David Smith with Game Careers recently sat down with Noah Falstein, recently announced as Chief Game Designer at Google, to talk about how to breaking into the biz as a game designer. Noah entered the game industry in 1980 as one of the first ten employees at Lucasfilm Games (later LucasArts Entertainment), then went on to the 3DO Company, and Dreamworks Interactive. Since 1996, he has been president of The Inspiracy, providing game design and project management expertise to a wide variety of companies. He has been an early leader in areas including interactive narrative and story games, flight simulators, modern console development, serious games, and virtual worlds. Noah was the first elected chairman of the IGDA, wrote the design column for Game Developer magazine for six years, and has won numerous awards for his designs, including the CGDC Spotlight Award for Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.
Game Careers pulled this sage advice for fledgling game designers from Noah: “It is difficult to start as a designer. A lot of people use some other skill. Programming is actually the easiest way to break into the industry. A lot of programmers and game designers overlap, though it could also be artwork, it may be being producer, or even game testing. Being a designer right at first is very tough. If you can find a company that is willing to let people move around, let you start in some other area where they have a greater need, that is often a good way to get started.”