Hiring Experienced Game Designers

First Riot Post
Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Zileas

VP of Game Design

03-08-2013
35 of 53 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axiom Prime View Post
I was actually wondering, I've looked through a few colleges around me that have actual "Video game design" degrees, and others that have "COMPUTER SCIENCE AREA OF CONCENTRATION, COMPUTER GAMING OPTION, BACHELOR OF SCIENCE" Forgive the all caps there, I literally just copy pasted that. But back to my question, what is the actual difference here? It would be a dream to work at Riot, or Blizzard...no offense to you guys, but obviously if I had to point out my top 2 computer games I'd prefer to work for it would be League, or Starcraft. When it comes to big names obviously Blizzard is a mammoth, and Riot is following suit while managing to seemingly keep a better connection to it's player base.

Either way, I'm soon to be a 26 year old Marine OIF Veteran, and I haven't even started college yet, just got out of the Marine Corps last year, so while my plans are to focus on a CS Degree, I'm wondering if I should just go for a broad CS degree, or take the specialization for computer game design. I've got the job listings book marked and I'll definitely be checking back time and time again, though I think my leadership skills gained from the Marine Corps, and my knack for map/level design and critical thinking on SCII:WOL would be a great asset to any team. I don't think it will be enough to land an internship just yet. I don't think it will be enough to land an internship just yet.
If you want to do design specifically, honestly, the key is to just make it your hobby before it's your career, which would be to pump out some excellent mods that people enjoy, or build games with a game engine that is pretty friendly. Since you like SC2, the SC2 editor is pretty powerful (not the most user friendly, so you need some technical capability or affinity) but can enable a lot, and there are some tutorial maps. I think Blizzard has done a very nice thing for aspiring designers by releasing that. War3 editor is easier to use, but is less current, and less powerful.

RE degrees, I honestly think that the difference there wont matter much. If you do go for computer science though, you need to determine if you love programming and can become truly exceptional at it. If you don't, you are honestly better off going and doing a more genera analytical background. A CS degree where you aren't a master programmer will aid you in learning how to script and so forth, but either way, you need to learn to script and you can do that as well through sheer will using editors and scripting languages and so forth. You will want to take a few CS classes regardless. But if you are making the full commitment to CS, I woudl avoid doing so unless programming is 'your thing'. Otherwise, think about some other analytical degree where you can excel.

There's no easy path here. Fundamentally, the best path is to make game design your hobby and then your career. And that means trying it, and being open minded, and working hard.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

exKonvict

Senior Member

03-08-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
You need to demonstrate some extracurricular interest in some of these fields. You have an obvious path though from what you've done to some sorts of QA and QA management roles. To do design, you will need to have designed some things or had other noteworthy achievements related to games -- like being pro level or whatever. You need your cover letter to differentiate you, and having made some games or mods that are good, or at least completed, really helps do that.

So someone say, who has achieved:

Gladiator in World of warcraft arena for a couple seasons and
Diamond level LOL player count for noteworthy achievements?

What is considered the noteworthy level in LOL? (Platinum or gold ?)


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Zileas

VP of Game Design

03-08-2013
36 of 53 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by ParamountPancake View Post
As a junior in high school, what schools would people suggest if i were looking to major or minor in game design?
My $0.02 --

Go to the best school you can get into that you can succeed at and you feel is worth the expense. Generally that will be a standard university of some sort. Study something rigorous and make sure you are entrepreneurial with projects or interests around game design while in school, be it designing mods, programming games, making board games, whatever.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Znt

Member

03-08-2013

Zileas,

I missed a reply from earlier. I understand that you greatly value independent learning and solo projects. So, what majors do you, and other gaming companies, think look the best on a resume? How high up there would computer science be?

Also - how prestigious is the university of illinois in this area?


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Zileas

VP of Game Design

03-08-2013
37 of 53 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by exKonvict View Post
So someone say, who has achieved:

Gladiator in World of warcraft arena for a couple seasons and
Diamond level LOL player count for noteworthy achievements?

What is considered the noteworthy level in LOL? (Platinum or gold ?)
Those help. More beyond that helps more. It's a comprehensive evaluation. These two resumes look pretty similar to us in terms of the fact that both would make us interested in getting to know the candidate better.

Candidate 1:
1) Built and designed iPhone game with a friend, which went on to have 100k downloads and is vaguely fun
2) Didn't go to college, but has obviously good writing on cover letter.
3) Started own car detail company and manages 6 dudes
4) Is Gold 5 ranked, has played 4000 games of LoL
5) No professional game development experience, has worked a total of 4-5 years

Candidate 2:
1) Went to Stanford, got a CS degree
2) Designed a few board games while at Stanford, and is president of some gaming club or other there
3) Has Platinum 3 ranked rating, has played 1500 games of LoL
4) Interned for famous consulting company or VC or finance firm or something
5) No professional game development experience, has worked about a year


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Zileas

VP of Game Design

03-08-2013
38 of 53 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Znt View Post
Zileas,

I missed a reply from earlier. I understand that you greatly value independent learning and solo projects. So, what majors do you, and other gaming companies, think look the best on a resume? How high up there would computer science be?

Also - how prestigious is the university of illinois in this area?
If it's the U of I: Urbana-Champaign, which is very strong at CS, and you did CS, we'd notice that, otherwise it would be in the category of 'fairly good schools that educate people effectively', as opposed to stand-out schools or programs that significantly strengthen an app.

Generally, our preference for design is an analytical degree. CS is the best. But honestly, unless you can program very well, it's interchangable to us with other analytical degrees like Chemistry, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering and so forth. We do prefer engineering slightly to science or economics, etc.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Vanishftw

Member

03-08-2013

I am an experienced father of 3 children. I have been able to stop the apocalypse by splitting up fights and stopping children from making useless calls to china. I feel like I have the right tools and strengths to keep an eye on the forums and make sure to keep Morello in line as well as everyone else. Trollololol :-)


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Skyhawke

Senior Member

03-08-2013

Hey Zileas, while you're in here:

You keep mentioning CS or "good analytical degrees." Would you consider English degrees as falling under that umbrella? Is there a minor for English majors that you feel would really add an extra "oomph" to an English degree?

EDIT: Also, thanks for posting those two examples of candidates that would interest you. I'm working towards Option One mostly, but I'm finishing up an English major as well.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Sty13z

Senior Member

03-08-2013

Zileas Sent you that email you asked for!


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Stexe

This user has referred a friend to League of Legends, click for more information

Adjudicator

03-08-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
Candidate 2:
1) Went to Stanford, got a CS degree
2) Designed a few board games while at Stanford, and is president of some gaming club or other there
3) Has Platinum 3 ranked rating, has played 1500 games of LoL
4) No professional game development experience, has worked about a year
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
Candidate 2:
1) Went to Stanford, got a CS degree
2) Designed a few board games while at Stanford, and is president of some gaming club or other there
3) Has Platinum 3 ranked rating, has played 1500 games of LoL
4) Interned for famous consulting company or VC or finance firm or something
5) No professional game development experience, has worked about a year
Yeah... I was going to say that Candidate 2 seemed not equal to Candidate 1 until you added the new #4. It definitely does seem like you put over emphasis on getting into a good school though.

I've compared class work of friends at prestige schools with the class work of friends at average schools and there really isn't a huge difference from what I've seen. Like comparing UPenn to PennState. Both Pennsylvania schools, different tiers of prestige, but very similar overall material and learning experience. Granted, you generally have to do a lot more work and usually be a better student to get into a prestige school, but that's not directly related (correlation is not causation and so on). You could have had financial difficulties or other things crop up. That isn't to say other things aren't equal, such as facilities and connections and such.

I know you went to a prestige school, along with a lot of other Rioters, but do you think that it might be a bit of a bias towards prestige schools? I assume from your personal experience you've had better candidates from more prestige schools? What about the experience of recruiters who did not attend prestige schools, do they have similar view points or what?