Increasing numbers of job hunters in Raleigh, North Carolina seek careers in animation and video game design. With a population of more than 400,000, the city is fully loaded with high-tech employment opportunities. Companies throughout the state of North Carolina hire video game design experts. Most of these businesses are in located in the Raleigh, with many more in nearby Durham.
Raleigh Schools and Training Programs for Video Game Design
Several local area colleges offer degree programs for animators and video game designers. Some major in computer science with emphasis on digital graphics. Others learn programming and animation. Some take math with special focus on game theory. Regional schools offering degrees in interactive game design include University of Phoenix in Raleigh and The Art Institutes in 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 Raleigh
Understandably, the pay for this type of work varies with experience, effort, talent, ability, productivity, networking, geographic location and 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 Raleigh, the average yearly income is around $67,000. However, this data fails to account for the elusive pay rates of the countless self-employed individuals among us. In any case, professional animators and video game designers can often find financial success at jobs they enjoy.
Raleigh businesses 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 Media Two Interactive, Roger-Sherman, Med Think Communications, Darkside Productions or AT&T Advertising Solutions, to name just a few. Other designers work for Raleigh movie producers like Center Line Productions, Dissonance Productions, Distillery Pictures and Internet Alliance.
Even for entry level positions, video game design takes more than just high game scores. Despite occasional exceptions to the rule, bosses often require a degree and some game design experience. But you don't necessarily have to work for a firm, considering the avalanche of well funded start-ups with websites featuring (or wanting to feature) their own video games. Professional animators and video game designers often do freelance work so they can set their own schedules and telecommute from home. They land gigs with corporations as independent contractors, design and sell games independently or build their own game-related websites.
Recommended Skills for Video Game Designers
A video game designer maps out the rules, calculates a plausible scoring system and enhances the player experience with unique puzzles, unexpected booby traps and other clever challenges aimed at keeping discriminating gamers amused. The designer also creates the artwork (or hires professional animators and other graphic artists) to come up with a visual style appropriate to the elements of the game. The designer also conducts play-testing sessions with enough players to give some idea of the game's potential for commercial success.
Professional video game designers study math, computer science, graphics, engineering, game theory, story lines, character development, commercial trends and many related topics in an effort to create realistic, action-packed interactive products. Video game designers seek for universal appeal, in the hopes that their games sell millions.