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I've been working in game industry as a game designer (and lately as a producer) for 5 years, with over 20 projects under the belt. However, all of the games that I've worked on we're free2play online games, mostly browser-based, and for the last couple years — social and mobile. Which's not exactly the AAA titles that I've dreamt to develop when I first got here.

If'd live in USA or Canada, I guess I could just look for a job in this field — but there aren't any companies developing big single-player games around, and finding a company that would want to relocate a game designer is extremely difficult. So, here's my question — how should I proceed towards my career goal? May be I just should develop something myself as am indie, or get into coding (with which I'm pretty familiar with), or just get more experience in the field that I'm in.... I just don't see even a theoretical career path from where I am now to, say, being a director of a bug production in 10 years time, and that's really depressing.

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You forgot to say where you live now, and if you would be available to move. –  Lohoris May 6 '12 at 13:54
    
Have you tried looking for your dream job yet? –  stephelton May 14 '12 at 4:36
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3 Answers 3

finding a company that would want to relocate a game designer is extremely difficult.

Not really - if you're good enough, and the company is fairly large, and there aren't any glaring immigration issues, they'll usually find a way.

Assuming you can relocate, if you're having trouble proving that you are good enough, then you do probably need to work on another project that you can use to raise your profile and demonstrate your skills.

Rather than getting into coding proper - especially if you are happy with design and production - then I might suggest working on a mod, which will require less retraining on your part and will do more to showcase your existing skill set. It also shows your ability to work with another company's existing engine (which you will certainly do if you ever end up at a AAA studio or similar), and if you're already ok with coding then the typical scripting you'd need for a mod would be well within your capabilities.

I'd suggest finding a moddable game that is similar to the type of games you'd like to work on, so that what you create will be directly relevant to the type of jobs you aspire to having.

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One possibility that you could do is see if your company would be willing to create a pay for title. this could either be an extension of one of your free2play games, or an original IP either way if your the designer/producer, and it does well then you have the chance to use it as a showcase.

Similar to Kylotan statement showing that you can create a mod with a companies engine is a good thing to look into. though a word of caution here that this will probably put you in at most as a junior dev.

Another thing you could consider is if you could get into some of the industry conferences, and rub elbows/network this could give you access to the secret job openings that companies don't want to advertise (because to many 20 something couch potatoes will apply, and they don't want to deal with every Joe gamer who submits an application.

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"how should I proceed towards my career goal? being a director of a big production in 10 years time..."

Cheer up mate, 10 years is a very long time in the games industry, and if you can stick with it that long you'll be in a fairly senior position.

I'm a little bias, I've worked on large games like Bioshock, as a Produce and Level Designer, but I'm now making my own small web games. Making my own small games is heaps better. You should do it too.

Ask yourself, where was Zynga 10 years ago?

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