Do You Really Need to be a Programmer to Work in the Gaming Industry? / by Xiaosong Shang

Hello everyone! Sam Martino here again. I mentioned last week I would talk more about how to get your foot in the door in the gaming industry.

 There is a stigma around the industry that if you want to make video games, you must know how to program. That is 100% false, as programming is only a small part of the industry. Granted, programmers are always needed, but a programmer cannot do everything. Studios need everything from 3D modellers, animators, texturing designers, writers, game designers, marketers, music engineers, and people to fill the business management positions. Most degrees and talents can be transferred over into the industry, they are just not for some reason advertised nearly as often as programmers.

 3D modelling can be a conducive example in how our company battles this stigma of emphasising computer programming. Before any of our projects, most of our team were unable to 3D model. No one received formal training, no more majored in the subject itself; however, with technology in today’s society, this subject in particular can be easily self-taught via online resources. The two top 3D modellers in our team, Daniel and Eseme, both self-taught themselves the basics and proficiently 3D modelled a large percentage of our more innovative developments. Through two years of practice, their skills are as impressive as their products as you can view through our artstation link: http://www.artstation.com/maniponia. All the objects seen in that link are from two people who received no formal training, hence the glaring fact that anyone with a computer and the will to learn is able to 3D model. It is irrelevant if you are still in school, or if you attended university, you can get a free student version of Maya to practice and make models for free. One of the key mentors we had is Mike Hermes (http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNWfrhzNRMYx_p1YIUKVDKQ). He is arguably one of the best 3D modelling teachers in the world, and he will get you up and running creating fantastic models quickly and easily. Another source we used was Udemy (http://www.udemy.com/), which contains full courses on any area of game design you would ever want to learn.

 With such example noted, I highly encourage anyone with an interest in game design to look into all the available resources before mentally deciding “I can’t program, I can’t make games”, because that is simply false. Game engines such as Unreal 4 even use a unique programming system called Blueprinting where everything is visual and node based making the programming side even more open to beginners.

So now you have the tools to learn how to enter the industry, how do you actually approach someone in the industry to land that job? I’ll talk about that topic next!

If you have any questions or comments pertaining to specific software or the blog, please reach out to me at smartino@dogwoodgaming.com. I will happily answer!