There is a large multitude of careers that exist within the Games Industry; from careers in creating models to creating a world within a virtual reality system, the amount of creativity and prospects that can come from the industry are truly numerous. However, personally, when it comes to what careers I want to aspire towards, there are only a select two that I am interested in: a Video Game Programmer or a Character Designer. These two careers are what I am currently interested in being and I would love to aspire to be in one of them, however, what does it take to become either of these occupations? Let’s go into further detail:
Looking through some information online, and through a few job applications, in order to become a Video Game Programmer, you must have some kind of skill within a programming language; more specifically, C# or C++. You must have at least 2 years’ experience in programming with previously said languages, but that amount of time can depend on the hiring company. Ideally education wise, it would also be best to have some kind of degree in games programming or anything associated with games development, as so you would have enough experience in how games programming works. Another thing to note is that you must have some kind of experience in using a game engine, like Unity or Unreal Engine. This is mainly due to both engines involving some form of coding and will be primarily used in games development.
A Video Game Programmer is in charge of coding (or programming) the core mechanics and sequences of the game, effectively making sure that everything takes place in the right place at the right time, as well as functions to a generally perfect degree. They are responsible for testing out the code to see if it functions properly and debugging any issues that may arise from any muddled pieces of code.
A Video Game Programmer will be working alongside game artists and developers in order to make sure the game is at the highest quality that it can be. Since the programmers will be working within the game engine to make sure the game works, they will be working alongside pretty much everyone within the team.
A Video Game Programmer impacts the games production by making sure everything works correctly and accordingly without any flaws. It is essential that they get everything right, as well as make sure that whatever they have created, it is the most efficient iteration of that code that they can create.
This job is appreciated in the industry as it is a critical part of a games production. Programming is the hidden structure that holds up the game and keeps it running; without it, the game wouldn’t even be able to run. It is a vital role that is required within every field of games design, and without it, we wouldn’t have games to begin with.
What is so attractive about being a Video Games Programmer is that you have the opportunity to create key pieces of code for games with plenty of flexibility to offer. Programmers can become self-employed or freelance, allowing them to be hired by most companies to do their programming for their game. The pay is also rather excellent; earning up to about £34 an hour, with the median salary for a games programmer being around about £70,500. It is also apparent that if you do end up working for a company, if you put the right amount of effort inside, you can probably earn yourself a senior position within the next 10 years. (Prospectsacuk, 2018) (Kelly Meier, 2018)
Video GAME PROGRAMMER
To become a Character Designer, you need to have some kind of degree within game design or game artistry, alongside experience within 3D modelling and sculpting programs, as well as any other drawing and/or texturing programs such as Photoshop or Substance Painter. A general understanding of human and animal anatomy should also be known to the person. Training within the industry for Character Designing is also recommended and will most likely be provided.
The Character Designer is in charge of modelling, sculpting, unwrapping, rigging and texturing the characters that will be utilised within the game. Not all character designers have to be experts within every aforementioned field, but most character designers will be experienced in the former. They will utilise a number of modelling & sculpting programs such as Zbrush and Mudbox to create their characters, and use Maya and/or Mudbox to unwrap the characters for texturing, which they may or may not provide themselves.
The Character Designer will be working alongside Character Artists, Animators, Character Riggers and fellow Character Designers. They will work together to ensure any and all characters made for their projects are created to the highest degree.
The Character Designer’s work impacts the production by bringing characters to life within the game and making you believe that what you’re seeing when you play the game is what is expected by advertisements. Without Character Designers, there would be much difficulty in providing high quality character designs within games.
The job role of Character Designer is appreciated within the industry due to the fact that they are in charge of creating the characters that will be utilised within the game. Whether that be animal or humanoid, they are making sure that the character is created to look exactly like how the concept artist presented, and if possible, make it even better than how the final concept came out. (Getinmedia, 2018) (Jennifer Betts, 2018)
MY SKILLS AUDIT
MY FUTURE SKILLS PLAN
From what I can gather about my current skills, I believe that I need to work on plenty for my future within the game design world. Even if I am highly skilled in some fields, I believe that I am not truly ready for the industry until I know with confidence that what I am producing can be seen within a proper game design pipeline. I will definitely be working a lot on how I can fit within my chosen job roles; I will also be looking to go to different conventions and official gatherings for developers like myself and ask for their advice on what I should be doing when it comes to what to do to become a true professional in my chosen avocation, it either being Games Programmer or Character Designer. With what I have currently, schedule-wise, I aim to have most of my skills, or if not all of them, to a high degree by the end of May 2020,and the year 2020 itself. Here is the schedule I have planned below:
Prospectsacuk. 2018. Prospectsacuk. [Online]. [29 November 2018]. Available from: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/games-developer
Kelly Meier. 2018. Chron.com. [Online]. [29 November 2018]. Available from: https://work.chron.com/requirements-game-programmer-13788.html
Getinmediacom. 2018. Get In Media. [Online]. [29 November 2018]. Available from: http://getinmedia.com/careers/character-modeler
Jennifer Betts. 2018. Chron.com. [Online]. [29 November 2018]. Available from: https://work.chron.com/job-description-salary-character-modeler-27977.html