Getting Started as a Game Developer
Hello again Fateful Adventurer!
How’s everyone’s Black Friday shopping going so far? Or are you holding back to shop on Cyber Monday instead? Keep in mind that Wheel of Fate is on sale NOW until December 1st for Black Friday! Whatever your shopping plans are, we wish you the best of luck in finding what you’re looking for!
Now onto the main discussion! For those of you looking to make the leap from game player to game developer but don’t know where to start… just know that we’ve been there as well! It can be disorienting trying to balance learning the game dev skill set with time to work on your projects. Not to mention researching the best path for you to take.There are numerous resources available online for this very question but we figured that we would give our two cents on it or at the very least offer some comfort on your journey!
Check out this compilation of advice for beginners from our game development team!
Plan your path
Figure out your ‘why’ for getting into game development. Being a game developer is hard work and there’s a lot of things that will want to make you stop so you want to make sure your reason is strong enough for you to keep going.
Figure out your goals. Do you just want to make one game? Do you want to open a game studio eventually? Or do you want to join a giant game company? Maybe you have a specific technology you want to incorporate or you already have a game idea. Depending on your goals, your path will be different.
Map out your path. To do this, begin by listing out what relevant skill sets you already have, what skills are needed based on your goals, and then identify the skill gap ie. what skills you’re missing.
Choose your learning method. Just like how there are numerous online resources there are also numerous methods for you to learn. The major decision is usually if you plan to do formal education or learn independently. This question is very dependent on the person and requires a whole other analysis in itself. However, here’s our short answer… Attending a university or college program has its benefits but you don’t need it to be a game developer. It’s more important that you choose the method that works best for you. Keep in mind that game developers come from all backgrounds such as,
- Switching from a completely irrelevant career
- Specializing in game dev from a tech career
- Attending a formal in class game dev program
- Learning game dev through a bootcamp
- Learning independently online
Practice, practice and practice some more. Similar to everything else in life, practice makes perfect. In general, the better your foundation is in programming then, the better you are at game development. Always aim to apply as much of whatever you learnt into your projects and practice time.
Think big, start small and stay focused. This is a general advice to keep in mind throughout the beginning of your game development journey. Try your best to start on a small project and focus on getting it completed. It’s more important to have a completed project done right than multiple incomplete projects. As tempting as it is to pursue all of your goals at once, don’t do this or you’ll end up burnt out.
Never stop learning. Even after you complete your course or a project, continue looking for new ways to improve and look out for new technologies. If you don’t do this then, you will be left behind because the industry is more dynamic than ever.
Play tests as much as possible. The best way to improve your game is to play test again and again.
Join the community and network
Meeting people in the community is important for connecting you to opportunities but in general, it’s just a great morale booster and makes you a better game dev. Networking to other game devs gives you an opportunity to bounce ideas off of other people that will give you their clear opinion. People often worry about sharing their ideas for fear that someone might steal it. Don’t worry about this. An idea is just an idea and it requires a lot more work that usually the person hearing about it won’t be willing to do. If this weren’t the case then, there would be a lot more investors running away with ideas after they’re pitched to them.
Consider the following methods for joining the community and building your network.
- Create your GitHub account
- Manage your brand with a personal website
- Join the social network community of developers
- Participate in online discussions and groups
- Attend developer meetups
- Attend gaming events
- Follow devs, articles, and news
- Find a mentor
Get experience in the industry
I highly recommend getting experience in the gaming industry even if it’s not a game developer position because it gives you exposure to the market and its another way to network. You’ll be able to build better games by understanding the market better, get feedback from relevant issues, and overall have a better understanding of how the industry works.
You do not need a full portfolio or even game development experience to start getting experience in the gaming industry. There are numerous positions available that don’t require any major prerequisites. Here are some options you can consider for non-game dev entry level positions.
- Become a play tester
- Become a streamer or youtuber
- Work as a translator or writer
- Work in marketing, social media or PR
- Volunteer for gaming events
- Be a discord moderator
- Start a gaming blog
Get game development experience
Having game development experience on your resume is very competitive but if you’re not able to get a job as a game developer then it’s absolutely not the end of the world! Consider these options to expand on your game developer experience in the industry.
- Create in-game apps
- Create mods
- Build your game portfolio
- Contract out your services
That concludes our list of advice for people looking to start game development. Of course, this is a very general list of advice so, if you have any specific questions regarding your situation then feel free to join our discord and ask! We’re a friendly community full of game enthusiasts and gaming industry professionals that would be more than happy to help!