Thursday, April 24, 2014

To Aspiring Game Developers

Hey all,

So, I thought I'd take the time to talk about getting started in games, what it means to be a programmer or a designer.

Getting started in the games industry is certainly a trial, and your rewards are going to be mostly self awarded. You will be taking pride in parts of the product that many people will not even see. Hell, you may spend a ton of time working on something for the game, only to have that feature cut, it happens. You will be working long hours, you will probably not be rich, and odds are, you may never make a AAA project or work at Nintendo.

But you will be making something amazing that may inspire many people for many years to come. Your game may entertain many, and maybe somebody will say "Oh _______, that game is amazing!"

I guess what I'm saying is, you're not going to be doing this to be rich, or to make people love you, you're doing this because you love it.

Programmers: You will be responsible for actually making the game, or making tools that enable others to do so. You have to be great at logic and problem solving. Good math skills are a huge plus. But here's something no one ever says: Have a backbone, tell people when they're being dumb, if you feel like you know better, prove it. Also, take ownership of your work, don't provide excuses. Language is not important, know your fundamentals.

Designers: You are responsible for working out all the details of your game. You have to be a strong communicator, and must be willing to argue to see your vision come to life. Sometimes you must put your foot down and compromise very little to see your project to reality. A designer doesn't just write something down on paper, they also make levels, plan the in game economy, get the feel right, write in game scripts (assuming the programmer put a scripting language into the game engine), and direct the team. Designers are busy people.

Both of these parties have to work closely together to deliver a product smoothly.

Making games isn't easy, and if you're just starting a company or indie group, start small so that you can get a feel for how your team works. A lot of people make the mistake of aiming high (guilty), and not realizing just what that means.

Hopefully this short read taught you something you didn't already know, but I wrote this on the bus, so it may be a bit scatterbrained.


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