Five Lessons Learned About Game Development

Hey readers! I know that this post is different from what I normally do. I am hoping to start incorporating money-making tips/tricks in this blog, so I’m kicking it off with a guest interview. It was a lot of fun to learn about the game industry since I’m a big fan of video games. I’m not sure if I could make my own though- could you? Read below to find out more about game development! Please note: I am not the person speaking, I was just relaying the message. I have never been a game developer 🙂 -Amanda

I knew that game development was something I wanted to spend my life doing. When I was around thirteen, I was playing “Metroid Prime II” and realized that I wanted to make my own games. I was mostly curious about how the games were made. I (rather simply) Googled “Game Maker” and stumbled upon “Game Maker 6.0”. I downloaded and played around with it for years, teaching myself the ins and outs. I tried learning how to compose music, how to create art, and how to start programming. I wanted to have at least some experience in the various sections of game development.  I decided to go to college as a computer science major to further my programming studies. It was then I decided to switch to Unity, which is known as one of the leading game development tools. I now have experience in various programs and have worked on some of my own independent games.

Over the past ten years as an independent game developer, I’ve learned various lessons along the way.

1)  When people first express interest in the world of game development, sometimes they think that having a “great idea” is a marketable skill. Having an idea for a game is all well and good, but you are not going to stand out in the industry without the skills to back your idea up. People are more than likely not going to be interested in creating your game (especially for free) without some type of other contribution from you.

2) There IS a difference between working in the industry and being an independent game developer. If you’re working in the game industry, you may be stuck working on one specific aspect of a game. You’ll have to find your niche (composition, art, programming, etc). As an independent game developer, you will have to work on every part of a game unless you want to fork over a lot of money and outsource certain aspects.

3) If you do decide to go the independent route, your first game is not going to be high quality. It’s always more work than you expect. It is OK to have big dreams but try to not let those big dreams get in the way of finishing your projects.

4) If you want to get in the industry, I would say your portfolio is more important than your degree. You want to be able to prove what you can do, not just that you have the education for it. You will more than likely not get hired in the game industry without a strong portfolio.

5) You will work a LOT of hours for little pay, whether you work for yourself or for a specific company in the industry. It is possible to be successful as a game developer, but you have to love what you do and have the discipline to continue working.

It’s never been easier to get started as a game developer: the tools and education are just a click away (the power of the Internet). That being said, it’s not an easy field to get into, but it’s what I love doing and what I hope to continue doing for years to come. Hopefully, this helps you on your path to becoming a game developer or even a mobile app developer.

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