Everybody loves Video games and getting into video game development is like a dream for many people. But you should know, it’s not for everyone. If you like math, technology, and art while considering yourself to be a creative person who enjoyed playing video games as a child or enjoys it as an adult, maybe it’s time to consider the possibility of becoming a professional game developer.
A video game development career is not one of the easiest, but it’s one of the fun-filled careers which is 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 think of. Let’s dig into some more information that you should know.
What is Game Development?
Fundamentally, the definition of game development is quite obvious: it’s a process of making a video game. There is a common misconception that game development is only coding. Game development includes art, coding, music, animation, modelling, testing and marketing.
To define it, Game development is the process of making the game assets required for the game and programming it to work together as a video game which your audience will enjoy playing.
Life of a Video Game Developer.
You’d spend your work time creating, programming, and managing the best possible content. Other than creativity and interest, you should also have passion, concentration, and an analytical mind.
The ability to work in a team or as an individual and a wide knowledge of programming languages and gaming trends is a common trait of any game developer.
Depending on what your job description is, you could be making concepts for a video game or planning a story-line, quests, assignments, and possible characters in it.
Or you may be programming, developing, engineering, recording, mixing, testing, producing, or polishing details until you have a full-fledged video game that makes sense.
Important roles in Game development
The job of game developers depends mostly on the role assigned to them as a part of the team or individual. Game designers are responsible for creating the main concept, storyline, and general mood of the game.
Whatever obstacles a player needs to overcome while playing is devised by game designers. On the other hand, game artists are in charge of designing the graphics like background, avatars, objects, and every single detail a player sees on a screen while playing.
Similarly, there are other options you can take up as a video game development career.
Opposite of that, everything a player hears during game playing is the duty of sound designers, who put a lot of effort and creativity into creating perfect soundtracks, background music, voices of the characters, sounds for 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 video games run smoothly while also making it look realistic.
An aspiring game developer can choose one of the game development career paths to follow. One of them certainly includes becoming an independent, or as the industry calls it, an 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.
It might be difficult to make a living as an indie game developer in the initial phase but if your game becomes a success then you might have hit the jackpot.
Video Game Industry
The game industry may not look like much but is one of the top revenue generating industries. 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 such as 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 well informed of the best game developing companies, and of the best individuals in the field.
What are Game Engines
In the core of the terms, game engine is a software-developing 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, knowledge you have, and money you’re willing to spend.
Popular game engines to consider
If you are looking to get a career in video games, then go with Unity or Unreal. These two game engines are considered standard in the gaming industry.
With its ability to be extremely modified. It’s used mostly for the biggest projects in the gaming world.
Used mostly by indie game developers due to high quality, great functionality, and ability to be used to make almost every type of game. If you plan to use Unity then read our post of Unity careers for more details.
The best for non-programmers and artists.
Used for making both 2D and 3D video games, and it’s free to use.
The best for indie developers and beginners, while it handles most platforms, from iPhone to Windows Operating System.
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.
Getting into Game development
1. Mathematical Skills.
You need to be able to code your game mechanics and to be able to code them, you’ll need to achieve basic-level math skills in order to prosper.
Most video game development courses include basic mathematics and physics as well. Mathematical equations and algorithms used to give specific instructions to computers in coding language that a machine can understand are crucial for any type of programming, especially game development.
2. Programming skills.
You ought to have a general knowledge of computer science, either in college or by doing special courses. You also need to learn programming languages.
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. Also, put in some effort into learning one of the major game engines. We have covered this part in detail in the later section.
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 video games as you can, and put every detail in your portfolio.
The more information you can put into it, the better because everything counts, and maybe that one little thing you yourself considered unimportant could be the one that will make a difference!
Your portfolio must include at least one complete game developed by you.
4. First step in game development career
Having a beginner’s job is one of the basic things you need to consider. An entry position or internship in a game developing company 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.
Getting access to blogs, forums, and portals used by some of the most successful creators is definitely a plus as 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 be ready to learn new things and improve things that 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 video games. And, most importantly: never give up! Whatever branch of video game development you choose, it’s inevitable that you will succeed only by doing something.
So, prepare yourself to get out of your comfort zone and make an effort, and you’ll progress quickly!
Ideal Candidate for Game development
The ideal candidate 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.
You’d need to be well informed about new technologies and to always be ready to learn new technology. 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 need a Bachelor’s degree from a 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.
You can start by learning about game engines. You can check out the best game development courses here.
Top Game publishers
The company that publishes the game is known as a video game publisher. Companies publish games made by them and also by other developers. Some publishers are more acknowledged than others. Here is a list of some famous video game publishers.
It’s headquartered in Kyoto, Japan, but it possesses offices in several other parts of the world. Nintendo is the largest video game company in the world.
Headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, and with a subsidiary in Luxembourg.
Headquarters in New York, USA.
Headquartered in Redwood City, California.
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 as independent game developers are not having the easiest time of their lives, but they do prosper in many ways.
Some famous and most successful indie game developers
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!
With headquarters in Florida, USA. This developer gained a lot of glory launching role play video games such as AdventureQuest, EpicDuel, HeroSmash, WarpForce, and many others.
An American video game developer based in San Diego. Famous for soccer and combat games such as Rocket League and ARC Squadron.
10 things you should know before starting a game development company
1. What platforms you are going to publish your video games?
Based on the platform, you have to decide what is going to be your marketplace (app store, steam) and what tools (game engine, modelling etc.) are required. Most of the game engines allow you to port to different platforms easily, but the hardware requirements might change. For example, you require a mac and iPhone to publish to app store.
2. Team members or employees
The difference between team member and employees is that Team members will work for a share of profit but employees need to be paid on weekly or monthly basis. You must decide whether you are going to have partners or employees.
If you are new and don’t have any money to get started then it’s better to pitch your game idea to potential team members.
Think through the strategic skills you’ll need to launch and consider co-founders with those skill sets.
3. Office space
Whether you are going to have an offline or online office. Setting up an office space is very importance as it creates the right environment for team discussion and development. You can also have a virtual office space.
The concept of remote work is getting more and more popular with every member working from different places. This opens up an opportunity to work with people in different countries.
4. Discussion and announcement time
Most people like to work on flexible schedule, but fixing up a time for discussion between team members and announcements can help people to plan their work schedule in advance. This time can also be utilized for brainstorming new ideas, updating the game design document and fixing bugs.
5. Define assets and liabilities
Having a company means having assets and liabilities. You must differentiate between your asset and liabilities. Keep them in check and plan your operational cost. For example, subscription cost of your tools will add to your liabilities, but the games and work you have completed that give you revenue are assets. An employee can be an asset or liability depending upon performance.
6. Define your budget
All companies require an initial investment. It is better if you decide how much you are going to spend for the tools, resources and list all your expenses. Always keep some extra reserve for unseen cost implication at later stage.
Provide a forecast of revenues and expenditures. This is achieved by constructing a model of how a business might perform financially if certain strategies, events and plans are carried out.
7. Know the startup laws in your country
Every country has different rule for startups. Some countries give lot of benefits for startups. Some governments even give funding. It’s always better to know what your country gives for you and what laws to follow.
You must know at least the basic laws in your country like accounting and tax laws, IT laws, Contract laws, Intellectual property laws.
8. Your one-year plan.
This is where you define what you want to accomplish in the first year of your company. This is very important as it gives you a measurement scale for your performance.
This also helps you manage your milestones. After a successful first year you must plan for next 2 years and slowly increase the scope of planning.
if you don’t set up the basics, there are all sorts of issues down the line. if you have a successful first year, then you have done more than just surviving.
9. Money making plans
There are two types of jobs a game development company does. One is making games and publish and the other one is contract jobs. As a new company you need money to keep afloat, so take some contract jobs from larger company for small works.
Meanwhile, don’t forget that you are here to develop your own ideas into games.
Having a right balance between working on new games and contract work is the key to survival.
10. Funding strategy
Funding is a very important phase in all companies. It determines whether a startup will survive the initial phase or not. So having a plan for your funding is a must. Also consider crowdfunding as it’s gaining more traction now a days.
5 Must have Tools for Game development
A game engine is software used to make games. You can make a game without a game engine but that will make the process 100 times more difficult. With powerful game engines like Unity and Unreal available for free, it makes no sense to make a game without them.
I would suggest going with Unity for a complete beginner. You can read our post on Unity vs Unreal for beginners to know the details.
A game engine has most of the required components pre-made. So, you don’t have to code everything from scratch. For example, if you want the player to react to gravity you can just add the gravity component, and you are done. If you don’t use a game engine you need to code the complete physics into it. Learn Unity Now.
Art is an important part of game development. Generally, large video game companies have professional artists to do the game drawings. In the case of indie games, one person is mostly in charge of everything.
There are a lot of drawing tools available but Inkscape is the best free drawing tool. Even a non-artist can master Inkscape in a matter of days. Learn Inkscape Now.
Features of Inkscape
- Object creation like drawing, text, shapes, etc.
- Object manipulation transform, grouping, alignment.
- Coloring- fill and stroke
- Multiple file format support for import and export.
Everyone has heard of Photoshop and that’s because it is a very powerful picture editor. But Photoshop is not free. Gimp is the closest second. Gimp is almost as powerful as Photoshop and it’s Free.
The main advantage of using Gimp is most of the plugins available in Photoshop are also available in Gimp. Learn Gimp now.
- Customizable interface
- Powerful photo editor
- Multiple file format support
- Multiple platform support
- 3rd party plugins support.
3D modeling and animation are the core of 3D game development. You can do basic modeling and animation in the game engine itself but for a full-fledge 3D model development you will need a powerful 3d Modeling tool like Blender.
Blender is an open-source software for creating 3D models, animation, visual effects and motion graphics.
It’s a must have tool for all indie game developers. Blender is easy to learn and free. Blender is also built with export to game engines in mind. Exporting from Blender to Unity or Unreal is a piece of cake. Learn Blender Now.
Features of Blender
- Animation and Rigging
- Video editing
A game is no good if you cannot market it and get players for the game. You can create marketing graphics using tools like Gimp and Inkscape, but the quality of the image will be only as good as your creativity. We need to accept the fact that not all of us are born designers.
Tools like Canva give us the option of readymade templates. You can make your game’s logo and poster in a matter of minutes and it will look good. You can do stuff like curving the text with a simple click of the button.
Many feel that a logo and poster don’t make much of a difference if your game is very good. But, that’s not true. No one will download the game in the first place if the logo and poster are not attractive. It makes a huge difference. Even the image at the top of this blog post is made with Canva. Get Canva for free now.
Best game development courses in Udemy for beginners
Course 1: Unity Developer 3D Course
This is one of the most popular gaming development courses on Udemy and it is no surprise. This course has a student rating of 4.6/5 from over 150k students.
This says everything you need to know about this great course. With over 33 hours of lectures, reading materials that include two articles, and 26 downloadable resources, this course has all you need to know about 3D game development using the Unity game engine.
It is hosted by Ben Tristem and Sam Pattuzzi who take the students through the course. To reach an international audience, the videos contain subtitles in seven languages. These languages are English, French, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, German, and Spanish. This ensures that the majority of people in the world can apply and learn effectively.
This course offers 34 hours of on-demand video divided into 218 lectures. The course instructor takes it from the bottom and explains all the concepts clearly and thoroughly.
The course starts with C# and ends with making games. The best part is the course gets updated every month with new things to learn. With lifetime access you just get free materials every week.
Why you should buy this course:
- You get to learn C# and Unity from scratch.
- You will be making 6 games during the course period.
- No need to have any prior experience in Unity Engine.
- You will learn both 2D and 3D aspects of Unity Engine.
- Each game taught in this course is from a different genre.
- You will be ready to make your own game after this course.
This course is approved by Unity technologies. Unity technologies together with Jonathan Weinberger came up with this course. To date, it has over 46k students enrolled in it.
This course focuses on teaching students how to develop both 2D and 3D games using C#. To cater to the worldwide audience, the videos have subtitles in five languages: English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Polish.
This course includes over 21 hours of video tutorials, 5 downloadable materials, and a certificate of completion when you finish the course. The syllabus for this course covers the following sectors: Beginner C# coding concepts such as if statements, creating power-ups, triple shots and speed boosts, use of AI to create enemies, sound effects, applying shaders for realistic game backgrounds, and understanding the various tools in the Asset Store. This course has over 300 lectures that add up to 21 hours of course time.
Why you should buy this course:
- This course is approved by Unity technologies.
- More focus on 3D aspects of Unity.
- It is great for beginners as it starts from the basics from when you first download Unity to how to add power-ups and speed boosts.
- Best for people wanting to make FPS games.
1. There are no quizzes to test the student on what they have learned
Course 3: Unreal Engine C++ Developer Course
With the Unreal Course, there is a clearly outlined syllabus to follow that takes you through the first and most basic of lessons as you delve into the more complicated stuff. All these are done at your pace.
To use the Unreal game engine, it is important that you familiarize yourself with coding, especially C++, and have knowledge of 3D mathematics and a bit of Physics. If you do not know any of these, then you need not worry as the Unreal Course in Udemy has got you covered.
The instructor is Tom Looman who previously worked for Epic Games which is the parent company for the Unreal Game engine. He will teach you everything from coding in C++ to creating multiplayer games with AI.
This course covers the following sections: sound effects and audio for depth in your game, programming patterns, artificial intelligence and behavior programming, vehicle physics, how to use the Unreal Engine editor, game design principles, C++ which is the standard language in game development, animation Blueprint for custom character animation, vector mathematics, blackboard and behavior tree for artificial intelligence and use of the Unreal terrain editor for creating realistic and epic landscapes.
It also features 280 lectures with about 43 hours of screen time. The course also caters to international audiences with five language subtitles: English, Spanish, Italian, Polish and Portuguese.
This course is very affordable with a one-time fee of $9.99. The minimum requirements for your computer during this course include the following: 64-bit PC capable of running Unreal 4 and 15 GB of free disk space.
WHY YOU SHOULD BUY THIS COURSE:
- Covers almost all aspects of Unreal Engine.
- The basics are covered really in-depth.
- More focus on learning C++ and associated compilers.
- Even cover multiplayer tutorials, which is rare in beginners’ courses.
- Due to the vast amount of content to be covered, some aspects are glided over and not deeply explained
- Some users have reported that the tutor is unresponsive
This course is approved by Epic Games, which is the parent company of Unreal Engine. It was created by Epic Games and Christopher Murphy who is also under the parent company.
He is also the founder of Pub Games and has worked in the gaming industry for gaming giants such as Vive, Oculus, and PS4. With this extensive career and experience, he came up with this course to help new students create their first two games.
For a beginner, learning to use these tools together with a little coding can be overwhelming especially since you do not even know where to start. With the Unreal Course, there is a clearly outlined syllabus to follow that takes you through the first and most basic of lessons as you delve into the more complicated stuff. All these are done at your pace.
This course has over 47K students with a student rating of 4.6/5 which tells you all you need to know about the effectiveness and satisfaction of this course. Since gaming is a diverse field, there are students from all over the world.
To cater to these international students, the videos have subtitles in eight different languages. These languages include English, Indonesian, Thai, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Italian and Spanish. With these, the majority of the people in the world are able to study effectively.
The course is also divided into 85 lectures that add up to 15 hours of screen time. The course covers the understanding of geometrical tools, the creation of a room, detailing the room, lighting the environment, and post-processing. After all the basics are covered, there is a course in developing a game of the classic Pinball and a survival game.
Why you should by this course:
- Released and approved by Epic Games which is also its parent company.
- Covers the most important aspects of the Unreal engine needed for a new developer.
- At the end of the course, the syllabus stipulates that a student should have a holistic comprehension of the engine. It also says that the student should be able to start their own project.