More than ever before, gamers everywhere are in hot pursuit of careers in Animation and Video Game Design. The skills involved in this cool, high tech profession appeal as much to mathletes and competitive types as to multimedia artists who can earn a healthy living at their craft. Countless Colorado companies hire Animators and Video Game Designers. Many of these jobs are located in the Denver area, although similar employment opportunities exist throughout the state.
Colorado Schools and Training Programs for Video Game Design
Quite a few Colorado colleges and Universities now carry degree programs in Animation and Video Game Design. Some game designers major in Computer Science with special focus on Digital Graphics. Others might earn Programming degrees with emphasis on Animation, or Math degrees with emphasis on Game Theory. State schools offering degrees related to Interactive Game Design include The Art Institute and Westwood College in Denver and University of Phoenix in Lone Tree, Aurora and Westminster. Training opportunities and degree programs are also available online.
Working as a Video Game Designer in Colorado
Animators and Video Game Designers often score impressive annual sums doing what they like to do. As you might expect, the pay rate for this type of work varies depending on experience, effort, talent, ability, personality, networking and geographic location. The average 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 the many million self-employed among us.
Businesses in Colorado 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 McClain-Finnion, Karsh & Hagen and Old Mutual in Denver, Sterling Rice in Boulder, Google Inc in Thornton or National CineMedia in Centennial. Others work for local motion picture producers like Orion Multimedia, Willoughby Productions and U.S. Olympic Entertainment.
In this line of work, employers usually require a degree, proven skill sets and some professional experience in the field. But after all, rules are made to be broken. Employers will sometimes hire dedicated, talented, highly motivated beginners. In any case, you don't have to work for a firm, thanks to inexhaustible supply of private companies and websites featuring (or wanting to feature) their own interactive animation. Video Game Designers often choose to work as freelance professionals, setting their own pace and telecommuting. Some secure gigs as independent contractors for corporations and private businesses. Some create and sell games independently. Some build their own game-related websites.
Recommended Skills for Video Game Designers
A Video Game Designer either has an idea for an original interactive video game, or creates a game based on an existing game. The designer makes the rules and calculates a plausible scoring system, then enhances the game with a series of compelling puzzles, sneaky tricks, booby traps and other surprising challenges. The game is usually programmed so the difficulty level increases with each successive challenge. The designer then creates the artwork and/or consults with professional Animation 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.
Animators and Video Game Designers study Math, Computer Science, Fine Arts, Digital Graphics, Communications, Game Theory, Story Lines, Character Development, Marketing, Promotion and all sorts of related topics to create the best high-quality, realistic, action-packed interactive products. The ultimate goal of a Video Game Designer is mass market appeal.