I have been mulling around for years on what to specialize after completing my computer science and engineering degree. I’ve looked through a great handful of specializations such as: AI, Data Science, DevOps, to name a few. Of course, neither of these fields held my interest for long and was about to accept my fate as simply being an all-purpose programmer.
However, I took inventory on my skills. Aside from technological skills, I was developing art skills on the side in the hilarious event where all technology goes kaput. The real reason is my desire to leave a creative legacy that will last until the Sun explodes.
This is where game development comes from. Not only do I have free range on artistic design, but I also have freedom in logical and programming design. Essentially I am putting in the work the skills I learned in my life to the fullest. Never have I felt this accomplished before.
With the advent of public game engines, frameworks and asset stores, one would think game development is a field where no challenges arise because these new tools took it all away. This is a wrong assumption to make. It’s like saying power tools took away the challenge of building a house on your own.
In fact, it’s OK and encouraged to start with a game engine rather than make one from scratch. This is coming from someone almost completing the aforementioned degree as of the time of this writing. One true reason of why make your own game engine is to bring out a certain functionality or design that other game engines fail to bring out.
The real challenges of game development, in my opinion, are that of scope, game design and theme. If you want to make a game with an elaborate mechanical design you want to explore, complete with an engaging story and great visuals, making the game in your lonesome will definitely take you too much time. It’s much like making a film to distribute to theaters; you need a crew if you want your grand vision to make it into the public.
It ties in with not chasing the glory of indie development. Sure, you might hear the amazing success stories of indie games such as Minecraft, Super Meat Boy and Undertale, but trying to shadow their success will cloud your mind. Also some of those success stories about indie developers started from real precarious situations. It’s better to focus on what you have now, formulate plans and work from there.
Just recently I was able to complete a clone of Pong in the Unity game engine as a learning project about the engine itself and the language that comes with it: C# (pronounces as “see-sharp”) . From that project alone, I learned a lot of fundamental concepts of game development, how to use the myriad of tools offered by Unity and how to use C# to maximize control over a scene.
After completing this little project, I felt a great sense of accomplishment followed by a craving to create more. A stream of ideas surging in my mind is awaiting to be done and tested in reality through the medium of video games. This is the path I will walk on with no regrets.
And as always… HACK TO THE FUTURE!!
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That pong looks cool. Keep doing more and more of these. You’ll get better and better.