So, You Want to Be a Games Developer?

In my time endlessly perusing the internet and hanging around with people who are generally very interested in video games, I've heard a lot of people say they want to work in the video game industry. They'll come out with the phrase “I Want to Be a Game Developer” or some variation on this, such as “I Want to Make Video Games”, or “I Want to Work in the Games Industry”. Some also have a more direct and focused goal, saying they want to become a game designer, programmer, artist, or some other common position on a development team. Indeed, some of you reading this right now might have said such things.

I know many of you out there are making confident strides to learn what you need to know and get the job you want, but I've also seen many people who say they want to work in the games industry without any idea what they really want to do within it and I've seen many of the people who claim they want to attain a specific position, or are thinking about specific positions in the industry, being unclear about what their chosen career would even entail. At the risk of disappointing some people I think I need to say a few things to anyone who feels like they associate themselves with these views. My intention here is not to attack anyone's aspirations, but to help anyone who might be reading this and have similar views to those I’ve just mentioned. 

The Job, Not the Product

 Making games and playing games are very different experiences.

I believe there is one big mistake a lot of people make when contemplating a job in the games industry and that's that they tend to focus on the product such a job will create instead of the job itself. Hypothetically let's say you want to go into the industry as a games programmer. Have you tried games programming and enjoyed it? If the answer is no then I'm afraid the reality is that you don't want to be a games programmer, you just like the idea of being one. The same applies for those who claim they want to be a designer but haven't tried and enjoyed designing, or those who want to be an artist but haven't tried and enjoyed sprite work, modelling and animation, and so on.

Now, that's not to say if you like the idea of being a developer and you haven't tried any of this stuff out that you should just give up on your goal. Try out a little coding, artistry, or whatever you feel like, you might find a genuinely fun and fulfilling experience there, even one that could lead to an industry job, however if you don't like the experience of actually doing what you say you want to do then a job in the industry probably isn’t for you. Until you've spent a significant amount of time working with your chosen skill then you don't know if games development is really what you're passionate about.

Working in the Industry

Keep in mind if games development is what you are considering as a profession, it's not just something you can like a little, you must have a genuine drive to do it. There are a whole lot of people out there who want to develop games and you’ll have to outclass many of them to claim your place in your chosen profession. Jobs on development teams out there are very highly contested and even working as part of an indie development team requires a hell of a lot of work. Not only will you be working hard for a considerable number of hours if you actually get the job, but to acquire the knowledge and skills you need to get to that point will take hundreds of hours of study and practise. Much like the job itself, you're going to have to be ready for this preparation to be difficult at times, but needless to say if it's something you're going to be doing for that long at a time, you're going to have to really enjoy the process of doing it.

 Just because we all enjoy a good meal doesn't mean we'd all want to be the chef.

If games development is something you don't have a strong conviction towards doing then you have two big problems. The first is that it's going to be nigh on impossible to muster up the effort you need to put in to help create a game. I've not exactly done a scientific survey of every developer in the industry, but I've never seen anyone who worked as a professional games developer speak for a significant amount of time who seemed genuinely unenthusiastic about their job. Likewise as a games programming student I've found those that just don't get a kick out of programming aren't able to output anywhere near the quality of work of those who do, and that they just end up dropping off the course. Secondly, even if you did somehow get into the industry with a half-hearted like of what you’ve said you wanted to do, for the very large majority of the time you're not going to be happy. Sure, at the end of the project you'd have the thrill of seeing your game on store shelves, in virtual marketplaces or wherever it might exist, but most of your time would be spent throwing away hour after hour of your life to a stressful and frustrating task with no regular emotional pay-off. If even the most impassioned devs can end up pulling out their hair during crunch time, how would you fair?

The Money Angle

This wasn't something I predicted coming across, but it seems that there are a certain number of people out saying they’re looking to enter the games industry looking for not only something fun to do, but something that will let them wind up with a big fat pay cheque on a regular basis. While this pay is no doubt a bonus for those in the industry, I'm sure there are easier ways to make a fair bit of money and even then there are probably jobs which will leave you with more time and energy to enjoy the fruits of your labour than games development.

 

Duder, It’s Over

For those of you still exploring what facets of game development you might enjoy then I urge you to start trying stuff out as soon as possible, and for those of you who already have your sights set on one aspect of development I say the same. The sooner you start, the sooner you could be prepared to enter the industry and the sooner you can get to doing something you may genuinely enjoy. It's a task that you're going to have to put may hours into, it's a task that's going to have more than its fair share of unpleasant moments and it's something that has no guaranteed pay-outs, but at its best it could be one of the greatest things you ever do. Good luck, have Onion.

-Gamer_152

26 Comments
26 Comments Refresh
Posted by Gamer_152

In my time endlessly perusing the internet and hanging around with people who are generally very interested in video games, I've heard a lot of people say they want to work in the video game industry. They'll come out with the phrase “I Want to Be a Game Developer” or some variation on this, such as “I Want to Make Video Games”, or “I Want to Work in the Games Industry”. Some also have a more direct and focused goal, saying they want to become a game designer, programmer, artist, or some other common position on a development team. Indeed, some of you reading this right now might have said such things.

I know many of you out there are making confident strides to learn what you need to know and get the job you want, but I've also seen many people who say they want to work in the games industry without any idea what they really want to do within it and I've seen many of the people who claim they want to attain a specific position, or are thinking about specific positions in the industry, being unclear about what their chosen career would even entail. At the risk of disappointing some people I think I need to say a few things to anyone who feels like they associate themselves with these views. My intention here is not to attack anyone's aspirations, but to help anyone who might be reading this and have similar views to those I’ve just mentioned. 

The Job, Not the Product

 Making games and playing games are very different experiences.

I believe there is one big mistake a lot of people make when contemplating a job in the games industry and that's that they tend to focus on the product such a job will create instead of the job itself. Hypothetically let's say you want to go into the industry as a games programmer. Have you tried games programming and enjoyed it? If the answer is no then I'm afraid the reality is that you don't want to be a games programmer, you just like the idea of being one. The same applies for those who claim they want to be a designer but haven't tried and enjoyed designing, or those who want to be an artist but haven't tried and enjoyed sprite work, modelling and animation, and so on.

Now, that's not to say if you like the idea of being a developer and you haven't tried any of this stuff out that you should just give up on your goal. Try out a little coding, artistry, or whatever you feel like, you might find a genuinely fun and fulfilling experience there, even one that could lead to an industry job, however if you don't like the experience of actually doing what you say you want to do then a job in the industry probably isn’t for you. Until you've spent a significant amount of time working with your chosen skill then you don't know if games development is really what you're passionate about.

Working in the Industry

Keep in mind if games development is what you are considering as a profession, it's not just something you can like a little, you must have a genuine drive to do it. There are a whole lot of people out there who want to develop games and you’ll have to outclass many of them to claim your place in your chosen profession. Jobs on development teams out there are very highly contested and even working as part of an indie development team requires a hell of a lot of work. Not only will you be working hard for a considerable number of hours if you actually get the job, but to acquire the knowledge and skills you need to get to that point will take hundreds of hours of study and practise. Much like the job itself, you're going to have to be ready for this preparation to be difficult at times, but needless to say if it's something you're going to be doing for that long at a time, you're going to have to really enjoy the process of doing it.

 Just because we all enjoy a good meal doesn't mean we'd all want to be the chef.

If games development is something you don't have a strong conviction towards doing then you have two big problems. The first is that it's going to be nigh on impossible to muster up the effort you need to put in to help create a game. I've not exactly done a scientific survey of every developer in the industry, but I've never seen anyone who worked as a professional games developer speak for a significant amount of time who seemed genuinely unenthusiastic about their job. Likewise as a games programming student I've found those that just don't get a kick out of programming aren't able to output anywhere near the quality of work of those who do, and that they just end up dropping off the course. Secondly, even if you did somehow get into the industry with a half-hearted like of what you’ve said you wanted to do, for the very large majority of the time you're not going to be happy. Sure, at the end of the project you'd have the thrill of seeing your game on store shelves, in virtual marketplaces or wherever it might exist, but most of your time would be spent throwing away hour after hour of your life to a stressful and frustrating task with no regular emotional pay-off. If even the most impassioned devs can end up pulling out their hair during crunch time, how would you fair?

The Money Angle

This wasn't something I predicted coming across, but it seems that there are a certain number of people out saying they’re looking to enter the games industry looking for not only something fun to do, but something that will let them wind up with a big fat pay cheque on a regular basis. While this pay is no doubt a bonus for those in the industry, I'm sure there are easier ways to make a fair bit of money and even then there are probably jobs which will leave you with more time and energy to enjoy the fruits of your labour than games development.

 

Duder, It’s Over

For those of you still exploring what facets of game development you might enjoy then I urge you to start trying stuff out as soon as possible, and for those of you who already have your sights set on one aspect of development I say the same. The sooner you start, the sooner you could be prepared to enter the industry and the sooner you can get to doing something you may genuinely enjoy. It's a task that you're going to have to put may hours into, it's a task that's going to have more than its fair share of unpleasant moments and it's something that has no guaranteed pay-outs, but at its best it could be one of the greatest things you ever do. Good luck, have Onion.

-Gamer_152

Moderator
Posted by dudeglove

I want to be the asshole that came up with exploding barrels and cars that catch fire and go ka-boom in about three seconds.

Posted by jkuc316

Yeah thanks for the blog post, but can you put more positions in there? Also can you say more about Designing?

Posted by amomjc

As an aspiring game designer myself, I have found that being a gamer my entire life has really made me look at the development side differently. It is not just boring tedious work, but a way you can breath in the changes and desires you have wanted for so long in games that you felt the developer over-looked.

Posted by LittleBigJono

Good read as always

Edited by FluxWaveZ

This didn't teach me anything new, but it was a nice read nonetheless. Although, I'm getting increasingly frustrated. This is barely the first article of this kind and certainly won't be the last, but why do people always try to demotivate others from getting a job in the game industry instead of motivating them? I don't mean to insult you at all, but I've never seen any article of this type that actually told you ''This is why working in the game industry is awesome''. It's always ''Lower your expectations'' or ''Don't work in the game industry''. 
 
I had made this thread so I could actually determine the positives of working in game development, but I hardly got anything out of it. It's as if people just see the game industry as this Hell hole, opinions pushed by Team Bondi, Square Enix, EA and Square Enix development horror stories, and it's hard to think that working in the video game industry, especially in a ''more technical job'' (programmer, specifically...), is a highly desired job. 
 
For once, just once, I'd love to see a positive article on working in the industry. I'd want to know exactly why people want to work in it so much. Is it simply because they like video games? Is that all there is to it? Is there nothing else to get out of game development except for the fact that you know you contributed in part to a hobby you love?

Posted by natetodamax
@FluxWaveZ I've noticed the same thing. I have never once seen anyone try to motivate others into getting the job they want in the games industry aside from Dave Snider's "About Me" on this site, where he does the whole "You can be anything you want to be" kinda speech.
Posted by Gamer_152
@dudeglove said:

I want to be the asshole that came up with exploding barrels and cars that catch fire and go ka-boom in about three seconds.

We all do DudeGlove, we all do.
 
@jkuc316 said:
Yeah thanks for the blog post, but can you put more positions in there? Also can you say more about Designing?
You mean mention more different jobs within the industry in this post? I could do but I don't really see what that would lend to it, I just used some common examples of jobs people say they want in the industry in here, but it's meant to apply to anyone who says they're thinking about a job in development, no matter which position they're interested in (or even if they don't have one job they're after). I have written a series of blogs about becoming a designer though, you can find them here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5. Thanks for the interest.
 
@csoup said:

As an aspiring game designer myself, I have found that being a gamer my entire life has really made me look at the development side differently. It is not just boring tedious work, but a way you can breath in the changes and desires you have wanted for so long in games that you felt the developer over-looked.

I'm not saying it's boring, tedious work by default, I'm saying that if you're thinking about going into the industry because you like the idea of it, but don't have any drive for the the job you're going after itself then it's boring, tedious work. I absolutely agree that at its best it can be a way to make changes you've always wanted and at any level you need to have played a significant number of games to really "get" what you're doing.
 
@LittleBigJono said:
Good read as always
Thank you.
 
@FluxWaveZ said:
This didn't teach me anything new, but it was a nice read nonetheless. Although, I'm getting increasingly frustrated. This is barely the first article of this kind and certainly won't be the last, but why do people always try to demotivate others from getting a job in the game industry instead of motivating them? I don't mean to insult you at all, but I've never seen any article of this type that actually told you ''This is why working in the game industry is awesome''. It's always ''Lower your expectations'' or ''Don't work in the game industry''. 
 
I had made this thread so I could actually determine the positives of working in game development, but I hardly got anything out of it. It's as if people just see the game industry as this Hell hole, opinions pushed by Team Bondi, Square Enix, EA and Square Enix development horror stories, and it's hard to think that working in the video game industry, especially in a ''more technical job'' (programmer, specifically...), is a highly desired job.  For once, just once, I'd love to see a positive article on working in the industry. I'd want to know exactly why people want to work in it so much. Is it simply because they like video games? Is that all there is to it? Is there nothing else to get out of game development except for the fact that you know you contributed in part to a hobby you love?
@natetodamax said:
@FluxWaveZ I've noticed the same thing. I have never once seen anyone try to motivate others into getting the job they want in the games industry aside from Dave Snider's "About Me" on this site, where he does the whole "You can be anything you want to be" kinda speech.
I see what you're saying and no promises but I might actually do a blog on that another week. There are plenty of articles out there, particularly at places like Gamasutra about the positive experiences people have had working in the industry and a lot of the talk that happens at GDC has a positive spin on the development process, but these places are a fair way out of the mainstream eye of gamers. In general I think we see more stories in the mainstream about firings and development hell just because they qualify as news, when 100+ people are left out of the credits of a video game they worked years on that's a notable occurrence, whereas "art team had fun time modelling and animating" isn't really news.
 
In my experience there have been more people out there who seem to think they want to work in games than actually want to work in games and have a proper idea of what it involves, and that might be contributing to the advice many people give on the games industry, it was certainly a big part of why I wrote this, but I tried to say here that if you're really into a games development task then it's more than just making a product, it's enjoying the process that goes into making that product. Believe me, there is much more behind the enjoyment of creating a game than just contributing to the games industry.
Moderator
Edited by SirOptimusPrime

Like FluxWave said, this isn't anything spectacular, but some people either aren't aware of it or need to be reminded of it. For that, thanks.  
 
But as someone very interested in design or creation as a whole, I look to games as a way to express creativity and inject new concepts or ideas for genres that are necessary. Where would games be without innovation? That's what I look to game design for, and it's something I've constantly considered in my life, but I know that there are far more enjoyable jobs that have a much steadier pay check and job security, so why worry about design when it could all fall to pieces in a month of poor sales? Because maybe I, you - whoever - could push gaming across the boundary to make it more accepted as a piece of culture? Or maybe just to make them more badass? Either way, that's the real reason people should want to be involved - to improve the platform.  
 
Whatever, /rant 

Posted by laserbolts

I enjoyed your blog and it got me thinking about what I want to do. I've thought about trying to get into game developement as a programmer but I still need to go to school for it. I know it isn't all fun and games but I have never had a job where I enjoy going to work at all. I feel the only way I may be able to find any happiness in a job would be something involving video games. I think I will try it out and hopefully I will love it because if I don't I feel I will be miserable for the rest of my life unless I win the lottery or something. I enjoy making music and doing that as well but the chances of me having a successful band is super slim.

Edited by Tru3_Blu3

I have some questions, OP. I am planning on taking a programming class and I want to know your feelings and experiences on it. Does it involve math and is it difficult in anyway? Do you enjoy doing it?
 
Thank you.

Edited by DevWil

I think the most important thing to realize for anybody who wants to make games is that there's really nothing stopping you from doing so. 
 
Three years ago, I had no idea I could make a game. Now it's my number one focus in life, and I've made nearly a dozen games in the past two years. It's so easy these days, even compared to just ten years ago. There are so many resources online and the barrier for entry is so low. Whether you want to use Unity or FlashPunk/Flixel, you can make a game for absolutely no money down (other than the cost of a computer and the internet, of course). If you really want to do it, just do it! Put the time in. Stop talking about it and try it! You'll find out really fast if it's for you or not.
 
Another thing that I believe strongly about being creative in general is that the best motivator is a sincere desire to see your concept realized. It's important to keep an audience in mind, but ultimately I make the music and games I do because I want them to exist. It's pretty selfish, actually! If you think to yourself, "Geez, I sure wish there were more games that did [x, y, and z]", go make a game that does [x, y, and z]! Maybe you can't make it happen all by your self, but you can look for collaborators or at least prototype it. 
 
As far as making a living goes...that's trickier and something I haven't yet mastered :P. I'm still going to school, so my games don't need to support me financially. However, you're not going to make any money from any game if you never make one. Even if you don't want to go the indie route, I can't imagine it would hurt your chances to be able to show off some fully-functional games to a potential employer.
 
@Gamer_152: I'm very interested in reading the other blogs of yours that you mention. I'm sure I can find them by clicking your profile, but your links 404 for me. 
 
Edit: 
If you're not in school right this second, don't let that stop you from getting into programming! I was taught some very, very basic C++ in high school and I've gotten some other formal education in various languages since, but most of what I know came from hacking away at stuff on my own time and reading tutorials and things online.

Posted by I2v2nr20I
@Tru3_Blu3 said:
I have some questions, OP. I am planning on taking a programming class and I want to know your feelings and experiences on it. Does it involve math and is it difficult in anyway? Do you enjoy doing it?  Thank you.
 
I'm currently attending college studying Computer Science, and specifically programming, and to me, programming is one of the most amazing gratifying things you can do. The very idea of simply writing out a sheet of code and having it compile out to something that does exactly what you set out to do is really mind-blowing, and as I said, really rewarding.
 
Programming is less about math and more about logic. So while you aren't necessarily doing actual math in programming, the thought process is similar. I've found that if you can be crafty, and have a good memory for syntax and shortcuts you can usually get around most problems. Difficulty can also be attributed to the language you're learning. While something like Python can be pretty simple, Java or C++ definitely take more effort. The beautiful thing about languages is though, most languages have enough in common to where once you learn a higher level language pretty solid, you can learn a new language quickly.
 
Sorry, that was kinda scatter-shot. Programming is fun, but it can definitely be frustrating, and you need to have the right mind-set to do it properly and enjoy it.
Posted by jkuc316
@I2v2nr20I said:
@Tru3_Blu3 said:
I have some questions, OP. I am planning on taking a programming class and I want to know your feelings and experiences on it. Does it involve math and is it difficult in anyway? Do you enjoy doing it?  Thank you.
 I'm currently attending college studying Computer Science, and specifically programming, and to me, programming is one of the most amazing gratifying things you can do. The very idea of simply writing out a sheet of code and having it compile out to something that does exactly what you set out to do is really mind-blowing, and as I said, really rewarding.  Programming is less about math and more about logic. So while you aren't necessarily doing actual math in programming, the thought process is similar. I've found that if you can be crafty, and have a good memory for syntax and shortcuts you can usually get around most problems. Difficulty can also be attributed to the language you're learning. While something like Python can be pretty simple, Java or C++ definitely take more effort. The beautiful thing about languages is though, most languages have enough in common to where once you learn a higher level language pretty solid, you can learn a new language quickly.  Sorry, that was kinda scatter-shot. Programming is fun, but it can definitely be frustrating, and you need to have the right mind-set to do it properly and enjoy it.
Thanks for describing it. Programming always interested me. I
Posted by warxsnake

My developer 2 cents:

  • Work hard because nothing about making (AAA) games is easy. You have to be at the top of your game to work in good dev houses. Dev diary videos are rarely an accurate representation of game making.
  • Be nice to people and respect them, be a team player and not a lone wolf, or you will be quickly outcast, and fired.
  • Show them your skills, but don't broaden yourself. Specialize in one thing if you are new; only after you have gained exp can you broaden your responsibilities.
  • Be able to adapt to new work environments and workflows, even within a project or company.
  • Do some research on all the other fields that go into game making. If you are an artist, know the basics of what goes on in all the other fields involved: Programming, Animation, Game Design, Sound, Production, Human Resources, Game testing, QA, Engine and Tools, Security...and so on. Because you will have to collaborate with all these fields on a daily basis.
  • Be REALLY open to criticism, as it will only help make your work better and in turn, the product better.
  • Do not work for yourself, work for the betterment of the product and your team. Understand what the common goals are and strive to achieve them.
  • Always seek new ways of doing things, always try to be more efficient, ahead of the curve, but be open to sharing your newly gained abilities with others.
  • Be ready to do overtime, depending on the devhouse, unpaid overtime.
  • Love your work and enjoy your time there.
  • Be social, go out to lunch with your coworkers and so on. The gaming industry is close-knit and is a very social community, and it literally pays to know people.
  • Most of you already do this, usually this advice is for outsides that come into the gaming industry as an artist or producer coming from tv shows or other agencies: play lots of games, know your market audience. Give to your project what you think is the best for the consumer in mind.
Edited by Tru3_Blu3
@I2v2nr20I said:

@Tru3_Blu3 said:

I have some questions, OP. I am planning on taking a programming class and I want to know your feelings and experiences on it. Does it involve math and is it difficult in anyway? Do you enjoy doing it?  Thank you.
 I'm currently attending college studying Computer Science, and specifically programming, and to me, programming is one of the most amazing gratifying things you can do. The very idea of simply writing out a sheet of code and having it compile out to something that does exactly what you set out to do is really mind-blowing, and as I said, really rewarding.  Programming is less about math and more about logic. So while you aren't necessarily doing actual math in programming, the thought process is similar. I've found that if you can be crafty, and have a good memory for syntax and shortcuts you can usually get around most problems. Difficulty can also be attributed to the language you're learning. While something like Python can be pretty simple, Java or C++ definitely take more effort. The beautiful thing about languages is though, most languages have enough in common to where once you learn a higher level language pretty solid, you can learn a new language quickly.  Sorry, that was kinda scatter-shot. Programming is fun, but it can definitely be frustrating, and you need to have the right mind-set to do it properly and enjoy it.
Thanks, pal. I was afraid that it was going to be a "it sucks, deal with it" ordeal. Now I'm much more optimistic.
Posted by Gamer_152
@SirOptimusPrime said:
Like FluxWave said, this isn't anything spectacular, but some people either aren't aware of it or need to be reminded of it. For that, thanks.  
 
But as someone very interested in design or creation as a whole, I look to games as a way to express creativity and inject new concepts or ideas for genres that are necessary. Where would games be without innovation? That's what I look to game design for, and it's something I've constantly considered in my life, but I know that there are far more enjoyable jobs that have a much steadier pay check and job security, so why worry about design when it could all fall to pieces in a month of poor sales? Because maybe I, you - whoever - could push gaming across the boundary to make it more accepted as a piece of culture? Or maybe just to make them more badass? Either way, that's the real reason people should want to be involved - to improve the platform.   Whatever, /rant 
Looking to innovate is certainly something that can be a big drive to work in the games industry and a lot of the people who've been at the forefront of just about every creative medium have had that urge to change things, but I wouldn't say there's anything wrong with wanting to get into the industry for other reasons and I still think you need to understand and enjoy the job itself and not just the moment of seeing that finished product to really push yourself forward in becoming part of the industry.
 
@laserbolts said:
I enjoyed your blog and it got me thinking about what I want to do. I've thought about trying to get into game developement as a programmer but I still need to go to school for it. I know it isn't all fun and games but I have never had a job where I enjoy going to work at all. I feel the only way I may be able to find any happiness in a job would be something involving video games. I think I will try it out and hopefully I will love it because if I don't I feel I will be miserable for the rest of my life unless I win the lottery or something. I enjoy making music and doing that as well but the chances of me having a successful band is super slim.
Absolutely, try it out as soon as possible and if there's anything else you think you'd enjoy doing in life, try that out. Even if you don't find working in games to be that enjoyable though, it doesn't mean you're life will be miserable and winning the lottery is overrated anyway.
 
@Tru3_Blu3 said:
I have some questions, OP. I am planning on taking a programming class and I want to know your feelings and experiences on it. Does it involve math and is it difficult in anyway? Do you enjoy doing it?  Thank you.
Well, I've specialised in games programming which has been a bit different from regular programming. Personally I've had to learn quite a bit of maths, mainly for the purposes of working in 3D graphics and it's certainly a very difficult course I'm on, it has a big drop-out rate, the hours are long and the work is hard. Fortunately on a regular programming course you won't get work anywhere near that strenuous or hours that long, but from what I understand it can have difficult moments here and there, it depends how deep into programming you're going though. Some mathematics skill is important and again it depends how in-depth things are going to be, but as I understand it your knowledge of maths doesn't need to be too great and certainly making simple programs is possible without any prior prior study of maths. Personally I find my course can be tough at times but ultimately, yes, I enjoy programming and the feeling I get from writing code, otherwise it's not what I'd be doing. If you think you might enjoy it then I advise you to try it as soon as you can. Don't wait for a class to come along, you can get free coding software and start using it as soon as you like.

@DevWil said:
I think the most important thing to realize for anybody who wants to make games is that there's really nothing stopping you from doing so. 
 
Three years ago, I had no idea I could make a game. Now it's my number one focus in life, and I've made nearly a dozen games in the past two years. It's so easy these days, even compared to just ten years ago. There are so many resources online and the barrier for entry is so low. Whether you want to use Unity or FlashPunk/Flixel, you can make a game for absolutely no money down (other than the cost of a computer and the internet, of course). If you really want to do it, just do it! Put the time in. Stop talking about it and try it! You'll find out really fast if it's for you or not.
 
Another thing that I believe strongly about being creative in general is that the best motivator is a sincere desire to see your concept realized. It's important to keep an audience in mind, but ultimately I make the music and games I do because I want them to exist. It's pretty selfish, actually! If you think to yourself, "Geez, I sure wish there were more games that did [x, y, and z]", go make a game that does [x, y, and z]! Maybe you can't make it happen all by your self, but you can look for collaborators or at least prototype it. 
 
As far as making a living goes...that's trickier and something I haven't yet mastered :P. I'm still going to school, so my games don't need to support me financially. However, you're not going to make any money from any game if you never make one. Even if you don't want to go the indie route, I can't imagine it would hurt your chances to be able to show off some fully-functional games to a potential employer.
 
@Gamer_152: I'm very interested in reading the other blogs of yours that you mention. I'm sure I can find them by clicking your profile, but your links 404 for me.  Edit: If you're not in school right this second, don't let that stop you from getting into programming! I was taught some very, very basic C++ in high school and I've gotten some other formal education in various languages since, but most of what I know came from hacking away at stuff on my own time and reading tutorials and things online.
Yup, if you want to make something simple the tools are out there and easy to get a hold of. Demands for professionally made video games are ever-increasing but low-level games development is getting easier and those who are interested in it should get to trying it a.s.a.p. I think those working in any creative field are usually driven by reasonably self-centred desires and there's nothing wrong with that, you just have to be ready to work as part of a team in games development. I'll try and get you some working links. Which ones have been 404ing for you? The ones that I posted in the other comment on here?
 
@warxsnake said:

My developer 2 cents:

  • Work hard because nothing about making (AAA) games is easy. You have to be at the top of your game to work in good dev houses. Dev diary videos are rarely an accurate representation of game making.
  • Be nice to people and respect them, be a team player and not a lone wolf, or you will be quickly outcast, and fired.
  • Show them your skills, but don't broaden yourself. Specialize in one thing if you are new; only after you have gained exp can you broaden your responsibilities.
  • Be able to adapt to new work environments and workflows, even within a project or company.
  • Do some research on all the other fields that go into game making. If you are an artist, know the basics of what goes on in all the other fields involved: Programming, Animation, Game Design, Sound, Production, Human Resources, Game testing, QA, Engine and Tools, Security...and so on. Because you will have to collaborate with all these fields on a daily basis.
  • Be REALLY open to criticism, as it will only help make your work better and in turn, the product better.
  • Do not work for yourself, work for the betterment of the product and your team. Understand what the common goals are and strive to achieve them.
  • Always seek new ways of doing things, always try to be more efficient, ahead of the curve, but be open to sharing your newly gained abilities with others.
  • Be ready to do overtime, depending on the devhouse, unpaid overtime.
  • Love your work and enjoy your time there.
  • Be social, go out to lunch with your coworkers and so on. The gaming industry is close-knit and is a very social community, and it literally pays to know people.
  • Most of you already do this, usually this advice is for outsides that come into the gaming industry as an artist or producer coming from tv shows or other agencies: play lots of games, know your market audience. Give to your project what you think is the best for the consumer in mind.
Some excellent advice, certainly things that all aspiring developers should be aware of.
Moderator
Posted by Akrid

How to Get a Job in the Games Industry (Official Guide)

 Start and never stop. You'll make it soon enough.
Edited by DevWil
 @Gamer_152: yeah, your links to "part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5" all 404'd for me.
 
@Akrid: brilliant. what an encouraging, incisive statement. 
 
@I2v2nr20I: coding is a game in itself to me! it's still so exciting to me that lines of text can turn into audio-visual interactivity. 
 
i think what we can all agree on is that you need to find out if you enjoy (or can at least stomach) the actual process of creating games, and that getting a taste of it isn't something you need to wait for.
Posted by FluxWaveZ
@warxsnake said:

My developer 2 cents:

  • Be social, go out to lunch with your coworkers and so on. The gaming industry is close-knit and is a very social community, and it literally pays to know people.
Aww man. I know this; I know making connections is a big part of the industry, but it hurts being reminded of that fact. Hopefully I'll grow out of my social awkwardness eventually...
Posted by Gamer_152
@DevWil said:
 @Gamer_152: yeah, your links to "part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5" all 404'd for me.
 
i think what we can all agree on is that you need to find out if you enjoy (or can at least stomach) the actual process of creating games, and that getting a taste of it isn't something you need to wait for.
Yup, I think that's a good summary of it. I'm not sure why the links are broken for you, they work both on Firefox and Chrome for me. Try linking to them via this Google link.
 
@FluxWaveZ said:
@warxsnake said:

My developer 2 cents:

  • Be social, go out to lunch with your coworkers and so on. The gaming industry is close-knit and is a very social community, and it literally pays to know people.
Aww man. I know this; I know making connections is a big part of the industry, but it hurts being reminded of that fact. Hopefully I'll grow out of my social awkwardness eventually...
It can be tough but find people, introduce yourself, the worst that happens is your introduction is a little shaky. Heck, you can find a lot of people initially over the web and a lot of the devs you meet in person first time are likely to be friends of devs you already know, once you put yourself out there it's unlikely to be as bad as you think it will.
Moderator
Edited by warxsnake

@Gamer_152 said:

@DevWil said:
@Gamer_152: yeah, your links to "part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5" all 404'd for me.

i think what we can all agree on is that you need to find out if you enjoy (or can at least stomach) the actual process of creating games, and that getting a taste of it isn't something you need to wait for.
Yup, I think that's a good summary of it. I'm not sure why the links are broken for you, they work both on Firefox and Chrome for me. Try linking to them via this Google link.

@FluxWaveZ said:
@warxsnake said:

My developer 2 cents:

  • Be social, go out to lunch with your coworkers and so on. The gaming industry is close-knit and is a very social community, and it literally pays to know people.
Aww man. I know this; I know making connections is a big part of the industry, but it hurts being reminded of that fact. Hopefully I'll grow out of my social awkwardness eventually...
It can be tough but find people, introduce yourself, the worst that happens is your introduction is a little shaky. Heck, you can find a lot of people initially over the web and a lot of the devs you meet in person first time are likely to be friends of devs you already know, once you put yourself out there it's unlikely to be as bad as you think it will.

It should be really really easy to make friends with other developers, especially those in the same field as you. Rarely are there assholes in this industry, and mostly they are the same kind of geek you are, interested in the same things. Making friends with producers and directors is slightly harder and obviously more intimidating for new or shy devs, but it's super important to be friends with them. I don't want to sound too strategic about all of this, naturally you should be friends with everyone and generally a nice guy/girl.

Posted by nintendoeats

Good post 152. Having now spent some time making legitimate moves to work in the games industry, I can back up everything that you have just said.

Posted by MB

@Gamer_152: Good read...but may I ask what your experience is? I had the impression you were a college student.

Anyway, way back when I was in junior high, all of the girls wanted to be marine biologists because they loved dolphins and wanted to swim with them in the ocean all day as a career. I doubt if a single one of them ended up doing that. In college, we had at least 30 or 40 guys playing various sports who had dreams of going on to the pros...I don't think any of them ever did. It seems to me like game development is the new NFL or MLB...hundreds, if not thousands of people interested in just a few jobs that most of them will never land.

Not to rain on anyone's parade or anything, but my advice to those wanting to get into game development is to have a solid backup plan.

Moderator
Posted by Gamer_152
@nintendoeats said:

Good post 152. Having now spent some time making legitimate moves to work in the games industry, I can back up everything that you have just said.

Thank you.
 
@MB said:

@Gamer_152: Good read...but may I ask what your experience is? I had the impression you were a college student.

Anyway, way back when I was in junior high, all of the girls wanted to be marine biologists because they loved dolphins and wanted to swim with them in the ocean all day as a career. I doubt if a single one of them ended up doing that. In college, we had at least 30 or 40 guys playing various sports who had dreams of going on to the pros...I don't think any of them ever did. It seems to me like game development is the new NFL or MLB...hundreds, if not thousands of people interested in just a few jobs that most of them will never land.

Not to rain on anyone's parade or anything, but my advice to those wanting to get into game development is to have a solid backup plan.

I'm a university student on a games programming course, fortunately it's actually a good one with industry links and ex-industry people heading it. I've never released a game commercially but I do design and programming projects in my spare time and I know people doing indie development and looking to go into the industry in a professional capacity.
 
Yeah, this situation is analogous to the marine biologist example and even to some extent the sports star example, although most people in the latter position do at least have a base like of playing sports, they just don't have the commitment or quite enough passion to pull through with doing it on a professional level. I think another good example is all the people who wanted to be musicians but never went anywhere with it.
Moderator
Posted by iam3green

nope not really. it's pretty interesting stuff though.