Home Features There’s a gap in the market for game developers – here’s how...
There’s a drastic shortage of skilled game developers in the country – so why not take advantage?
Although Scotland is famous for Rockstar North, the genius company behind the hugely successful Grand Theft Auto V and others in the series, there is a drastic shortage of skilled game developers in the country.
A recent survey found from scotsman.com suggested there is a lack of suitable candidates for tech firms across the UK, and this is a major problem for companies.
But it’s easy for inexperienced people to build their own portfolios and skillsets using pre-built engines such as Unity, GameMaker, and Corona, and it’s an excellent time to do this given the opportunities for worthy candidates in the market right now. Some may be put off choosing a career in the industry because they think they don’t have what it takes. But here we detail how anyone has the potential to be the next big game developer.
Using Pre-Built Game Engines
The survey mentioned above conducted by the trade body Technology Scotland uncovered that 56% of respondents believed that university graduates didn’t have the right skill set to add value to businesses. But the high-growth online sector is an excellent one to get into, and hopeful candidates could seek to build their own portfolios and skillsets rather than go down the university route, which may not yield jobs at the end anyway.
And there has been a call in Scotland recently for more awareness of non-uni and vocational training, which should mean that employers are on the lookout for candidates who display the right qualities even if they don’t have a degree. One option for people who are interested in the industry is to join a skills academy such as the one run by Edinburgh-based CodeClan.
Budding developers can also create their own content using pre-existing game engines. This provides great experience, because making games on these is likely to be similar to what would be required of employees working for a company such as Rockstar.
One of the most popular sites to use is Unity, which offers tutorials, along with community support and courseware. The cross-platform game engine, which was first released in 2005 and originally solely for Apple’s OS X, can now be used across 27 platforms. The engine supports 2D and 3D graphics, and has drag-and-drop functionality and scripting through C#. Unity is renowned for its contribution to independently produced games, with more than 1.3 million developers using its tools to create products for iOS, Android, console, PC, and web-based titles.
Although Unity is arguably the best for amateurs, there are other options such as Corona and GameMaker. Making games first using this type of software would be incredibly useful to show to prospective employers in an interview.
Games with Simple Mechanics are a Great Place to Start
Let’s face it, you’re not going to be creating the sprawling region of San Andreas from GTA V when you first start out. Like anything, it’s best to begin with the small and simple things before going for something more adventurous.
Pong was one of the first games ever made, and the progression to the games of today shows just how far game developers have come over the years. The simplistic tennis-inspired game was made by Atari in 1972. Compared to the massive open-world games of today such as GTA V, there is a huge difference, but it proves that everyone has to start somewhere.
One style of game which is hugely popular but wouldn’t be too hard for an amateur to start making is online slots. Although some of the more recent Microgaming offerings such as Jurassic Park, Bridesmaids and Tarzan use advanced features such as parallax scrolling effects, classic slot which are also known as reel slots are the most simple of slot games which you see everyday served by casino sites. Aspiring video game developers can easily create reel slots using software such as the V-Play Engine, where there is a step-by-step tutorial.
There’s a Load of Information Out There to Help You
There are tons of websites online that reiterate how there is no experience necessary for people who want to get into game development.
Digital Trends notes how a number of indie games that have been hugely successful in recent years have been made by one or two people. One of the games mentioned was Minecraft, which was created and designed by a single game designer called Markus “Notch” Persson. The game was later picked up by publishing company Mojang in 2011, and has since gone on to be one of the most successful games of all time with 70 million copies sold. The amazing success of this game proves that anyone can do it.
So if you are thinking of a new career, or a change in direction, why not consider developing games? Watching YouTube is a great place to start, and it shows how easy the whole process is. Who knows, in a few years’ time you could be sitting on piles of riches after creating the next Minecraft.