Many young people, in thrall to their favorite games, can’t imagine anything better than being a video game designer. After all, what would be better than being paid to play video games, right? In reality, it’s not quite so simple.
People who pursue careers as video game developers ultimately don’t spend that much time playing video games. Instead, they were at the intersection of numerous complex fields, using tools from software development to storyboarding, physics to scriptwriting. Many know multiple programming languages, and they may spend more time studying the mechanics of other popular games than actually gaming.
Still sounds like a good career path for you? Read on to learn more about what happens in the game design studio.
Savor Your Independence
One of the most important skills you’ll need to thrive as a video game developer is independence. Developers often work alone for long hours and, while you may be part of an overall team, you’ll need to be self-directed and focused. You’ll also need to be a strong communicator since, until your code is a significant way along, you’ll need to clearly describe the trajectory of your efforts and your goals.
Begin With The Business Angle
Many new game developers are so intensely focused on the plot or coding elements of their projects that they overlook the business elements that need to be included in the larger game structure.
For example, games today need to be more intentionally designed to include acquisition and retention strategies because they’re going to be launched into a crowded market. Only the smallest number of games, typically those that are part of a major franchise or come out of a big studio, have substantial financial backing promoting them before their launch have a pre-made audience.
Additionally, game developers today need to consider monetization, since in-game purchases are a key part of the modern game economy. As a developer, how can you increase profit from your game?
Some people see fighting off digital security challenges like hackers to be exciting, while to others, that sounds both stressful and boring. Unfortunately, the people who are excited by this topic aren’t always the same people who think being a game developer would make a good career – but the two coincide more often than most realize. Game-related security issues are on the rise, including from basic credential stuffing attacks and phishing operations, and game developers need to be prepared.
Can You Take The Heat?
As with other industries, there is specialization within the game development world, and designers, coders, and security experts all work together to create the final product. Individual workers will also develop new skills and directions as they become more experienced. And, it’s important to remember, the job is a pressure cooker. Developers work on tight timelines with a lot of advance promotion, and players expect preorders on anticipated games to be delivered on time. With constant pressure to come up with new ideas, introduce updates and new features, and address glitches and security concerns, game developers suffer from burnout at high rates.
Creating exciting new games is a labor of love, and for those who find their way into the industry and build successful careers, it can be a life-changing opportunity, full of excitement, but you have to be ready to give you all. From learning the coding languages to stretching your imagination to create new worlds, game development is hard work, but your effort will bring joy to many people.
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