Designing and producing games for personal computers, gaming consoles, social/online games, arcade games, tablets, mobile phones, and other portable devices is part of the job.
You may work for a large game company and specialise in network, engine, graphics, toolchain, or artificial intelligence development. However, the distinction between developer and designer is commonly blurred while working for a smaller independent ‘indie’ game company, and your job may encompass both programming and design.
A game’s development might take years and teams of professionals from concept to finished product. Creating and creating a game’s look and gameplay, animating characters and objects, generating audio, programming, translation, testing, editing, and producing are all phases.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- work in a team with designers and artists
- decide what a game will look like and how it can be played
- develop your own ideas or work from an existing idea
- create concept art, drawings or storyboards at the planning stage
- create code to programme the game
- test and debug code
- use computer modelling and animation software to make characters and scenes
- add sound effects.
- Typical apprentice salaries are around £19,000 to £25,000.
- Once you have a few years’ experience, you may earn a salary of £35,000 to £50,000.
- One you’re in a senior position, such as team leader or technical director, your salary can range from £55,000 to in excess of £75,000.
While the industry provides for some flexibility, and you may only sometimes work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., developers typically work a 40-hour week. You may have to work longer hours as deadlines approach. In some circumstances, you may be required to work over the weekend and into the evenings.
You could work in a creative studio or in an office.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice computer games developer include:
- Level 7 Game Programmer – Entry requirements for this level include 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship. This qualification takes 24 months to complete.
On a computer games developer apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- design skills and knowledge
- analytical thinking skills
- the ability to write computer code
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- maths knowledge
- the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
- the ability to use your initiative
- complex problem-solving skills
- to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications.
Employers are often game developers or publishers. Development studios may be owned by larger publishers or smaller independent (indie) organisations. The gaming industry works on a regional, national, and worldwide scale.
Game development organisations and studios vary in size from small businesses with fewer than five people to large worldwide studios with hundreds.
Games are created in a variety of forms and may be used on PCs, iPads, and game consoles, as well as commissioned by clients as diverse as:
- educational institutions
- DVD and CD-ROM authoring companies
- information providers such as local and national government
- Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
- marketing and advertising agencies
- mobile phone companies
- design companies.
You’ll often begin as a junior developer and learn on the job under the supervision of a more experienced lead developer. Some firms develop software specialised to their needs, and most of the training is done in-house.
Because the games development industry is fast-paced, with changing technology, software packages, and working methodologies, you must be prepared to manage your learning, educate yourself on new abilities, and keep up with technological advancements.
It is also possible to take postgraduate degrees to refine your skills in a particular game development field. For example, game programming, software development, and game engineering courses are available.
Career growth in game development may be relatively swift. Many individuals who begin as juniors move to the lead level within five to seven years and may reach the senior level within the first ten years. Senior-level positions include technical directors, developers, producers, and team managers.
It’s also possible to specialise in developing industries like wireless platforms, interactive game apps, and internet gaming.
There are additional opportunities to enhance your career on a global scale. Game development jobs are available in Japan, the United States, Canada, Germany, France, and Scandinavia.
After gaining experience, you may work independently or create your own development firm.