About game development

Hey guys, my professor at the university asked me to make a few interviews with professionals of different areas of computing. Since I’m a member of this active community dedicated to game development, I decided to come here and ask you to kindly answer these 10 questions, if you have the time.

  1. What motivated you to try the game development area?

  2. How long do you work with game development? Is this your main activity?

  3. What kind of knowledge one needs to get before trying to enter this area?

  4. What are the biggest challenges and risks of following a career in this area?

  5. Do you have a published game or worked on a team that published a game? What is the game and what is it about?

  6. What are the biggest difficulties in developing and releasing an indie game?

  7. What tools do you use to help with development? (art, music, sound effects)

  8. What’s the most rewarding aspect of being an indie game developer?

  9. What are the advantages of contributing to jMonkeyEngine? What do you get in return?

  10. What advices do you give to those who are trying to start in the game development area?

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Note that those answers applies to an indie dev or a small indie dev team. Answers would of course be different in a full blown game development company, especially the last ones.

  1. I love playing games, I wanted to make some.
  2. 7 years for JME, but before that I fiddled from time to time into it. It’s not my main activity.
  3. the more you know… Vector/Matrix math, good programming experience in other area, how to search on google (though that works for almost any job), how to properly ask questions. Be a tad obsessional about it.
  4. Challenge : it’s the most complicated programming stuff to do… it combines real time/network/ux/complex physics theories and approximations problematics. All in one product. Risk… don’t earn any money from it even if you’re good at it.
  5. Yes I did publish several android games.
  6. Biggest difficulty is to actually finish a game and go through the complete process of publishing it. Many many many indies work on big ambitious projects that they will never finish. Better scope down the expectations and finish the product. Second biggest is selling your game if ever you overcame difficulty 1. And that requires a whole set of skills that has nothing to do with dev that I personally don’t have.
  7. Blender, jME, photoshop, substance painter, intelliJ / jME SDK
  8. It’s freaking fun. well if you’re a geek…but I guess everyone around here is a geek :stuck_out_tongue:
  9. advantage : It’s freaking fun. What do I get in return?.. it’s freaking fun…
  10. Start small, and FINISH a game, then go small again… and FINISH again, then maybe try to scope it up a little bit and FINISH again. If you end up not finishing it’s that you aimed too big. Don’t start game development by the project you always dreamt of and have plenty great ideas about… you’ll fail. Don’t start with a multiplayer game. Don’t ever do a MMO game because you’ll most certainly fail at the first M whatever your skill level is. If you don’t know what the first M stands for: don’t do game development :p.

Well I can’t say I’m exactly a professional, but the only difference would be dropping out of university I guess.

  1. I think making games is the most fun one can have with while programming. It’s the ultimate way to be express creativity by literally designing virtual worlds as you see fit.

  2. About 3 years. I’m primarily a university student, but I use nearly all of my free time (and time that should probably be spent studying) for game development.

  3. Basic programming knowledge and high school level math. You can pretty much learn everything else when and if you need it. Hell, 3 and a half years ago I didn’t even know how to write hello world and have learnt most of programming through game development (here’s an old imgur album I made for promotion a long while ago that kind of goes into it). In fact I probably wouldn’t have the motivation to learn any further without interesting problems in games that needed solutions.

  4. I think the monetary risk is the most problematic. Out of all the possible IT jobs it’s one of the least paying and especially for indies it’s easier to fail than to commercially succeed so it’s hard to actually sustain oneself by just making games.

  5. Yes. http://www.lightspeedfrontier.com

  6. With development I think the pitfalls are more or less the same as any other software project. As far as releasing goes, the PC gaming market is so oversaturated these days that it’s nigh impossible to get any considerable traction without either going viral or having AAA amounts of marketing money. The mobile market doubly so.

  7. Blender, Paint. NET, Krita, ScreenToGif, Audacity. I get most of my raw textures and sound effects from CC0 sources and modify them to fit the thing I need.

  8. See #1. Also I think the best part is setting up a bunch of rules for a system and then see it emerge into a working whole.

  9. I can’t really say since the only “contribution” I made was some random shader code that hasn’t been used by anyone to my knowledge.

  10. Start small and in 2D to get a hang of the basics, then test out the ideas you have and try to implement them. Once you have a bunch of small prototypes you can probably accomplish just about anything you set your mind to if you have the time and motivation.


Hmmm. So this might not be quite what you’re looking for since my profession has me working in IT Security for a large Telecomm company in Canada where I specialize in a type of product called a SIEM Security information and event management - Wikipedia . So my reasons for doing game development are a bit… different.

  1. As you can imagine I’m a gamer and been so since the mid 90’s. Always wanted to try my hand at making a game… So here I am.
  2. Whenever I can. Usually a few hours a week or so depending on workload.
  3. A firm understanding of logic principles is a must. Learning a particular language is good but even just the basics of understanding the ideas and procedures behind Algebra is a good foundation to start from.
  4. Already been said but money, time, and high failure rates for indie games. To be fair though in the private sector in the non-game world the failure rate of startups on average in the US is around 75%. Why Some Startups Succeed (and Why Most Fail) I’d imagine Indie games are either around that percentile or higher given the raw volume of games flooding out right now.
  5. Nope. Not yet anyways. Don’t really have a release plan for my game either unless it starts becoming something awesome.
  6. Motivation to keep going is difficult some days. I was working on a tectonic plate simulation for a more real worldy Civilization game… Then when the new one came out I was totally disheartened with my progress.
  7. At the moment I use JMonkeyEngine exclusively since everything at this point is procedural based. OH! And this: Spacescape – Alex Peterson to Procedurally generate a nice image to use as a skybox.
  8. That I’m actually making something I can see. Sounds weird but in security you’re goal is to make other peoples random bits of electrons on their machines and networks secure from other electrons that are attempting to get access to your companies electrons… There’s no “thing” at the end of the process. So you work very hard and for a very long time to create… Well… Nothing really. Just knowing that it’s more secure. Literally feels the day job is a modern day equivalent to Sisyphus: Sisyphus - Wikipedia
  9. Haven’t contributed much. But I hope to make a small tutorial on how to do space ship movements in large scale space sims. Why? Because the people here have helped me out a lot and I’d like to return the favor to the community.
  10. Make many many many small short term goals for your development. It’s easier to feel like you’re making headway when you have a to-do list that has check boxes being hit frequently vs 1 HUGE task that takes forever.

For instance here’s an example of a good list:

  1. Put a sphere… on a plane.
  2. Move the sphere on the plane.

Here’s a bad list

  1. Make a Star Wars game that isn’t Star Wars but totally is Star Wars.
  2. Sell millions of copies.

Thank you guys for all the answers. I really appreciate it!
Also, hopefully those answers will be helpful and motivating to other people in the community.