Gamers by the millions seek careers in Animation and Video Game Design. People who possess the necessary skills are among the most sought-after professionals in today's workforce. The skills involved in this popular profession appeal as much to tech-savvy entrepreneurs as to artists finally able to earn a decent living at their craft. Missouri businesses employ thousands of interactive video game designers. The majority of these jobs are located in or near St. Louis. However, similar opportunities exist throughout the state, not to mention in all eight neighboring states.
Missouri Schools and Training Programs for Video Game Design
State colleges and Universities are meeting this growing demand by offering degree programs in fields related to Video Game Design. Students and gamers who choose this career might major in computer science with emphasis on digital graphics, or programming with special focus on animation, or perhaps math with emphasis game theory.
Missouri schools that offer degrees in interactive game design include Webster University and DeVry in St. Louis and Kansas City, The Art Institute in Overland Park, Kansas and the University of Phoenix, which has campuses in Kansas City, Springfield and Overland Park. Numerous training programs in Animation and Video Game Design are also available online.
Working as a Video Game Designer in Missouri
Serious Animators and Video Game Designers can make respectable livings doing what they like to do best. As you might expect, the pay rate for this type of work varies drastically. Starting salaries depend on factors like experience, effort, talent, ability, productivity, networking and geographic location, to name a few. The average annual salary for an Animator or Video Game Designer in the United States is (very roughly) about $60,000, with individual salaries ranging anywhere from about $35,000 to more than $200,000 per year. However, this data is sketchy at best, and fails to account for the mysterious incomes of millions of self-employed individuals.
Companies in Missouri hiring Video Game Designers include software publishers, mobile phone service providers, colleges, universities, graphic design firms and animation studios, as well as top local advertising agencies like Rivet, St. Charles Media and Buy St. Louis. Some designers work for local movie producers like Millennium in St. Charles and Suncoast, Swank or Double Helix in St. Louis.
Employers hiring for entry level positions in the field often require a degree and some kind of solid background in video game design. But you don't necessarily have to work for a firm. The economic landscape overflows with countless 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 telecommuting to work. They often secure gigs as independent contractors for corporations and private businesses. Some design and sell their own games independently. Some build their own game-related websites.
Recommended Skills for Video Game Designers
A typical Video Game Designer creates a game with a comprehensive set of rules and calculates a plausible scoring system, then enhances the game with a series of intriguing puzzles, tricks, traps and other clever challenges. Typically, the challenges increase in difficulty with each challenge successfully met. The designer then creates the artwork and/or consults with professional Animators and graphic artists to capture a visual style appropriate to the elements of 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, Communications, Computer Science, Fine Arts, Digital Graphics, Game Theory, Story Lines, Character Development, Marketing, Promotion and numerous other topics in hopes of developing realistic, action-packed interactive products. The ultimate goal of a Video Game Designer is mass market appeal.