How Do You Become A Computer Game Developer?

All of us may have at least once played a computer or video game, but do you know how or who created the game that you played?

Have you ever wondered how the characters came to life and who came up with the game storyline? Perhaps, if you love playing computer games, you can even create a whole new game that many will love.

What is a computer game developer?

The person who makes a game by creating the software and programming is known as a computer game developer.

Game developers are the inventors, creators, and producers of games for personal computers, consoles, online games, arcade games, tablets, mobile phone, and other handheld devices.

What does a computer game developer do?

Game developers are responsible for developing visuals, artificial intelligence, and game logic. They also troubleshoot when any issues concerning the game pop up.

Tasks and responsibilities

Creating a game may take anywhere from several months to years. During this period, a game developer typically has to fulfill the following tasks and responsibilities:

  • Design, develop and deliver systems and high-quality code using programming languages such as C++ and C#
  • Develop new ideas/designs for games
  • Perform code reviews to ensure code quality
  • Review and improve the designs of existing codes
  • Ensure game stability across all platforms
  • Collaborate with designers, produces, artists, and quality analysts to come up with the best game
  • Solve technical issues faced during the game’s production
  • Perform efficiently under pressure and meet all deadlines to complete a particular game on time.

Types of game developers

There are generally four types of game developers in the industry: first, second, third-party, and independent (indie) developers.

First-party game developer

First-party game developers develop games internally for a single platform or console only. Some examples are Nintendo and Xbox Game Studios.

Second-party developer

Second-party game developers develop games exclusively for a console but are not fully owned by that platform or console. For example, Game Freak develops Pokemon for Nintendo, but Nintendo does not fully own it.

Third-party developer

Third-party game developers develop and publish their own games or create them for other game publishers. For example, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and Activision Blizzard.

Indie developer

Independent developers are self-funded, creating indie games individually or in small groups. For example, Eric Barona and Thelka.

Game developer requirements

Having a degree is always the best when looking for a job. Most publishing and game development companies would look for a candidate with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field.

There are now degrees or minors available in game design and interactive entertainment more specific to the video game industry offered at some colleges and universities.

Besides that, you should also have the necessary technical skills and experience that may make you better at game development.

Game developer skills

As this is a rather technical profession, having the right skill on your resume would play a very important role in landing you a good job.

There are two common skills you will find on job listings for game developers, which are experience in game development engines and the ability to code (often in C# or C++)

  • C# (pronounced as C-sharp) is a programming language frequently used for game development and mobile applications, particularly with the Unity engine.
  • C++ is a general programming language often used to develop games, operating systems, and applications.
  • Enhance your skills by using a platform called Unity. It lets you make games in both 2D and 3D and is very popular with indie and mobile games. In addition, it’s free for students and personal use, so you can start making games even before you get hired.
  • For first-person shooters, Unreal Engine was made. It is now a 3D creation tool used for games on a wide range of platforms. C++ is the programming language used by Unreal.
  • To be able to think out of the box for great ideas.

Tips to start your career as a game developer

It’s possible to break into the video game industry if you have a passion for games and appreciate fusing technology with creativity.

Choosing a career path in game development will depend on where you are in your career, what aspects of game development you are interested in, and how much creative control you want over the final product.

Here are some steps to establish yourself in the gaming industry.

Start with simple games

Create games immediately to begin sharpening your abilities and skills. Start with something simple, such as writing a simple behaviour or keyboard movement mechanic in C#, then work your way to more sophisticated tasks.

Build your portfolio

Add your games to your portfolio as you create them. Employers may see this as a good way to differentiate you from other applicants. To help you get started, here are a few possibilities:

  • Build at least four complete Unity game projects
  • Learn C++ and Unreal while developing larger console applications

Start with a QA role

Quality assurance (QA) testers go through a game, looking for faults or defects in an organized manner. 

This entry-level position can be a useful way to gain experience in the video game industry. It will also help you create a professional network that is vital when you’re looking for jobs. 

Attend game industry events

Effective networking can open doors in various fields that you might not otherwise be aware of.

To meet other game creators and companies, you need to attend industry events, mingle around and share experiences with the others.

How long does it take to become a game developer? 

Video game creation, computer science, and computer programming are all bachelor’s degree programmes requiring four years of study. 

Some game developers may use shorter boot camp programmes or self-study to master the skills they need in a shorter period.

What is the difference between a game developer and a game designer? 

As the name suggests, a game designer is responsible for designing the whole concept and genre of a game.

They focus on the details of a game, such as a storyline, characters, maps, plots, how to win or lose the game, game levels, and so on.

They oversee the whole artistic part of a game and make it come to life by experimenting with the various themes and genres available.

Once all the ideas have been put on paper, the game developer’s job is to make them come to life.

This is when the game developer has to write thousands of codes to turn the designer’s idea into a playable game.

Of course, to produce a game that many will like, both the designer and developer have to work hand in hand through the process.

Game developer careers

If you love creating games or want to foray into this industry, you can also consider some of these following roles as they are part of game making.

  • Game artists. They create 2D and 3D images to furnish the graphics within a game.
  • Animators. They use specific software to bring out the life of characters, settings, props, and other objects.
  • Writers. They write the scripts and dialogues of a game, marketing material, and technical documentation for a game.
  • Audio engineers are responsible for soundtracks, sound effects, background music, voice-overs, etc.
  • Game producers have a big role in overseeing the production process from the start to the end.
  • Video game designers play an important role in creating the ideas, characters, and storyline, then working with game developers to turn all of these into codes.
  • Game testers identify bugs in a game and report their findings to game developers.

Game developer salary

A game developer’s average salary in Malaysia is RM35,760 annually. This figure would, of course, depend on your experience and expertise.

Game developer degree  

If you’re considering becoming a game developer, UOW Malaysia KDU’s Bachelor of Game Development is one of Southeast Asia’s most recognized game development degrees.

You will specialise in three distinct areas once you have enrolled in our programme:

  • Game Art that handles the visual components of games.
  • Game Design will teach you how to handle the gameplay, the mechanics, integration of video, audio and textual experience in a game.
  • Game technology that handles the technical aspects such as physics engine, graphics engine, and artificial intelligence of creating a game.

The best way to start your passion for game creation would be to have the right foundation. Once you have that, you will be able to move up the corporate ladder in the world of gaming fast.

You can then be the master that holds a video game together.


03 May 2022


Science and Technology