Aren’t video games the best? The ability to do amazing things like drive fast cars or fly planes, shoot aliens, control the world’s greatest footballers as they dribble, tackle and score their way to victory, or control a legendary Italian plumber designed by the Japanese to traverse across worlds hidden within sewers, storming castle after castle until he finds his princess? If each of the above descriptions conjured the vivid imagery of an iconic game in your head, and you didn’t have to read more the first three words of the last one to figure out which game I was referring to, then more likely than not, you do enjoy your video games.
They are an escape into a world full of wonder, where amazing things can be accomplished, and you aren’t just a bystander witnessing all the action like in a book or a movie, but the puppeteer pulling all the strings, the ring master cracking your whip and making things happen. You may in fact be a hardcore gamer, someone for whom his/her controller or mouse and keyboard are his weapons and the screen, their playground. You may have a burning passion for games, a passion that has encouraged you to think about a career in game development.
However, if you think your passion for gaming is all it takes to be a successful developer, think again. Sure, you can enrol in one of the many competent game development courses in India; Seamedu School of Pro-Expressionism, for example has five different courses across two institutions for careers in game development. But the biggest game developers don’t just have the game developer course training, but also the right proficiencies up their sleeve.
So before you go off and enrol in one of these game development courses, here is what else you can work on to help you become a well-rounded game developer:
1. Both passion and interest in gaming
If you want to be a game developer, you need to not just love playing games, but be knowledgeable about the industry as well. For example, did you know that the Indian gaming industry was already valued at $150 million by 2015, and that number is expected to grow strongly in the coming years? Or that 61% of all of India’s online gamers are playing Dota2? If you want to become a success in the gaming industry, you need to know it inside and out, and the only way to do it is to follow the news regarding the industry every single day. Stay caught up with the latest trends, developments and advancements in technology.
2. Don’t have a bias
A lot of gamers are loyal to their consoles, or the PC, and sometimes look down at mobile gaming. The news piece linked earlier about the industry’s value in India – a majority of that valuation is down to the popularity of mobile games in India. If you want to achieve success in the gaming industry, you cannot have hang ups such as this. You should be flexible and open-minded enough to work with any console or platform, and develop a decent level of familiarity with all of them. So if you are a Playstation fanatic, you should still know what Forza Horizon 3 is, and if you are a CS addict, you should still know how Flappy Bird works.
3. A technical bent of mind
This is a bit of a no-brainer. You can’t be into game development if you are not into technology in general. You need to know more than the basics like how to reset your router and swap out a RAM, too. Again, information such as the latest in process tech, GPUs, mobile platforms and more should be topics you can hold lengthy conversations about.
Another obvious one, this. Creativity is the backbone of any form of development. If you don’t have a creative mindset and the ability to think outside of the box, start working on it now. And don’t think you don’t need to be creative if you are targeting a technically intensive vocation like programming, even programmers have to come up with clever bits of code.
5. Learn a language
NOT foreign languages! You need to start learning the basics on your own, specifically the big one – C. While your college will teach you programming languages and everything else about gaming like 3D software and even sound design, programming is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle, and it doesn’t hurt to get a head start.
6. Teamwork, patience and troubleshooting
These three skills are a prerequisite for anyone working in the game industry. While there have been those rare examples of one-man- or one-woman-armies who develop games all by themselves, it is extremely difficult to do. You will have to rely on a team to help you, and that means making sure a team can rely on you as well. It also takes a lot of time to develop a game, no matter how big or adept your team is, so patience is a very sought-after virtue in the gaming industry. Lastly, troubleshooting – there will always be unforeseen issues cropping up when you are developing a game, there are no two ways about it. So having the ability to identify and solve problems is a must.
That is a pretty extensive list of things to work on, but nothing worth having comes easy in life. So if game development is your destiny, grab it with both hands and begin working towards it today.
Good luck, and remember, when in doubt – Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start!