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From Gamer to Creator through Programming Skills

Many avid gamers are taking their passions and developing a lucrative career every day in programming. Anything that deals with the word “programming” has an intimidation factor to most individuals, but it really shouldn’t. There are over 4 billion people on this planet that play video games. This staggering number averages to over 3 billion hours a week diving into the mystical digital worlds created by the master game designers. Well, what if the gamer wants to become the creator? Is it worth it? Is it really that possible? With the new advances in technology, and the opportunities readily available, it is definitely possible.

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Getting Your Foot in the Door

Thousands of colleges offer classes or online sessions to allow your average person find a place in the career of game programming. Elite game developers such as: Valve Corporations, Blizzard Entertainment, and EA Games, look for programmers with degrees in their respected fields. Any gamer can start smaller while completing their studies though. In a small part, practically every gamer has done some small part of programming while they played their games. Any gamer that has ever put in a cheat code, basically preformed the most simplistic forms of game code programming. Any gamer who created an avatar using character sheets completed the basic form of designing. It’s all out there, just in a bigger picture.

Indie Market

Within the last decade, the indie market of game developers has boomed at an exponential rate. With the introduction of Facebook, these low budget, high targeted games are being developed daily. Most of these developers have learned the basic understanding of game programming either through college or personal study and are making a substantial living using it. With the opportunity of Facebook’s targeted audience, anyone with a passion for games and knowledge of game programming can make a career of something they love. Everyone’s played Farmville right? That game was developed in 5 weeks according to lead developer Amitt Mahajan.

What should I study?

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No video game is developed by a single programmer. Every game from 1983’s Mario Brothers to 2013’s Resident Evil 6, had a team of developers. Game programming is typically broken down into three categories: Art, Code, and Design. Each category is meant for a specific breed of programmers with tuned skills. The architecture which was blown up by millions in Red Faction Armageddon was drawn by an artist in the art department. The structural integrity of the buildings to reflect realistic physics was put in place by the game designers. Every idea was put in place by the backbone of the developers the code programmers.

Will I lose my Love of Video Games

Believe it or not, part of the job as a game programmer is to play video games. Designers use previous works as a way of inspiration, and let’s face it, they’re just gamers too. Just like every gamer does now anyways, programmers look and analyze the game they just finished beating. Was it too easy? Was it not realistic enough? Was the purple blood coming out of the three-eyed alien a little too much? What can I do differently?

So should a gamer become the creator? If any gamer finishes a game and says, “This game sucked, I definitely would have changed [blank].” The response should be, “Why don’t you?”

The author has been an avid video gamer since the days of the Atari. He has contributed his advice to many entrepreneur designers on developing their careers through internships of many indie developers such as this site.

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1 Comment

Paul

I am learning to code now!


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