Game developers/designers are one of the most sought-after professions in this modern world. In the generation evaded by devices and gadgets, this profession is of great use. The role of these individuals is to plan, design and create computer and video games. As the name suggests they develop games but apart from this they do a lot more. Designing levels, animation, character, storylines and animation all through computer programming are part of this profession.
According to sources, in 2018 the gaming market had a revenue of $139 billion. It is one of the largest sectors of the market to have such an incredulous growth rate. From the expected growth rate of 9%, the segment is expected to touch $200 billion by 2022 and the global forecast for 2025 is predicted to be a whopping $256.93 billion dollars. However, statistics reveal that there will be a jolt in the mobile gaming industry that’s expected to claim 57% of the industry leading to a massive drop in the console gaming industry. So, anyone planning to join in this sector, expect yourselves to receive a tremendous and heavy paycheck!
How to become a game developer?
A game developer needs no fancy degrees and certificates to get the job. However, they need a certain set of skills that are relevant to the field such as an undergraduate in Graphics & Animation, B. Tech in Computer Science, BA in Digital Filmmaking & Animation. A postgraduate in Multimedia and Animation, Game Design and Development will also be suitable. If you’re planning to take up diploma and wish to pursue something in the gaming industry, a diploma in Game Art, Game Design and 3D Content Creation will also be enough.
Apart from the educational prerequisite that takes 3-4 years to complete you need to know fundamentals of colour theory, graphic design, game production and engines, music and sound and basics of art and sketching. Companies expect the employees to have knowledge of common game designing software such as Maya, Nuke, Mud box and Adobe. An excellent addition to your profile would be a diverse cultural awareness, exposure to different languages as you are expected to appeal to a wide range of audience. Having deep and creative imagination is considered a plus point as many games deal with segments in fantasy and often derail from reality.
The colleges that offer the top courses in Game Design and relevant courses are –
- Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
- Full Sail University, Winter Park, FL
- DigiPen Institute of Technology, Redmond, WA
- Savannah College of Art and Design
In India, game design and development is still a very new and unconventional course for students due to the lack of awareness among them. The demand for game developers is high and is expected to have a greater blast in the near future. Nevertheless, some top universities like LPU in Jalandhar, UPES in Dehradun, Presidency University in Bangalore provide the course for interested students/candidates. Well accredited and famous institutes like NIDs have post graduate specialization in Digital Game Design, Toy and Game Design to nurture and train to create games and be a part of the digital entertainment sector of the country.
Regardless of the relevant graduation, companies do prefer a candidate who has prior experience and knowledge to make a bigger impact. Candidates with an engineering degree do have an upper hand as they tend to have more technical skills than the rest. There are various colleges providing courses specific to game design enhancing the skills of the individuals.
But being a game developer is an excruciating and hardworking line of work. Long hours, stressful deadlines are part of it. Here’s how to become one –
- Get a relevant degree- A degree in computer science or game design will help in the profession and develop a strong base. Though you have plenty of skills, a certification would be really helpful.
- Understand the process and profession – Game development requires cooperation from different departments, so having clear knowledge about the process and the contribution from each department is crucial. Apart from your roles and responsibilities, being aware of others is equally important.
- Be well versed with coding and computer languages – Behind those animated, action filled video games is code running it. A well written code provides the user with smooth, comfortable and interactive gaming experience. Game designers have to be thorough with programming languages like C++, C and Java. Apart from the famous and well-known languages, keeping yourself updated to other languages can really open up opportunities and be an irreplaceable asset to the companies and yourself.
- Build a portfolio – The best way to ace in this field is to create your own gaming software. Having a prototype of your creation, taking up projects, doing internships and if time permits freelancing. Taking up small gigs helps you build your portfolio, teaches you time management and gives you a rich experience.
- Perform job searches – Constantly being updated about the job opening in various companies is very vital. Making your own website and advertising yourself can fetch you a job. Social media, LinkedIn and other job openings websites can give you recommendations on a daily basis.
For a student right out of college participating in various competitions , attending summits and workshops conducted by Indian and foreign institutes , reading blogs and publications will definitely give an upper hand.
Skills of a Game Developer –
- Programming – Being quick and efficient with the languages like Java, C+ , C++ , Python , Swift.
- 2D and 3D design – Create designs and make interactive games
- Creative skills – Coming up with ingenious ideas for the development of games is vital.
- Analytical skills
- Problem Solving skills – They solve problems when debugging game code, optimizing game performance and turning design ideas into code.
- Attention to detail – Candidates should be able to solve poor glitches, choose appropriate color schemes to maintain proper aesthetic and run the game smoothly.
- Time Management – Keeping up with the deadlines, making sure of the project submission before time is focal to this profession.
A game designer must ensure he/she has a cumulation of both technical and creative skills to bring out unique stuff on the table frequently and develop. With the constant evolution in the tech world, games have to keep up and be designed into user friendly and comfortable systems available on any device. Games might be futuristic or can take a dive into the historical/mythical worlds. It is all left to the brains of game developers to fathom. If they can think about it, they can make it a game.
Employment Opportunities for a Game Developer
A game designer has the opportunity to work on his free will as a freelancer or can either work in a multinational company. The following are the job roles that are offered –
- Game Animator – This role requires the combination of art and technology to make realistic and creative animations for the games.
- Game Programmer – Often called as a techie, this role involves using codes to create a seamless experience to the user. They help the game running efficiently by picking the right computer language. It is a pivotal role as the computer language provides base for the game’s code and functioning.
- Game Audio Engineer – This job requires the person to culminate dynamic sound effects and appropriate background music to give the game more life. With the right sound effects, the user should feel like he’s inside the game having an experience of a lifetime!
- Game Artist – This individual is responsible for all the visual aspects of the game including both 2D and 3D dimensions. Artistic creations are handled by people in these roles.
- Game Marketer – This role is extremely crucial as it takes the game to the right audience. They have to contact a wide range of agencies, advertise do an extensive market research and take it to the public. Marketing remains a major step in any product’s life. Marketers need to find the right game audience as well in order for the game to be a hit.
- Game Designer – Creating new levels, puzzles, prizes and characters is their job. Putting forth innovative ideas constantly to capture the audience is a must.
- QA Game Tester – Once the final game is developed, an extensive testing of the game through all the levels has to be done to check for any technicalities. Making sure all the bugs are fixed and the game is working properly is vital. No player wants bugs in his game constantly hindering the experience and gameplay.
Salary of Game Developer –
Game designers in the USA have a pretty impressive pay starting with an average salary of $90,270 per year. On a typical pay scale, the minimum would start from $47.7K /annum to a maximum of $172.1K /annum depending upon the expertise.
|Job Role||Pay per hour||Annual Income|
|Starting level game designer||$22.5/hour||$47,350|
|Junior level game designer||$30.9 /hour||$65,000|
|Mid-level game designer||$43.9/hour||$90,000|
|Senior level game designer||$60.90/hour||$127,000|
|Top level game designer||$83/hour||$128,000|
Salary of Game Developer in India –
However, in India, the pay scales vary depending upon the experience in the field and the job roles offered. The starting salaries however maybe around 3-7 lakh/ annum
|Job Profile||Starting level||Mid-Level||Senior Level|
|Game Audio Engineer||1,50,000||3,75,000||17,50,000|
|QA Game Tester||2,60,000||5,00,000||11,55,000|
Employment Opportunities for a Game Developer –
Apart from working in a multinational company, you can also find employment in areas like –
- Teaching in educational institutes and coaching institutes
- Marketing and advertising agencies
- Mobile phone companies
- Hardware and software distributors
- Event organizers
- Software developers
- Trade and retail organizations
- Computing and electronics organizations
Companies for Game Developers-
Game developers can find employment in various MNC’s throughout the globe for various job positions. Few of the top companies include –
- Zero Games Studio
- Electronic Arts
- Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Activision Blizzard
- Epic Games
- Square Enix
- Bungie Inc.
Nevertheless, if you wish to domestically work in India, there are a number of game-developing companies and startups that hire employees and freelancers. They include –
- Hyperlink Infosystem
- Zensar Technologies
- White Widget
Books for a Game Developer-
There is no standard exam specific to the profession but few universities might have an entrance exam. To gain more knowledge and have an edge over others, referring these books could be of immense help.
- Artificial Intelligence for Games by Ian Millington and John Funge
- Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design by Scot Rogers
- Game Theory: An Introduction by Steve Tadelis
- Game Engine Architecture by Jason Gregory
- The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses by Jesse Schell
Opportunities and Obstacles in game designing –
|No solid educational qualification required; skills are given more preference.||Strict deadlines that can lead to stress and long working hours for projects.|
|A very intriguing career path filled with technology and creativity.||Work for long hours on the computer that can take a toll on your physical health.|
|A booming futuristic industry with lots of scope.||Cut throat competition with high number of tech enthusiasts.|
|A comfortable and motivating work environment.||Starting pay could be menial with loads of work.|
|Mentally stimulating with different projects ahead.|
Gaming and E-sports have taken a rise in the recent half decade into a very serious career path into the entertainment sector. The sentiment towards gaming and game development is undergoing a change in India as parents are encouraging taking up courses in E-sports and game development. A rise in mobile and console gaming has created a large industry that is thriving with the help of teenagers and young adults. Gaming audiences are often from ages 3-45. From informative games for children to wide ranging action games for everyone above 16 years of age come under the gaming sector. Gaming institutes are being established where training is given to the candidates for professional gaming. With the other end of the spectrum on the rise, game-development industry is also flourishing with a wide range of job opportunities.