Call of Duty: WWII, Grand Theft Auto V, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – what do these games have in common?
They are not only featured among the top ten best-selling games of 2017, but are the result of thousands of hours of hard work, imagination, and coding brilliance of a development team comprising programmers, project managers, graphics and animation designers.
Thanks to games like these, the global gaming industry reaped a staggering US$109 billion in sales last year. The Asia Pacific region accounts for the lion’s share (47% or around US$51.2 billion), largely due to the huge gaming market in China. Excluding the major markets of China, Japan, and Korea, the rest of Asia is expected to be the fastest growing region in the coming years, with total games revenue expected to reach US$10.5 billion in 2020.
The games industry in Singapore is also heating up. According to Infocomm Media Development Authority, it is Singapore’s “fastest-growing media sub-sector.” With the Singapore government’s push to develop the industry through government-to-government partnerships, the market potential looks set to rise.
The growth is clearly driven by smartphones; with its proliferation, gaming is more accessible than ever before. It is not uncommon to see people of all ages, genders and backgrounds enjoying mobile games virtually everywhere you go.
With so much going for the gaming market, it certainly looks attractive as a profession. However, what skills do you need to be a top notch video game designer?
Here are 6 essential skills (and they are not all IT-related).
- Strong IT skills (programming, video graphics and hardware)
To succeed in the world of video game design, you need to anchor your knowledge in software design and programming.
Beyond coding, you need to have a flair for design. As graphics and animation play a huge role in video games, game designers need to be familiar with character design, scenery design, and user interface design. Possessing the artistic and technical chops in these areas will help you to create a game that is vivid and life-life with realistic animation, helping it to stand out in the competitive marketplace.
- Problem-solving aptitude
Overcoming challenges and resolving technical glitches are part and parcel of a games developer’s everyday life. You need to have grit and patience when it comes to approaching problems, or debugging code. An ability to see things from different perspectives and fresh angles can also help in this regard.
- Time management skills
Video games these days are complex products with multiple moving parts. Often, they require multiple teams of artistic and technical professionals responsible for pulling different pieces together. To thrive in such an environment, you will need to be able to work well under pressure, learn to collaborate with others, and keep to project deadlines.
- Creativity and culture
To come up with original game ideas and dream up incredible virtual worlds, you need the spark of creativity. As this article describes, “Your creativity is what will make your games unique; it is your ‘competitive advantage’ in a market saturated with sameness.”
At the same time, you need to have an intimate understanding of cultural tastes and preferences. Although played with computers or other folks behind screens, a game is at its core, a human activity and a cultural product. This article by The Atlantic elaborates, “Game designers, who must capture and retain players’ attention and interest quickly, need to understand human psychology and culture.”
- Communication skills
Communication belongs to the domain of soft skills, an area often overlooked by programmers and technical folks. To succeed as a games designer, however, you will need to communicate your vision and ideas to other project team members like visual artists, producers, music and sound effects specialists, and marketers.
- Stay abreast of industry developments
As a game designer, you need to genuinely love games, and play them often. Beyond being a gamer, you need to also keep yourself updated on what is happening with competitors and the gaming world in general.
The best ideas often come from existing elements of other games. The more you absorb and play and tear apart, the more you will know what makes a game click with its audience. This helps you to refine and improve your own game ideas and designs.
Get a head start on your game development career with Murdoch University
Wish to design the next wave of blockbuster video games and virtual worlds?
Murdoch University offers a Bachelor of Science in Games Software Design and Production targeted at equipping students with a thorough understanding of the theory of games software design, and the processes involved in the production of computer, mobile and video games.
Graduates will be proficient in a variety of software programming languages and well-versed in games design, games mechanics, games software development and production, and interaction design.
You will also gain practical insight into the games design and development world using games development tools. Thus, this programme offers the best of both worlds: technical knowledge as well as an intimate understanding of creative games design.
Some of the core modules covered in the programme include:
- Database design, implementation and management
- Software Development Frameworks
- Games and Virtual Reality Software Design
- User Interface Design
- IT Professional Practice Project
To find out more about the programme, register for a preview session or request for a prospectus here.