What is a Game Developer?
Game Developers help turn a game’s concept into a playable reality. To do this, they program functionality, code graphic aspects, and test iterations until a game is ready for sale.
Game Developers create the architecture of a game. Game Developers will strive to put gaming experiences into place, update current code, and troubleshoot any necessary areas of the game. That’s not all, though. The field of game creation is quite vast. You might also find yourself programming the technology supporting a graphic engine, collaborating with the audio team to improve when recorded clips are triggered in the game, or creating tools that empower the rest of your team rather than touching the game yourself so they can bring their designs to life as naturally as possible.
It can also be a Game Developer’s responsibility to advise game designers when something isn’t feasible. Delivering this information diplomatically can be a talent in and of itself. Being able to implement someone’s proposal is not the simplest thing to accomplish. A career in video game production may be extremely lucrative if you enjoy working with computers and video games.
Your specific tasks as a Game Developer may vary depending on your specialisation and the company that you work for. These are some of the day-to-day tasks you may perform as a Game Developer:
- Creating fresh concepts for game design
- Developing, testing, and refining gameplay prototypes.
- Tracking the platform-across stability of games
- Examining current code and suggesting improvements.
- Converting visual concepts into code
- Working together with producers, artists, designers, and quality controllers
- Transferring games or components to new platforms.
The average salary for Game Developers is influenced by location, company and experience/skill.
The national average salary for a Game Developer in the UK is £38,838, ranging from £28,000 to £74,000. The expected additional pay amounts to £5,985. On the other hand, London salaries for Game Developers range from £36,000 to £76,000, with an average of £45,794. The expected additional pay in London amounts to £6,005. Additional compensation options include commission, tips, cash bonuses, and profit-sharing.
Working hours and work location
The typical office hours for Game Developers are 9 am to 5 pm. Even though they have a 40-hour workweek, certain tasks necessitate lengthy hours, which may include weekends, holidays, and evenings. The majority of job options for Game Developers are full-time, but you may also work part-time, find freelance employment, or obtain short-term contracts.
Before becoming a freelancer, you must have years of experience working for full-time companies.
Your job as a Game Developer is office-based. Fortunately, most workplaces provide unhurried and cosy work settings to foster creativity. You will have all the tools you need at your workspace to complete your duties. In the workplace, casual attire is usually acceptable. Some video game creators work from home, visiting the workplace solely for conferences or meetings. While travelling is not required for the work, you may occasionally have to attend events or pitch game concepts to investors.
As a Game Developer, you’ll typically work in one of four areas in this sector:
- Independent (indie) developers create independent video games primarily on a solo or small group basis.
- First-party developers create games internally for a single platform or console
- Second-party developers solely create games for consoles (but is not fully owned by the platform or console)
- Third-party developers produce their own games for release or create games for other game companies.
What to expect
The size of the business you work for and your area of speciality will determine the kind of work you undertake as a Game Developer. Your chances of having a more specialised position working on a particular game component are higher at larger gaming businesses. As a Game Developer, you could participate in several stages of a game’s lifespan when working for an independent publisher.
You can specialise in the following areas of development as a Game Developer:
- Level Designer– The setting for the game, where the characters will reside, and the ideal themes that entice gamers into the game are your responsibility as level designers. You decide if the game needs a gloomy setting or a colourful theme with animations to be fun.
- Content designers– If you decide to pursue a specialisation in this area, as a Game Developer, you might concentrate on creating design details like designing a game’s storyline and characters. You could also establish the game’s setting and provide suggestions for its features.
- Game mechanics: In Game Mechanics you will concentrate on the gameplay and the components that make the game more functional overall. For instance, you could choose the combat techniques and weapons to include in a fighting game.
Depending on where you are in your career, the aspects of game production you are interested in, and how much creative control you desire over the final result, you will decide which route to choose. Possessing the necessary technical abilities on your CV may allow you to find employment as a Game Developer. Experience with game development engines and the ability to code (typically in C# or C++) are two abilities you’ll frequently see in job advertisements.
Programmes that you should mastering order to become a successful Game Developer include:
- Unity– a cross-platform game engine that enables you to create both 2D and 3D games. Particularly for independent and mobile games, Unity is widely used. You can start making games (and earning expertise) before you get employed because it is free for students and personal usage.
- Unreal Engine– although it was first created for first-person shooters, Unreal Engine has evolved into a 3D creative platform used for games on a variety of platforms. C++ is the programming language used by Unreal.
- C# (pronounced C-sharp)– is a programming language that is often used for creating mobile apps and games, especially when using the Unity engine.
- C++ – is a general-purpose programming language that is frequently used to create operating systems, applications, and games.
- C– is an imperative procedural language with a static type system that supports recursion, lexical variable scoping, and structured programming. It was intended to be built, with minimum runtime assistance, to offer low-level memory access and language features that easily translate to machine instructions.
Many organisations that create and distribute video games search for applicants who have a bachelor’s degree or even better a master’s degree in computer science or a closely connected discipline (i.e. Mathematics, Physics, Arts).
Nowadays, some universities have degrees in interactive entertainment and game creation that are more explicitly geared toward the video game business. Having a degree can help you acquire the fundamental technical abilities required for success as a Game Developer and get employment faster with some of the most prestigious companies in the gaming market, however, it is not always necessary.
Creativity, imaginative flair, and familiarity with the foundations of game production are of utmost importance in game development. Keep in mind that qualifications other than a degree may include experience, a strong portfolio, and an appealing résumé.
In addition to creativity and imagination, as a Game Developer you will need to acquire or possess the following skills:
must have skills:
- Understanding of one or several game engines.– game development is supported by gaming engines. These are sometimes known as “game architecture” or “game framework.” As mentioned previously, Unity and Unreal are two examples that are often used.
- Communication and documentation skills- any prospective contract or plan might be made or lost by poor communication and documentation, whether you’re pitching your own game as a freelancer or working in a team these skills will be essential.
- Maths, physics and problem-solving skills– Your ability to turn your creative concepts into engaging gaming experiences will be aided by a solid foundation in maths and physics. Many prospective employers interview candidates to learn more about them than simply their coding skills. They also want to show your capacity for problem-solving.
As a Game Developer, you can opt to specialise in addition to determining what kind of developer you want to be. Depending on the platform (console, computer, or mobile), the game (simulation, adventure, role-playing, strategy, etc.), or a particular game feature, you might gain specialised talents (in-game systems, level design, user interface, environment, etc).
There are steps you can take to help you break into the gaming business if you have a passion for games and appreciate fusing technology and creativity. Some of them include:
- Starting with easy-to-learn games or little game mechanics.
Create games immediately to begin honing your abilities. Work your way up to more sophisticated tasks by starting small and simple, such as developing a straightforward behaviour or keyboard movement mechanic in C#.
- Building a portfolio
Add your own games to your portfolio as you create them. This demonstrates your abilities to potential employers and can set you apart from other applicants.
- Beginning your career as a QA tester
QA (Quality Assurance) testers thoroughly examine video games for any bugs or faults. This entry-level position may be a useful method to experience the gaming business and establish oneself.
- Frequenting game industry events
Effective networking may open doors for you in many fields that you might not otherwise be aware of. Attend gaming industry events to network with other programmers and studios.
Many game creators enter the field because they enjoy playing video games.
Video games have become a popular source of entertainment in the UK, with the number of users increasing from 33 million in 2019 to over 36 million in 2020. The size of the UK video game market grew again in 2021, hitting a record high of £7.16 billion, up 2% from the previous year. According to trade organisation UKIE, UK gamers spent more money last year than they did at the height of the shutdown.
Careers may become more available as gaming drives innovation in fields like artificial intelligence (AI), esports, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR). While working in the video game industry might be difficult, it can also be fulfilling to be a part of something you’re enthusiastic about producing (and that your potential customers are passionate about as well).
The University of the West of Scotland teaches this program at their London Campus, so you’ll be studying at the heart of the UK’s Game industry. This one-year, full-time curriculum is for students who have no prior expertise with computers or information technology. The course will help you learn much-needed IT expertise to help you prepare for a job as a Game Developer.
If you are looking to study fully online, this course is a great choice. It still has all the hallmarks of the leading MSc delivered by the University of the West of Scotland on campus. You do not need to have an IT baccalaureate degree to attend this course.