Throngs of high-tech job hunters in Durham, North Carolina seek careers in animation and video game design. With a nearly a quarter-million residents, the city is rich with high-tech employment opportunities. Companies throughout the state of North Carolina hire video game design experts. Many of these are in Durham.
Durham Schools and Training Programs for Video Game Design
A number of local colleges and Universities offer degree programs in animation and video game design. Some aspiring designers major in computer science with emphasis on digital media. Others learn programming and animation. Some are math majors with special focus on game theory. Durham residents who wish to earn a degree in interactive game design often attend The Art Institutes of Durham. More training and degree options are available online. The most successful schools with online programs for video game design are University of Phoenix, ITT Tech and DeVry.
Working as a Video Game Designer in Durham
The income of an animator or video game designer depends on experience, effort, talent, ability, productivity, networking, geographic location and many other factors. According to one statistic, the average annual salary for a video game designer in the United States ranges from about $35,000 to more than $200,000 per year. In Durham, the average yearly income is around $67,000. However, this data fails to account for the incomes of the self-employed individuals. In any case, professional animators and video game designers often earn decent livings doing jobs they really like.
Companies in Durham hiring for these positions include software publishers, mobile phone service providers, colleges, universities, graphic design firms and animation studios. Some designers join local advertising firms like Durham Sun Advertising, McKinney-Silver, S&R Communications or Radius Broadcast Marketing, to name just a few. Other designers team up with Durham motion picture producers like Velasquez Media, Illuminati, Training Network and Horizon Video Productions.
Despite exceptions to the rule, basic entry level positions in video game design often require a degree and some game design experience. But you don't necessarily have to work for a firm, considering the endless rush of well funded start-ups with websites featuring (or wanting to feature) their own video games. Animators and video game designers are often freelancers who set their own schedules and telecommute. Many land gigs with corporations as independent contractors. Some design and sell games independently. Some build game-related websites.
Recommended Skills for Video Game Designers
A video game designer invents a game, creates the rules, sets the scoring system and enhances the player experience with unique puzzles, unexpected booby traps and other clever challenges aimed at keeping discriminating gamers engaged. The designer also creates the artwork (or hires professional animators to do it), and carefully selects a visual style appropriate to the elements of the game. The designer also conducts play-testing sessions to get some idea of the game's potential for commercial success.
Video game design professionals study math, computer science, graphics, engineering, game theory, story lines, character development, commercial trends and many more related topics, in an effort to create realistic, action-packed interactive products. Above all, video game designers seek mass market appeal.