View Full Version : So You Want To Be A Game Creator?

07-02-2008, 03:56 PM
well, take this email for help. i got it from a Valve worker. she's nice, eh? i got it a loooong time ago, but never posted it.

Thanks for your interest and support of Valve. What does it take to get in to the gaming industry? I can’t give you a concrete answer, but, after speaking with several of employees, I can offer up these suggestions:

1. Hone your analytical skills. As a mental exercise, break down anything around your in life into its base elements. Try to figure out "If this were a game, what would the goal be? What would be my resources?". You can break anything down into meaningful quanta. School, marriage, cars, getting a job...anything could be turned into a game. It's very important for a game designer to know how and why. You be the game designer, and you decide.

2. Build a mod! The Source SDK gives you the tools that we use to make our games (http://developer.valvesoftware.com). You can program new monsters, weapons, faces, or design your own levels. Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat started out using the original Half-Life SDK. They were both created by people just like you who wanted to show what they could do with cutting-edge technology. There's no better way to learn how to do a job than by actually doing it, and a mod gives you exactly that opportunity.

3. Build. Tinker. Experiment. Get a set of creative tools in your hands and put your theories to practice. Make stuff. Save it. Be ready to tell people what you learned from making it.

4. Don't ignore board games. Some video gamers don't pay attention to the lessons they teach. Most if not all of the classic, archetypical game mechanisms can be found in games such as Monopoly, Life, Scrabble, etc. Not only that, but you can actually play these with your friends that DON’T game – watch what they like about it – observe what makes them want to play again.

5. Coming up with cool ideas is not the hard part. Everyone has them, they get you excited, but you’re not going to get rich or famous just because you have an idea for a game. People are going to listen to you and give you money only when you can actually make the game. So lower your head, keep those ideas alive, but work, work, work to prove you can make those pie-in-the-sky dreams actually happen. Remember that 99.9% of people who work in videogames are going to spend their whole career making someone else's idea come to life. If you're not going to be happy with that fact, you may not want to make games.

6. Go to school – any school – not necessarily just places like DigiPen (although it’s a GREAT one). Learn how to work with OTHER PEOPLE. This is key – A LOT of different factors, ideas, talent, etc go in to making even the smallest part of a game. Being able to accept other’s ideas and champion your own, AND do it all with tact, is absolutely essential. There is no “I” in TEAM – but there is an “M” and an “E” – hmmmm – kidding of course.

7. Get your name on a shipped product – it speaks volumes. If you can say "I crunched with a team in the zero hour to get this software out the door", then you instantly have the base level of respect that game developers share with one another.

8. Invest in a good chair – and commit to a workout regimen – you’ll need them both.

Keep building, keep learning and most importantly, keep playing.

Good luck,


07-03-2008, 06:22 AM
thanks you helped me much

07-03-2008, 12:08 PM
erm, you're welcome?

07-03-2008, 12:11 PM
erm, you're welcome?

Erm, this doesn't belong in this section?

07-03-2008, 12:16 PM
where does it belong?
i think its a good topic for the games section.
it gives people inspiration.

07-03-2008, 12:27 PM
i think its a good topic for the games section.

Yes because it totally belongs in a section where you "Post your own custom made games here."

I don't know where it would belong, maybe in Main or LotD.

07-03-2008, 12:28 PM
Hahahaha, she gave a more in-depth explanation then I would of.

Actually, my exact words would probably be -

Work hard, do some mods, work well with other people, sod off and test yourself.

07-03-2008, 02:34 PM
yeh, she's a real nice person.
she apparently asked her workmates. which is cool.