What is development?
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Who is Game Developer? Game development, higher education and Game design. Where to study?
Before I start this article I’d like to highlight that the ideas and material presented here reflect my own point of view only. Of course, I consider this article reasonable and decent enough; however, it is likely that the offered approach is not suitable for everyone. Moreover, despite the huge amount of materials, there are still a lot of things that remain unproved, because the topic is quite complicated and there are plenty of points of view, approaches and different nuances. If you’d like to know more about something, leave a comment and may be it will become a spur to writing a new article.
Perhaps, one of the most urgent questions for those young people who are dreaming of becoming game-developers and getting into GameDev. is the question of education. When you are about to leave school there is a necessity to decide what you want to do in the future, what you want to devote your life to. In such situation you are likely to get lost in the “ocean” of various perspectives, professions and educational institutions which offer “the most needed and highly-paid majors”.
Thinking, weighing, decision taking!!
Some youngsters follow the choice of their parents or keep up with modern tendencies. It leads to the fact that 5 years later the labour-market is lousy with lawyers, managers and representatives of other professions which are considered to be prestigious at that period.
Others think carefully, weigh all pros and cons, analyze prospects and choose that profession which will definitely be in demand in 5-7 years. Hereby, the representatives of so-called “classic” profession which exist for hundreds and thousands years such as builders, doctors, teachers and others appear.
At last, the third part of young people who want to experience something new and who are ready to take a risk, follow the directions of thier Soul Call and choose young and fast-changing spheres, like game development for example.
A tricky question: where game design is taught?
Actually, the reason for writing this article was the question I got from one guy by e-mail:
Hi Nikolay, I really like your website. I don’t know if you answer my question or not, but here it is: currently, I’m choosing my future profession, and if, for example, I’d like to connect my life with games and become a game-designer, what university and what major I should choose? Thanks!
In fact, any person who wants to take up game development, let it be game design, 2D/3D-graphing for games or sound, encounters a problem- is it impossible to find a person who has a Diploma where in the line “Major” it is written “game developer”. It is not only because “game developer” is a more general name, but also because Game development is not taught at universities.
Unlike western countries, where there are numerous colleges and higher educational institutions which have departments that deal with teaching game-development, in our country we don’t have it. In England, for instance, there are special state-funded programs for supporting national industry of game development. Millions of pounds are donated every year! Even though there is great number of universities in Russia, Byelorussia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan where programming is taught at high level, no attention is paid to game development. That’s why, having the diploma in programming, you will have to continue studying to correspond to profession requirements.
Don’t get disappointed!!! The thing is the sphere of game development has its peculiarity-you can master it through self-education. You can hardly imagine a surgeon practicing scalpel handling at home. However, the industry of game development appeared due to enthusiasts. Their persistence, talent and desire to create made a great contribution to the development of this industry.
I want to be a game designer-teach me!
If you want to work in this industry, to be a game-designer or programmer, the most important resource for you is self-education. It may sound hackneyed, but it’s really so. No one can make a qualified game-developer of you but you can only become one! Higher education is not a necessary factor for becoming a successful developer. It can only get you disciplined, cultivate the habit of absorbing knowledge and structure basic knowledge in physics, mathematics and so on.
What is “self-development”? First of all, it is a desire to learn what you are interested in. Nowadays, you can easily get access to professional literature in English, different forums, conferences, websites and blogs which are of great value for those who want to become professionals. As it is said: where there's a will, there's a way!
The second thing is self-motivation. There is great temptation to call yourself a game-designer, 3D-designer or any other specialist dealing with game development, but as it turns out your are not. It is very easy to give way to idleness; however, the peculiarity of this sphere is that you cannot stop. It’s like in “Alice in wonderland” – it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that! And it is really difficult! It is advised to forget about the pleasure trip to the world of games.
Here we come to the reverse of the medal. Despite the fact that this sphere is cloaked in a kind of romance, in fact this work is far from being an endless pleasure. As in any other profession, there is place to drudgery, various problems and other troubles which make you howl sometimes.
I’m not going to devote this article to revealing all the peculiarities of this industry. I’d like you to pay attention to the fact that before choosing career of a game-developer you have to think twice realize the consequences of such choice. There is a huge gap between “playing games” and “developing games”!
To become a game-developer you need to be a game-developer. It may sound ironic, but only creating/designing games you can understand what you need to be a game-developer. Beginning with tetris and arkanoids and the simplest arcade games you will gradually understand what direction to choose, what to learn to get positive results. And your main skill on the way to your aim is striving to knowledge, self-education and broadening your outlook.
Who is programmer to game-designer? A friend or catalyst?
Now, where to enter to become a game-designer?! As I’ve already mentioned everything depends on you. I doesn’t really matter if you study at the best university of the country or a mediocre one, you’ll still need to continue studying somewhere else. Or, I would say if you truly want to establish yourself as a game-developer, you will need to do it simultaneously. And here is one more question- what’s better: to study at the best university which will give you good basic knowledge within the program, but you won’t have time take up something else; or to choose just a good university which won’t give you such deep knowledge but you’ll have enough time to take up game development in your free time.
As the question is connected with game design, in my opinion the most useful profession in this sphere will be the profession of a programmer. Very often game design is connected with different formulae, mathematics, thinking over game mechanics, giving technical tasks to the programmers of the game, testing prototypes and so on.
Game-designer who doesn’t understand how game mechanics and his ideas can be implemented in the program code, will set vague technical tasks, won’t be able to correct any nuances in formulae or game prototypes, will waste time on ideas which are too difficult to put into practice. Such game-designer is too far from what real development is and it will be difficult to for him to cope with it.
Moreover, game-designer-programmer is self-sufficient to some extent. He can create a working prototype of an interesting game, having replaced graphical content with temporary stubs.
For the “naked” programmer who has no skills in game design it will be much more difficult to work out an interesting idea and balance it in a such way that the whole system looked like a game.
The only minus of this scheme is that you need to have a bent for programming.
All in all, if you really want to become a professional game-designer and get higher education, the most appropriate profession is programmer. These are technical universities of North America and England, if we are talking about the best ones. But do remember that the most important thing is self-education. The fastest and the most effective way to become a game-designer is to read necessary literature, practice and get experience.
If you want to create games-do it.!! And every next game will be better than the previous one!!!