might expect, the pay for this type of work varies depending on experience, effort, performance, production, networking and geographic location, among other factors. The average reported 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 Americans. In any case, animators and video game designers in Birmingham, Alabama can potentially make high end salaries doing what they like to do.
Businesses in Birmingham 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 AT&T Advertising Solutions, O2 Ideas, Eastside Ventures or Luckie Strategic Public Relations. Other designers work for Birmingham motion picture producers like Haights Cross, Trans Media Music and Vazda Studios.
As a rule, employers hiring for this line of work require a degree and some professional experience in the field. However, dedicated, highly motivated beginners and self-taught designers often find their way in. Self starters don't necessarily have to work for a firm, thanks to endless private companies with websites featuring (or wanting to feature) their own interactive animation. Video game designers often work as freelance professionals, setting their own pace and telecommuting.
Recommended Skills for Video Game Designers
Typically, a video game designer gets a game-related idea, invents a set of rules and a scoring system, then enhances the game with a series of compelling puzzles, sneaky tricks, booby traps and other surprises. Most video games are programmed with a time limit and ever-increasing difficulty levels. The designer either creates the artwork or consults with professional animators to capture the best visual style for the game. The designer also uses prototypes to conduct play-testing sessions featuring enough players to give some idea of the game's potential for commercial success.
Animators and video game designers study math, engineering, computer science, fine arts, digital media, communications, game theory and related subjects. The end result of their efforts, they hope, are high-quality, action-packed interactive products, alive with mass market appeal.