A look at the evolving and exciting game design and programming industry, and what prospective students need to know about the field.
What makes a game unique, and what goes into creating a video game that resonates with players and builds a lasting connection with the brand or series?
Game development is far more than just plugging characters into a scene. It includes elements of both art and science and requires a variety of creative and critical thinking skills. Dive in to discover what it takes to build a game development career!
Game Design and Programming: What’s the Difference?
Game development is divided into two distinct categories; most developers specialize in one facet or the other, but know about both.
Design is the art of gaming and covers everything from the assets used in the game to the characters, costumes, and the world itself. Programming makes those items move, work, and interact.
Programming is what makes the game playable, while design gives it the look and feel the storyline demands. The right school and program will feature aspects of both game design and programming.
What Game Developers Learn in School
Game developers can work in just about any setting and target any age group. A game developer could work on a child’s education application one week and a high fantasy choice-based narrative the next.
For designers, an understanding of art, how elements work together, scale, and game dynamics are important. Programmers will need to understand the various game engines and coding, while also having robust project management skills. Both of these careers require a love of gaming and an understanding of how both 2D and 3D games work.
Careers in Game Development
While a typical game becomes a cohesive design and a single entity, many different elements are needed to form a dynamic, bug-free gaming experience. Depending on your interests and talents, you could choose to focus on a variety of game design and programming elements.
Each person on a gaming project has a different responsibility and each is critical to the game’s success. Training for a career in game development will prepare you for any of the following careers (among many others), according to your focus and interests:
- Graphic designer
- Project manager
- Audio engineer or specialist
Depending on the gaming studio, some either use a single artist or team to design characters and create the world and background. Other brands use multiple artists for all aspects of a game.
If you choose to work in this field, you could be tied to a single series or character, or you could handle multiple subjects and games simultaneously. Programmers and testers will work on a huge range of projects, using their skills to ensure the original vision comes to life as the design team envisioned it.
Meanwhile, testers, graphic designers, sales, and marketing experts use their knowledge of the field to connect with the gaming market. They need to package the game in an appealing way and make sure that it attracts consumers and prospective players.
Trends in the Field of Game Development
Game design and programming is a swiftly evolving field with many opportunities. Both designers and programmers are in high demand, and the prospects for someone working in this field are excellent.
As AR and virtual reality technology become more mature, new waves of game development start to flood in. Designers and programmers with a strong knowledge in both technologies are highly valued in this emerging field of gaming. You’d create games that interact with the real world to create a life-changing gaming experience.
Another key trend in the field of game development is mobile gaming. It’s no surprise as we now spend more time on mobile devices than watching the television. Whether it is a casual game or a robust role-playing game, people are playing games as much as listening to Spotify in the US. In order to enter the field, game developers must also acquire the basics of mobile interfaces and technology to create captivating games for users.
Header image by Qianlin Liu