Game development in 2020 has never been so easy! Has it always been your dream to create your own game, to implement your ideas and to tell great stories? Or have you always wanted to bring your PvP idea to the market? There are a lot of people like that. But the path to becoming a game developer seems unattainable for many. Now in 2020, it’s easier than ever, almost too easy.
Games and even indie games have entered the mainstream. Everyone has the chance to get a piece of the pie. Only now it’s just like in other industries… you have to know how to leave your competition behind.
If you always wanted to know how to start with game development, then this is the right article for you!
My name is Christian and I founded Ogardonix in 2014 because of a game idea. We are still working on this idea today. But we were also on Steam and Kickstarter with the same idea. Not everything worked out, but that’s why I’ve been sitting down and trying everything the game development industry and online marketing has to offer. What I have learned in the last 5 years, I am now writing in this blog
A game consists not only of graphics, mechanics, and stories but also of people and fans. If you want to sell your games and make a living out of it, you should also ask yourself. What do the people who would play my game want? As a developer, I advise everyone from it simply to get started. Planning is important and helps to stay on the ball. To know exactly where you stand. As a game developer, you should also try to plan for small successes, this promotes the motivation very much.
What is Game Development?
- Level design
- many more…
Game Development is a big term that is broken up into several smaller tasks. Most of the time you look for people who are really good in one area, or you make a game as a solo developer where you have to learn everything first. If you are new to game development, you should first try a small project. And preferably without imagining that you will be the one who will develop the next Flappy Bird.
If you do everything just for the money, you will soon say goodbye to the dream of a game developer. From experience, I can say it is a very long and rocky road. To develop your first game, you don’t need a publisher or an investor. It’s best to avoid venture capital for now.
How to learn game development?
- Search for the right engine – Tools
- Learn the allocated programming language
- Start to write your Game Design Document
- Start with small projects
The first thing to do is to decide on a game engine. It makes no sense to sit down and develop an engine yourself. It takes a very long time to program an engine and you’re still not where a Unity3D or Unreal Engine 4 is. If you already have some idea you can also try CryEngine5 or Lumberyard. But also game engines like Godot are not to be underestimated! If you want to release very easily on all platforms, you should choose the Unity3d engine.
Now you have an engine and have to deal with the programming language. Of course, there is visual scripting in many engines, e.g. Unreal has already integrated this with the Blueprints, but also Unity wants to follow suit in 2020 with a kind of Blueprint System. If you want to use Unity after all, then you can, for example, watch Playmaker. This means it is not necessary to learn a programming language to develop games.
Of course, you should know what exactly is to be developed. 2D, 2.5D, 3D or even just text… everything is possible. You should know which style you want to use, which genre and how the mechanics should look like. The whole thing should be fun for the player. You don’t have to be a good player to make good games. But you have to deal with the subject matter.
There are good videos, courses, and e-books on topics like game design, game mechanics, level design, etc… Just search on Youtube and Amazon.
Is game development a good career?
- For money: NO
- For passion: YES
This is very difficult to answer just like that. It depends a lot on what you want to do in the future. If you would like to work for big companies, it’s a different matter than if you would like to make a living as an indie developer. An employee or self-employed person would be the first question…
There is a place for both and none of the ways are easy. The gaming industry is known for not earning much, working very hard and having hundreds of people waiting for a job. You have to be good to get a job. I think you take this path because you love game development and not because you want to get rich.
As an indie developer, there is no money for the time being. You work months or years on your project and then you have to market it yourself. There is no golden key or guarantee that the project will be worthwhile for you. Most of the time you have to work on the side on assignments from studios to make ends meet. You have to be pretty good to get orders because there are hundreds of people competing with you for these orders.
Where to start game development?
- Start with a small project
- Recode a little game
- Start doing Game Jams
- Start with Cross-Platform development
- Subscribe to a Freelancer Platform
As explained many times in this article, everyone should start with smaller projects. Sometimes it is enough to pick a simple game like Flappy Bird and build it. Then you can always improve on that.
In the time you search for all kinds of things from the Internet. You have to understand how the individual components work and what exactly should be done. So you learn quite fast how the engine works. Most of the small games can be put together within one day.
After that I always recommend game jams, there are already a lot of them and you can find a lot of good jams on itch.io which you can join. With Ogardonix we are also planning some Game Jams for 2020.
To get ahead, you should now look into cross-platform development and consider a simple hyper-casual game. You can develop it within a few weeks and offer it on multiple platforms. Such games are very popular at the moment and with a little advertising in the game, you might even make your first dollar.
If you have done all these things before, you can register on different freelancer platforms and see if you can get one or the other job.
How much does game developer make?
As a newcomer in the industry, it is difficult to get a decent job at first. The salaries are very different. I know 3d artists that even after 4 years don’t get more than 20k dollars in salary. Programmers who develop for less than 30k in Germany. And Sf Bay Devs who take well over 130k dollars a month. To this, one must also say that one has everywhere other living costs.
As a self-employed person, you also have to sell your services to customers. They like to take advantage of newcomers and want it for free because the rookie can refresh his portfolio. One should stay away from such offers.
Indie developers earn between 0 dollars and several 100k dollars. You can not fix a flat rate. But yes, it is possible to go through the ceiling with your own game. However, most success stories are rather unintentional and a one in a million story.
My advice is: don’t do it for the money, but because you love to develop games. Keep educating yourself and get better and better, then the better salaries or orders will come by themselves. If you want to bring your own game to the market, do it with smaller projects first. Put your MVP online and let the players decide where the journey will take them. Feedback is the best good in this area. That’s Game Development in 2020!