Game studios want team players. That's corporate-speak for someone who has social skills and won't hole up in front of a computer in a basement, surrounded by crumpled cans of soda and WarCraft collectibles.
But the most important thing is to demonstrate that you can communicate your ideas via the written word. That means well-written resumes and well-crafted portfolios that include lots of game documentation and analysis.
Get your math skills down now
Your training starts before you even pick a college. If you’re going into programming, take trigonometry, physics and calculus.
Although UAT offers classes in these topics, if you are already prepared, then you'll have more time devote to what you’re really there for: game programming. Thus, it’s in your best interest to take care of the things you can sooner rather than later. It’ll save you money, time and, in the long run, effort.
And if you plan to be an artist, there are some things with which you should try to familiarize yourself beforehand.
If you can pick up a program such as Flash or Photoshop, play around and learn how they work. Make something. If you figure this out ahead of time, you can skip over the basic classes and jump right into the advanced stuff. This will help you develop a truly impressive portfolio, and that ought to be your first priority. Companies don’t hire beginners.
Well-rounded Renaissance people
The game industry has its share of burnouts, so get yourself innoculated from that job hazard by ...getting a life. Beyond the skills listed above, it’s important that you have the right mindset to avoid joining their ranks. Do not come to this school expecting to play video games the whole time. Just like reading a novel doesn’t teach you to write, playing games doesn’t qualify you to make them. What it takes is a mixture of knowledge, dedication, and the ability to work as part of a team.
Lastly, remember two important rules of game design:
Practice, gain experience, keep your ego in check, and stay focused on your goal. If you can manage all that, game design is for you.