A recent study says that there is an increasing number of students are choosing video game development as their career. Video game development field holds many potential as it is a very diverse field in terms of career. A career in game development may look like a fun job but developing video games is a serious job. Entertainment Software Association reports that “In 2009, the video game industry had sales in excess of $10 billion and employed more than 32,000 people in 34 states.”
Developing video games is more complex than what it looks like and also needs the collaboration of a number of developers. The development of video games follows three simple steps, which are pre-production, production, and post-production. The process depends on the games’ size and needs.
In pre-production process, the designers make the framework of the game concept with the help of artists. Designers also set up the gameplay and the graphics. There is also a different section in designs where few designers come up with mechanics; some provide the storylines of games. Designers then compile everything and create a prototype of the game. After receiving the funding for the game, programmers start working on the technological framework and concept artist works on the characters. Next, in the production, designers, programmers, artists start creating the game with the help of the prototype created in pre-production.
Explaining the process, Louis Catanzaro, Creative Director of BeachCooler Games, says, “Art isn’t displayed correctly until an engineer makes it work, and it doesn’t work until a designer defines how it should work.”After the concept artist finishes works with the concept, other artists work on the models, texture, animations, objects, environments and levels. On the other hand, programmers come up with the right game engine for the game and they write the code according to the games’ elements. In post production, the final step of developing games focuses on the testing games’ errors. Quality assurance team tests the games and if they find any errors, they again send it back to programmers. As this step has to deal with the errors, it consumes more time. After the complete verification, games become ready to release.
This process of developing video games explains that making video games needs a number of different people. Developers include a distinct number of the specialties like art, game design, and programming. Depending on it, there are various roles or many career options in one gaming studio (explained below).
• Artists: Artists bring the soul into a game. They design games’ visual style, aesthetic. They create the artwork including characters, environments and other objects. They follow methods like sculpting, drawing and 3D modeling to portray their ideas. The different posts as artists are:
1) Art director, 2) Lead artist, 3) Concept artist, 4) Modeler, and 5) Animator.
• Designers: The game begins with the designers as they outline almost everything about the game. Designers describe the whole game with detailed descriptions including the story, characters, plot, and gameplay. In the production process, the designers work with programmers and artists and work on scripting languages. Many fields of designers are:
1) Lead designer, 2) Content designer, 3) Game mechanic designer, 4) Level designer, and 5) Writer.
• Programmers: Programmers write down the game into a number of lines of code to describe how the game will work on in the system. Programmers work on different types of coding languages with different qualities. They choose the language focusing on the games’ platform. Programmers have different posts like:
1) Lead programmer, 2) Artificial intelligence programmer, 3) Graphics programmer, 4) Network programmer, 5) Physics programmer, 6) Tools programmer, 7) User interface programmer.