ID to the entertainment industry? Still thinking...

(long read)

If I ultimately wanted to end up working in the video game industry, particularly with cutting-edge types of technologies (read: beyond the standard controller and keyboard), would ID be a good way to get into that industry?

Basically, I’m interested in making entertainment / games that give benefits in the real world, whether they be educational, informative, or active.

Some examples of what I mean:

The Winds of Orbis: It’s an “Exergame”, one that combines entertainment with exercise.

Wii Fit is along the same lines, although it’s execution is poor in my opinion.


When it comes down to it, here’s the problem: I like video games & other entertainment, but I don’t like the fact that they’re an “escape” from reality and oftentimes offer no benefits for the player outside of the game. I don’t want to be making games that cause kids to forget this world and sit in their room all day long. …so I’m trying to think of ways I could help solve this problem.

I know this sounds silly, but video games are on the verge of becoming massive virtual worlds that may, to some, be more attractive than reality. That’s fine to some extent; my interest and concern is how to combine reality with virtual reality, so that reality isn’t ignored.

Anyways, to the point, and be honest please: do you think that an industrial design education would be a strong step towards the goal of working on stuff like this? I thought it might be, because IDers would be making the apparatuses used in these games.

For example, I’d be willing to be that industrial designers had a hand in creating the Wii controller, which is one small step in the direction I’m interested in.

My only concern with this is that I won’t be on the idea side, as in I won’t be making game ideas, but rather making controller ideas. Which is still pretty cool, but I’d like to design the gameplay a little more.

Any thoughts, etc? At this point, I’ve got a few choices:

A) Industrial design: go to Virginia Tech, ASU, or Cincy and then go into the ID world, and live happily ever after.

B) Video games: go to USC’s Interactive Media Program, which is essentially along the lines of what I’m interested in. I probably won’t get in there though, and may have to transfer in if that’s what I end up choosing.

C) The above plan: get an ID education, and then either try to get a job in the VG industry, or go get a masters at CMU in video games. Sounds good on paper, but that would be 6-7 years in school and an outrageous amount of money, so that’s not a top choice.

Any thoughts?

Steve Jobs first story is for you Keifer…

It seems like you want to stay in the ‘virtual’ world and are not likely to cross over to the physical. I would suggest an interactive degree or virtual media degree more-so than a ID degree. ID has a heavy focus on the physical world, and because of that you may lose out on the intricacies and depth of the virtual world. Video game designers dont usually have a ID background, unless its concept design. Same thing with interface designers.

My 2c

If you’re interested in designing hardware and user interfaces, then yes - ID is the right choice for a starting point.

If you’re more interested in implementing software (3D modelling, programming) then frankly I would just not go to college, stay at home with a bunch of books and learn to do it yourself. Either that or get an ID degree and learn that in your spare time.

I have several friends in the gaming industry and they all took different routes: One was an architecture undergrad and then went into CMU’s entertainment masters program and now works at Maxis. One was a car designer from CCS and then moved on to Sony. Another went to FIT and did computer graphics/interactive media and moved on to Bethesda. I also know many people who in the past simply were self taught computer whiz’s who learned to program/design on their own and got jobs with no formal training or video game specific degrees.

At the end of the day consider this: An ID degree is relvant in many many fields. A video game degree is relevant in one.