If you are attending a college or university for game design, chances are good that your thoughts are full of things like lighting, textures and artificial intelligence. The truth of the matter is that sometimes, you can get so consumed by the details that you miss the forest for the trees! While going to school for game design is often enough to help you get a foot in the door at a gaming company, you should never forget that creativity is one of the top things that you should bring to the table when you are looking at getting a job in the gaming industry.
In the first place, games are all about the story. The thing that differentiates this year’s big fighting game from the last year’s money maker is the story. While there are absolutely gamers who play games purely for the mechanics, creativity and a good narrative go a long way towards creating an environment that players want to explore. Consider the success of games like Guild Wars 2, where the creative development of a personal story made its beta one of the most successful and popular in gaming history.
Creativity will also let you find solutions to previous problems. In many ways, being in the gaming industry, especially when you come at the entry-level, is all about problem solving. Testers will identify bugs that need to be fixed, and in many cases, creativity comes to the rescue. By simply learning how to think about the games, and how to think around corners in game design, you’ll find that many bugs can be taken care of if you are willing to see the big picture and to implement a solution.
Creativity will also get you out of problems in the gaming industry. What many people do not realize is that when there is a game that is being produced and a problem occurs that there are many ways to solve the problem. If you only have one method that you use over and over again, chances are good that you are not taking full advantage of the game’s capabilities! For many companies, good game design is all about learning to creatively use all of the solutions that are available to you. You never know when finding the perfect solution to a problem will get you a promotion.
Another thing that creativity helps you do is find solutions quickly. If you have the right training, and you are creative on top of it, you will find that it is completely possible to shorten what could be a very long day. If you have any experience in the gaming industry at all, you will recognize that this is a high-stress work environment. Games need to be ready to roll out the door, and deadlines that seemed possible a month ago suddenly loom very large. Being creative allows you to meet these challenges as they arise.
If you are current attending game design school, take a moment to think about how learning to flex your creative muscles can help you move forward in the way that you like.