Anyone who has put in a decent number of hours in front of their computer or gaming console has at one point in time, sat back and marvelled at the magnificence of the digital world in front of them. The sheer creativity, dedication and expertise that went into building these games is nothing short of spectacular. It is at this point that people start to wonder if a career could be made from gaming, and if one could study it in the first place?
It has been a long-held myth that the gaming industry is filled with coders and game artists that just so happened to land in the right position, at the right time, in order to collaborate on great gaming projects. What we have to remember is that the video gaming industry has been going since the mid 80’s and all aspects of building, developing and marketing games have evolved into long-term careers with appropriate university degrees.
What Universities Offer
While it is possible to study gaming itself, this is not a necessary requirement to work in the gaming industry. In order to create a top-class game, many different aspects need to come together. Breaking into the gaming industry simply requires a passion for the field and a particular skill in one of the main areas of game design or production. This could be coding, artistry, effects, design or marketing. It is also possible, as with all major companies, to start off as a lower member of the production team and work your way up.
Now to dispel the myth. Yes, it is possible to study gaming. Degrees are offered in a number of different gaming fields including game design, game art and game development. These are just the three main fields; however, there are many different sub-fields that focus on specific aspects of game development. It has to be emphasised that gaming design and development requires a strong academic background with a heavy focus on mathematics, physics and computer technology,
A Degree in Game Design
The most popular gaming degree to study is gaming design. A gaming design degree will cover subjects like History of Gaming, Programming, Principals of Game Design, Level Design, Software Architecture, Game Rules, Image Rendering, Physics, Calculus, Trigonometry, Linear Algebra, Game Technology, and so on. Game design can be seen as the big picture. Game designers create the main concept of the game, the worlds, the levels, the characters, the story, the interactions and the look and feel of the game.
As opposed to the gaming design, the game development degree is more technical focused, and is based around the actual programming and construction of the game itself. This is ideal for coders and programmers that can take image concepts and turn them into computer representations. Subjects studied in game development include Data Structurers, Engine Development, Software Architecture, 3D Modelling, AI, Game Production, Optimisation, Physics, Trigonometry, Calculus, Networking and so on. There are many different career opportunities for a game developer, including game programming, 3D modelling, game testing, or game optimisation, and working in the console gaming sector, the online casino game sector or any other similar game-related sector is an option.
For those people who are more artistically inclined, doing a degree in game art is possibly a better way to go. Game art focuses on subjects like colour theory, character modelling, digital design, 3D scripting and design aesthetics. This is the most creative aspect of gaming and requires a fine artistic skill. Career options for game artists include becoming a lead artist on a production, an animator, a 3D Character modeller, a level designer or a game tester.
The biggest myth surrounding the gaming industry is that it is not actually a viable career. With the rise of eSports and mobile gaming, video gaming has actually become one of the fastest growing and expansive careers on the planet. Studying gaming in any form will have significant value, and there are plenty of employment opportunities in the industry. It has been said though that standard game design degrees offer a broad look at the field, and specialisation is needed.
The video gaming industry prefers people who are highly specialised in particular areas rather than someone who can wear multiple hats. Anyone thinking of studying gaming or getting into the gaming industry should consider specialising on one particular aspect, whether this is character development, world design, 3D modelling, programming or marketing, studying further, or narrowing down on a specific field is always a good idea.