The fastest growing industry in the world is the entertainment industry. From watching eloquent theatre productions to surfing social media on your train ride, everyone is looking for new ways to amuse themselves.
But one of the latest forms of entertainment that are emerging as one of the most sought after by the current generation is, you guessed it, Video Games.
Be it the retro hit Tetris, the open-world masterpiece called Grand Theft Auto, or the addictive sweet bursts of Candy Crush, almost each one of us has had a chance to either play or witness the satisfaction gained by playing video games.
And after experiencing any good game, two questions come to mind. First, “When can I play more of it?” and second, “How did someone make it?”.
Today, we shall dive deep into the details and try to answer the latter. This probably is the only game development guide you will ever need.
Game Developers – The Wizards of Keyboards
There are two groups of people involved in the making of any game.
First are the game designers. Game designers create the entire vision of the game. They use their imagination to create, plan, and visualize the entirety of the game. They think of all intricate details such as story, features, characters, audio, video, limitations, etc, and create all the concept arts and media required by the game.
The other group has the Game Developers. This group has the responsibility of turning the imagination of designers into reality, making them nothing short of wizards. They work closely with game developers and using their specifications, create the final product that we get to play.
How does a Game Developer do what he does?
Game developers use a variety of wands in their sleeves to work their magic.
They use several coding languages to determine how the game would react to various inputs provided by the user. They also program the repercussions of the inputs that will be seen on the screen by the player.
In simple terms, the developer programs the game to shoot a bullet when the player clicks the mouse button and how the bullet will travel across the game world (the trajectory, damage, range, etc.). In nutshell, it’s a concept that involves connecting millions of dots.
Is that all a Game Developer needs to do?
Hearing all of this makes it sound easy, but that is not all there is to it. Some of the many roles and responsibilities of a Game Developer are:
- Analyzing requirements into tidy yet efficient code.
- Plan schedules and milestones for the project.
- Create prototypes of new features and ideas.
- Program the animation of characters and objects.
- Facilitate proper testing methods for games.
- Play a role in the audio and video design incorporated into the game.
- Construct storyboards and scripts for the game.
- Try to keep the loading times as small as possible.
- Keep checking for new bugs and provide updates and fixes as quickly as possible.
Coding Languages – A variety of spells to pick from
It is no surprise that every platform requires a different coding language to develop video games. Since every platform requires different specifications and instructions, the rise of one universal language for every platform isn’t really realistic.
Having that said, here are the majorly used languages for developing games based on the platform of your choice.
With original game development languages like Pascal and Delphi getting obsolete, the latest language used for developing desktop games is CUDA.
The reason why CUDA is the most recognized is that it was created by Nvidia to incorporate the factors of graphic processing into the initial code. It uses the vast power of GPUs to speed up compute-intensive applications
The most used languages for developing games for consoles are C++ and C# (pronounced C sharp). They are used with several game development engines depending on the specific console in mind.
For example, Microsoft developed Unity to aid developers in making Xbox games but now unity is used for making games for several platforms such as PS3, PS4, AppleTV, etc.
Unity supports both C++ and C# making it one of the most accessible engines out there. Another widely popular engine is the Unreal Engine that is one of the oldest engines around and is primarily based on C++.
Since the touchscreen smartphone became a fundamental need of every person, mobile games have skyrocketed to become a major force in the industry.
With entire studios being formed for developing mobile games, there are two main branches when it comes to platforms for mobile games – Android and iOS.
Android developers primarily use Java for developing games, while iOS developers use Objective-C. Since it is a comparatively new field, there is a lot of scope for anyone who might be interested in opting for the same.
Game development – How to learn it?
Now the main question that arises: How can someone enter the Game Development Industry?
The answer is very simple, yet complex.
The simple part of the answer is to learn how to code and develop video games. Select the platform of your choice and see which language is the most sought after in the industry. Pair that with the game engine required and practice development till you get a chance to get in.
The complex part involves a lot of effort. After you decide what you want to learn, you need to figure out how to do it. Your location will have a lot of effect on your progress.
First, there are not a lot of places that teach game development. Coding languages are taught at many places but there is a significant difference in the programming done for games and the programming done for anything else like websites or apps. Even if you know a language, it might take you some time to adapt yourself to games and learn how to use engines.
The easiest thing to do in this case would be to enroll in an online course in related fields like Machine Learning, preferably with live classes and doubt sessions for efficient learning. The input and effort you put in would have a significant impact on your result. Also, look for projects that you can work on to gain experience and valuable insight.
After you learn the basics and get the general idea of the subject, start looking for internships or training programs to get into. They are usually offered by a lot of independent or newly made studios and by a few big studios.
Eventually, you can apply as a full-time developer and congratulate yourself on making your passion your full-time career!
Where to apply and what to look for?
There are several places where you can begin. Following is a general step-by-step outline to give you an idea for your journey where we shall be taking console development to be our main objective.
Keep in mind that the steps mentioned below apply to all branches of game development as it is just an example to provide you with a framework that you can follow.
- Pat yourself on the back for deciding to do what you want and not what society tells you to.
- Decide which language you want to learn. For console game development, C++ and C# are the two options. You can go for C# if you are a beginner but if you have experience then you can directly jump into C++ to open extra doors for yourself.
- Find a course that can teach you the language you wish to learn. There are a number of online courses if you are unable to find an offline course. You can opt for courses on Verzeo as well to bring momentum to your passion.
(Note: There is a good chance that your course will provide you with the necessary software or at least the instructions associated with downloading the software. In that case, you can skip to the following pointers).
- Next, you will need an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to help you code. The two prominent IDEs for C# and C++ are Visual Studio and MonoDevelop. Download either of these from the official websites.
- Lastly, download the engine you will be using. For consoles, the prominent ones are Unity and Unreal Engine. Research on both and select the right one for you to download.
- Having downloaded all the software learn the art of game development from your course and do not forget to practice on your as well to improve your skills.
- After learning all that you need to, work on building a portfolio for yourself. The easiest way to do this would be to work on projects. You can search the web for easy projects to make yourself. There are also answers in Quora you can have a look at.
- After you have gained enough experience, look out for openings to apply on websites or social media pages of game development studios. Big studios have a dedicated page that can be sorted using various filters. For example, look at the careers page of Ubisoft which lists all openings across all its offices.
- Once you get accepted, rejoice! You made it.
What comes next?
Now that you have entered the world of game development, work on your skills and dedicate yourself to your work. Keep on building your portfolio. And don’t be satisfied for a second. Eventually, you can get noticed and rise in ranks. If that is not your style, open your own game studio and work on games that give you satisfaction. Remember, you are a magician that can make thoughts into reality.
If for some reason, after countless efforts, you are unable to get into the industry. Even if you get in, the job is not a safe and secure one. Your company could be shut down, the same goes for your branch, or your entire project can get canceled and the company feels that it does not need you anymore, fret not.
After learning how to develop games, you have learned how to use coding languages effectively. You can easily get into parallel careers of web development, android development, etc. as most of these fields make use of the same languages to carry out their work.
At the end of the day, you have your skillset and your experiences. Use it effectively and it will give you the returns you deserve.
Game Development is a field rife with possibilities. New video games are getting developed every day and while there is a lot of competition for entry-level positions, there is a shortage of people with experience.
You have the resources from Verzeo at your disposal and your passion to drive you forward. Put in the effort if you want to follow your dreams and eventually, they will be noticed. Do not let anything hold you back as the only limit you have, is your imagination.