Do I Need a Degree to be a Game Developer?
No, you don’t need a degree to be a game developer. You can learn game development through Bootcamps, Youtube tutorials, Udemy Courses, or on SkillShare. There are plenty of free, and paid resources online to help you learn game development.
It is also encouraging to know that there are many companies and game studios that hire game developers without the need for a degree. But you have to put in a lot of work to show your would-be employers that you are capable of doing wonders.
Becoming a game developer without a degree is easy and straightforward these days. There are plenty of resources to guide you.
Using online courses is one of the best ways to become a game developer without a degree. For example, there are plenty of game development classes on SkillShare that you can try out for free with a one month free trial.
These classes are designed to help you learn game development at your own pace.
HOW TO BECOME A GAME DEVELOPER WITHOUT A DEGREE?
There are basically two paths that you can take to become a game developer without a degree, you can become a self-taught game developer using thousands of free, and paid resources available online or you can choose to go for a Game Development Bootcamp.
Whichever path you choose to take, there are some basic technologies, platforms, and tools you must learn to become a game developer without a degree.
LEARN A PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE
The first step is to learn a programming language. In order to make wonderful games that will attract the attention of many users, you need to learn a programming language for game scripting. Some of the popular programming languages for game development include C++, C#, and Lua.
You can pick any one of the above programming languages. It is worth noting that some programming languages like C++ have a higher learning curve. Lua is easy to use and is a great language for game development.
LEARN THE BASICS OF GAME DESIGN
After learning a programming language, it is worth learning the basics of game design and game assets development. To make game assets such as game environments, characters, and other visuals, you can use software like Blender.
USE A GAME ENGINE
Further and most importantly, you need to familiarize yourself with game engines. Game Engines help to build games by doing a lot of the heavy lifting and complex calculations for game developers. Some of the most popular game engines include Unity 3D, Unreal Engine, Godot, etc.
- UNITY (C#)
Unity is one of the most popular platforms for developing 2D and 3D games. Unity uses the C# programming languages for game logic, there are also other features that can be implemented with drag and drop.
Unity has a marketplace called Asset store, where you can download free and paid game assets to quicken your development process. Unity is regarded as a beginner-friendly platform, it is used by big companies as well as indie developers.
Some of the popular games made with Unity include Pokemon Go, Monument Valley 2, Tempo Run, Robocraft, Angry Birds, Sonic Dash, Marvel Strike Force, Iron Man VR, Lara Croft Go, Super Mario Run, and many others.
Unity supports many platforms, once you are done developing your game, you can deploy it to different platforms such as Android, iOS, tvOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, Playstations, Xbox, Nintendo, Stadia, WebGL, Oculus VR, PSVR, ARCore, Magic Leap, etc.
Unity is also used in other industries such as Film, Automotive, Architecture, Military, Engineering, Construction, etc.
- UNREAL ENGINE (C++)
Unreal Engine is one of the most advanced, powerful, and popular platforms for making 2D and 3D games, it uses the C++ programming language for programming the game logic.
Unreal Engine has also a marketplace that has a lot of resources ranging from art assets to models, sounds, environments, code snippets, and more. Some of them are free while others can be paid for.
Some of the popular games made with Unreal Engine include Fortnite, Brothers in Arms, Golden Eye: Rogue Agent, Medal of Honor, Shadow Ops, Shrek 2, Star Wars, Spider-man 2, Batman Arkham City, DC Universe Online, Mortal Kombat, Transformers, Crash Bandicoot, and many others.
Unreal supports many platforms, once you are done developing your games, you can deploy to different platforms such as Android, iOS, tvOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, Playstations, Xbox, Nintendo, Oculus VR, PSVR, ARCore, Stadia, WebGL, etc.
Unreal Engine is also used in other industries such as Film & TV, Architecture, Simulations, Automotive & Transportation, Broadcast & Live Events, Engineering, medicine, etc.
GameMaker Studio has also a marketplace that has a lot of resources ranging from animations to sounds, backgrounds, fonts, objects, paths, sprites, scripts, shaders, and more. Some of them are free while others can be paid for.
Some of the popular games made with GameMaker Studio include Undertale, Forager, Hyper Light Drifter, Samurai Gunn 2, Webbed, The Tarnishing of Juxtia, Destructivator 2, Fields of Mistria, Flynn: Son of Crimson, Katana Zero, Battleships Forever, Tower of Heaven, and many others.
GameMaker Studio supports many platforms, once you are done developing your games, you can deploy to different platforms such as Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Tizen, Playstations, Xbox, Nintendo, Amazon Fire TV, WebGL, etc.
PRACTICE AND BUILD A PORTFOLIO
Gaining recognition as a game developer without a degree does not come easily, you need to show through your work that you have valuable skills. This requires you to have a portfolio of games that you have developed.
You need to build a portfolio to showcase your work. You develop a mobile game and deploy it on Play Store or App Store. You can also develop a desktop game and deploy it to Windows Store or App Store. You can also consider making browser-based games and AR or VR games.
It is worth noting that becoming a game developer without a degree takes a lot of effort, dedication, discipline, and practice. You will not have guidance from lectures or a curriculum from an established university. You will have no one to be accountable to but yourself.
Online game development classes like the ones on SkillShare are helpful because you will have a lot of guidance, direction, a curriculum, and accountability. All in all, you don’t need a degree to become a game developer.