As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a games developer…
Back in the day, playing my first few games on the good old Super Nintendo, I was amazed at how much fun they were. But I was just as amazed when I finished my first game and the credits began to roll. Here was a list of people who got paid to make games! What was this madness and how could I sign up?
I would very much like to see my name here…
So, from the age of 6 or thereabouts, I had a dream of making games. The reality escaped me for a few years yet though. I certainly played many games but didn’t learn much about making them. All this changed when I got to college and began my course, Multimedia and Computer Games Development.
In this course, I have learned and created many things, from basic programming logic, to the syntax of several different languages such as Java and C++, to basic graphics programming, to making extensive mods to an existing game (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion), and now even to making my own (admittedly simple) games using Microsoft XNA Game Studio.
I have also been reading avidly. Both programming books such as “Microsoft XNA Game Studio 3.0“, and theory/design books like “Game Design: Theory and Practice” by Richard Rouse III. Richard was project lead, lead designer, and writer on a great game called “The Suffering” for the Playstation 2, so he is a very useful source of information on what the industry is really like.
The man knows what he is talking about!
From my time and experience in college, I have decided my ideal job would be as a designer/writer. The thing that really makes me smile is thinking up different gameplay ideas, mechanics, settings, stories, characters, controls, and so on. I think the potential of games is astronomical, and with the amount of power, the level of graphics, and the standard of online, physics and AI we have available at the moment, it seems like an incredibly exciting time to be a designer.
My only concern is that with how expensive games have gotten, with 100 million dollar budgets popping up more and more often, no one in their right mind will want to hire a designer that doesn’t have a list of hit games on their CV!
A fantastic, 100 million dollar game! That I didn’t make…
An alternative career path could be as a programmer. While I prefer the design side, I do enjoy writing code too. Attempting to solve a problem in the leanest, most efficient way possible is always fun. Hopefully if I don’t make it as a designer, becoming a programmer might be an easier path into the industry. Though again, I am not sure if a games company will want to hire someone with no experience making games.
With that in mind, I’m going to teach myself as much as possible. Whether it’s practising programming, reading books, modding existing games, making my own games in XNA, or just playing the Xbox 360 for hours with my friends, I’m going to keep improving my chances of one day fulfilling my dream and working in one of the biggest, most exciting, most creative industries in the world!