Choosing to study game development can be a fulfilling hobby as well as a potentially lucrative career choice. The video game industry has seen increased growth in recent years as a result of the popularity computers, consoles and mobile devices have had.
Mobile applications development is one of the industries that have had the largest growth. While traditional universities often struggle to offer relevant computing material, thanks to distance education it’s possible to study with schools that provide timely training and preparation.
Charles Stuart University provides a course on mobile applications development to help students develop software applications for Android, Apple and even Windows mobile platforms. With international access and an accelerated schedule this can be a good introduction to those looking to develop a background in mobile development.
Game development is not necessarily limited to just learning to be a programmer. Audio development, level design, graphics artistry, and QA testing are all integral components of any game development team. Three years ago a new international resource called Train2game launched with the intent of being the first distance education based resource for those looking to study one of these subjects.
Game development can be broken down into many categories depending on what platform and language you want to study. Udacity offers an HTML5 course that can be great for those looking to work with web and mobile gaming but will be of limited use to someone wanting to develop more advanced console games. Often the best way to get started is to pick an area and find a book to learn the basics. Many websites provide affordable tutorials and online courses to help you choose and master your area of development. Many video game companies increasingly offer resources for those looking to get started as developers. UDK for example offers their 3D game engine free of charge to game developers to learn and develop on.
Game design covers many of the interaction and basic concepts of playability involved in producing a game. Mechanics behind controls and interface as well as developing a cohesive story or even writing background material are all roles found in this specialization. While based in the UK, this course offers three sections to cover many of the principles involved in being a game designer.
Being a game artist often involves a familiarity with animation and using such applications as Photoshop and 3Ds Max. The distance education course offered by Train2game focuses on many of the game development aspects involved in using these software applications. While an interesting course, its 48 lessons focus much more on the basics than someone with some graphic design experience may need. There are many other distance education resources available on the web for those needing a more advanced option. Courses like programs from EdX such as Berkley’s free CS184.1 can be worthwhile alternatives.
Game QA (Quality Assurance) testing can sound like the dream occupation, but it often involves many rather boring aspects such as testing limited portions of a game extensively and thoroughly documenting any bugs one finds. Train2Game offers a course designed to give those looking to pursue a career in QA a leg up. There are limited numbers of resources for Game QA and part of this is because quality assurance is often considered an entry level job with few educational or background requirements. Often the best way to start can be simply getting a job in QA.
Whichever area you choose to pursue, with as little as 6 months study it can be feasible to be capable of finding employment or even producing your own independent game. Online communities like Steam Greenlight focus on helping new game developers market and promote their products. Clearly, there are many online resources available to help new developers get started.