How to become a game developer

Intro: It all depends on your goals

First of all get this out of the way, if you want to work at Rockstar or Bethesda, just walk away unless you are abnormally skilled, but if your goal is to get high paying employment in game design, or just make a living in game design to displace your regular 9-5, then game design is an easy skill to pick up and it can help you immensely.

However, if like me, your goal is not any of these things, but you just want to design a game, then get good with an engine, Unreal 5 is a good choice now, and start buying up assets. Once you’ve spent about a year or two sinking money into assets… your family will look at you strange but i swear this works…. you will eventually have a professional grade toolkit from which to build your own commercial game, you can make any game you want, there are no content restrictions from the boss, you can make your own perfect game.

If that is how you feel about game design, then you are likely to structure your life around giving yourself time to work on your game, rather than maximizing profit. ie: my goal is not to work at a Rockstar Games. It is literally to maximize doing nothing, ie: Build my game.

How do you become a game developer?

  • Learn how to program in C# or C++
  • Pick either Unreal or Unity, and spend a year or two learning it.
  • Build some portfolio pieces
  • Avoid a game programming degree, study computer science or software engineering
  • Become a Private Contractor on Upwork
  • When you’re experienced, start applying to big companies

Also check out our article on how to make money as a game developer, very much important. Basking approves.

How long does it take to become a game developer?

If you wish to secure high paying work in game development, study computer science and software engineering. However, what you really need to do is learn a game engine, Unreal or Unity, and build a portfolio piece.

Here, intel recommends a bit of experience with Unity and Unreal before your ambitions get too out of control.

How hard is it to become a game designer?

Being a game developer isn’t that hard. You don’t need an expensive college degree, you can learn everything you need to know from home. Game Companies value raw skill and ability above all else. It’s more important than your college degree by leagues and bounds.

What you need is raw skill, nothing more, nothing less.

It also helps to have a GOOD portfolio piece.

Does game design require coding?

Learn C# and C++. Go with Unreal learn C++ and Blueprint. Or just go with blueprint and never bother to code anything that’s what I do.

More important than coding, learn the IDE

Perhaps in the, guaranteed in the future people will be able to make complex videogames without any coding knowledge. But in the current human context, learn to code. But actually, more important than coding, learn the IDE.

(Integrated Development Environment/Game Engine)

What kind of math do I need to know?

You will need to know vector math, translation, rotation, and scale.

If you are too foolish to understand vector math, then just play around with the IDE for a while, move things around, rotate them, change their size, stuff like that. You’ll get to understand it pretty quickly, and you can learn vector math after you are done learning how to move your characters around in the IDE and make some simple games.

You will need to learn, the principles of physics,

momentum, force, collision.

These are some pretty hefty mathematical concepts, so maybe just do something else with your time, like make a car drive around or something. After you’ve made a cool car game, you can learn physics.

Don’t shoot for the moon right away,

But once you’ve had a bit of professional work, and a good portfolio piece, try again, you might be surprised.

Where can I find my first job?

Instead try INDEED or UPWORK, to get your first game dev job, you can set your own hours and pay rate, and there’s always something on the horizon if you want it. You will soon find yourself spammed with job offers.

I tire of them, and wish to write.

Lighting is highly sought after

You will naturally need to learn how to use lighting…. This one is not easy, I am bad at shaders, and everyone wants someone who is good with shaders. You can learn it in 3 weeks of study. hmm. that will change, let’s load up sidearm studios new environments and see how they look. I’ll use Unreal 4 because that’s what I’m developing in until Unreal 5 is out of early access.

Here’s how the new assets from Sidearm Studios are looking.

Loading it up.


Ok let’s see.

[I’m getting an error, give me a minute….]


Let’s import those assets.

I will see you tomorrow.

Build your portfolio piece

You should make something you’re passionate about. Whatever your favorite game is, try to approximate it, in your own way. For instance in Unity, my game HARMONY, was plotted to involve a huge hub world, factional fighting and alignment. Tight FPS controls,

Huge natural environments, scary and cool story sequences, Dialogue System with Quest Machine, and a whole bevy of other things. Unfortunately for me, I forgot to test it in build,

This is why Unity makes me angry

I built the entire framework for a 40 hour game, the likes of which this world has never seen before, but it failed in build, still works beautifully in editor, but you can’t distribute the source files.

In a later article we will discuss, UNITY vs UNREAL which is better?

For me, Unreal is better, Because Unreal can build a deliverable, and actually, I just like it better. It has better graphics, better features, and blueprint scripting. It’s better at every level of resolution except 2D. Even then it is no slouch.

Games take time, you have to build the framework first and get it running really well.

Build the framework first, build a system that will allow you to tell a story, then….

Build the framework, then build a story

You begin the long and difficult process of building your story, building your game. Making levels, making characters. If you just want to work in a company then you can be the shaders guy, you can get real good with shaders and make decent money for a corporation. But if you want to be an indie dev, you need to be a little bit of everything, you need to know lighting, animation, physics, UI, and beyond that, you need to be good with writing stories, writing characters, you might even need to be good at artwork, or at least the design aspect of art. That’s just a quick refresher, you need to be good at everything.

Buy asset packs

And keep in mind, especially in Unity but ESPECIALLY in Unreal, you will need assets from the asset store, like the fine works from Sidearm Studios:

Mostly everything you need is there.

If you want to build a game, the most important thing you need to do, is buy assets to build the game with. Unfortunately you are primarily limited by money, not skill. No programmer builds a car simulation from scratch if they’re smart, honestly the big secret of gaming is buy the best asset pack to do the job you need done, or in the case of a corporation, you will be expanding on their existing tech in a similar manner.

By the way, make sure to check out our website,
We can teach you how to make games with our training course.

Conclusion – Follow your dreams

Find your passion, figure out the kind of game you want to make, make it realistic, and build your game. It might take a long time to learn, or you can do a crash course in Unity and learn everything in a few weeks. But once you’ve got your game ready, build it, do whatever it takes to build it. It might take a year, or two, but at the end of it you will have a good game, something you can sell. Something that will get you a job. That hobby of yours can sustain you, through hard times, it can feed your family. Don’t let people put down your dreams, dream your dreams, and then make it happen.


Don’t throw your dreams out the window,

because someone told you to.

Build your game.

Give it your all.

Put a lot of time into it,

and you’ll get there eventually.

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