Animation and Video Game Design are among the trendiest and most promising careers in today's job market. The skills required for this high tech profession appeal as much to mathletes and competitive techies as to multimedia artists who can earn quite a decent living at their craft. Businesses all over Alabama hire Animators and Video Game Designers. Many of these jobs are located in Birmingham, although similar employment opportunities exist throughout the state, as well as in neighboring states like Georgia and Tennessee.
Alabama Schools and Training Programs for Video Game Design
Some excellent Alabama colleges and Universities now offer 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 Virginia College, with campuses in Huntsville and Birmingham. Commutable out of state options include The Art Institute's Atlanta and Nashville locations. Training opportunities and degree programs are also available online.
Working as a Video Game Designer in Alabama
With imagination and a drive to succeed, Animators and Video Game Designers can make a fine living 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, production, 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 many million self-employed Americans.
Alabama companies 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 Eastside Ventures, Levy or AT&T Advertising Solutions in Birmingham. Others work for local motion picture producers like Rave, Haights Cross and Outpost in Birmingham, Suncoast in Tuscaloosa or Blue Horizons in Montgomery.
As a rule, employers hiring for this line of work insist on a Bachelors degree and some professional experience in the field. However, rules can be broken. Employers will sometimes hire dedicated, talented, highly motivated beginners. Besides, you don't have to work for a firm, thanks to a seemingly infinite number 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 gets an idea for an original video game, or perhaps creates a game based on an existing game. The designer invents a set of 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 the best visual style for that 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 related subjects to create the best high-quality, realistic, action-packed interactive products. The ultimate goal of a Video Game Designer is mass market appeal.