Sign in to follow this  
flyfamilyguy

What Kind Of Education Does It Take To Be A Game Developer

Recommended Posts

flyfamilyguy    122
Hello. My 16 year old son is interested in becoming a game developer. I told him that in order to achieve his goal, he will need to do well in mathematics at school. Could someone please give some info based on your knowledge, and experience? What does it take to realize a career in this field? Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Driv3MeFar    1080
"Game developer" is a broad term. Games are made by programmers, artists, QA, producers, sound people, and more. Which field is your son interested in?

All I can speak for is programming, but game programmers are expected to have a good grasp of mathematics (linear algebra mostly, but discrete math, calculus, and other fields are good to know), computer science, and several programming languages (C, C++, C#, and Java are the most common languages used professionally).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EvanWeeks    187
A constant drive to self-educate and try new things with nothing but an IDE (or notepad and a compiler) and dodgy API documentation helps, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
brandonman    102
I'm in the 8th grade, just heading to high-school. I am in the Algebra class for our class, which is the 'accelerated' class for people with slightly better math grades. Really, I would say I am not even in the top 20 or so percent of the intelligence of our class, but I get by fine with programming. To see my game I have up online, head over to Herges Games. I would say a fair understanding of algebra is mostly what you need to get by as a programmer, which I would guess is what he wants to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
argonaut    100
I have written many papers on this subject, but I don't think the answer is as complete as you would like to hear. Yes, if your son wants to be a programmer then he should definitely study mathematics, engineering, architecture and whatever other science based studies his schools have to offer.

However, understand that some of the most prolific game developers we have in the industry have (sometimes Masters) degrees in poetry, art, psychology, philosophy, language and others. The reason being is that games are beyond programming a computer.

Encourage your son to learn about the industry and what part of it interests him most. There was an article on Gamasutra.com this week encouraging a young man to make pen and paper games before learning the art of making video games, which I thought was spot on!

As for you, the parent: play games with your children and teach them about what games mean (Not just video games). Encourage him to make up some new rules to games you play that he might think would be a fun addition to the existing rules. Encourage him to understand what makes games NOT fun (cheating, unbalance, etc).

Hope that helps :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dashurc    236
There are a billion (exaggeration) different disciplines in the Game Development industry.

Programmers, 3D artists, 2D artists, Sound Artists, Play Testers, Producers, Designers are just some of the roles.

Simply doing research into the individual fields will reveal a whole bunch of different educational possibilities. There's no one way to get into the industry, and a lot of jobs don't require any post-secondary math at all. Don't tell your son what he should be learning. Let your son decide what capacity he sees himself wanting to work in, and then choosing further education will be a much easier task.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
flyfamilyguy    122
Wow, thanks to all of you!
We did not expect so many replies in such a short period of time. Lots of good information. He,(my son) is not really at the point of knowing exactly what he wants to do within the gaming industry yet. IMHO, it's going to eventually be something having to do with the story-line.,creating the rules/maps,setting the stage,things like that. (He loves Halo, and really enjoys creating his own maps.)

If anyone has anymore to share, we welcome all of it, otherwise thanks to all of you who have been more than helpful!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tenac    124
I'm 16 and am just programming a 3D game engine when I'm bored for the fun of it, I would love a job of it but not really looking for that. I'm a sophomore in Algebra II and have an F but I'm going to do summer school to make up for it lol. As for Computer Science which is an AP class, I have a really high A and am probably the best in the class. I've heard though that most programming has been taken overseas since it's cheaper and if your going to get a job, get one that will only be done here. But if I were thinking of a game programming job, I would only expect them to accept amazing programmers. Well, that's enough of me babbling =P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Sloper    16040
Quote:
Original post by flyfamilyguy
(my son) is not really at the point of knowing exactly what he wants to do within the gaming industry yet. IMHO, it's going to eventually be something having to do with the story-line.,creating the rules/maps,

Okay, so show your son where this forum is, and let him take over the conversation.
After you show your son these, and have him read everything for 2 weeks first:
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson7.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson14.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson32.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson25.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson34.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson44.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/entry65.htm
http://www.igda.org/breakingin/career_paths.htm
http://www.google.com/search?q=%22level+design%22

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nhatkthanh    334
From what you're describing, it looks like a game designer. Some of the designers that I'm working with, became where they are now by going to school and some going up the ladder from being a game tester. If there are local game studio in your area, he can try for a game testing position there, doing so get him a better understanding and more experience in the industry. It also leave him with a better understanding of what he want to do in the industry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RDragon1    1205
Quote:
Original post by flyfamilyguy
Wow, thanks to all of you!
We did not expect so many replies in such a short period of time. Lots of good information. He,(my son) is not really at the point of knowing exactly what he wants to do within the gaming industry yet. IMHO, it's going to eventually be something having to do with the story-line.,creating the rules/maps,setting the stage,things like that. (He loves Halo, and really enjoys creating his own maps.)

If anyone has anymore to share, we welcome all of it, otherwise thanks to all of you who have been more than helpful!


Honestly, if he's 16, he should already be competent at using a computer and shouldn't have trouble coming here and being a blood sucking information sponge himself. He's not going to succeed at anything if he doesn't go after his dreams himself. There are plenty of resources (people) here for him to be able to find out anything he wants about how best to start building relevant skills for whatever career he wants to try first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ibebrett    205
Quote:
Original post by Tenac
But if I were thinking of a game programming job, I would only expect them to accept amazing programmers.


Theres a difference between accepting good programmers and 'amazing ' programmers. Good programmers that wan't to make games can get a job. You do not have to be 'amazing,' besides I have only met a few amazing programmers, and they are definitely not making games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RDragon1    1205
Quote:
Original post by ibebrett
Quote:
Original post by Tenac
But if I were thinking of a game programming job, I would only expect them to accept amazing programmers.


Theres a difference between accepting good programmers and 'amazing ' programmers. Good programmers that wan't to make games can get a job. You do not have to be 'amazing,' besides I have only met a few amazing programmers, and they are definitely not making games.


Game programmers are (in general) the least talented, and (therefore) lowest paid programmers that exist. Game developers aren't some special breed of godly software engineers, it's just that the products they produce are more flashy than other software.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mikeman    2942
Quote:
Original post by RDragon1
Quote:
Original post by ibebrett
Quote:
Original post by Tenac
But if I were thinking of a game programming job, I would only expect them to accept amazing programmers.


Theres a difference between accepting good programmers and 'amazing ' programmers. Good programmers that wan't to make games can get a job. You do not have to be 'amazing,' besides I have only met a few amazing programmers, and they are definitely not making games.


Game programmers are (in general) the least talented, and (therefore) lowest paid programmers that exist.


I don't think that's true at all. Certainly programmers that work on applications that control nuclear plants are more knowledgeable, but the majority of programmers out there are code monkeys that work on brain-dead database applications with whatever knowledge they got in Java courses from school. I don't see why game programmers are the least talented, could you elaborate on that? I'm pretty sure none of my previous coworkers could work on a game company. I got a job pretty easy for working for a software firm and didn't really met any challenges, but I'm still not good enough to get in the game industry. I think there are other reasons on why game programmers are the lowest paid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dashurc    236
I disagree with the least talented claim, although I agree that it doesn't require you to be an "amazing" programmer to work in the game industry (hell, I'd rather have the amazing programmers work on the tools the rest of us grunts rely on any day).

Game programmers are programmers that have a passion for games. Plain and simple.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Comboy    100
Quote:
Original post by RDragon1
Quote:
Original post by ibebrett
Quote:
Original post by Tenac
But if I were thinking of a game programming job, I would only expect them to accept amazing programmers.


Theres a difference between accepting good programmers and 'amazing ' programmers. Good programmers that wan't to make games can get a job. You do not have to be 'amazing,' besides I have only met a few amazing programmers, and they are definitely not making games.


Game programmers are (in general) the least talented, and (therefore) lowest paid programmers that exist. Game developers aren't some special breed of godly software engineers, it's just that the products they produce are more flashy than other software.



they're the least talented? may be your talking about those who do the simple I.S.R.O.T. matrices. what about those programmers coding the AI or for example the physics of a racing game. or those who program enemy (opponent) movement and reactions. when i was in high school the most talented students i knew were those who win medals in computer and math olympiad and the football robocup team at universities were always including those students. i think a game programmer who makes soccer is using more AI than a robot coder who is dealing with 2 robots and a goalkeeper. eventhought the robots have to find the position of ball visually by using cameras but in a game the ball coordinates is always stored.
and another point is, why do you think if someone makes games can only be a game developer? let's call it 3d programming instead, the same knowledge is used for writing flight simulation or even simulating a surgery. their knowledge can be used for reducing car accident damage or any other 3d simulation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Comboy    100
Quote:

I don't think that's true at all. Certainly programmers that work on applications that control nuclear plants are more knowledgeable, but the majority of programmers out there are code monkeys that work on brain-dead database applications with whatever knowledge they got in Java courses from school. I don't see why game programmers are the least talented, could you elaborate on that? I'm pretty sure none of my previous coworkers could work on a game company. I got a job pretty easy for working for a software firm and didn't really met any challenges, but I'm still not good enough to get in the game industry. I think there are other reasons on why game programmers are the lowest paid.





yeah, I have your word, university students are mostly enchanted by creating a database for their graduation project. it's easy fast applicable and make them look wise.
I'm in the first semester and i was talking with a guy working on his graduation project. when i told him that i want to make a game he just said: it's kid's benefit
and he even doesn't know that the key points of making a game project are using the programming skills and the 3d techniques. he simply said the most valuable part of the project is creating models.
so you see he only sees the output and he just want to get excited like a kid as he see a game project.
i think those who say writing games is easy or require less talent, they are just thinking that games are for kids so they are not very necessary or important.
but they forget somethings, kids play games, they don't create video games. if you do something for a kid it doesn't mean that your knowledge is at a kid level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jpetrie    13104
I don't think it's a fair assessment to say that programmers in the games industry are less talented than those elsewhere. Neither, however, is it fair to say the opposite (that they are more talented). The games industry is simply different, and involves the application of the fundamental skills of software development in a different fashion. It is difficult in its own way, and easy in its own way, in much the same fashion that software development in any other industry is.

To claim otherwise is to make a rather far-fetched generalization that suggests a relative lack of experience with other development domains, and/or a reflection that one is allowing one's personal skillset to influence one's attempt at generalization overmuch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this