Game development is a complex and challenging process that requires an immense amount of dedication, skill, and creativity. It’s no wonder why so many people are drawn to the industry – it promises fun and excitement in equal measure. As per gaming enthusiasts, developing a game requires a diverse set of skills. But how hard is game development really?
In this blog post, we’ll explore how difficult game development can be, from the technical aspects to the creative ones. Whether you’re considering getting into game development or just curious about the industry, this blog post will help shed some light on the subject. So let’s dive right in!
How Hard Is Game Development?
Game development is a multi-faceted process that involves many different elements. From the coding side of things to the art, design, and marketing, there’s a lot that goes into creating a game. It can take years of hard work and dedication to build something that is truly unique and engaging.
In terms of how hard game development is, it can really depend on the type of projects you are working on. Simple 2D games are quite simple to design and implement and could be encoded in a matter of days. If you are developing a game on an existing game engine, game development is moderately difficult.
Game development of modern video games from scratch is very hard. You could find yourself troubleshooting bizarre glitches, managing unexpected edge aspects, and perfecting the whole structure for months on end.
Ultimately, how hard game development is, depends on the complexity of the project and your level of experience and expertise. However, game development is definitely no easy feat and is often considered one of the most difficult fields of programming.
Why Is Game Development Hard?
There are a variety of reasons why game development can be so difficult. It’s hard to tell the hardest part about game development as there are so many aspects to its complexity and difficulty.
1. Game Development is Time-Consuming
Game development certainly seems intimidating due to the sheer amount of time it takes to create each element. As a designer or programmer, you will be completely devoted and dedicated to your project more than any other engineer. This demand for time arises from the complexity of the task and how long it takes to make each feature work.
2. Multiple Parts that Always Play Well Together
Designing and developing a video game is like putting together a massive jigsaw puzzle. Everything needs to fit together perfectly and the end product that results is an intricately crafted experience. It’s hard to make sure that each part works well together and how it will interact with the others.
3. Many Edge Cases
Game development can often be unpredictable, as developers may not always know how their game will behave in certain situations. Even if the game is tested and all the bugs are ironed out, there can still be unexpected issues that may arise as users play the game.
4. The Work Is Mentally Challenging
Game development is both mentally and physically challenging. Developers need to be creative, analytical, and have the ability to think outside the box in order to create an engaging video game experience. This means that developers need to be constantly learning and evolving as the industry progresses.
What Does Game Development Involve?
Game development is a multifaceted process that includes the formation of ideas, design and engineering, testing, and finally releasing a game. It’s a complex undertaking that involves creating something from nothing to ultimately offering an entertaining experience for gamers everywhere.
Game development involves many different skills and disciplines, such as programming, art, design, audio engineering, marketing, and much more. Each of these elements needs to come together in order to create a successful video game.
However, when we speak about the role of game developers, it usually includes the programming aspect of game development. Game developers are responsible for designing, coding, and testing a game.
They need to be knowledgeable in how computer systems work and how they can interact with each other in order to produce a game. They must also be creative and innovative with how they can use this knowledge to create an engaging experience for users.
Game development is an incredibly difficult undertaking, but when done right, it can be extremely rewarding. By understanding how hard game development can be and how it works, developers can be better prepared to take on the challenge.
Is Game Development Harder than Web Development?
By far! Game development is a much more difficult task than web development. While both require coding skills, game development requires more in-depth knowledge and expertise.
Web development doesn’t have to involve complex tools and features. You can get the job done with an older version of your operating system, or even a basic one, while still getting instant feedback on code changes via hot reloading editors.
Conversely, game development requires the use of complex tools such as game engines, game design software packages, and more. You also need to take into consideration how the code will interact with the game’s graphics and how it will respond to user input.
You also need sophisticated hardware and software that is capable of rendering high-quality graphics and providing a smooth experience. Even then, you have to debug the game for any bugs or glitches that may occur during play.
Additionally, it’s much easier to get a job in web development. Web development jobs are increasingly in high demand as businesses continue to transition online, with digitalization becoming ever more pervasive. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for game design roles; a few major players dominate that sector of the market.
Is 3D Game Development Hard?
3D game development is the hardest type of game development out there. 3D games require the most complex set of programming and design skills.
Developers need to have knowledge of how to create complex 3D models and how they interact with each other. They also need knowledge of how to animate those 3D models, how to render the graphics for an enjoyable user experience, how to use physics and how to code gameplay mechanics.
Additionally, 3D game development requires a great deal of optimization, as the game needs to run smoothly on all devices. All this makes 3D game development one of the hardest types of game development out there.
Advantages of Game Development
1. Game Development Is Fun!
If you were like most teenagers, you probably played a fair share of video games back in the day. You may even have had a dream of designing games of your own one day. Imagine how cool it is to develop characters, mechanics, levels, and gameplay by yourself or on a team of talented engineers. Game development is undoubtedly fun!
2. You Can Affect Millions of People
Games are no longer just for entertainment – they have become an invaluable tool in educating everyone, from toddlers to astronauts. They are being utilized to provide critical training necessary in order to succeed in space missions and help young minds grow. And what’s more, if your game is successful, it could affect millions of people around the world!
3. Great Job Prospects
Game development is a growing field and the demand for talented developers isn’t going away anytime soon. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects in game and interactive media development are expected to grow by 8% through 2029.
In summary, game development is a difficult undertaking but one that is immensely rewarding. With the right knowledge and tools, developers can be better prepared to take on the challenge. And with a growing industry and job prospects, developers can look forward to a bright future.
Disadvantages of Game Development
1. Few Companies and Projects Are Successful
Working for a startup or an indie studio may feel exhilarating, but it’s likely that the business will be short-lived. Even the big studios aren’t secure from closures; they undergo mergers and shutdowns frequently.
Furthermore, any project you’ve been developing for two to three years could just as easily be terminated by your company at any given time due to budget overruns (which are quite common in game development) or sudden changes in direction. In fact, more video games are canceled than completed altogether!
2. Game Development Is Competitive
Game development is a competitive industry. Many people are vying for the same position, and you have to prove your worth in order to stand out. Additionally, the bar keeps on rising as technology and art styles advance. Unlike many other software engineering fields like web development, game development is harder to get into and harder to stay in.
3. Long Hours
Game development can be a demanding job. Working long hours with tight deadlines can be exhausting and stressful. With the pressure to make sure everything looks and works great, things can get overwhelming quickly. At the end of major projects, many renowned companies like Epic, Rockstar Games, and EA have an infamous reputation for pushing their developers and designers to extreme measures – often exceeding 100 hours per week.
Game Development vs. Game Design
It’s important to note the difference between game development and game design. Game development requires knowledge of how to animate those 3D models, how to code the game mechanics, how to optimize for various devices, how to debug any issues that arise, and more.
On the other hand, game design focuses on how the game looks, how it plays, how to implement the mechanics, and how to design a level. Game developers usually specialize in one of these disciplines, and the two must work together to make a successful game.
Game design is a more creative-focused endeavor and game development is more engineering-focused, but both are how hard is game development. Both require time, dedication, skill, and a team of talented engineers.
Developing a game isn’t easy, but it is immensely rewarding when everything comes together and you have a successful product in your hands.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Game Development?
In most cases, game development requires a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or a related discipline. Such a degree takes 4 years to complete on average.
However, this is usually not sufficient to enter the game development industry right away. You should have 1-2 years of experience in software engineering through internships or work experience or an impressive portfolio that includes games designed by oneself or with a team of developers. Many developers start as software engineers and then transition to game development.
Some developers are able to enter the game development industry without an undergraduate degree, but that requires a lot of commitment and self-study. In such a case, you should be ready to prove to potential employers that you have a comprehensive knowledge base and skills required to break into the field.
What Languages Do You Need to Learn for Game Development?
The language you will be using depends on how you’re developing the game – either for desktop, consoles, or mobile. So be sure to do your research before investing time in learning specific languages.
Game Developer Salary
Game developers make a significant amount of money. Salaries vary significantly by region and experience, but the median salary for game developers in the United States is $101,160, according to ZipRecruiter. That works out to be approximately $48.63 an hour, $1,945/week, or $8,430/month.
Reported salaries range between $35,000 and $156,000 and show variance by state and company. Interestingly, game developers who specialize in mobile games tend to make more than those working on console or PC titles.
Is It Hard to Get a Job in Game Development?
Game development is a highly competitive field. Employers look for experience, skill, and passion when deciding how to hire.
In order to be successful in game development, you need to have a unique set of skills and be able to demonstrate how you can use them. You should also be able to show how you can work with a team and how you are prepared to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies, art styles, and game design principles.
It can be hard to get a job in game development, but by honing your skills, networking effectively, and showing how you can contribute to a development team, you will increase your chances of success.
You should pay attention to having an attractive game developer’s portfolio, which includes all the projects you have worked on and how you solved problems. This will give potential employers an idea of the kind of work you can produce and how you work in a team environment.
Subspecialties in Game Development
Game development is a broad field that incorporates many different disciplines. There are several specialized roles in game development, such as 3D modeling, animation, rigging, lighting and shading, character design, programming, AI development, UI/UX design, audio engineering, and music production.
The different subspecialties and jobs you could find include:
- Generalist Programmer
- Gameplay Programmer
- Physics Programmer
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) Programmer
- Virtual Reality (V.R) Programmer
- Engine Programmer
- Tools Programmer
- Network Programmer
- Graphics programmer
- Audio programmer
- Animation programming
- Optimization programming
- UI programming
- Console programming
- Lead Programmer
Is Game Development a Good Career?
Game development is not for everyone. It requires hard work, dedication, and a passion for creating something unique.
However, with the right combination of skills and experience, you can have a fulfilling career in game development. You have the opportunity to work on exciting projects with talented people, and you get to see how your skills and knowledge can be applied to create something truly special.
Game development is also a great way to learn how the industry works and how popular games are made. By gaining real-world experience, you can learn how to create games from start to finish and how all the moving parts of the development process work together.
However, we best recommend game development as a career for people who are or were passionate about gaming in general. Being passionate about video games is a great way to stay motivated and inspired when working in the industry. In addition, how hard you work and how devoted you are to developing your skills will determine how successful you will be in the field.
Tips for Learning Game Development
If you are interested in game development but don’t have any experience, here are some tips for how to get started:
1. Start Small
Don’t attempt to build complex 3D games on your first try. Begin with simple, easier-to-accomplish projects like Tetris, snake, or memory games. This will help you learn how to develop a game and how the different elements work together. You can then make your games incrementally more complex as you gain experience.
2. Perfect Your Game Development Languages!
Learn how to code using a programming language like C++, Java, or Python. There are many resources available online for learning how to code, as well as how to develop games with the language. Having a strong foundation of game development languages is essential for success in the industry.
3. Have an Attractive Portfolio
In order to land a job in game development, you need to have an impressive portfolio of your work. Put together a portfolio that includes all the projects you’ve worked on and how you solved problems. This will give potential employers an idea of the kind of work you can produce and how well you can work independently.
4. Network with Other Game Developers
Networking is key when it comes to finding success in the game development industry. Reach out to other game developers, attend gaming events, and get involved in the community. This can help you learn how the industry works and how to increase your chances of landing a job.
So how hard is game development, really? Game development is both a challenging and rewarding career. It requires commitment, hard work, and dedication to create something unique and special. With the right skills and experience, you can succeed in game development and have a fulfilling career. However, how hard you work and how devoted you are to developing your skills will be essential for success in the field. Good luck!
Elmar Mammadov is a software developer, tech startup founder, and computer science career specialist. He is the founder of CS Careerline and a true career changer who has previously pursued careers in medicine and neuroscience.
Due to his interest in programming and years of past personal experience in coding, he decided to break into the tech industry by attending a Master’s in Computer Science for career changers at University of Pennsylvania. Elmar passionately writes and coaches about breaking into the tech industry and computer science in general.