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Game Developer's Guide for Beginners

Updated on March 15, 2020

If you like math, technology, and art while being a creative person who enjoyed playing video games as a child or enjoys them as an adult, maybe it's time to consider the possibility of becoming a professional game developer. This career is not one of the easiest, but it's surely rewarding in many ways. If you're showing even the slightest interest in video games and art-making, game development is one of the best options you could possibly have!

Before making any particular decision, it's essential to gather as much information as you can about the topic. In continuation, you can find a whole series of information you ought to memorize if you want to set this profession as your default one.

• WHAT IS GAME DEVELOPING?

Fundamentally, the definition of game development is quite obvious: it's a process of making a video game. The most important things related to making video games are computer science, mathematics, and production. The perfect game developer should get acquainted with and show interest in all three sectors. You'd spend your work time creating, programming and managing the best possible content. Other than creativity and interest, you should also possess the passion, concentration, analytical mind, ability to work in a team or as an individual, and wide knowledge of programming languages and gaming trends. The core of your profession would be coming up with a concept for a game, planning a story-line and possible characters in it, quests, assignments; and afterward, programming, developing, engineering, recording, mixing, testing, producing and polishing details up until you have a full-fledged game that makes sense.

The job of game developers depends mostly on the role assigned to them as a part of the team. Game designers are responsible for writing and creating the main concept, story-line and general mood of the game. Whatever obstacles a player needs to overcome while playing is devised by game designers. On the other hand, artists are in charge of designing the graphic: background, avatars, objects and every single detail a player sees on a screen while playing are all made due to talented artists. Opposite of that, everything a player hears during game playing is a duty of sound designers, who put a lot of effort and creativity into creating perfect soundtracks, background music, voices of the characters, sounds of notifications, etc. In the end, everything must be translated into codes using different languages that computers can understand, and that's when the programmers come in. They do their best to make games run smoothly while also looking realistic. Do you feel intrigued by now? Then read on!

An aspiring game developer can choose different paths to follow. One of them certainly includes becoming an independent, or indie game developer. This kind of path covers either working alone or in a small group, and building a game to sell it yourself. You'd be responsible for more than one aspect of the process. You'd have to invest a lot of effort and time in order to master all the skills necessary to make a game, but it's the price everyone must pay if they want to make a masterpiece and let others enjoy it.


• WHAT STEPS TO MAKE WHILE STARTING THE CAREER IN GAME DEVELOPING?

  1. Develop Mathematical Skills; you need to be able to code your games and to be able to code them, you'll need to achieve high-level math skills in order to prosper. Most programming courses include mastering trigonometry, physics, and calculus as well. Mathematical equations and algorithms used to give specific instructions to computers in a language a machine can understand are crucial for any type of programming, especially game development.
  2. Get proper education; you ought to have a general knowledge of computer science, and to acquire it either in college or during special courses. You also need to learn programming languages. Video game development mostly includes the C++ program, but important ones are also C#, Java, Python and Web Languages (HTML5, CSS3, SQL, JavaScript). Make sure you know as much as you can before you seek a job as a game developer, and even then, always be eager and ready to improve existing knowledge and skills. Many people say that the ideal programming language would be the one you or the company you work for want to use the most.
  3. Create and build a perfect portfolio; the best way to be noticed by important companies or individuals would be to have a great education, make as many games as you can, and put every detail in your portfolio. The more information you can put into it, the better. Everything counts, and maybe that one little thing you yourself considered unimportant could be the one that will make a difference!
  4. Find your first job in the sector; having a beginner's job is one of the basic stuff you need to consider. Having an entry position or internship in a game developing company or in a group of individuals might seem like unimportant matter, but that would be the best possible opportunity to deepen your knowledge, learn from other professionals, as well as to be noticed by others and in time acknowledged, respected and even promoted. Having access to blogs, forums, and portals used by some of the most successful creators is definitely a plus: you might get in contact with them or be noticed by some. Having an entry position somewhere does not sound like the worst thing that could happen to you, right? Every successful game designer started exactly where you are now!
  5. Work hard; learn new things all the time and improve things you already know, dedicate yourself to tasks you are given, don't pull away when challenges you face seem too hard for you to handle, and always remember why you're doing this in the first place. Consider having a blog you can use to connect with potential customers and future players of your games. And, most importantly: never give up! Whatever branch of game development you choose, it's inevitable that you won't succeed by doing nothing, so prepare yourself to get out of your comfort zone, make effort, and you'll progress quickly!

• REQUIREMENTS YOU NEED TO FULFILL TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL.

The ideal candidates for game development would have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science or computer engineering. Other than that, you should also be able to solve problems and think critically, possess analytical abilities and be able to dedicate yourself to the cause. You'd need to be informed of all technology and to always find out what's new in that sector. That would make you an ideal candidate, of course. But if you, for example, didn't receive a formal education in the field, you still shouldn't be discouraged, because college graduates are not the only ones who can test themselves out in this industry. The truth is, you don't have to be straight out of college in order to be a game developer. There are courses out there you can attend, guidelines and tutorials you can acquire, instructions you should follow, and learn everything you need to know in order to start as a professional.

• WHAT ARE GAME ENGINES?

In the core of the term, game engine is a software-development environment designed for professionals to make a video game. Essentially, game engines are tools available for designers who code and plan a game. They can be 2D and 3D based, and provide features of sound, script, animation, networking, streaming, management, artificial intelligence and many more. Which one you'll use depends mainly on the game you'd like to make, the knowledge you have, and the money you're willing to spend.

Some of the most popular game engines are:

  1. Unreal Engine, with its ability to be extremely modified. It's used mostly for the biggest projects in the gaming world.
  2. Unity, used mostly by indie game developers due to high quality, great functionality, and ability to be used to make almost every type of game.
  3. GameMaker, popular because it doesn't require any programming knowledge in order to be used.
  4. Godot, used for making both 2D and 3D games, and it's free to use.
  5. AppGameKit, the best for indie developers and beginners, while it handles most platforms, from iPhones to Windows Operating System.
  6. CryEngine, used for platforms such as Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Oculus Rift. It comes with free learning resources.
  7. RPG maker, which allows its users to build a complete video game, with or without programming knowledge.
  8. Urho3D, free to download and comes with walkthroughs. This game engine requires knowledge of the C++ programming language.

• GAME INDUSTRY.

The game industry represents an economic center involved in all aspects of making a video game successful: developing, marketing and modernization. Last year, the gaming market generated around $138.7 billion in revenue. It's a highly successful industry that keeps on growing. It consists of layers: capital and publishing, product and talent, distribution, hardware, and end-users. If you want to be involved in the product and talent layer, where all game developers, designers, and artists dwell, you need to be informed of the best game developing companies, and of best individuals in the field.

• GAMING COMPANIES.

A company that publishes the game is known as a video game publisher. The published game can be developed by the publisher itself, or by video game developer. Some publishers are more acknowledged than others.

  1. Nintendo; its headquarters are in Kyoto, Japan, but it possesses offices in several other parts of the world. Nintendo is the largest video game company in the world.
  2. Valve Corporation; headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, and with a subsidiary in Luxembourg.
  3. Rockstar Games; with headquarters in New York, USA.
  4. Electronic Arts; headquartered in Redwood City, California.
  5. Sony Computer Entertainment; headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, and known for one of the most popular game consoles: PlayStation.
  6. Other prestigious gaming companies include Ubisoft (France), Sega Games Co. Ltd (Japan), BioWare (Canada), Naughty Dog Inc (USA), Microsoft Corporation (USA), and many others.

• SUCCESSFUL INDIE GAME DEVELOPERS.

People who are daring enough to challenge themselves in independent game development are not having the easiest time of their lives, but they do prosper in more ways than one. Their success is without measure once they make their way in the world and industry.

Some of the most famous and most successful indie game developers are known by the studio or personal name, their games, and reputation:

  1. Amplitude Studios, situated in Paris, France, and famous for their games Endless Space, Endless Legend and Dungeon of the Endless. If you are a fan of fantasy, it's the perfect indie company for you!
  2. Artix Entertainment, with headquarters in Florida, USA. This developer gained a lot of glory launching roleplay games such as AdventureQuest, EpicDuel, HeroSmash, WarpForce, and many others.
  3. Psyonix Games, an American video game developer based in San Diego. Famous for soccer and combat games such as Rocket League and ARC Squadron.
  4. Mojang, a Sweedish video game studio, with headquarters in Stockholm. The studio is best known for creating Minecraft, the best-selling video game of all time.
  5. Christopher Howard Wold, an independent game developer from North Carolina, USA. He's most known for making free-to-play video games such as DragonSpires and I'm O.K – a Murder simulator.
  6. Christine Love, a Canadian visual novel writer, known for her original work: Digital: A love story, Analouge: A hate story, etc.

Becoming a successful game developer has never been more attainable. As technology progresses, so do video games and their importance in everyday lives and trends. Video games are constantly breaking limits between age, gender, ethnicity, and educational attainment. More and more people are interested in playing, which means more and more games are required, and that inevitably leads towards the necessity for more and more game developers. If so many people can do it and love it, why not you as well? And if you keep yourself well informed, motivated and industrious, there's literally nothing you can't do! If you take your time to research and learn, you will surely prosper!

Good luck, and happy game making!

Comments

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    • Ivana Divac profile imageAUTHOR

      Ivana Divac 

      10 days ago from Serbia

      Thank you, everyone, for all this positive comments!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      11 days ago from UK

      This type of career has really taken off in the past generation. You have given a lot of helpful information in your article to anyone who is considering this as a career.

    • profile image

      Anya A. 

      2 weeks ago

      Great hub!

    • profile image

      Mary. 

      2 weeks ago

      Useful and detailed. I really enjoyed reading this hub!

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