Nowadays, an increasing number of interactive gamers are joining the workforce as Animators and Video Game Designers. The skills involved in this burgeoning profession appeal as much to tech-savvy entrepreneurs as to artists who can finally make a living at their craft. Businesses all over Massachusetts and beyond employ specialists in interactive game design. More than 1 in 25 U.S. jobs in video game design are located Massachusetts, mostly in and around Boston. However, similar opportunities exist throughout the state, not to mention neighboring states like Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont.
Massachusetts Schools and Training Programs for Video Game Design
Numerous local colleges and Universities offer degree programs in Animation and Video Game Design. Some people interested in pursuing this career become computer science majors with emphasis on digital graphics. Others might choose to major in programming with a special focus on animation, or perhaps math with emphasis game theory.
Boston area schools offering degrees interactive game design include Salem State University, Northeastern University, Mount Ida College in Newton and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Statewide educational options include Fitchburg State University and Springfield College. Training programs in Animation and Video Game Design are also available online.
Working as a Video Game Designer in Massachusetts
Hard working, talented Animators and Video Game Designers nationwide can earn high end salaries 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, productivity, networking and geographic location. The average annual salary for Animators and Video Game Designers in the United States is roughly around $60,000, with individual salaries ranging anywhere from about $35,000 to more than $200,000 per year. Massachusetts Game Designers can expect to earn, on average, somewhere between $40,000 and $80,000 annually. However, this data fails to account for the elusive incomes of who-knows-how-many self-employed workers.
Companies in Massachusetts hiring Video Game Designers include software publishers, mobile phone service providers, colleges, universities, graphic design firms and animation studios, in addition to top local advertising agencies like Mullen Communications, Allied Advertising, Hill Holliday and Super Media. Some designers work for local motion picture producers like Bad Boys of Boston, New England Sports Network, the Boston Educational Foundation and All Screens Entertainment.
Corporate entry level positions in Video Game Design often require an Associate or even a Bachelor's degree, along with a solid background in video game design. But you don't necessarily have to work for a firm, considering the overwhelming supply of private companies and websites featuring (or wanting to feature) their own video games. Video Game Designers often work as freelance professionals, creating their own schedules and telecommuting from home. They might secure gigs as independent contractors for companies and private businesses. Or design and sell their own games independently. Or build their own game-related websites.
Recommended Skills for Video Game Designers
The basic job description of a Video Game Designer is someone who creates a game with understandable rules and a plausible scoring system, then enhances the game by way of original puzzles, tricks, traps and other clever challenges aimed at making players want more. The designer then creates the artwork and/or consults with professional Animators and other graphic artists to capture a visual style suitable to the particulars 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 communication technology, math, computer science, digital graphics, game theory, story lines, character development, marketing, promotion and many other subjects in an effort to create the most realistic, action-packed interactive products. Video Game Designers strive for mass market appeal, in hopes that their games make millions.