How to become a Games Developer

Games developers design, create and produce computer or video games. They work in games development teams with artists, programmers, producers and marketing staff. Games developers usually specialise in a particular game platform (PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo, for example) and a particular aspect of game development, such as programming artificial intelligence or gameplay.

Personal requirements of a Games Developer

  • Aptitude for computing
  • Creative and artistic flair
  • Commitment to understanding and using new technology
  • Good communication skills
  • Aptitude for drawing
  • Understanding of colour and form
  • Able to work as part of a team

Education & Training for a Games Developer

To become a games developer you usually have to complete a VET qualification in digital and interactive games or digital media technologies. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a games developer through a traineeship in Digital and Interactive Games or Digital Media Technologies. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree with a major in games design, games development or games programming, digital media or multimedia. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. Applicants may also be required to submit a folio of work or attend an interview. A number of institutions in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Games Developer

Games developers may perform the following tasks:

  • draw up detailed design documentation, including charts and diagrams that outline the various concepts and components involved
  • modify and document the program code to correct errors
  • test the game and make amendments to enhance its capabilities
  • prepare digital graphics, animations, sound, video, photographs and images for editing
  • combine structural, mechanical and artistic elements into the game’s environment, such as buildings, vehicles and decorative finishes.

Employment Opportunities for a Games Developer

Games developers often work as part of a team, but can work individually or on a freelance basis. With experience and sufficient start-up money, there are opportunities for self-employment. Games development is a relatively new and dynamic growth industry that has developed out of a blending of creative and technical production. Competition for jobs is intense and interstate and/or overseas experience is often needed to improve employment opportunities.

Specialisations:


Animator (Games Development)

An animator (games development) arranges characters and objects designed by technical artists in a sequence of different positions to give the illusion of movement. They synchronise lip movements with words, and actions with music and sound effects. Animators work with programmers to create interactive sequences and work with testers to provide life-like movements through digital techniques such as motion capture.


Digital Video-Sound Editor (Games Development)

A digital video-sound editor (games development) is involved in the computer-based editing of video sound for games. Working under instruction from directors, editors make decisions in regards to the mood, pace and climax of sound effects. This involves working closely with other professional staff to analyse, evaluate and select sound effects for integration with images and other media.


Games Programmer

A games programmer writes code (usually in C++ programming language) or uses game-development engines to create computer or video games.


Producer/Director (Games Development)

A producer/director (games development) manages, plans, oversees and in some cases funds the development of a game. They work closely with the marketing department and the team developing the game, ensuring schedules, budget and productivity targets are met.


Technical Artist/3D Artist (Games Development)

A technical artist/3d artist (games development) creates and manipulates images and models using 2D and 3D computer graphics software (usually in Adobe Photoshop, Maya or 3DS Max). They work closely with animators and concept/layout artists to design (model) characters, vehicles, buildings and other objects present in the gaming environment.


Tester (Games Development)

A tester (games development) is responsible for monitoring and testing technical standards in gameplay, graphics, sound and functionality during game development. They assist programmers in finding 'bugs' (errors) and work with the team on performance-related issues.

Additional Information
Membership of the Australian Computer Society is available to those who hold, or are working towards, suitable qualifications. There is a range of membership types available, allowing progression through the various levels as a member’s career develops.
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