Hi everyone! My name is Rob Braun (@Rob_Braun on twitter) and I’m one of the new contributors to the blog. I’m a currently a student studying game design at Bradley University. I figured for my first post I’d offer some tips to those looking into going to college/university for game design and aren’t yet sure what might help or not help in their college career.

Pick a school that fits YOU

This is a big one. You’re ostensibly going to be spending the next 4 years learning a very specific set of skills, so make sure you pick a school that you will enjoy. Don’t pick a school simply because they have a specific game design program, pick a school because the campus and the people that populate that campus appeal to you. When it came time for me to pick where I wanted to go to college I had my choice of Purdue, Carthage, and Bradley. I know that if I had gone to either of the other schools I would have been miserable and might have very well wound up transferring to a different school because those schools didn’t fit me. If you pick a school that you will enjoy, then you’re time at college will be a blast.

Do your research

Try and figure out which area of the game industry you want to go in to and do your research. If you want to go into character animation/modeling, then find out what companies’ are looking for in their animators and start working on those skills, even at a very base level. I know all the programs you use seem intimidating at first, but once you start to learn the basics it gets a lot easier to do the cool stuff. Also, do research on companies you think you’d like to work for. Not all companies are run the same, some require a set number of years experience in the industry, others just want people who can do what they say they can do and the sooner you know what your dream job is looking for, the sooner you can make that dream a reality.

Develop a process

Hate to break it to you, but you’re not Kronos and ideas won’t magically spring fully formed from your head. If you want to get good, learn to constantly revise and improve your work. It sucks and it’s time consuming, but it will make you better at what you do. Start small and build up your design till it starts getting better and better. When it starts looking good, then figure out what you can take away to perfect the project. “Perfection is achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Civilization 4 quotes FTW)

Learn to take criticism

Criticism of you and criticism of your work are two totally separate things. Until you become the boss-man, you’re gonna have people constantly critiquing your work and having you make changes. If you take critiques personally, then you’re never going to reach your full potential and your work will be hampered.

Relationships are key

Make friends, or at the very least get along with, everyone around you. The phrase, “It’s a small world,” is scary accurate, especially in today’s world. If word gets out that you’re impossible to work worth, you might find it extremely hard to find a job. It might be hard sometimes to get along with everyone, all the time, but it’s the nature of the beast. Welcome to the real world.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Take this advice seriously, I know that if someone had told me these things when I was first looking into colleges the I do things would be very different. I might expand on a couple of these ideas in future posts, so if you want to know more keep your eyes open and ears to the ground for future posts from me.