I love video games and the prospect of making a career out of them has always been a dream that I believed too good to be true. However, the game industry has been on the rise for decades and increasingly proves to be a real career choice with the added benefit that even a small team can produce something that stands out. With this dream in mind, I’ve read the following article on how to get started in the game industry with advice and interviews from current game developers.
The first question asked to the panel is “What is the best way to start making game?” To which many emphasized the importance of learning the basics of coding. While some game development tools allow you to get started with little coding knowledge, its unavoidable that you eventually learn a programming language or two, C++ is recommended specifically. Game developments tools such as unity, RPG maker, and game maker studio help significantly with transferable concepts of what goes into making a game.
Another question was “If someone is looking to set up a small studio themselves – what advice would you give them?” A few panelists strongly advised not starting a studio early on and that a better choice would be getting experience in an already established studio before gaining the confidence to branch off on your own. However, if you were to start a studio you absolutely need a great programmer as well as an artist. Also it is very important that you have a team member who knows the business of the industry. Byron Atkinson-Jones shares that “the making of the game, that’s actually the easiest part. Managing things like business finances, making sure you can all eat regularly, marketing, PR, legal stuff, QA and selling the game once it’s done are the hardest.”
The next question asked was “Are there any key skills that people should have or things they should know that aren’t obvious or aren’t taught on design/coding courses?” To which many of the panelists stressed the importance of communication within a team. Learning to be a nice person while being open to criticism for the sake of the project are invaluable traits that cannot be taught in schools. You could be very skilled and experienced but if you don’t get along with group members and refuse to communicate effectively, your project will suffer greatly.
The last question ill go over in this post is “Is a degree in computer games programming or design a necessity?” The short answer from most of the panelists is no, you can go a long way with passion and devotion to video games as long as you have the portfolio to back it up. Aj Grand-Scrutton expresses that “a degree is effectively gravy compared to an actual portfolio” emphasizing that real experience dominates over just having a degree.