How to have a Career as a Game Developer

How to have a Career as a Game Developer

[ Introduction ]

I don’t intend to sound formal or academic in any sense but then again, this format has already helped a lot of people(including me) so I am going to stick to it anyway.

You may have come around many articles and blog on How to have a Career as a Game Developer, this one is just more of a journal/ note/ Task List. All of the key points are arranged in a specific manner, so you may find very short paragraphs.

Articles are:

  • Comparatively Short
  • Updated with Latest Trends and Specs
  • Objective type and To the point
  • Distinctive and Clear
  • Drafts, Diagrams, Examples (just like this one) and Walkthroughs
  • Comparisons with Advantages/Disadvantages, Quotes and Links
  • Challenging as-well-as Motivating
  • References to valuable resources and people
  • Separate Queries in the Forum ( Soon)

[ STEP 1 ] – Reviewing all the “instincts” and “intuitions”

I created this blog as a reminder for myself from time to time, and as a self-motivation tool. Eventually, it has helped a lot of my friends, local people, and even people from other places (outside my country).

There is a difference between becoming a game developer, and becoming a good game developer. To become the latter, get yourself acquainted with these following skills –

  1. Strong Programming ability ( C++ / Java / C# / ActionScript / JavaScript / …)
  2. Understanding platform architecture (PC/ PlayStation/ XBOX/ Android/ Wii/ iOS/ Steam Box/ … )
  3. Understanding Academics – Maths, Physics, Graphics, AI (Artificial Intelligence), Psychology …
  4. Understanding Tools
    1. Art Tools - (Photoshop, Blender/ 3DS/ zBrush),
    2. Engines - ( Unity3D, Construct 2, UDK, …), IDEs ( Visual Studio, Xcode)
  5. Creativity in any form – Sketching, Illustrations, Story Telling, Voice Acting
  6. Playing the “damn” Game – The more you play = The more you get the idea about how others will enjoy or treat your game. Many great game designers have written books on Gameplay Mechanics and Game Play Experience.
  7. Exercise – Crucial for health, both body and mind. In this field, our important asset to contribute is our brains. If your body is not healthy, you’ll probably suffer the Game Developer’s Block- you will run out of ideas, get irritated and depressed. Work it out champ.

[ STEP 2 ] – Knowing what “Game Developers” do

Wikipedia quotes:

Video game development is the process of creating a video game. Development is undertaken by a game developer, which may range from a single person to a large business. …

Clearly this is way too simple for beginners to catch. So I am gonna run through very basic work each team needs to carry out :
Video Game Developers (Devs) are those people who write bunch of codes (respectfully, program) for a game software in or out of a company.
Artists make gun models and bullet colours. Developers make it possible for the players to fire a bullet out of a gun.
Designer, however, work between them and set up the rules of how fast the player can fire bullets.

The mainstream people have always gone to become a Game Designer by following the path of either a Game Artist or a Game Developer and excelling at it. This is purely for fallback and guidance purpose. You are free to roam around and find your own ways of achieving it.
So, the bottom line is, you need to know how to program. Although there are some products in the market who claim to produce games “without programming”, I would recommend against them as they will only slow you down. I am not saying they are bad and all but, there does exist fast and effective approaches than using GameMaker kind of products.

Also, do not get tempted to freeze yourself with C++ as you might have heard that pro game developers in industries use only C++. Its a fact. Starting out with C++ will surely teach you many facets and make you technically very strong. But then again, there does exist fast and effective approaches than using hardcore beasts like C++.

[ STEP 3 ] – Understanding under-the-hood

The Problem

Some learn from text books, some from practical implementations, some from Audio-Video and Interaction. The problem is, the way of understanding and acquiring knowledge is not same and consistent for everyone.

Blog to the rescue

Although, a fact still remains a fact for everyone. So, instead of shedding different versions of perspective over a single thing, lets think tactically and try to acquire knowledge based on patterns, guidelines and real-time implementations.

This article and/or blog is way too immature to be used as a text book. Just read it whenever you feel you want to know something more. And obviously, do practice it along with because Game programming is more of a practical thing, than mere theory.

You do need some basic understanding of certain things before starting out. Please review the chapters and get yourself acquainted with specified topics as it will be mentioned in the following chapters.

[ STEP 4 ] – All Hammers and Nails

Game Art:

  • Blender / 3DS MAX
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe After Effects (For Post Production)
  • ZBrush

Game Programming:

  • Combo 1: Visual C++ with DirectX 11
  • Combo 2: Visual C++ with IrrLicht/ Ogre3D engine
  • Combo 3: Visual C# with SlimDx (Discontinued)
  • Combo 4: Visual C++ with OpenGL
  • Combo 5: Java with openGL
  • Combo 6: Unity3D with C#
  • Combo 7: Unreal Engine, Blueprint
  • … many more

There are so many of ‘em

IMHO, there are way more combo than you can imagine. You don’t need to worry about that. My Main focus will be on Unity, Unreal Engine, C++ and DirectX. Although I would introduce other software just for the sake of comparison and introductory knowledge.

[ STEP 5 ] – Get Down’ and Dirty

Why DirectX? Isn’t OpenGL easier?

I really don’t want to get in the religious debate between whether to choose DirectX or OpenGL. I really feel each has its own advantage and disadvantage. If you are more like an OpenGL person, I would recommend you to come to this site later as I will be adding OpenGL tuts also. If you want to compare both of them, do it here.
And for everyone else who want to row the DirectX boat, lets get started to the amazing adventure, Lets Rock! \m/

Wait, what the heck is this DirectX and OpenGL and all those things?

Hmm, if everything above looks alien to you, don’t panic. If you don’t know these but surely have heard of these and it is exciting your blood cells then, congratulate yourself, you do have game development in your gene.
Direct Answer: DirectX (Direct3D) and OpenGL are two of the most popular Graphics APIs that help you to build amazingly super cool games. DirectX is a proprietary software by Microsoft an OpenGL is an open source library maintained by Silicon Graphics. DirectX SDK (Software Development Kit) contains many APIs ( Application Programming Interface ) such as – Direct3D, XACT3, DirectInput, etc.

Seriously, what are these things? You are freaking me out!

Think of it as a collection of small building blocks. We place each of them on top of the other to make a big castle. It doesn’t matter what color you choose (DirectX or OpenGL), what matters is your game logic. Keep Rocking \m/.

Am I eligible to learn these stuff?

Any one with the passion of making games is eligible. All the posts here are written keeping in mind that the reader is novice.
Since DirectX and OpenGL are advanced topics, it is recommended that the user knows the basics of C++ programming language like – Classes and Objects, Inheritance, Pointers etc. Posts requiring this stuff will also have a reference to a crash course. Still, Basic knowledge about C++ is highly recommended. Want to learn now – Go here.

Sources of this blog

One source is never enough. Admit it. Plus, using multiple sources lets you gain in-depth knowledge in a very reliable and easy way. I have tried to compile all the sources in to a very simple and easy manner. List of Sources:

[ STEP 6 ] – Lets get started

So now that you have a somewhat clear idea about making games, start small, and be ready to fail. In the next post, we will start with basic comparison, selection and configuration of different tools, install them and review their alternatives and explore more and more resources.
We will take a peek on conversation among high profile game developers and great people in the game Industries to motivate yourself.
Also, we will learn something good about being healthy.
So prepare yourself – mentally, physically, technically and psychologically and every damn-ally. You are going to fight, compete and also contribute to the world of Gaming and it’s Development. I wish you all the luck.

[ Homework ] – No, you are not escaping this time …

For starters, read along these pages for a reference. Feel free to choose any of them.

[ Suggestions / Feedback / Criticism: ]

I am open to criticism and feedbacks. If you feel that I have caught a different path somewhere in my article, feel free to contact me. If you want me to write an article concerning a very important topic, please use the forum or email me. All your feedback and suggestions are highly appreciated. Thanks.

I hope I could throw some light on how to have a career as a game developer.

[ Disclaimer: ]

All images used are copyrighted material. DirectX is Licensed under Microsoft.