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Senph

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Date of registration: 11. November 2015

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Friday, 19. February 2016, 19:53

The way into the games industry – Part 1

Many people dream of working inside a games company, but it’s often not really clear how to get there.

What do you do as a games developer? What do I need to do to make this hobby a profession? Are there apprenticeships or study programs?
Some of these questions I’d like to answer in this series of articles.

What kind of work is there to do?

“I’d like to do something with computer games” is easily said. But what does that mean, exactly? The kinds of jobs in games development and also in publishing are manyfold, but they can roughly divided into groups.

Today’s article is about the game development side.
If you want to be directly involved into development, there are mainly the areas of Game Design, Art (involves everything with visual design) and programming.

Game Design

Game Design often is the first thing a games fan is interested in, without knowing it.
“What if you would do this kind of game?” or “If I did this game, I would have done XYZ better.” are often things said by players. These are basically question game design asks, concerning itself with writing concepts or thinking of exciting gameplay mechanics.
Also this includes “Game Writers” who think of the stories in games or “Game Balancers” who make sure, that all players have the same chances and that certain abilities, units or monsters are not stronger than others.

Also Game Designers often have the task of coordinating the “vision” of a game and planning the tasks of the development team, because they know best how the final product needs to look.

Art

“Artists” take care of the visual part. This includes everything from concept drawings to 3D modeling to animation.
If you want to contribute to the final look of the game, you can draw concepts of characters and landscapes as a “Concept Artist”.
As a “2D Artist” you give two dimensional games their charm or help 3D models get their textures (basically their “skin”) by drawing them.
As “3D Artist” on the other hand you create all objects of a three dimensional game world, be it the player character, monsters, equipment or trees.
Animators bring in the movement. They animate objects and breathe life into them this way.
To do this some objects need a “rig” (think of a skeleton), so they can be animated. This is the job of a “Rigger”, who creates these skeletons and binds them to the objects, which is one of the most complicated jobs as artist.

As you see, the field as an artist is really wide. It is especially important to keep up to date, as there are monthly developments in new technologies, which makes it really easy to lose the pace.

Programming

People who prefer the technical aspects may feel most comfortable as programmers. They make sure the game is “running” and create they logic behind it that makes sure you can move ingame, can solve tasks or communicate with other players.

They also need to know the “engine”, the base frame of a game, where all the single parts come together as a whole.

Here you have the gameplay programmers, who take care of single game mechanics. Without them an attack does no damage or an equipment piece can’t be upgraded.
The task of a network programmer is making sure, that the communication between the players computer and the games servers work correctly, which is of course really important for online games (duh).
Backend programmers tend to player data and their saving, so you can always access them and so that they are always up to date.

The rest of the bunch

Of course there are some other parts of game development.

Testers for example are always on the hunt for ingame bugs. They create reports for the other developers who then take care of fixing those bugs.

Also there are people who create the sounds for the game, but often this work is done by contractors, who specialized in this area.

Sometimes the single job fields even mix up. It can happen that a game designer needs to know about programming to let players interact with the environment as a “Level Designer”.
“Technical Artists” need to know about technical specifications t make sure that models and textures are usable for the game.
To make an interface not only nice to look at but also to design it so it’s functional, “Interface Designers” not only need to be experienced in visual design but also need to know what makes the players tick, as a game designer does.

Phew, that was a lot. But also not everything I want to talk about concerning this topic. We still have to cover the publisher’s side and also how to get a job like this. Maybe even more if I can think of more until the next article ;)

But for now have a nice weekend everybody!

Senph

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