So, You Wanna be in GADD?

Joshua Resnick takes a look at what programs would be ideal for anyone starting out in the GADD field. Best of all, they're free!

Hello everyone and welcome to my first post on Gamasutra.

It is here that I will take you by the hand and guide you on your journey into field of GADD. Note that there is a slogan underneath the sign before the field that reads: Not for Those who Like Playing Video Games. This is perhaps the most said and underappreciated bit of wisdom ever to leave the lips of someone in the industry. This saying, however, is not meant to stop you from going in. It is to warn you that your taste will be forever spoiled to the magic of video games. Wonderful landscapes will turn into assets, mesh, and lightmapping. The epic fights will become endless scripting and animation of character models. The wool from your eyes will be pulled and you will see how time-consuming and pain-staking of a process it is to make a video game of any size. So I say this to you once, if you like playing video games, TURN BACK NOW. You cannot like video games in order to be in GADD, you have to love them.

*ahem* ...Now that all of the light-weights are gone, we can begin. There are many different job positions within the GADD industry. Today, we will focus on the Big Three: Artists, Designers, and Developers, and how they are responsible for the successful launch of a video game.

  1. Artists- An artist in the GADD field is the one who creates concept art, enviornment, character models, assets, and animation. They are the hand of the director, creating anything that he/she wishes to come to life within the game. This part can easily be thrown into disarray if the designer does not follow the Game Design Document (you'll learn what this is later).
  2. Designers- Pretty much everyone with an idea calls themselves this. To be clear, the designer's job is to clearly create and voice ideas of a game's world design, gameplay, level design, and story based on an existing Game Design Document (again, later). 
  3. Developers-A.K.A. the most unappreciated part of the team. This person's job is to put all of the assets, models, animations, lighting, sound, gameplay, physics, and dialog into a game. It is a time-consuming process and should only be given to those who are meticulous and have no life. Having both gives you bonus points.

Now, after picking whatever position best suits you, it'll be time to learn about your essential tools of the trade. There are many different resources to use on the web that are both free and powerful, but for now we will begin with the basics. What are the basics you ask? Well Jimmy, I'll tell you. It's a program called GameMaker and yes, they're training wheels, so get over it. Before using powerful SDK's such as Unity, Source, or Creation Kit, there's GameMaker which offers a simple, but effective way of learning how things work within a game. There are also wonderful tutorials from which to choose from (I suggest starting with the clown). After finishing, you will have learned about what an asset, sprite, and heirarchy is. These are parts of any SDK and will be essentials for the days to come.


In the following posts to come, I'll go into detail about the various tools you will need depending on which position you chose. As I am most acquainted with designing, that will be my first post after this one. After this post I will also place a link at the bottom coming back to this blog right here in case you or anyone else wishes to go back to basics for a refresher. 

Until then, I'll see you next week after you've tackled the basics!

Latest Jobs

Xbox Game Studios

Redmond, Washington
Technical Lighting Artist


Hamburg, Germany
Game Designer - Elvenar

Six Foot

Houston, TX
Six Foot Director, Player Relations

Hometopia Inc.

Lead Engineer
More Jobs   


Explore the
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Job Board

Game Developer Newsletter


Explore the

Game Developer Job Board

Browse open positions across the game industry or recruit new talent for your studio

Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Follow us


Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more