WHAT SKILLS DOES A GAME DEVELOPER NEED?

You already know how to start with game development so now it’s time to talk about skills, which will be very useful during this process. 

As a game developer you can follow one of two paths: you can work solo or in a team. If you’ll choose the latter you’ll probably follow a narrow, specialized path. This way the only thing that you’ll have to worry about would be tasks from your domain of expertise. Going solo on the other hand yields in a wide spectrum of knowledge and skills to learn. By choosing this path you’ll have to deal with many more tasks and responsibilities. Your game developer duties will stretch far and wide.

Who is a game developer? 

In common understanding, a game developer spends his time developing games. If he works for the company in most cases developing = programming. But if he works solo he doesn’t only write code. He has to take care of all aspects of game development: planning, prototyping, developing, testing, art, marketing, etc…   

Making games is like going on an unplanned adventure. You’ll kinda know where you want to end up but the best part is the journey itself. – Wojtek

Game Developer

What skills does a game developer need?   

In order to develop and release the game, you have to go through lots of steps from different fields. And this requires skills and knowledge from various areas. Let’s take a closer look at it.

Programming & Testing

This field includes but is not limited to:

  • manual & automated testing,
  • writing code & debugging,
  • architecture development,
  • integration with various services,
  • creating tools to automate various things.

You’ll definitely need technical skills – a set of abilities and knowledge needed to perform specific practical tasks. Good thing is that technical skills can be taught but require training and experience to master. There will be lots of problems to solve so improving problem-solving skills, logical thinking and paying attention to details should help you along the way.

Game design

This field includes but is not limited to:

  • creating levels, puzzles and game story,
  • inventing, testing and optimizing game mechanics,
  • gathering feedback and improving the game based on that,
  • tweaking game parameters and balance.

Not an easy task to design the game. You’ll have to use your imagination and creativity to see the game as a whole and create and maintain a cohesive vision. You’ll also use lots of programs, scripts & tools so technical skills are very welcome here.

Visuals

This field includes but is not limited to:

  • creating concept art,
  • drawing, animating, modeling, sculpting, texturing, rigging,
  • video editing,
  • creating shaders.

Every game has to look somehow. To make it look good there are a lot of things to care about like color theory, lights, proportions, etc. Without a doubt, you’ll need creativity & imagination to invent how your game should look like. You’ll need to transform those ideas into real things so you’ll need some technical skills and know some tools too. While many artistic skills are things that must be practiced and perfected, creativity is what guides them.

Graphic designers
Music and sound effects

This field includes but is not limited to:

  • composing music,
  • creating sound effects,
  • making voice-overs, narrating.

Another thing from the creative field. If you would like to create music and sound effects by yourself, some kind of music education would be a huge benefit. But the good news is that you can find lots of sites with free music and sounds on the Internet. 

Marketing & social media

This field includes but is not limited to:

  • PR & social media,
  • ads & creating promo campaigns,
  • organizing various events,
  • engaging players.

Marketing your game nowadays is a must. You’ll have to create promotional materials, texts for press and influencers, posts on social media, ADS, etc. You’ll also have to analyze what is working and what is not. What you’ll need here? Creativity & imagination but also communication skills and analytical thinking.

Business and project management

This field includes but is not limited to:

  • project management,
  • sticking to a schedule,
  • communicating with business partners
  • pitching investors, 
  • managing funding and finances,
  • growing business.

With so many things to do, you’ll have to take care of managing all your activities. Yes, even when you work alone. Good organizational & time management skills are a must. Otherwise, you’ll experience chaos and you’ll be lost in the development process. Communication skills will be very, very useful if you’re working with a team and when you’re talking with business partners/investors. And if you’re in for the money don’t forget to treat everything like a business and grow it like that.

Oh, and you’ll need patience. A lot of patience at every step, in every field.  😉

As a two-person team, we know very well how many things each of us had to learn during the last years and how many things each of us has to do during developing games. Good, that each of us has different talents and skills – we complement each other quite well. 🙂

Ugh, lots of skills right? If you’re lacking one of them you can always seek help. For example, if you don’t have any artistic talents – look for someone who’ll help you with designs. If you have no idea how to deal with game release and whole marketing aspects – look for someone who knows this field. It will come with some costs but it is a way if you’re not willing to do it by yourself. 

Business deal

Summing up 

We hope it all doesn’t sound too scary and too overwhelming. However, this is the reality of being a solo developer/small team. Lots of work is waiting for you with lots of skills to learn. We won’t sweeten it and tell how amazing and exciting doing everything is. Most of the time – yes, it is. Definitely the whole journey is! But there will be times of frustrations and exhaustion so be prepared for it. They will pass. 🙂 We wish you luck & don’t give up! 


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All graphics designed by stories / Freepik

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