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flyfamilyguy

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

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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!

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"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).

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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.

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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.

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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 :)

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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