Almost any fan of video games has fantasized about creating their own epic virtual adventures. Video game design is one of the most advanced creative fields in the world of technology, involving teams of experts working together on everything from conceptual work, to intricate coding, to character and world design. This industry has come a long way in a relatively short period. Since the introduction of the first home video games just a few decades ago, we’ve gone from bouncing a single pixel across the TV screen to controlling entire armies of soldiers fighting in epic struggles for the fate of entire worlds.
Getting into the video game design industry takes a lot more than just a love of games, though that passion will certainly propel you a long way. To be a game designer, you need a strong background in math before anything else. This is something that people often fail to realize, but video games are built from math the same way human bodies are built from water. A pretty deep understanding of advanced math is going to be your main prerequisite for setting started in game design. The majority of work that goes into bringing a video game to life is tireless labor over complex mathematical equations, so a good video game design school should have a strong math program.
The reason for all this math is that video games are made using computers, which are in essence, incredibly powerful calculators. In order to make a video game, you have to be able to speak the language of computers in order to make them do your bidding. There are numerous programming languages currently in use that give commands to the computer–no two are exactly alike, but they are all mathematically oriented. Obviously you are going to need to do a great deal of study in programming to make headway as a game designer, so look for schools that are hooked up and tech-forward.
Of course video games aren’t just ones and zeroes–there’s a whole lot more to it than just elegant math and efficient coding. A heavy emphasis on graphics has been pushing the gaming world forward since its inception. People want their games to look good, and that is where the artistic side of game design comes in. Someone needs to design worlds, determine layouts, and in many other ways figure out what a game is going to look like. If this is something that interests you, as it interests many other people, you’ll want a school with a solid arts and design program.
The ideal institutions, whether they’re brick and mortar universities or online game design schools, should combine all of these attributes into a strong program. The most highly regarded schools for game design include MIT, which is no surprise considering their reputation as a leader in technology, as well as the University of Southern California, and Digipen Institute in Washington. Check out these and other strong schools, remembering the criteria above, to find the best video game design school for you.