Whenever you’re considering a career, you should always take into account the salary that is available for that career. Obviously, the video game industry is booming so becoming a video game designer seems like a safe option. However, before you race out there and spend tens of thousands of dollars on classes, degrees, and software to become a video game designer, take a look at the salary available. Once you’ve got all the information you need, try this online course on getting a job in the video game industry. First, you should understand that the International Game Developers Association lists four types of game designers, and each one makes a different amount. The four types are basic game designers, lead designers, level designers, and fiction/screen writers. Each career is discussed in further detail including salary.
Basic Game Designers
The International Game Developers Association lists an entry level position at $50,000 annually. Depending on the company, however, the association states that an entry level position can make anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000 a year. This is just the starting position too, a position that most people take when they’ve just graduated with their degree and gained a few years of experience working at an internship or working as a freelance designer. Obviously, this salary will vary depending on what company you work for, what state you work in, and just how good you are. Designing games on the side is a great way to build your portfolio for possible future jobs. If you’re interested in joining this field, start taking online classes in video game art.
Lead Game Designers
The lead game designer does everything that a basic game designer does, but he also has the responsibility of leading a team of basic game designers in designing the game. Lead game designers usually make about $80,000 annually. They tend to have about six or more years of experience as opposed to the basic game designers who only have a couple of years. The lead designer usually selects or helps the producer select the other designers on the team. The lead designer will also help the producer or completely hold the responsibility of sharing the game with the media. Learn how to create 2D video game character animations with this online class.
Level Game Designers
If you plan to learn 3D designing and animation, you would enjoy a job as a level game designer. Level designers build the architecture for 3D games. These games are usually role playing games or strategy games, and they focus their attention on placing terrain and resources. Level game designers might also script enemy goals, skills, and behaviors. Level designers make about $52,000 to $100,000 annually, and they can make even more depending on where they work. For game genres that don’t use 3D worlds, there are other designer positions that are equivalent to this position. They are campaign or mission designers. You can learn to use Unity 4 for creating games by taking this online course.
Fiction Writer or Screenwriter
Writers work to create the back story of the game’s world, create any on-screen text that might come up, and write any dialogue for characters and voice overs. They also script any intro scenes or transition videos. Some writers have very basic work like creating menu text, and others might have to design multi-choice conversation trees with each conversation choice leading to a different possibility in dialogue. Most game writers work on a contract basis because the work can vary depending on the game. Some writers will also help to direct the actors during a reading. The pay can vary depending on the contract, but if you end up with a full time writing position, the average starting salary is about $60,000, but it can climb as high as $150,000 or more.
Helpful Links for Starting Your Career in Video Game Design
If you’re interested in becoming a video game designer, you should start with getting your Bachelor’s degree in video game design. There are many schools that offer a degree of this type, and some are even online. Huffington Post has a list of the ten best colleges offering video game design. You should also check out the International Game Developers Association website for a ton of great information for people interested in joining the video game design industry. If you’re not sure if video game design is for you, you might want to consider taking a few classes online or do some more research before making a decision.