What skills do game developers have that other developers don’t?
Answer by A Quora admin: Animesh Jha
I will keep the Answer simple for the average reader and not get into too much complexity.
The Non Technical Factor:
Motivation aka the driving factor. This can be different for whatever background you might come from, but it’s important. It is mainly a measuring info of how long and hard you have kept yourself on the same career path. (Excluding visual proof).
It tells the employer your willingness to put an extra effort in something you really like or enjoy vs all others who just are there for the money. This is somewhat a measure of the candidate’s enthusiasm for this industry, a binding factor to your dreams.
Technical Factor (these are not in priority):
1. Proficiency in technology (hardware) and at-least 1-2 mainstream programming languages like C, C++ or C#.
2. Debugging familiarity with low level programming knowledge base.
3. Optimization knowledge, code or art, requires knowledge of both.
4. Math, Algebra and Vector a minimum including Physics / Mechanical equations.
5. Problem solving ability. This is a must.
6. Knowledge of iterative development, Industry is not “Waterfall” based.
To give some relevant perspective to the above, I can just give my personal experience briefly.
I burned my 1st motherboard by overclocking it in 8th grade after getting my hands on the Motherboard’s manual because “Carmeggeddon” wouldn’t run smoothly and that annoyed me, my dad wouldn’t get me a new video (gfx) card. Next I used to make my own levels in Red Alert’s level editor; increased the speed of cars and tanks in Grand theft Auto via scripts; modding, and throughout engineering drew weapons and machinery as doodles in my notebooks. I was incredibly Visual person, and realized this quite late. I also was fairly good at drawing and sketching and usually the only one who had a good eye for art as well as a practical mindset. I chose Software engineering because well, that’s the closest you can get to computer games in India, after which I did a Masters in something relevant to Game development, started with Unreal Engine and then Unity3d.
My 1st job was that of a Technical Artist, a hybrid intermediate between Art and Engineering usually put in exactly what the job title defines it, between artists and engineering. Next I moved to completely gameplay centric position which is also what I currently work as, Game programmer.
All in all, it took me 4 years of Grad school, 2 years of Masters, 2 years of struggle (because lack of experience) and now I’m completely satisfied with what I do and worth the sacrifices I had made. Joining a software company and writing code for some bank in a 9 to 5 setting was not my cup of tea and wouldn’t have lasted.
Also on the final note, luck might get you in the industry, but you must have the caliber to stay in else you will be replaced.
I have been a gamer for more than 15 years but playing games is not equal to making games although the person’s ability to dissect the game design in order to know what YOU really like and what makes you keep playing a game, helps you in the Career, you have to play more games to keep yourself updated of design and technology relevant to whatever your skillset is as a Game Developer.
Cover image courtesy – Flickr Nadia Secceraccia
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