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. Specialisation is common in the industry, although games developers sometimes perform a combination of roles.

Personal requirements for 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. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. 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.


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.

Duties & Tasks of a Games Developer

Games developers:

  • 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.

Tasks

  • Assisting in analysing, specifying and developing Internet strategies, web-based methodologies and development plans.
  • Analysing, designing and developing Internet sites applying a mixture of artistry and creativity with software programming and scripting languages and interfacing with operating environments.
  • Communicating with network specialists regarding web-related issues, such as security and hosting web sites, to control and enforce Internet and web server security, space allocation, user access, business continuity, web site backup and disaster recovery planning.
  • Designing, developing and integrating computer code with other specialised inputs, such as image files, audio files and scripting languages, to produce, maintain and support web sites.
  • Designing and developing digital animations, imaging, presentations, games, audio and video clips, and Internet applications using multimedia software, tools and utilities, interactive graphics and programming languages.

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.


Specializations

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.

Games Programmer

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

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.

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.

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.

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. Specialisation is common in the industry, although games developers sometimes perform a combination of roles.

  • Average age
    Average age
    33 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Very strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    17% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    42 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,596
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    80% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    15,000 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 3.0%
    NSW: 34.4%
    NT: 0.3%
    QLD: 17.3%
    SA: 4.8%
    TAS: 1.2%
    VIC: 32.7%
    WA: 6.3%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 1.1%
    20-24: 9.4%
    25-34: 47.2%
    35-44: 29%
    45-54: 9.3%
    55-59: 2.3%
    60-64: 1%
    65 and Over: 0.6%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 13%
    Bachelor degree: 47.8%
    Below Year 10: 0%
    Certificate III/IV: 5.4%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 18.7%
    Year 10 and below: 1.4%
    Year 11: 1%
    Year 12: 12.8%
    Years 11 & 10: 13.6%
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