Getting Started with Game Development as a Designer
Okay, well, I'm not a designer myself, but I did once answer a thread, and ask a few designers when I interned at EA, so I thought I'd put this up alongside a programming "Getting Started", if only for the sake of completeness (I'm have even less experience about how artists work, lol, so I'm not even going to touch that. If anyone's worked/done an internship with a game company in the art department, please contact me!)
This is basically just a small anecdote about one way you might be actually able to start towards working in the gaming industry as a designer; for full context, thread is here: http://www.onrpg.com/boards/156145.html.
Originally Posted by Eriond
Alrighty, I talked to one of the GD's and here's what he gave me.
He started work ~12 or so years ago, and back then there weren't a huge amount of schools offering degrees in game design. He went to one of the only ones at the time, and was able to get training there, allowing him to build his experience.
From there, he applied for Ubisoft as a level designer, and worked his way up to creative director.
The biggest tip he gave seems to be that you should start building up a portfolio. It doesn't matter (or at least, it didn't 12 years ago) whether it's on computer; as long as you have a bunch of interesting things in there. He said he was able to show them games he had made on paper, and details about his well-designed Warhammer campaign, and how he made it, and it was mainly because of his profile that he was hired.
The other game designer, who I didn't talk to, but who is a friend of his, apparently got a degree in Cinema, and the like, and apparently, according to his linkedin profile, got a job at Ubisoft doing camera work and cinematics on Prince of Persia, gradually moving up to full-blown design.
While I was talking with the designer about this, a programmer chipped in his two cents; he says the best way to get in, in pretty much any aspect of game development is to make/join a mod, and be very active in it's development, and show that, along with a reasonable resume.
I'd still be inclined to get some sort of degree, but definitely work on a mod/build up a profile while you're doing it; don't expect school to get you a job is pretty much the consensus.
So yes. Hope that helps somewhat.
If anyone has any more anecdotes, or useful links we can add to this post, by all means, please add them. I know it's not a lot at the moment, but, I'll try expanding it every so often.