Skills Needed to Be a Game Developer
November 11th, 2021
Video games have been around for decades and have become a multibillion-dollar industry. Minecraft, Counterstrike, Grand Theft Auto, and Fortnite are just some of the best-selling games that have made headlines. The popularity of video games continues to rise, providing entertainment to both children and adults. As technology continues to improve, games have become more realistic and lifelike, enticing more people to become a part of the gaming world. Gaming can help elevate stress, improve problem-solving skills, and boost concentration — it’s no wonder gaming has such a huge fanbase!
Video game developers (also known as game programmers or computer game developers) specialize in video game development. Video game creation has become more complex over time. Your goal as a video game developer is to turn game designers’ concepts and ideas into playable games that include sound and visuals. In this article, we will discuss what video game developers do, the skills needed to be a greater developer, and how you can be successful in this profession.
What Do Video Game Developers Do?
Game developers, in the simplest of terms, make games. They are involved in the planning process, the execution of the game (coding), and the testing of games. Depending on the video game studio or video game publisher, a video game developer’s role can include different responsibilities. You can either go broad (best if you work for a small company) or specialize in one specific area in the development of video games.
The work of a game developer involves:
- Reviewing design specifications of video game designers and bringing concepts to life
- Contributing to the game concept and storyline
- Producing prototypes to showcase “proof-of-concepts”
- Writing code to include game features
- Contributing to audio and animation design
- Troubleshooting code and fixing bugs
- Creating tests and procedures to assure quality
A video game developer’s salary can range anywhere between $21.63/hour and $57.50/hour in Canada, according to Job Bank Canada. The highest average median wages are earned in Calgary, Alberta at $62.50/hour. The median wage in New Brunswick is $32.05/hour.
Video Game Developer Skill Requirements
There are a wide variety of skills needed to be a game developer that includes both soft and hard skills. We will take a look at the top six.
1. Communication Skills
A video game developer must be able to communicate their ideas clearly and in detail on a one-to-one basis or in larger groups to accomplish project goals. The role requires a high level of collaboration and teamwork with other team members such as video game artists, programmers, and audio engineers.
2. Problem-solving / Solution-finding Skills
Resolving glitches, debugging code, and overcoming challenges is an important part of coding and the role of a video game developer. This not only requires technical skills but also patience, the ability to analyze, and thorough thought processes.
According to Dennis Hubley, Video Game Development instructor at Eastern College, “At its core, software development is problem-solving. Every day in this career, you will be presented with problems you’ve never solved before, systems you’ve never used before, and software you’ve never seen before. With that said, the top traits someone can have coming into this industry are adaptability, patience, and curiosity. Adaptable to constantly changing technologies and practices. Patience for solutions that don’t always come fast or easy. Curiosity to constantly learn the ever-changing software development landscape. “
To create virtual worlds, you need to have a creative side. An effective way to boost your creativity and your visual library are to expand your horizons. Playing games, watching movies and anime, and reading history (fantasy and sci-fi are often inspired by historical figures) are all great ways to enhance your creativity.
4. IT-related Skills
This is an obvious one! To do well in this field, you need to have a good understanding of various software such as 3D Studio Max, Unity, Unreal, C++, C#, Java, Swift and more! Knowing how to script is extremely highly desirable and can go a long way.
5. Math-related Skills
Basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry and physics are some of the math skills needed to be successful in this role. You will need to be able to understand and apply specific math concepts used in most games and game engines.
This is the number one skill in everything in life. In game development, this is especially true. The process is complex and comes with multiple moving parts that require planning, design, execution, rigorous testing, and debugging. Video game development timelines are anywhere from three to five years for most games.
How to become a video game developer?
If you love video games, play them often and have a passion for the industry then a career in game development may be perfect for you. You will be required to stay on top of industry developments, what is happening with the competition and stay on top of trends in the gaming world.
The best way to get started and increase your chances of getting a job is to acquire a video game development qualification. This will provide you with the skills and confidence needed to succeed in the field.
Ready to explore the mystical world of gaming? Gain a qualification and complete your internship with our Video Game Development Program in New Brunswick.