Why should you consider a career in game development?
Xairylle | On September 16, 2013 at 8:30 pm
One of the activities of the recently concluded Best of Anime 2013 convention included a talk by Darwin Tardio of Philippine company Funguy Studio. He discussed the status of the game development industry and why a position in game development is a feasible and rewarding career choice.
High growth and more platforms to work on
A recent report states that the international gaming sector is moving towards becoming a multi-billion dollar industry, with an expected worth of $117 billion in the next two years. According to Darwin Tardio, about 50 game development companies are in the Philippines today, and about 4,000 employees in the game development industry. He also mentions that Vietnam has about 10,000 people working in the gaming sector and still looking to grow.
This continuous growth may also be attributed to the increase in popularity in mobile phones and smartphones. Back then, talking about game development as a job or career choice may earn raised eyebrows, doubts, or skepticism. However, game development is no longer confined to platforms such as gaming consoles or computers. Smart phones, tablets and other portable devices with reliable operating systems have made way for more opportunities for aspiring game developers.
In 2011, reports show that smartphone users in India are beginning to use their phones for games, content, and data instead of just calling and texting. A year later, there have been signs pointed to the possibility of mobile devices overtaking personal computers. In the same year, another report showcased trends showing smartphone growth around Asia. This year, the usage of smartphones will double in Thailand along with significant growth of smartphone usage in Manila.
A continuous demand for fresh ideas
The game development industry may be considered a playground for creative minds, as it requires consistent innovation and original, interesting content. There are actually many more positions in game development than just programming and design. According to Darwin, a team is made up of audio experts, designers, writers, programmers, concept artists, 2D artists, 3D artists, technical directors, and creative directors to name a few. He also mentioned that when developing games, it is important to come up with something that is not only unique, but also new and appealing. That being said, although game development follows a series of steps to come up with a final product, the development elements always vary for each game or app. Each game has different characters, enemies, levels, environments, buttons, stories, dialogs, and game mechanics to name a few. Thus, developing games will not be boring and monotonous.
Making games is challenging but fun
According to Alvin Juban in one of our previous chats, game development is not a walk in the park. It is not something that is achieved just by playing a lot of games. It is achieved by the process that includes a lack of sleep, much effort, and a great deal of dedication. However, for the passionate, all the energy spent and sleepless nights become worth it once you see the final product launched and being enjoyed by gamers. In fact, Alvin told me about an annual gaming development competition included in the yearly Philippine Game Development Festival (PGDF). Representing their schools, groups of students spend a month making a games either with or without a mentor. There are no cash prizes, but at the end of the competition, winners rejoice, sometimes even with tears of joy.
In his talk, Darwin also talks about game jams held by game developers and the industry’s enthusiasts. A game jam happens when game developers — artists, programmers, modelers, and audio experts — gather and create games for fun. According to him, this can last for one to three days, sometimes with little to no sleep.
Getting into the game development industry
More often than not, to get something you want, you have to work for it. A career in game development is no different. Game development will require you to harness your skills and constantly seek improvement. Like any job, it will also require you to get an education. So if you are thinking of dropping out of school just to play games in the hopes of becoming a game developer in the future, reconsider that path. According to Darwin, aside from getting your education, it is important that you build your connections through joining forums and game jams, attending conferences, and building your portfolio. You can get a job and work your way up from there. Or you may choose to take the brave, risky initiative such as making an indie game. Whichever path you choose is mostly up to you, and how you tread that path is usually what matters more.
(Edited by Paul Bischoff)