National Video Games Day (12 September)
The first video game that was developed for a bring-home console (the Magnavox Odyssey) was called “Table Tennis” and led to the massive success of the similarly-themed Atari game “Pong”. It was released in September 1972, was sold for $100.00 and included several other games. The Magnavox Odyssey was the first gaming device that could connect to a raster-scan video display (Television) and by the end of 1975 it had sold over 350,000 units.
Once Atari released “Pong” as a cabinet-style arcade game, a new era in gaming was ushered in, which sparked the beginning of game development careers and the unprecedented rise in the video game industry for not only arcade-style, but also console- and PC-based games. This is evident by the fact that there is now a National Video Games Day celebration on 12 September of each year.
Today there is a great demand for Game Developing professionals as the market for games on all platforms including PC, console and mobile devices has become massive, and only continues to grow at an astonishing rate given that it is an industry that reaches across all demographics, regardless of age group or race.
Game development career
A game development career will suit individuals that have a flair for the extravagant and a creative mindset coupled with a good set of technical skills and knowledge. Depending on the area of game development that you wish to pursue, such as Programmer, Designer, Artist or Animator, the typical duties that will be performed by a Game Developer may include creating code for the game to run smoothly and correctly, working audio, the in-game physics, artificial intelligence or the game’s graphics.
Given the above information, it becomes clear that a casual knowledge of how video games work and an entry-level skillset will not be enough to be proficient at programming or to progress your game development career. The best way to attain the skills and knowledge that you will need is to gain an up-to-date certification that will advance your skills quickly, but thoroughly. Those that are new to programming will need to become familiar with the common programming languages, such as C# and Python. Both languages are used by programming professionals on a daily basis and will quickly guide you to the mindset of a Programmer.
It is an industry that demands that deadlines are met and that the expected quality is attained. This could lead to long hours behind your computer and may often involve working overtime and on weekends. This is why you need to enter a field that you have a passion for and enjoy working on. Once the project is completed and the final product is ready to be released, the rewards are more than worth it not only on a personal level, but on a monetary level as well as many organisations will implement incentive bonuses for projects that are completed on time.
Game Development Earnings
A game development career can be very lucrative, depending on the amount of experience you have, your qualifications and, of course, the company that you are working for. Below are some examples of the average salaries that can be expected in the game development field:
|C# Game Developer||£52,500|
|Senior Game Artist||£32,500|
|Mobile Game Developer||£52,500|
*Source – ITJobswatch 2016
Become a gamer
This would seem obvious, but to truly understand how a game should look and function, it is important to spend time playing and scrutinising other games that have been successfully developed. Most individuals that opt for a game development career do so because they already have a passion for gaming, but others that are new to the field can greatly benefit from this.
Further Reading: Top 20 best video games for beginners
Never stop learning
Once you have gained a certification, you will have a fundamental understanding of game programming. You will continue to learn as your game development career progresses and you continue to work on different projects. No two games are exactly alike and you will have to learn new skills in order to attain what is demanded from each project.
New platforms are constantly being developed, new technologies will emerge and new styles in gameplay and graphics will become popular, so it is imperative that you evolve with the demands of the ever-changing gaming industry. This can be done by renewing your certification, using online tutorials for emerging technologies or reading magazines that are dedicated to the gaming and tech industries.
Further Reading: What’s the best games console?
There is also a lot to learn from attending gaming exhibitions and festivals in that the latest games and technologies will be on display, usually with informative presentations and explanations accompanying them. You will also very often be given the chance to experience these first hand via demos that are available to be played while attending.
Don’t be afraid to start your game development career in a junior position, such as Junior Programmer or Junior Graphics Designer. You will learn a lot from your more senior co-workers and the experience that you will accumulate while working your way up the programming ladder will see you become a seasoned professional with skills that will always be in demand, as long as they are kept up to date.
Creating a portfolio of the projects that you have worked on can drastically increase your chances at being hired. Whether it be work that you have done as an artist, animator, programmer or completed games, it all counts towards experience that you have accrued.
Other soft skills that will be helpful include:
• Good computer skills
• An imaginative mindset
• Being a problem-solver
• The ability to communicate effectively
• Being a team player
• Working well under pressure
• A willingness to learn
When looking to start your game development career, study courses that are applicable to the job role that you are pursuing. Courses in computer science, software engineering, interactive media, multimedia, graphic design and even maths or physics are examples of certifications that are applicable to a game development career.
Speak to our course and career advisors if you are looking to start a game development career.