Game Development

Published on June 19, 2006

I just saw a commercial on TV for a (presumably) local college, and they touted their program by showing a bunch of “video game developers.” This motley crew of students looked no older than 20, and one girl commented “Can you believe we get paid to play games?” The people who put together this advertisement clearly understand nothing about the game development industry. I would hazard to guess that game developers spend less than 5% of their time actually playing games. Few people, if any, get paid to play games; the real glory, as well as the real money, is in development. And game development isn’t an easy task.

In college, I had the privilege to take two computer graphics courses. Both were challenging, and both gave me a new appreciation for game development. The folks who create today’s game engines are literally pushing the envelope in computer graphics. I shudder to think of how complex the math is behind games like Half-Life 2, Far Cry, and Quake 4. To think that your average college kid can do this fresh out of a no-name school is a little hard for me to believe.

3 Comments

kip

I agree, I’ve seen these commercials and wondered who falls for this stuff. Doing development for a video game, especially if you are involved in graphics or physics, requires a lot of advanced math and programming skills. I’ve heard of a few schools specializing in video games that really do put you through hell and are recognized by the industry (DigiPen is the only one that comes to mind), but most just seem to be profiting from people’s ignorance of what goes on behind the scenes.

But in game development, there are the programmers, and the artists, and typically those don’t overlap very much. Maybe (and I am giving them a big benefit of the doubt here) they are really offering graphic design type courses and not programming courses?

I would also guess that these schools offer more of a graphic design kind of program, rather than the back end “engine” stuff. In which case, you probably spend all of your time in Photoshop or a 3D model editor, rather than in the game itself. Of anyone in the industry, my guess is that the art guys play games way less than the engine guys do. Meaning that they hardly play them at all.

William

Living in Singapore I see our government pushing the same type of advertisement. They even go further to advertise the same for technical institute college (which is for students who are not so academically acquired), calling them Technopreurs. But when you talk to the students and you tell them they must be good at Maths – you should see their faces drop.
It is like saying that once one is qualified with a degree he/she is immediately an Engineer.As I learnt in my day the first job you have to do is learn to make a good cup of coffee for all (team work?),and maybe after 4-5 years you can say you are a programmer.

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