Video games have been around for decades – from arcade games, to Atari 2600, to the 2D classics on CD-ROM. Fast forward to 2019, and the gaming industry has come an impressively long way. With technological advances into highly-detailed 3D, people of all walks of life are becoming self-professed ‘gamers’.
It only takes a quick browse on Youtube to get a sense of how prolific gaming has become – some of the highest paid YouTubers make their money (sometimes in the millions) creating game demonstration videos, to help players learn new skills, and feel included in a community of people who share a mutual passion.
So if you’ve got the drive to succeed as a designer of games and animation, what better time than now to get into the industry?
A multidimensional role
As the gaming sector continues to grow globally, graduates whose skills include visual arts, film, technology, gaming and animation are in high demand across a multitude of industries – such as architecture, building, real estate, medicine, mining, aviation, and defence sectors. “In America alone, Unity Developer is now the 7th most listed job on LinkedIn,” says Jack Gillespie, Director of Digital Reality and Emerging Technology at Deloitte Australia.
Corporates have cottoned on to the benefits of using augmented or virtual reality to help stakeholders understand what it is they’re doing and why. “Not only does game design make complex information easy to understand and fun, it allows corporates to use the same tools to build, visualise and market their products and services,” says Jack. This means you are able to combine your skills in project management, technical expertise and creative storytelling, all in one dream role.
The power of visual storytelling
One of the hardest parts of the job is helping businesses understand how new ideas and technology can solve problems. “People aren’t convinced by data and numbers, people are convinced by stories,” says Jack. “So being able to craft an experience or explain the narrative purpose of what you’re doing does add a lot of value.”
Content being created is no longer just for gamers either. From art installations, to brand activations, to mobile apps – everyone needs to be able to participate. “It’s critical that content is designed with the same sort of accessibility standards as websites or any other mass communication tool,” says Jack. “This means graduates need to understand the different standards and needs of their end user.”
A game and animation degree that teaches both theory, and the fundamentals of narrative construction, is the perfect way to step into the industry, well-equipped. “We prefer to hire people with Unity 3D experience,” says Jack.
The future of gaming
As gaming and animation become just another way to communicate with stakeholders, much like social media has, game design teams will play a central role in corporate communications. “I work with consulting services including strategy and operations, user experience and user design specialists, web developers, and marketing teams on a daily basis,” says Jack. So soft skills in leadership, cross-cultural communication and self-confidence is a must.
It’s also worth noting that the game industry in The Asia-Pacific region is about to explode and they are looking for talent from Australia. “If you want to improve your chances of being employed globally, understanding cultural differences is important,” says Jack. “And being able to work with region-based organisations would be a bonus for any graduate.”
Are you ready to take the controls?
Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself before you make a decision:
- Do you enjoy the act of creation? Or do you prefer consuming, analysing and critiquing? Building games are different to playing them.
- Do you get a kick out of creating your own games and solving real-world problems in your work?
- Do you love working with people of different backgrounds, cultures and nationalities?
- Are you passionate about using both your technical and professional skill sets in your dream career?
If your dream is to work in an exciting fast-evolving industry, perhaps as an animator, 3D artist, motion graphics designer, visual effects artist or educator, then studying a Bachelor of Arts (Animation and Game Design) provided by Curtin University, online through Open Universities Australia (OUA), will give you the skills, knowledge and global industry connections you need to get you on track.