The video game market continues to grow year after year, and we can't wait for new technologies to appear that will revolutionize the industry and revitalize it with new paradigms. At the same time, it is an incredibly attractive sector and there are many programmers who see it as an option for their professional career to specialize and focus on this path.
Undoubtedly, basic programming skills are a prerequisite to joining this adventure, but many wonder what to study to develop video games apart from the standard programming curriculum. More and more video game development courses are becoming available, but training and specific knowledge is often required at different levels to achieve the goal of turning a hobby into a paid profession.
What is the necessary knowledge to develop video games?
First of all, it is necessary to understand that, although programming seems to be the fundamental pillar of any video game, there are several branches within this field that, besides being essential, could be part of a set of knowledge necessary to develop video games. If you've ever asked someone to write my paper for me and bought a narrative essay, you know how important proper narration is.
Experience in the narrative: this knowledge is one of the most important
Knowledge of narrative helps to develop the central story of a video game, and determine the role of each character, their physical and psychological characteristics, as well as the challenges and obstacles they have to face. It is also useful to create the context in which the story will develop and the multiple scenarios in which the characters will be involved.
Basic principles of psychology
This knowledge should cover both the characters' and the users' psychology. Regarding the former, it endows them with personality, defines their psychological profiles and thus their behavior, abilities, powers, and weaknesses. As for the players, the incentives at different stages of the video game are determined here: rewards and how they will interact with each of the characters to keep them interested and motivated to continue playing.
Its application determines the distribution and creation of probability models of outcomes or continuity according to different actions in each of the levels. At the same time, it helps to balance the difficulty throughout the game, to avoid player fatigue or frustration.
Basic physics knowledge
To simulate real objects in the virtual world, it is essential to know the basics of physics (gravity, rotation, friction, etc.) to recreate their behavior. This is important to provide realism to the actions within the game. For example, if a river will be recreated, fluid mechanics must be known to reproduce it as well as possible.
To monetize a video game, it is necessary to go to the market to promote and sell it. To do this, it is important to know costs, the target audience, communication channels, marketing strategies, campaign generation, key metrics to measure its impact, and conversion rates, among others. It will be of little use to have the best video game if people do not know about it and, above all, do not buy it.
This is a piece of basic knowledge. This is because you will have to choose a programming language and develop a lot of code for each of the actions of the characters and the indirect phenomena of the player's actions.
The aesthetics of a video game is also part of its charm. It is necessary to know the basic principles of music, lighting, kinematics, modeling, texturing, and 3D animation; these aspects are of utmost importance since it is the most visible part of the virtual world in which players develop.
Using game theory helps to determine how fair a rule is and establishes criteria to balance them to move from one level to another according to certain gains; for example, virtual currencies.
What degree to study to make video games?
For those who want to lay a solid foundation to work in this area in the future, there are several main degrees to work making video games:
- Degree in Fine Arts: it is usually ideal to deepen everything related to aesthetics and content production for the video game. From there, the professional leap is relatively small.
- Degree in Computer Engineering: this is obviously the best option for all the development parts. In addition, with the specializations, nowadays there is also the option of learning some of the basics of software production and marketing.
- Degree in Video Game Design and Development: some private universities are already offering this type of very specialized degree, which combines a bit of all the main branches, but especially with a focus on development.
You may be working in another field right now or you may not be able to afford to devote as much of your time as possible to a degree or master's degree. In that case, being self-taught and resorting to online courses may be your best way out. In the video game industry, it is not essential to have a certain degree to be able to work. The important thing is to have the knowledge and be good in your field.