We all love C0mputer games. They have been around for a while now. We all wondered as kids while playing, how are these games built? The gaming industry has grown exponentially over the past years. It was estimated at $175 billion (about $540 per person in the US) in 2020 and it will grow to $314 billion dollars by 2026. Game developers are always in demand, and it is a high paying career. Unity developer is the 7th most searched job on LinkedIn. Game developers have a highly creative mind because games are a piece of Art! In the following paragraphs, we will talk about a beginner’s guide to a game development career.
What is Game Development?
What is game development exactly? Normally, when a person thinks about making games, he thinks of only programming, but it is not the case. Game Dev is made of different specializations like
- 3D Modelling
- Concept Art
- Sound Design
Obviously, programming is a major part of development, but other components are of utmost importance too. Storytelling, Character building, Music and building various levels of the game are all part of the journey.
Game developers either work in teams, like in a Gaming Studio (Activision, Ubisoft etc.) or as Indie game developers who develop all parts of the game themselves. Beginners normally start as indie developers and make their way towards different studios.
Games are normally classified as 2D or 3D games. You can choose your path depending on your interest, but in today’s time, 3D games are the most popular.
A game engine provides the architecture that developers use to run a game.
A video game engine allows you to add:
- collision detection
- artificial intelligence
- and more without the need to program them
Game engines provide the necessary components that developers use to build the framework of the game which can also be used in future so that code is not written repeatedly for the same thing.
This gives them more time to focus on the unique elements like character models (Skins), textures, how characters interact, etc.
If you were to make your game from scratch without using an integrated environment as a Game engine, it would be tedious, and the game would not have the quality of today’s standards.
There are different game Engines Available in the market, but here we will suggest you start with the one that is the most beginner-friendly.
You have options like:
- Game Maker
- Amazon Lumberyard (Open 3D Engine)
There are many more but the most popular is the unreal engine. The original version was released back in 1998 and till today, it continues to be used for some of the biggest games every year. Popular games made with Unreal Engine include the Gears of War series, Mass Effect series, Bioshock series, and the Batman: Arkham series. Unreal is used to make games on Xbox One, PS4, PC, iOS, Android, Mac OS X, Linux, and VR.
Programming Languages for unreal:
The unreal engine uses c++ and blueprints (A visual programming tool). If you have advanced c++ knowledge then you can easily work with but if you are a beginner, you can start with blueprints to get a sense of what is going on.
One advantage of Blueprints is that it’s often quicker to create a new game mechanic because of the ability to take advantage of pre-constructed nodes; creating nodes and connecting them will often take less time than typing out the code and compiling it.
Applications of Unreal
The Unreal Engine is also used in film-making for creating virtual sets that can track camera motion around actors and objects and be rendered in real-time to large LED screens and lighting systems. This allows for real-time shot composition, on spot editing of the virtual sets as required, and the ability to shoot multiple scenes within a brief period by just changing the virtual world behind the actors.
Unity on the other side is the most beginner-friendly compared to unreal engine. The unity multi-platform engine allows you to create interactive 3D content with ease. Recent notable games made with Unity include Lara Croft Go, Her Story, Pillars of Eternity, and the Kerbal Space Program. Unity is supported on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Tizen, and Fire OS. Nearly half of the mobile games being made today have used Unity as their engine.
Programming Languages for unity:
- C and C++
For anyone starting with Unity, or anyone with previous knowledge of object-oriented programming, C# is the right language to learn for Unity. In fact, C# is the only language worth learning for the platform, and with good reason. It has many similarities to C++ but also has some major differences, including Support for modern memory management techniques, Support for data abstraction, Support for exception handling.
If you are starting out as a beginner, unity is the best for you as it supports 2D as well as 3D game development and is also beginner-friendly.
Resources To Learn Unity:
There are many places to learn about the Unity engine.
- Unity game designer playbook
This book is a professional guide to the game design created by experts, so you can refer to it as your go-to learning module for unity.
- Unity documentation
Its documentation provides you with hands-on information, to begin with.
- Unity YouTube Channel
Learning in today’s world is digitalized. You can follow the unity YouTube channel for practical guidance to make games.
You can also refer to Coursera and Udemy for further courses.
Qualifications/Skills for game dev:
In recent times, many people believe that getting a degree in a specific field is a waste of time and resources; a person should obtain real-world experience and skills working and learning from practical work in the industry. Also, there are a plethora of free or even paid resources to learn a specific skill within a time span. But getting a degree in your specific field of interest always gives you a benefit and a slight edge over others.
For game development, a degree in computer science or other science-related subjects is always a good start.
You can also be someone from different backgrounds like Art, film or even music and dive into the vast world of gaming.
- Programming is the most fundamental part of developing games.
You should be fluent in C++, C# or java etc. Experience in a good gaming engine like unity or unreal is preferred.
- Design is also a major part of the game industry. Being good at designing things makes you a perfect candidate for game development.
- Problem-solving aptitude:
To be a successful game developer, you should be able to find faults, errors or other technical bugs and solve the problem. A game developer will have to deal with all these in their whole career, so be READY!
Games are born out of creativity. Use your creative mind and think out of the box for magnificent ideas about the game because it’s all about how creative and different a game is that vouches for its success. Your game should stand alone, it should be odd because you gotta be odd to be number 1. Also, while developing a game, make sure you keep in mind the cultural aspects of the end-user. It helps the players to connect with the game quickly.
How to Start:
- Start making text-based games like Zork or spider and web. Another suggestion would be to learn Pygame.Pygame is simple to learn and can be used to make simple games like flappy bird and boosts your confidence in the right direction.
- After that, jump onto unity and start developing games like mario or 2D snake game. Unity also has a large community so if you get stuck you can get help easily.
- Participate in competitive programming and game development competitions. Attend hackathons and improve your tech skill along with making new connections.
- Next stop could potentially be unreal engine. You can make a change in your career and start working in bigger studios and make powerful 3D games.
- You can also be your own boss and become an indie game developer or even make your own studio and find tremendous success in that venture
In conclusion, consistency, and eagerness to learn is what will get you to achieve your goals. Keep motivating yourself and move forward. It is never too late!