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Can we be more encouraging towards aspiring game developers?

the_whittington profile image Whittington ・2 min read

I just graduated from a web development bootcamp a few weeks ago and it was pretty cool, but I don't enjoy web development that much. I decided to try my hand at game development; it's been a passion of mine for some time now and it's one of the reasons I continue to code. I just want to voice some frustrations about they way people respond when I tell them I want to be a game developer.

Every time I tell someone I want to be a Game Developer the outcome is usually predictable. I usually get one of two typical outcomes.

Don't do it, it sucks

People who garner this response usually claim to be friends with or know a game developer and claim it sucks and they don't like it for X reason, whether it's pay or a toxic work environment or some other third thing.

Everyone and their grandmother wants to be a game developer

People who garner this response usually try to discourage me from being a game developer by claiming that everyone wants to be a game developer and make some commentary about the competitive nature of the game development market.

I'm not saying that people's opinions and criticisms about the games industry aren't valid, I'm just saying maybe show some encouragement instead of immediately putting me down for following my dreams - regradless of however many people and their grandmothers have the same dream.

When I was in school for web development almost everyone was encouraging - constantly offering tips and advice or recommending resources for learning and sharing things. It was great to have some encouragement, but with game development, I almost don't want to tell people that I want to be a game developer because I'm afriad they'll just respond the same way most people do.

I was recently at a design conference and some designers told me to just give up and do something boring and make games as a hobby because I'll never make it as a game developer and if I do, I'll hate it. That was the last straw for me. Let's just all chill and maybe come up with some positive things to say or maybe provide some actionable steps to help me along my way the way people do with web development or just don't help me at all. Thank you for listening.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

This is a really great point!

I think this advice comes from the right place, but it's absolutely based in cynicism, and frankly stereotypes.

The game dev industry is full of horror stories, but I think these are definitely generalizations and it's not like other areas of development aren't laden with the endless death marches you hear about in game dev.

I have one IRL friend who does game dev and by all accounts he really enjoys it. I remember having coffee once with another game dev who was stereotypically burnt out, but he also was generally having a good time despite the pressure.

I think this observation is very astute. I don't meet a lot of aspiring game devs so I'm not sure I've given this advice myself per se, but I could see myself having given this similar advice without thinking it through much.

Furthermore, with the rise of AR/VR likely in the next decade, it seems like a great time to break into this space.

Good luck Joseph!

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Beekey Cheung

There's definitely a lot of negativity around game development. All the reasons are valid, though I'm sure you've heard them all so I won't repeat them.

I will say that it is nearly impossible to know how much you'll love game development unless you try it. Yes the costs you pay are high, but the personal benefit you get from being in the industry may be higher. That's different for everyone and there's only one way to find out.

I left game development because I didn't like the games we were making, BUT it was still the most fun I ever had in a job despite making less money and working more hours than other jobs. I kind of regret leaving even though my reasons for doing so were sound. If I had a chance to work on a game I'd enjoy playing, I'd probably take it.