So, you want to make games? Awesome! I’m sure you’ve heard of the importance of game development, but have a little trouble understanding how it actually works and why it is so important.
Well, doing game development isn’t easy. It takes many years of training (and money!), countless hours of work, tons of research and lots of luck. It is also not for everyone and I don’t mean that in the sense that there aren’t enough programmer, artists, animators or writers, out there (there are); I mean that there are too many people who want to become game developers and don’t understand what they need to do in order to get started with it, or that fails to understand how difficult it is.
Before starting to analyze on how to become a game developer, we actually need to understand what is a game developer in its broader sense of the work
1. How To Become a Game Developer
This is how to become a game developer. These are steps to take:
- Obtain a bachelor’s degree.
- Brush up your math and physics skills.
- Expand your software engineering skills.
- Develop your storytelling skills.
- Build a game developer portfolio.
- Get an entry-level game developer position.
- Prepare for stiff competition in the job market.
2. What is a game developer
To understand what is a game developer, you have to understand what is a game. Although we can a first glance associate a game with a software, in reality it isn´t. The software is only the glue that holds and orchestrates all the creative blocks that made up a videogame.
For a videogame to be what it is ( and with some limitations as some videogames can leverage on trying to be an exception) you need, to have writers to write stories about characters and worlds, artists to design them and to recreate them using digital tools, game designers that will create the challenges and the interactions required between the game elements and the player as to represent a challenge, animators to make those art elements to become alive and move across the screen, musicians and sound effects specialist to compose the score or produce the sounds, a programmer that will code the logic of the game and how all the previous elements will blend together to recreate a unique experience in imaginary world able to pull in the imagination of the player.
Sometimes, all those people talents concentrate in only one person that is able to perform all those tasks and create by himself a fullscale game.
But usually, most people think that being a “game developer” means being only one of the roles, like an artist. In fact, they think that anyone who makes games must be an artist in some way; they are never able to imagine someone not making art or ideas. A lot of them don’t even know what art is or what it actually means! So it’s understandable that they would just assume that anyone who makes games must also be an artist — but perhaps they didn’t realize that artists aren’t necessarily good at making games!
In this article we will not specifically look at one particular role, but rather try to bring a general vision on what should be actions that any one wanting to become a game developer should pursue as to achieve his goals.
3. What does it mean to make a game?
To someone who has never made any kind of game before, this may sound like a very vague question that doesn’t really have meaning. But in reality, there are many ways to make a video game — just like there are many ways to make other forms of art or literature. And while they all share certain basic elements (like characters, story lines and environments) there are also certain differences between them (like whether the characters feel real or abstract). All these aspects form our basic understanding of making games: like making art, creating worlds, animating characters, writing code, etc…
4. Getting Started with Game Development
The first thing about starting on game development, is to understand what you like about games, and what you would like to be doing in games. You also have to find at what you are good at and how good you are at learning specific skills that are required for the different profiles of game developers.
It is not the same be a conceptual artist, as to be a digital 3d Modeler or Texturer. It is not the same to be game designer than to be a programmer, although they share some math and logic skills, one must be much closer to the technology than the other.
Learning to code is a skill that many people think they can do on their own. But how do you go about learning to code? Well, if you want to make games or other interactive entertainment software, it’s important to know what skills you need to learn and how to develop them.
A part from that and not directly associated with becoming a game developer, since videogames are based on technology, you will need to use technology to make your games. This will imply that we will need to have some initial resources and focuses.
4.1. what kind of computer do I need?
Computer hardware has evolved a lot over the years and while there are still some things that remain the same (like RAM and CPU), there are many more things that have come along with it. If you don’t already have a computer, either buy one from your preferred brand (e.g., Apple) or build your own (if you’re not experienced enough yet). Additionally, we recommend forgoing using any external resources on your computer system: no gaming peripherals and no external Internet connections unless absolutely necessary; not too much RAM and processor power; no video cards; etc. These are all things that will help prevent a potentially expensive hobby from turning into something much more — as well as becoming a game developer in the first place!
4.2 What do I want to develop?
Most people want to make games in one of two ways: they want to make games with an existing interactive world or they want to create their own interactive world of their own invention — which is called an open ended game (usually). However, these two approaches will usually lead you into either a 2d or 3d environment, depending on which direction you decided upon when developing your project(s). However, these two approaches also lead into different strategic decisions: 2d/3d = strategy = control vs open ended game = strategy = freedom
4.3 How do I decide what kind of technology should be used?
This could be anything from standard personal computers with graphics chipsets like Intel or AMD all the way down to oldschool Atari consoles with 8-bit graphics chipsets . While this is not our focus here, we recommend that if possible, the choice be made based on mobile platforms such as Apple iOS , Google Android , Blackberry OS , Windows Mobile , Windows Phone etc. where one has a direct connection with the hardware platform itself instead of using external resources (i.e., via Ethernet/WiFi) from an external host computer . The reason for this is because most mobile device manufacturers support multiple operating systems including iOS and
Once those first decisions are taken, you need to approach the next important question.
How do you learn the skills required to create a game?
5. How to learn the game development knowledge and skills
Over time, the possibility to acquire those knowledges and skills have changed. In the early days of game development, most game developers were self-learners and researchers that were able to learn as they were creating the games, finding information on magazines or by exchanging advices between themselves.
With the advance of internet, exchanging and recollecting information became easier and broader. Which increased the possibility for new comers to learn how to create games.
In the last 10 years, with the rise of academic programs focused in videogames, it has even became easier.
The most common way to start making games is with a game dev school. These are places that teach you to program for the most popular games, including making 2D and 3D games. Going to a school like this can be a great idea, as it can give you the knowledge and skills required to go on and make even more successful games. But there are also other ways of starting out in this field, so here are some of them:
You’ve got plenty of time, so here’s a good idea: make something for yourself. Whether it’s an NES game or a Minecraft map, you don’t need much more than your own time and an artistic sense to get something going. If you want to learn how to write code or learn how to make things in general, then do that too!
- Learning from scratch
This option is definitely not for everyone; but if you know exactly what you want and have the time, then consider learning from scratch on your own instead of going to school or getting someone else’s help (either professionally or just memorizing stuff). You might even be able to learn better – there are tons of great tutorials out there for programming languages — but learning all about programming would take a lot longer than it would take if you were doing it yourself (and once you get into coding, no one wants to babysit your code). If learning from scratch isn’t an option for you, then perhaps using YouTube videos will give you a better understanding of how the world works inside of video games rather than reading books or watching screencasts (and while they may not be 100% accurate), they will at least give you an idea what is possible in terms of programming language features.
- Self-teaching through teachers
If your education is limited by finances — which many schools aren’t — then consider finding teachers who can teach others as well and teach through mentorships with them instead (as opposed to tutoring them themselves). These teachers may not have access to the latest resources available online — but since they have been working with others in their field for years now, they will have learned what works and what does not work as well as anyone else can. Furthermore, these people are likely already used to teaching like this themselves — which makes them even better at teaching as well! This method has many great qualities: it doesn’t cost
This is the established way of going to school for game developers, you can get your education in online program like taking a computer science course and a computer engineering course. Specializations are game development, computer science and computer engineering.
A computer science course that covers Visual Basic, C#, Perl, computer graphics, computer architecture, algorithms, object-oriented design, calculus and networking includes courses on Unity 3D, Unreal Engine and other video game technologies.
This training will also help to develop your ability to perform a quality analysis, your critical thinking skills and your ability to undertake operations analyses.
Of course, one question stays, do you really need a degree or formal education to become a game developer? My honest answer is that it depends on what type of game developer you want to become. If you don´t expect to be working for big games studios, then probably you wouldn´t need a degree, and you could learn by your self with all the free resources widely available on web, youtube, coursera, udemy, skillshare and many other sources. You will need to practice a lot to master the skills but a lot of game developers now a days have followed this path.
If you plan to develop career at one of the biggest game companies, than it will be probably best to get a degree.5
6. Learn some basic maths and physics
To become a game developer, you need to have some skills in coding, physics, and mathematics. In other words, a basic knowledge of coding is essential so that you can know enough math to create coding equations that can direct systems to work in certain ways.
For instance, to animate characters in computer graphics, you will need to know a lot of calculus, trigonometry, and linear algebra, as these are used to create a realistic 3D representation of motion. If you’re going
You should brush up your maths and physics skills, but you’ll want to learn calculus, statistics, combinatorics, game theory, algorithms for AI, and physics. You should be able to explain in detail how linear algebra, trigonometry, and other mathematical concepts work to help you make games. You’d also want to learn linear algebra to be able to work with 3D, physics, physics
7. Become more familiar with software engineering skills
Game developers have got to be proficient in hardware and programming language technology such as C/C++, Python, Lua, and Java, to write code that will craft the entire game itself. Game developers are generally quite intelligent people as they have to deal with a number of issues related to game making while learning the craft, but they’ll benefit from keeping their minds and bodies fresh through
Knowing MySQL, Oracle or MS SQL is a benefit in using Postgresql; you should also know about server backend implementation, and be aware of changes in system architecture. Since the system constantly has updates, you should remain dynamic in your design, coding, and structuring to stay on par.
Even if you want to be an artist or a game designer, knowing some skills of coding and software engineering will help you perform well and improve the communication with more technical and programming oriented people.
8. Brush up your storytelling skills
I am a game developer but I have a very different perspective than many of you.
For me, it is not just about making a game; it is about triggering emotions. What makes one game better than another?
Our goal is to make games where experiences are triggered and feelings are experienced in ways we never expected or thought were possible before they were experienced. It sounds simple, but that’s because it is so subtle and intentional. It’s the same reason why I like to split stories into two parts: the first part is the technical story, the second the emotional story.
The technical part of the story tells how something works in your head; the emotional part tells how you feel when you’re doing it. For example, this story may be an abstract idea or a technical one:
Most game studios need to hire a writer to create original stories, novels or films, but having some knowledge about linear and non-linear storytelling techniques will help the game developers to create better plots. Linear stories involve the actions of the players being the main catalyst for the story. In contrast, non-linear story lines are driven by the interaction of the characters rather than being pre-ordained by the actions of the audience.
The basic concept for how stories develop and end comes from understanding the simple fact that human lives are not tidy.
9. Build a game developer portfolio
There is no better way to get relevant job experience by learning and creating video games. Start by designing and developing simple interactive content. With your expertise and skills, and the skills of your classmates, you can create simple games that may be of some interest to a game studio. At the same time, the game you create will not only make you stand out from your classmates, but the work you create can also create a portfolio
When you add games to your portfolio of game-developing skills, include screenshots of game-playing scenes so that interviewers and game studio executives can evaluate your skills. Also, include links to game installation software on your portfolio so that they can try out the games themselves.
10. A low-level game development position
When thinking about games, everyone wants to be a rockstar like Kojima, Meier or Molyneux, but getting there is very difficult. Sometimes, even just landing a simple job on a small studio can be quite difficult.
Lower down your expectations and focus on getting a job of any level or any type into a studio, and then grow from there.
11. Work twice as hard
If you are going to be a game developer, you have to learn how to work as hard as anyone else but keep focused on making your ideas clear, powerful and exciting.
You have only one other chance at this: if you get it wrong then you will never be able to fix it because it is too late and you are already too far behind the curve (in terms of understanding what you are doing). If you get this right then your audience will continue coming back for more because the fun is just more fun when people can see your passion for what they do. And if your audience wants more then they will want more (right?). This isn’t easy work though, but anyone who says otherwise hasn’t been paying attention over the last few years because they don’t understand what we are doing.
12. Making Games
Of course J If you want to be a game developer, then you will have to make games all the time, even in your sleep.
This is the best way to improve and master the skills and to show your abilities to the world. This will even possibly take you some steps closer to your goal, as you will probably be able start selling them.
13. Selling Games
Selling your game is putting all what you have learned in action and perform a reality check.
There is an old legend in the games developers communities that says that 90% of the games developed will never leave a folder in the hard disk of the game developer that created it.
When you create a game, you put a lot of yourself into it, and eventually the best way to check on every aspect of the creative process is to share it with the audience of players and see what is there reaction.
That is one of the most frightening experiences, because with so much games on the market, your game could not even be found, or could be receiving some really nasty reviews. This can cause developers to quit just when their game was ready to release.
So, trace the goal of publishing as many games as you can, as this task will bring you most of the knowledge needed to become a successful game developer.
In this post, we have been talking about how to become a game developer, the process is not easy and will require from you continuous learning, hard work and sacrifice, exposing yourself with your audience, learn from the experience and restart the process until you are able to become successful.
If you want to learn more on this topic, check regularly our blog as we will be producing more articles and videos.
Average salary for game developers
Game developers are good for making games, but this doesn’t show much of a job outlook. Nevertheless, the game developers job outlook is very good, and there is likely to be another 21% job growth in the next eight years.
FAQ for game developers
The following questions can be asked of game developers:
- What traits should a game developer have?
- What programming languages should a game developer know?
- What skills should a game developer have?
How to become an indie game developer?
What skills should a game developer have?
Code creating game developers must be creative and have resilience, as well as understanding of the potential issues that could arise with any particular game. If one solution doesn’t work, the game developers must have the ability to try another.
The minimum languages required to create a game.
What skills should a game developer be responsible for?
In addition to being very proficient in language programming, game developers should also know about game trends. This will help the developers to be creative, have storytelling abilities, have solid analytical abilities, solid interpersonal skills and have the ability to work on a team.
Where can game developers look for work?
Go online to visit the game studios and if they don’t have any positions right now, contact their Human Resources and send your email info so the human resource will know who to give your resume to. You can also go online to check out the game industry news websites to find job positions.
If you want to become a game developer, perhaps one of the more rewarding careers in the business. There are all kinds of ways you can get started and the opportunities are many. You might also want to be aware that the challenges of game development are enormous. You can make the career a fulfilling or rewarding one.
Even after you land a job as a game developer at a game studio, be sure to continue building your programming abilities, while trying to build more projects of your own.