Game Design and Development Degrees – A Game Designer Will Not Be Required to Possess Computer Science

In its most basic form, game development is simply the creative process of producing a video game. You either create, design, engineer, design, programming, implement, record, compose, paint, model, and/or audio track before you have a fully-assembled game. That definition is actually a very good place to begin, but then again, it is far from the entire picture. Video game development is a very different discipline from, say, graphic design, which is just designing and creating artwork. Game development involves managing the intricacies of complex systems – both software and hardware. The best games are not “done in a month.”

Many people mistakenly think that game development only involves coding, which is just the back-end of game creation. In fact, game development includes front-end applications as well, such as music, sounds, characters, maps, etc. Of course, there is a lot more to development than just coding. However, those aspects are the most exciting and time-consuming aspects of game development.

While game development can be accomplished by one person working alone in a small office, the fact of the matter is that game development studios employ hundreds, even thousands of people. Large game development studios like Irrational Games and BioWare New York employ over 200 people full-time in their individual studios. Those same studios employ around 100 people full-time in the corporate offices that they operate. Large development studios also contract out game design and programming to outsourcing companies. Outsourcing allows the studios to lower overhead, keep operational costs down, and better focus on game design and development. Some of the best game development studios in the world today hire programmers and artists from countries like India and Brazil.

As game design and development work to move faster, the importance of hiring top-quality people to help create new tech is becoming clear. Today, the development world is filled with people who have spent years learning how to create games using cutting edge technology. Game designers and programmers today must be able to work with multiple platforms and multi-platform game engines. The days of portability and being able to simply “write code” and “see the results” are gone. Now it takes talent, experience, education, and on-the-job training to create new tech and stay competitive in the game design market.

Those interested in game development may choose to attend a college program or take classes online. There are several accredited colleges that offer game design and development classes. The benefit of attending a college program is that you can learn to code and programming from professors who are industry veterans. On the other hand, many people are choosing to attend YouTube-based colleges or mentorship programs. These programs allow students to mentor one another and learn while earning college credits at the same time.

Most colleges and universities that offer game development courses will require students to learn and practice basic computer science, math, physics, and information technology. Those choosing to go to a four-year university should consider whether or not they want to take classes that focus on computer science, math, and physics. Some students choose to study graphic design, art, music, and video game programming language because these particular classes require different skill sets.

The best way to get into the game development process is to first choose a major in either computer science math, or physics. Once you’ve decided on your major, you can look for small community colleges offering game development coursework. Community colleges often offer better prices and easier application procedures than larger state colleges and universities.

Although the game design and development professionals have the opportunity to rise right up the ladder of corporate management, the most successful game developers tend to stay within the industry itself. The skills and knowledge learned during the course of a game development degree can be transferred directly to the workplace. Many of the best-known game designers now work at the highest levels of game development studios.