our everyday life

How to Become a Game Developer for Consoles

by Johnny Kilhefner

Video game development involves both designers and programmers. The design staff is comprised of artists, game mechanic designers, content designers, level designers, sound designers and writers. Programming positions include graphics programmers, artificial intelligence programmers, tool programmers, physics programmers and network programmers. Video game development is a major industry that employs thousands of designers and programmers, but game development can be done independently at the auteur level.

Experience

Video game development is a rigorous process that isn't for the faint of heart. Having a strong passion to play and make video games is required, as many game developers spend hours of overtime making sure every aspect of the game is perfect. Playing a lot of video games will not make you a good console developer on its own, but as reading good books is practice for writers, playing is vital to know what kind of games you like and what you can create.

Education

For designers, a four-year degree in liberal arts, graphic design, game design, English or information technology is recommended. Aspiring designers should also have at least a cursory knowledge of programming languages. Programmers should seek a four-year degree in computer science or computer engineering, becoming fluid in computer programming languages such as C++ and any others specific to the specialty you wish to go into. Network programmers should have a background in server security, while graphics programmers should have a background in art.

Portfolio

Don't wait for someone's permission to start developing games, just start developing your own. If you want to work on the designer side, your portfolio should consist of relevant experience: write your own video game story lines, sketch designs for characters and levels or mix audio tracks and sound effects. If you want to work on the programming side, build a portfolio of video games, even if the games were made with free game-making software such as 3D Adventure Studio, Game Maker or RPG Maker XP.

Internship or Entry-Level Position

Try to get an internship at an independent or major video game company. The video game community is just that, a community, so go to trade shows and events and network with people to get your foot in the door. Apply for an internship or entry-level position at a game studio (preferably a studio you have connections with through networking). Prepare a resume and cover letter detailing all of your relevant experience and why you would make a perfect candidate for the position.

About the Author

Johnny Kilhefner is a writer with a focus on technology, design and marketing. Writing for more than five years, he has contributed to Writer's Weekly, PopMatters, Bridged Design and APMP, among many other outlets.

Photo Credits

  • Rayes/Photodisc/Getty Images