Game playing is an enjoyable pastime activity. What is more exciting is developing one. If you are gaming often, you might have new ideas for future games. To bring these ideas to life, you need to master game development skills. Even if you do not have an idea, game development is a lucrative area for your future career. The demand for a game developer increases steadily. It is not easy to become a professional developer. You need to invest a lot of time to develop your skills.
Sometimes you will not be able to figure out the work process of programming languages and lose your motivation. Only the most considerable effort wins in this industry. After a long time of observing the struggles of beginners, I decided to write an article to summarize the steps that you need to follow. Each developer has its way of learning the skills. This guide will be a good starting point for everyone.
Before passing to the core topic, I want to explain to you a common misconception. People usually confuse game design with game programming. These two terms are different from each other. However, the game is only successful if these two processes support each other. In straightforward words, game design deals with the concept, while game programming is all about execution. If you are a game designer, you deal with the structure of the game, characters, or storyline. You create the rules for playing and level arrangements. Then, based on your ideas, game programmers build the game on programming languages. They code every detail and create a game that is ready to play.
As mentioned before, the game development process takes a lot of time and energy. However, learning how to develop the game carries even more effort. If you want to be a game developer, you need to remember that there is no shortcut or fast way. You need to be patient and work consistently to create the most exciting games. Here are the seven steps one needs to follow to be a professional game developer.
If you want to be a game developer, there are several skills that you should master. Those can be bost soft skills like networking or hard skills like programming languages. You might wonder why skill acquiring is the first stage, not planning or goal setting. The reason is that no matter what you intend, whether you want to get an education for game development or learn it by self-studying, you have to have those skills. Let me give you an example. Game development involves extensive coding. But, coding is all about mathematical equations that create directions to follow for the operations. Hence, game developers need a high level of math skills. If you decide that you want to enter a university to acquire game development skills, the university will demand you to have information about trigonometry or calculus. You need to understand algebra and basic algorithms.
The main goal for you should be acquiring the skills by acting as a student. Take responsibility and learn. If you think learning is boring, you can cheer yourself by gaming. However, I am talking about gaming with a purpose. If you want to write a book, you should read some beforehand. Alternatively, if you desire to create movies, you need to watch many great ones to enlarge your understanding. The process works the same for a game developer, too. You need to play the most famous games to realize why they became popular. While playing, try to understand the storyline, character difference, and level design.
Part of the skill acquisition process is selecting with which programming language and game engine you want to work. For further information, the game engine acts like a framework where you build the game. You can enjoy scripting of events and establishing the game's physics with these engines. The benefit of them is that you save a lot of time and effort. Without a platform, creating every detail will be complicated and prolong the development time. There exist several game engines.
Types of Game Engines
Unity game engine is entirely for free for basic video game design. However, it should be sufficient to aid you in understanding how the basics of engine work. A game development company created Pillars of Eternity or Lara Croft Go with the help of the Unity engine. Another type of framework is the Unreal Engine. It is also very well-known, and games like Fortnite Battle Royale were built on this engine. Also, this framework is free. However, if a game developer makes a successful game, some percentage of the revenue should go to the platform. The last example can be CryEngine. The advantage of this platform is that it is free to use all the features. You do not need to pay any royalties, too. One can play Far Cry to understand how the outcomes can look like with CryEngine.
A game developer should excel in several programming languages. Your choice will mostly depend on which engine you are going to use. For instance, if you are working with Unreal Engine or CryEngine, it is better to learn C++. However, Unity requires another programming language from the C programs- C#. You should also consider that C++ has a steep learning curve when you compare it with C#. Hence, if you are a beginner, it is advisable to start with C#. Then as you advance, you can move to C++. Though C++ is harder to work, it offers many more possibilities for customizing your game.
Gaming communities are one of the most helpful ways for you to develop gaming knowledge and analyze the market. If you join a gaming community, you will be aware of what players think about various games. Those players are your potential future audience. If you can figure out what they like or dislike, your next games can be huge successes. Besides, you will also meet many people who want to be game developers, too. It is highly probable that you will get inspired by their learning process. You can work together or share your tips for mastering game development.
Other than the mentioned benefits, communities are beneficial if one looks for a job. Having a friend who works in the industry can be advantageous for you. The reason is that they will be aware of your skills and can involve you in their teams. It is not uncommon that a game development company contacts active gamers and game developers who have brilliant ideas and thoughtful comments.
One of the most helpful ways to develop coding skills is by analyzing other's codes. By looking through the codes, you will be able to understand how a game works. Besides, you will be more professional in debugging after being familiar with that many codes. People usually ignore this skill. However, it can benefit from understanding how advanced developers work. You can even try to re-engineer the game to improve your skills, too.
Once you start learning the necessary skills, you can think about your plan. The reason for the planning to be on the second stage is that, without searching for skills, your plan will be uncomplete. Only after acquiring the necessary skills, you will have a clear vision of what you need for the next steps. The game development process is challenging and complicated. Hence, having a plan will be crucial to success.
First, you need to decide your goals. The type of game you want to develop, the software that you will need or a degree. Your plan might or might not include getting a bachelor's degree. Usually, a game developer gets an education in Computer Science, or they go for educational programs specifically for video game developers. In a bachelor's degree, you will learn about C++, math skills like calculus, game algorithms, or network basis. If you do not want to get a degree, you can master those skills by self-studying, too.
While planning, try to set small goals. Sometimes people set unrealistic goals. When they cannot achieve those aims, they lose their motivation. Hence, it is better to set achievable but short term goals for taking you to the big goal. Do not think that you can be a professional game developer in two years. Instead, enjoy your time learning every necessary detail. As long as you are moving toward your target, you will stay inspired.
Besides, when you make a plan, use a game structure. It means that put a target, set rules, and start performing. When you achieve the goal, reward yourself. What can be a better way for a game developer to motivate other than turning the process into a game?
You have made a plan and set goals. Now it is time to start working. The steps mentioned beforehand should be more consistent in this step. Play games extensively and analyze them with your friends from the community. Enroll programming courses or get online education about engines or languages. When you learn how to build a game, you will face many features that you think are useless. However, be aware that each function and feature has a purpose. Instead of ignoring them, master them. Maybe its use is not apparent to a beginner, but after some period, it will help you to create a great game. Do not rush to be a professional. It takes a lot of time and hard work. If it was easy to achieve, then game development would not have been such a fancy and demanded sector.
Besides, you might face a problem to get even a small job in the game studios. Therefore, you need to create a portfolio to represent your ideas. A game developer can add several small games to the portfolio. A complete portfolio should include links to installation software, screenshots, source code, etc. Screenshots from the games can be valuable if the software is not available during the review. Lastly, you also need to mention any collaborator who helped to develop the game, including game designers or artists.
You should also consider that game development is teamwork. You solely cannot develop a comprehensive game. If you want, you should learn illustration, animation, writing, or composing, which will take a decade to master. Therefore, you need to use your connections in the community and find team members. You all can brainstorm on the idea for the game or game structure. My advice would be not trying to create a triple-A game. After all, you all are beginners with little experience. It is better to engage in Indie game development and offer games different from your competitors.
Though self-studying is rewarding, it is the practice that will make you a real game developer. Hence, it is always helpful to find an entry-level job. In this way, you can observe the trends of the industry closer and face real challenges in the development process. I also know that finding a job is not an easy task. However, you can increase your chance by applying small studios for creating simple mobile games. Again, you will find it faster if you join communities. There are blogs, forums, websites that game developers visit frequently. Networking with them will increase your chance. It is also possible that a game development company shares the vacancy through these platforms instead of traditional ways. The reason is that their target employee group is this community. Therefore, they find a good employee in the shortest possible time.
You can also get an internship for the initial stage. Some video game companies like LucasArts or Insomniac Games frequently offer internship positions. However, you should first get skills in C++, 3D game development, or AI to increase your chance. Besides, you need to have problem-solving, time management, and critical thinking skills.
Besides, you can check the career pages of a game development company to see if they offer Junior positions. You might also participate in Game Developer Conferences. There you will enlarge your knowledge, get new connections, and have a chance to find a job. But when you go there, you take something like pictures from your games. In this way, the game company members will keep your name in their minds.
It is also possible that you do not want to be someone else's employee. If you have great ideas and financial resources, you can even start your game studio.
The gaming industry is very competitive. You might be a professional developer today, but after some period, your skills might become outdated. New tools and software emerge every month. Besides, trends in gaming changing a lot. Introduction of 3D games, Virtual Reality games changed the industry a lot. You need to make sure that you stay ahead of all those trends. You should anticipate them and integrate them into your game design process. Besides, you need to refine your programming language or math skills consistently.
Till now, I have explained to you the steps that you should follow to be a professional game developer. In fact, these are the steps that our game development team members followed in their first years. I summarized their ways of creating this article. Hence, I believe, by following those steps, you will achieve success.
Stallion Gaming is a game development company that has a portfolio of all types of games. Unity, Casino games, or Strategy games are the main focus of the Stallion Gaming team. Besides, we create mobile versions, too.
Game development does not only require programming skills. You should be able to understand the psychology of players. It will help you know what they like and what they do not like. By analyzing their behaviors, you will be able to create a game that fits the needs and wants of players ideally. This consideration is what we do in Stallion Gaming. The game developer team puts extensive attention to the interaction of psychology and gamification. We listen to the ideas of clients and create what they wanted. Our team members have experience in 3D game development, VR, AR, or console games. Therefore, we can build any detail or any type of game that clients can request successfully.