It is truly said, game development is an art and it cannot be taught. If the talent of developing games exists in a person, nothing can be done but discover the tremendous ability and developing and cultivating this mindset. The formula to make yourself a great game developer is vast but one thing which remains constant is the power to think, visualise and execute. And, as it turns out, this mindset can help you succeed far beyond your technological undertakings.
Without any doubt, the gaming industry has taken a leap in the last few years and has grown enormously. With this outstanding increase in the digital entertainment demand, the need of great developers is sky high. However, for all its potential, it’s a place that many independent developers and traditional game publishers are having difficulty being successful in. As the global games market continues its growth to a projected estimate of $ 86.1 billion in 2016, gaming itself is beginning to be a mainstream source of entertainment.
The first video games were non-commercial, and were developed in the 1960s. They required mainframe computers to run and were not available to the public for play. Commercial game development began in the 1970s with the advent of first-generation video game consoles and early home computers like the Apple I. Due to low costs and low capabilities of computers, a lone programmer could develop a full game. However, approaching the 21st century, ever-increasing computer processing power and heightened consumer expectations made it difficult for a single developer to produce a mainstream console or PC game. The average cost of producing a Triple-A video game slowly rose from US$1–4 million in 2000 to over $5 million in 2006, then to over $20 million by 2010. In the early era of home computers and video game consoles in the early 1980s, a single programmer could handle almost all the tasks of developing a game — programming, graphical design, sound effects, etc.
With current generations raised on the lightning-fast processing speeds and crystal clear graphics of Xboxes and PlayStations and with the tide of virtual reality-based video games fast approaching, it’s easy to forget that just 50 years ago, digital gaming existed in only a few laboratories around the world.
The industry’s growth over in the last year has been driven by three factors- with new opportunities continuing to arise in mobile, the games market is buoyant; PC gaming; Console and VR and AR, which have combined to stimulate investment and job creation.
Games, nowadays are overwhelmingly financed by micro-transactions of virtual goods to compensate the hefty expenses of increasingly ambitious needs to be put in games in terms of graphics, quality, presentation, and realism. Another major reason behind this is the fact that the modern gaming devices run on exponentially higher processing power. Thus the development cost of games rises higher due to the increase in quality and complexity of games.
The need of the hour for the new entrants in the gaming industry is to understand the key aspects of the current scenario of game development and breakthrough with the help of limited resources. So, what should a newbie game developer keep in mind to succeed in the booming gaming industry?
The very first thing that must be kept in mind is the funding. Along with this, the narrative of the story, the model of the game (Freemium or Premium), and the target audience is also important. One should know whether you can carry the expenses, if you go on the road of self-publishing. Due to the high demand of 3D Graphics and animation in games nowadays it is the first decision that must be made and be stood at firmly. If not, venture funding then the trend the budding developers are into now is crowd funding. Unless one has a trust fund, crowdfunding has gathered much of momentum in recent years. Crowdfunding is probably more open to being awarded on the strength of the game concept itself.
One should also be firm about their business model of the game, whether the game is going to be a free to play game or a premium one. The game should be designed in a manner that if the freemium plan goes on lower road, one can easily change the game model for different target segments as per requirement.
Coming to the aesthetics of the game, one should be very much aware of the fact that the world is moving on a very fast pace and has an enormous digital entertainment demand. Game intro should be short and user friendly. The game should be rewarding enough on achieving levels in the game. It should not suddenly rise the difficulty level of the game. Coming to the monetary front, the game should not be demanding a big time investment to be enjoyable.
Another basic that must be taken into account is the target segment of people. One should not target a saturated fringe of market.
Gaming as an industry offers career opportunities in different functional areas such as game design, game art creation in 3D and 2D, game animation, game programming, game testing, project management, and other general management areas.
Talking about the future of gaming in terms of innovative technologies, the gaming development will enter soon in face recognition, 3D scanning, voice recognition, and gesture control mechanism. Augmented reality and virtual reality are already being incorporated and designed into present day games. There is a long and innovative path that gaming industry will be moving towards.
(This article has been contributed by Quentin Staes-Polet. He is currently placed as the Regional Director South APAC for Unity Technologies. Quentin is a P&L driven, general manager and deal maker with 23 years experience at the intersection of media and technology. An international business leader with extensive C-level network and a solid large deals track record WW. He worked with large media and technology corporations and also founded and ran a VC funded online game company in India.)