Get a Job in the Video Game Industry

How to prepare yourself for working in the video game industry, and how to differentiate yourself from other candidates.
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  • Lectures 40
  • Length 4 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 9/2013 English

Course Description

Tens of thousands of gamers want to make a living working in the video game industry. But there are not many jobs available, and it's a lot harder than playing games or getting ideas. There are entire books published about "breaking into" the game industry.

In this course you'll get the essence of what you need to know in a couple hours.

Note: This course is not part of Udemy's periodic deep discount sales.

Student comment from the exit survey:

"I'm making sure I know the basics around the industry and what is required so that I don't make a foolhardy decision to jump into something too quickly and in an unprepared way. For others in the same position, this is valuable preliminary information in one place from an authority, rather than searching around online for the information in bits and pieces from different sources (which is fine, too, as well as free, but takes a bit more time and discernment). Thanks!"

What are the requirements?

  • No special requirements

What am I going to get from this course?

  • You’ll learn how the industry works and what kinds of jobs are available
  • You’ll learn what you need to do to prepare for working in the video game industry
  • You'll learn how to acquire the skills you need
  • You’ll learn how to make contacts and differentiate yourself from the hordes who want jobs in the industry
  • And you'll learn what's NOT important

Who is the target audience?

  • People who do not work in the game industry, but want to.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.



Here are the learning objectives and constraints for the course.


About me. This is the same intro as in Brief Free Introduction to Game Design.

twitter: @lewpuls

Blog: and

Voluntary (and anonymous, if you wish) Entry Survey
Section 1: How it works

The video game industry is both unusual and unstable. Here's how it works.


The larger studios are a minority of those working in the video game industry, but this is where most people think they're going to work. This describes what jobs are available.


If, as is likely, you can't get a job at a larger studio, you'll work in smaller ones or "indies". The jobs tend to be the same but with less specialization, and (in the indies) less pay, or no pay at all.


In a highly competitive industry, employers can look for exceptional employees. You can't expect to just do what you're told and succeed.

I recommend you read the following article about recruiting, and how it's changed in the game industry:

There's a general shortage of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) employees in the USA, so programmers may be able to obtain better working conditions than in the past. You'll find that game developers' desires have changed, so many companies recognize that they cannot treat employees poorly. But employees new-to-the-industry are usually at the bottom of the totem-pole, as with any industry, the ones most likely to be asked to work long hours in less-than-ideal conditions.

Yet there are still companies looking for the "purple squirrel", someone who has very extensive qualifications yet is willing to take relatively low pay. It's more important than ever to research companies before applying for jobs.

1 page

Young people often confuse intentions and actions, thinking it's OK as long as they intended to do what they should be doing. Not in the business world . . .


Many novices are perfectionists in whatever game-related task they're doing. That doesn't work in the video game industry. Speed/work-rate is very important.


Jobs skills you need. Along with a productive attitude, of course.

You might also read


Wishful thinking leads job-hunters to value certain characteristics and experiences that do not matter to employers.

Links to important YouTube videos
1 page

People who get into the game industry tend to last an average of only five years. With what we've seen so far, are you sure this is for you?

Warren Spector (director of a specialized game school at the time, most well-known for Deus Ex) in 2014. "For starters, make sure you're truly passionate about making games. It's grindingly hard work and if you don't love it, it'll wear you down in a hurry."

Section 2: Learning the skills
Exercise: assets and weaknesses
12 pages

What you need to do to prepare to work in the industry. I wrote this originally for GameCareerGuide.


What you can do to learn programming. Some are self-taught, some go to school, but everyone needs to practice, practice, practice.


What you can do to learn art. Some are self-taught, some go to school, but everyone needs to practice, practice, practice.


What you can do to learn game design on your own. Some are self-taught, some go to school, but everyone needs to practice, practice, practice.


Colleges and universities have less than pure motives owing to stiff competition for students. Game design schools are especially bad.


In many quarters, including the video game industry, distance education degrees are not valued or respected. Here's why.

4 pages

A school can say it teaches games or "game design", but what they actually teach varies a GREAT deal. Written originally for GameCareerGuide:


If you decide to attend a college or university, choosing which school is one of the biggest decisions you'll make in your life. You have to take it seriously.

Section 3: Getting a job

Sooner or later a prospective employer wants to see what you have done. That's what you put in your portfolio, preferably available on your website.


Employment experts suggest you target particular companies in your job search. To do that, you have to decide what your ideal employer should be like.


The answer is Yes, but maybe not for the reason(s) you think.

Exercise - research companies

You have to be able to do the job, but you also have to make yourself known to a potential employer, and resumes or answering job ads is not enough. You need to build up a network of contacts. Here's some suggestions.

9 pages

I'm not going to tell you about job interviews (except to note, video game industry people rarely wear ties or suits - they're quite informal).

A resume isn't likely to get you a job in the video game industry, but you want to make one as good as possible.


Should you work for free for a studio with the hope that they'll hire you. Opinions differ. . .


In the past many people have broken into the game industry by working first in a non-development job at a game studio.

10 questions

Some simple questions from class material.

Section 4: Conclusion
July 2016: Movement of Gamedevs from one Segment of the Industry to Another

What you can do from here. First, gather more information, don't just take my word for everything! Or anything!


Link to class exit survey.

73 pages

All the slides used in the screencasts, downloadable, to provide you with notes.

14 pages

Lew's online courses and information sources

Section 5: Bonus Material
This is a summary that may help you remember what I've put together in this class.

Part 1.


This is a summary that may help you remember what I've put together in this class. Part 2


This may help you if you have Absolutely No Idea how applications (programs) actually do what they do. Video games are simply one form of app, though (in the case of the AAA games) very complex apps.


You'll find that in a great many lines of work, you'll benefit from being able to write well.  So I'm including this pair of videos as bonus material.  Part 1.


You'll find that in a great many lines of work, you'll benefit from being able to write well.  So I'm including this pair of videos as bonus material.  Part 2

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Instructor Biography

Lewis Pulsipher, Commercially Published Game Designer, College Teacher

Dr. Lewis Pulsipher (Wikipedia: "Lewis Pulsipher"; "Britannia (board game)"; "Archomental" ) is the designer of half a dozen commercially published boardgames. His game "Britannia" is described in an Armchair General review "as one of the great titles in the world of games." Britannia was also one of the 100 games highlighted in the book "Hobby Games: the 100 Best". He has over 17,000 classroom hours of teaching experience including teaching video game design and production, and over 20 years of part-time graduate teaching experience.

His book "Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish" (McFarland) focuses on practical advice for beginning game designers, about how you actually create and complete game designs. He also contributed to the books "Tabletop: Analog Game Design," "Hobby Games: the 100 Best," "Family Games: the 100 Best." His game design blog has been active since 2004, and he is a contributor and "expert blogger" on Gamasutra, the #1 site for professional video game developers.

His latest published game is the 2011 reissue with additions of "Dragon Rage," originally published in 1982. Three new versions of Britannia, including a 90-120 minute version and a diceless version, are forthcoming, as well as several other games from Worthington Publishing and others. His Viking adventure game "Sea Kings" was published by Worthington in August 2015.

Lew has a Ph.D. in military and diplomatic history from Duke University, from ancient days when degrees in media, computer networking, or game design did not exist--nor did IBM PCs. In 2012 he was a speaker at the East Coast Game Conference, PrezCon, Origins Game Fair, and World Boardgaming Championships. Long ago he was contributing editor for White Dwarf and Dragon magazines, and publisher of various game fanzines. In 2013 he was Industry Insider Guest of Honor at GenCon, and in 2014 is again speaker at the ECGC.

Game design blog and teach game design blogs are on blogspot

"Expert blogger", Gamasutra

former contributing editor, White Dwarf, Dragon, Space Gamer, etc.

former publisher, Supernova, Blood and Iron, Sweep of History, etc.

"Always do right--this will gratify some and astonish the rest." --Mark Twain

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