what is a game developer?

A game developer is a professional who uses programming logic and knowledge in software development to build a game from an idea to a playable reality. Your job involves developing the game's mechanics and formulating the artificial intelligence of the characters or creatures players encounter. You create the programming features' visual elements and test the game to ensure it is ready for the market.

After development, you test the game's functionality to ensure users have a seamless and engaging experience. Your work is to ascertain that the input from the player's console connects with the actions on the screen. This ensures gamers can navigate the game with ease using the control console. You also control the internal motions in the games. For instance, you ensure the elements that human players cannot manipulate move and perform other actions to facilitate the game.

what does a game developer do?

A game developer designs various game formats on multiple platforms, including wireless applications, games consoles and mobile phones. It is also essential to understand the stages of game development like designing, programming, audio effects, animation, production and editing. Since you work as part of a team, you can specialise in a specific area of game development.

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average salary of a game developer

As a new game developer in New Zealand, you earn an average salary between $60,000 - $80,000 annually. When you are experienced, you earn between $80,000 - $100,000 yearly. The remuneration package depends on your experience and proficiency in programming languages. Your employer and the location of the company also influence your remuneration package.

how to increase your salary as a game developer

When you are a game developer, most employers focus on your skills and expertise rather than your qualifications. Hence, having an extensive portfolio or years of work experience improves your remuneration prospects. Specific skills like proficiency in programming languages can help you negotiate a higher salary.

The company you work for also influences your earnings. For instance, when you work for a significant company, you are likely to earn more than game developers working for small start-ups. Working in metro areas has better remuneration prospects compared to working in smaller cities. There is a high demand for game developers in metro areas with large technology companies.

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types of game developers

As a game developer, you can specialise in the following areas of development:

  • content design: as a game developer, you focus on developing design details like formulating the plot and characters of a game. You also set up the game's universe and offer insights into the features to be incorporated.
  • game mechanics: your focus is on the gameplay and elements that improve its functionality within the game design. For instance, you determine the combat moves and tools to add to a fighting game.
  • level design: your job is to create an environment for the game's characters and the visual and narrative themes that draw players into the game. To make the gameplay engaging, you determine the game's setting, which can be anything from galaxies and celestial themes to mining or farmland environments. You determine if the game requires a dark environment or a bright theme with animations to make the game enjoyable.

working as a game developer

Working as a game developer is a fulfilling career with promising prospects. Discover the daily duties, work schedule and career outlook of the role.

male pumping his arm
male pumping his arm

education and skills

To become a game programmer, you usually need a Bachelor's degree in computer science, software development or engineering.

Many university degrees have papers specialising in game programming or interaction design, and opportunities to make a game as a project.

  • gain experience: you require experience to work as a game developer. You can gain experience through internships and entry-level jobs. It is also essential to stay updated with programming languages and gaming engines to remain competitive.

game developer skills and competencies

Some of the skills and qualities of a game developer include:

  • programming language proficiency: learning coding as a game developer is crucial. Building computer and video games requires high-level coding skills and proficiency in various programming languages to improve your work outcomes. The programming languages often depend on the games you want to create. For instance, computer games require knowledge of C++, while mobile games need Java.
  • creativity: a game developer is creative, with the artistic skills to create unique and engaging games for the market. Creative skills help you develop visually attractive games by incorporating exciting themes or animations to entertain and engage players.
  • problem-solving skills: as a game developer, your problem-solving skills help you deal with various problems during video game production. For instance, testing and correcting bugs takes time, and without problem-solving skills, you may spend hours resolving a minor issue.
  • visual storytelling skills: unique and visually appealing games encourage players to keep playing. Storytelling skills come in handy when developing the characters and incorporating the themes. Humour and suspense engage players and immerse them in the game.
  • time management skills: developing games takes time despite working with a large team. Sometimes, you work on multiple games with strict deadlines. Time management helps you prioritise tasks to complete the games on time.

FAQs about working as a game developer

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the game developer profession.

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