Do you love computer games and dream of devoting your life to them? How about becoming their creator? Here is a selection of the best schools to study game development.
What is a game developer?
In simple terms, a game developer is a person who makes video games. The process of their creation is not the easiest and requires coordinated teamwork. There are game designers, AI programmers, user interface developers, game mechanics programmers and so on. The core of gamedev’s specialty is programming. But essentially a developer also performs part of the functions of a designer, working on story and testing. The game industry is constantly developing, so gamedev should always be aware of news and the latest developments. Not only technical, but also in general on the game field.
Why become a game developer?
Game developer is your profession if you:
- Love video games;
- Understand and love programming;
- Are good at math (or ready to get good at it);
- Always learning something new.
Working in game creation is a mix of creativity, cutting-edge technology, story, character and visual thinking. It seems ideal for gamers. But the profession has its disadvantages. Only really cool gamemakers who work for big companies like Ubisoft, Valve, Electronic Arts can qualify for high salaries. They get from 55 000 USD/year. It’s hard for newcomers to make their way in the industry and get good money right away. In addition, the game developer profession requires a high level of knowledge in mathematics. To become an in-demand game developer you need to love not only the games but also the programming.
Where to study to become a game developer?
We have gathered for you 7 best foreign game development programs.
Scotland’s Aberthay University was the first in the world to offer a degree in game development. The Computer Game Applications Development course focuses on programming. It includes modules on C++, software development, higher mathematics, artificial intelligence and so on. For those who are more interested in graphics and game design, Game Design and Production is the right one. There are also Computer Arts, Computer Games Technology, and two master’s programs.
Abertay University is Sony’s leading PlayStation partner. It is home to PlayStation’s largest video game development training center in Europe.
Carnegie Mellon University.
Carnegie Mellon University does not have a separate undergraduate program in game development. The course offered is a mixture of computer science and art, taught by two departments at once. To enroll in it, you must apply to the College of Fine Arts and choose an interdisciplinary course of study. Students decide which area of art they want to “mix” with IT. It could be design (what is necessary for game development), architecture and even theater.
And Masters can enter the Computer Science program at Carnegie Mellon. There is even a PhD in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon.
DigiPen Institute of Technology
DigiPen Institute of Technology is a private college specializing in computer science and video game design. The Computer Science and Game Design program is ideal for those who want to combine the study of IT with the development of design skills. The main subjects in the course are math and physics, but the study of systems, levels and game mechanics is also added. Digipen has a large selection of undergraduate and graduate programs for future game developers.
It’s a very well-known school in its field. Its students have won 55 awards at the Independent Game Festival (more than anyone else). Digipen graduates work at Microsoft, Amazon, and Nintendo.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
MIT is one of the best universities in the world. It has been ranked number one by QS for several years in a row. The university runs the MIT Game Lab, a special department that gives courses on topics related to video game development. Applicants who want to study game development enter the Comparative Media Studies program. After that, they take courses from MIT Game Lab on theory, video game creation, and the basics of game design.
South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (XAMK)
The Finnish University of Applied Sciences (XAMK) offers a program called Game Design. From the name it is clear that it is not quite about game development in the sense of programming. But we decided to add it for those who are interested in this aspect of game development. In the process of studying, students already develop their video games in a team with their classmates: they think over the general concept, visuals, and character design.
Buckinghamshire New University
The program at Buckinghamshire New University is designed specifically for future gamedev. It includes modules: mathematics, 3D modeling, game design, AI, software development and so on. Additional courses and certifications from Microsoft, HP, and Cisco can also be taken during the course. For applicants who are not ready to enroll immediately or do not reach the level of English, there is an opportunity to start with Foundation Year. It costs the same as a standard year in the program.
Online Courses for Game Developers
In-person programs are expensive, or you just don’t want to go to university and go abroad? Consider online courses. They’re available for beginners as well as seasoned gamemakers who want to upgrade their skills. Practice shows that nowadays it is not easy to find a job. That’s why we have an article about what are employers looking for in a new employee in 2021
Where to look for such courses in general? On educational platforms like EdX or Coursera. If you haven’t decided whether you want to study in this field or not yet, try their free lessons on introduction to game development, design and computer technology.