It’s the unique mix of technical and creative which makes game design and development such a popular career choice for young people. With a starting salary in the high twenties, it is a great career path for those with a passion for programming, software, gameplay, narrative and graphics. The industry has two main specialisms: game designers create the vision and game developers implement the vision. But there’s lots of cross-over, especially within smaller, niche studios. And there’s a huge need to be able to speak the language of the other specialism – this sector is all about teamwork.
For game designers, a wide-range, up-to-date knowledge of gaming trends aids innovation. The latest emerging technology is mixed reality – think Pokémon GO. At the heart of computer game design is playability. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? Whilst not every player wants to be an eathlete (an electronic athlete), the central focus of a game is to keep players playing and sharing their experience with others. Interaction is key – from storyboarding the user experience (UX), to enhancing player motivation (kudos and collectables), games now rival others in the marketplace with their unique look and feel (as well as sound).
Gaming in the future is set to become less bedroom bound, drawing in a broader range of players. And game-design elements and principles are increasingly seen outside the games industry such as cultural and commercial contexts where mobile phones are becoming the consoles of the future. Gaming is constantly innovating, providing young people with incredible opportunities.
So what steps do young people need to take to become a game designer and/or developer? Fire Tech caught up with Jason Veal, Managing Director & Co-Founder of games studio Sugar Creative to get his advice: “Make use of the free, professional software available online. You don’t have to know them all but you do need to know how to navigate a range of software. Hone your analytical and programming skills. And be interested and that’s not just interested in playing games! Your best ideas will come to you whilst you’re doing something completely unrelated”.
For teens, Fire Tech offers a course in 3D Game Development With Unity, a powerful game engine behind many popular games such as Crossy Road, Monument Valley and Hearthstone. Incorporating C#, participants are encouraged to first attend one of Fire Tech’s programming-based courses Coding Games with Java or Teen Coding with Python.