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The gaming industry is one of the biggest entertainment industries in the world. It grows from strength to strength year after year. Now more so than ever, working in the gaming industry is a viable and exciting career choice. However, with a multitude of options out there, it can be intimidating. Let’s break it down into a few broad categories that you can pursue according your interests or aptitude.
Where there’s a digital medium, there are programmers. Coders and programmers form the lifeblood of the gaming industry. Their work underpins the lavishly-detailed virtual worlds and adventures that gaming can let you explore. There are a huge number of possible subcategories within the field of programming as it relates to gaming, so chances are that there’s a niche to suit you. Unless you wind up at an indie developer, you will most probably be working with a team of programmers; therefore, you will need to be able to work well within a team environment. Also, of all the gaming-related disciplines, programming will require a number of revisions and correction and you must be comfortable with deadlines.
What you need
A background in computer science or related disciplines is ideal. Knowledge of multiple programming languages will be a huge boon. Familiarity with design or design techniques will also greatly increase your hire-ability.
Design is a fundamental component of most industries, and gaming is no different. Game designers have the opportunity to define a style that could be talked about for years to come. As with programming, there is scope for a number of subsidiary disciplines within the larger field of design. If you’re interested in art direction, you could do that; if you prefer animation, there’s definitely scope for that; or if you’ve a fondness for audio or map design, there’s room for that as well. The possibilities are limitless - all you need is a skill, and the drive to bring virtual worlds to life in a variety of different ways.
What you need
As design encompasses such a variety of fields, it’s hard to pin down what you might exactly need. If you can visualize the concept or story into a picture, it is concept design. Animation and 3D modelling are always in demand as well. If you can identify your area of interest, it will be easier for you to plan your course towards a relevant career path.
If your game has text, you need writers. And when you consider some of the RPGs (Role Playing Games), with detailed backstories and potentially thousands of lines of dialogue spoken by characters, you begin to understand the importance of a writing team to the immersion of a game. Now, writing for games is not easy - you’ll have to work with multiple parties in order to realize their shared vision - but again, you have the opportunity to leave your mark on a game that could be there for years.
What you need
Experience in writing, especially creative writing and ability to work according to deadlines. Familiarity with gaming certainly helps. Editing skills will also be greatly valued.
Before games are released to the public, they undergo hours and hours of relentless testing and quality assessment. ‘Game tester’ sounds like the most fun job in the world theoretically; however, it is a lot of work. It’ll be your task to catch any flaws or bugs in the game early enough that they can be fixed; and, as such, there’s a lot riding on your shoulders. Still, there’s a sense of satisfaction in knowing that you’re responsible for the perfection of the game.
What you need
Once again, a background in quality control or assessment will be valued, as will a detailed knowledge of gaming and gaming principles. Your habit of doing the work meticulously will help.
Game publishers have a variety of roles available, much like any company in any other field. There’s everything from PR to marketing, and many others including customer care and service. As such, working for a game publisher affords you a certain freedom when trying to optimize your path - all you have to do is build up skills and experience that would get you a job across a variety of industries.
There are few fields as exciting as the gaming industry right now, because technology is advancing at a breakneck pace and our ability to create more immersive and creative gaming experiences is skyrocketing. It’s important to keep in mind that, although it is an entertainment industry, a career in gaming requires hard work and dedication - just like any other job.
However, the best thing is that working in gaming is much more fun than any other job in the world. Its working atmosphere is liberal and lucrative. Actually, game developers are most welcome in developed countries because the future depends on creativity. I sincerely hope our young generation can enjoy it, with all the available talent of technology and arts.
These are some introductory tips - now it’s up to you to go the rest of the way!