What does a video game developer do?

Tsc Game Developer

If you were to research the definition of “game developer”, you would see a few definitions, which may differ. Because of this, we will provide the following definitions for this article.

Game developer: A video game developer oversees the programming activities necessary for the conceptualization, prototyping and testing of a video game. To achieve this, he/she uses engines, libraries, resources, and specific programming languages on different platforms. The game developer turns a “game design” into a playable game.

Game designer: A game designer builds the look (aesthetics), feel, and structure of the game. The game designer is involved in determining whether a game is 2 player or multi-player, whether the game character has power ups, health, or life, and whether the game is narrative or survival, etc.

Game development: Sometimes referred to as gamedev, is the act of creating a game. Creating a game usually involves teams of individuals with different skill sets. Those individuals include game designers, artists, programmers, animators, sound engineers, testers, project managers, etc.

Creating a video game is a dream for many. What some years ago was mere entertainment, is now a multibillion-dollar industry.

Today, more than 3 billion people around the world are entertained by video games. Therefore, it is not surprising that the estimated value of the industry will exceed $100.56 billion by 2024 (according to techjury.net).

Because of its reach and visibility, it is a very attractive sector for talented professionals with a wide range of experience and backgrounds. Let’s learn a little more about video game developers.

A video game developer is directly involved in the definition and programming of the game mechanics, as well as the study of its gameplay and the evolution of the different levels of progression.

The scope of this role depends on the importance of the project and the characteristics of the final product. However, video game development usually involves professionals from other areas such as visual artists, sound specialists, and scriptwriters.

For reference, the most sophisticated games require multidisciplinary teams made up of dozens of people. According to the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) there are at least 16 specialized groups.

Children Game Developer

Do you need a video game developer in your company?

The creation of a video game goes through different stages, not very different from the development of any digital product. Let’s see the process in more detail:

1. Conceptualization

The definition of the concept is fundamental for the success of the game. During this phase the developers carry out the identification of the requirements, based on the features defined with the rest of the team.

The key deliverables of this phase are highly technical. Basic aspects of the design such as the description of the mechanics, levels, and characters are fundamental to the success of the project and depend heavily on the game developer.

Once the concept is defined, and the characteristics of the prototype can be established, the next phase follows.

2. Prototyping

The models created during this phase must have enough fidelity to test the game mechanics, characters, and usually a level with general features. The developer plays a key role in defining the scope, technical requirements, and minimum viable product.

Additionally, he/she will work closely with the rest of the team to write the basic programs needed to run the initial prototype.

3. Development

In addition to developing the necessary software, the game developer must also coordinate with the art team and testers to ensure the functionality of the products released in each iteration.

Additionally, if the game has a complex narrative, the developer will work closely with the scriptwriters and in many cases will have to coordinate highly technical efforts with less structured activities.

Alignment with the rest of the team will be critical to define test scenarios, test mechanics, dynamics, aesthetics, and the specific challenges that the solution will have in front of the players.

4. Testing (and launch)

Beta testing is part of the standard for mobile games and platforms with player communities.

Whether with dedicated game testers or with a community of gamers involved, early version testing is essential to improve and make the game scalable.

During this phase, the developer identifies bugs, opportunities for improvement, and additional requirements, to optimize the product’s performance and scale the solutions to the rest of the game levels.

The testing and release process may be carried out iteratively and eventually, there will be game maintenance, optimization, and updating roles that may be in the hands of a team of game programmers.

Tasks of a Game Programmer

  • Write complex, efficient, and clean code based on requirements.
  • Develop the foundations or engines to run the game
  • Prototyping game mechanics, concepts, and features
  • Coordinate programming activities with audio-visual design
  • Define testing activities, validation procedures, and upload criteria to quality environment
  • Identify, document, and manage the resolution of technical problems
  • Debug program code and optimize video game performance

What does it take to be a video game developer?

  1. Video Game Developer Skills and Knowledge
  2. Video Game Developer Job Requirements Summary
  3. A successful video game programmer excels at assertiveness and creative problem-solving.

Unlike other developers, an expert in the field of video games integrates technical and complex aspects with other professional elements. This implies that a good video game developer also has an integral vision of the creative, development, and testing process, which involves the story narrative, visual arts, and sound effect features of a video game.

Technically speaking, mastery of specific engines, languages and platforms is indispensable.

Playing And Programming Games

Requirements to be a video game developer

  • Previous experience in software development projects, preferably in all stages of the development lifecycle.
  • Proficiency in C++, Java, C#, among others
  • High level of expertise in libraries, resources, frameworks, engines, and platforms for video game development
  • Understanding of video game trends, techniques, technologies, and best practices
  • Excellent communication skills
  • University degree in Computer Science or Systems Engineering
  • Specialized postgraduate training, bootcamp, or certification in video game development

How much money does a game developer make?

The salary varies significantly according to the importance of the project, the platforms, and the dimensions of the development studio. For example, if the game is supported by a popular console, the income can be much higher.

In this sense, the size of the company will be decisive since mobile games are very dominant and profitable for the most prestigious companies.

According to Glassdoor statistics in March 2021, the salary of a video game developer starting his career in the US averaged $42,000 – $52,000 per year. Senior and experienced professionals in the industry earn an average salary of $80,000+ per year.

The average hourly rate for a freelance game developer is $60. For an 8-hour day, the daily rate would be around $480 (freelancermap.com price index – March 2021).

The beauty of video games is that children love to play video games and the Tech STEAM Center teaches video game development to children beginning at 8 years old. If your child loves playing video games, check us out! We believe that children should not only be end-users (that play video games), but developers, that create video games!

Give us a try and find out for yourself what we have to offer you and your child. Schedule a tour to visit our facilities. You’ll be glad you did!

More To Explore

Scroll to Top