Home > Blogs > Top Five Reasons to Learn Game Development

Maybe you love video games. Maybe you were raised on a steady diet of Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem, Duck Hunt and Sim City. Or maybe you have always dabbled in C++, HTML5, OpenGL, C# and DirectX and have wondered how and why you should apply your programming skills to game development. Well, for you, the coder who loves kicking butt in Eve Online, we present to you the top five reasons to learn game dev.

I remember being eleven and loving every detail of Sim Tower. For most people, I would wager Sim City was a bigger hit than the smaller yet more specific Sim Tower. Yet, for me, the idea of being able to construct a tower to the sky, manage all the shops, living arrangements and finances spoke to me. More than anything though, the glitches of Sim Tower were really what interested me. From elevator shafts disappearing to the ability to shift between a two – three story lobby and the tenants evaporating into thin air while using the stairwell, the glitches of Sim Tower were amazing.

Those glitches often made me wonder about the coding behind the game. Were the glitches built into the programming or were they a result of wonderfully flawed coding. Whatever the answer, if you’re like me, the inner workings of the tower drove me more than the tenants and shops. These are the five reason why I learned game software development and why you should learn game development too.

1. Game Development is Big Business

As I blasted my way through Freespace and raced my way through Mario Cart, my parents would tell me, “you will never make any money playing video games.” Little did they know how wrong their statements of interactive graphics condescension would prove to be. As of the end of 2013, the international gaming industry hauled in slightly less than $100 billion. As noted by Gartner, the global craving for games has been on a steady rise from $79 billion in 2012 to an expected $111 billion by the end of 2015.

With major titles like Grand Theft Auto 5 hauling in over a billion dollars in the first three days of release and an entire market of independent gaming titles straddling the mobile, PC and console markets, the industry has never been more profitable.

So, your first reason to learn game development: You can make a killing.

2. Sheer Volume of Mobile Audience

If you’re a gamer, you have had the console vs. PC argument. For some, coming up in the 90’s meant Sega Genesis and Sonic the Hedgehog over the PC and Half Life. For others, the graphical capabilities, based on a continually interchangeable hardware configuration, made PC the king of gaming. Fast forward.

As of the writing of this article (June 16, 2014), Sony says it has sold 7 million PS4’s and roughly 14 million games. Similarly, Microsoft has sold roughly 5 million Xbox One consoles since release. In the same vein, there are roughly 1.5 billion PC’s in the world. And yet, the most interesting fact is by the end of 2015, there will be around 3 billion Android devices in operation and 500 – 700 million iOS devices in operation.

By sheer numbers, the PC gaming market outweighs the console gaming market and the mobile gaming market (Android and iOS) obliterates both PC and console. By this accord, the second reason you should learn game development is the growing mobile segment. With the numbers of smartphones and tablets increasing daily, the odds of creating a simple mobile game which goes viral are good. Don’t believe me? Just ask the game developer behind Flappy Bird.

3. Game Dev Increases Your Skill Set

Let’s talk realities. Maybe you’re a college kid in the middle of achieving your masters in computer science or maybe you’re a coder for a major Cloud hosting firm constantly looking to improve your HTML5, C# and C++ skills. Whatever the case, learning game development extends far beyond game programming. With more and more companies looking to hire bright coders with a background in C++, DirectX, HTML5 and down and dirty 2D mobile skills, the applications for learning game development exist far beyond the gaming market.

Don’t believe us, take it from Mashable, TechRepublic and ReadWrite. The number three reason why you should learn the languages behind game development is it will make you employable. Which, in turn, proves my and your parents wrong once again.

4. Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 5

Maybe the best reason why you should learn game dev to make killer games are Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 5. The basic premise of both are simple: Unreal and Unity gaming engines allow coders to insert their code into the engine in a plug and play fashion. Whereas older titles demanded a programmer code every detail of a game, both engines allows programmers to code the gaming infrastructure allowing for Unreal and Unity to take over determining factors like lighting, player instincts and graphics rendering.

With Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 5 written as a cross-platform gaming engine, both support games designed for Microsoft’s DirectC, OpenGL and JavaScript/WebGL. This said, regardless of the language you love or the platform you love, both Unreal and Unity make it easier than ever to code for a 3D or 2D game across a wide array of consoles, PC’s/Mac’s and mobile platforms.

Your fourth reason to learn game development: The gaming engines powering games and empowering coders are stronger, faster, more agile, more adept and easier to utilize than ever before.

5. Learn Game Dev for Hacking, Glitches, Loopholes and Codes

All that said, let’s be honest here for a moment: if you’re a gamer, you love a good code. You love nothing more than knowing while the demo of the original Sonic the Hedgehog is playing, if you hold A + B + C, Sonic will become very disoriented, lose his place and yes, possibly keel over and die. You also love knowing that if you were to press B, B, B, B, B, B, B followed holding Up, Y and B in the original NBA Jam for Super Nintendo, you cheated your way to eternally being on fire.

Every one of us who loves gaming is still a ten year old sitting in his/her basement trying to level up, button smash and tactically maneuver our way to victory. Call it cheating, call it a loophole or call it a glitch, you should learn game development so you can program a few codes into your game providing that ten year old with the thrill of his/her life. The fifth reason you should learn to code game development software: pay it forward and inspire another generation of gamers to be coders.

So there you have it. The top five reasons why you should learn game design and game development. So get to it. Take that idea for a sky diving game and get coding. I for one, can’t wait to play and beat it.

Author Note: If you’re wondering, the highest Sim Tower I ever built was 100 floors. Even with a fund of more than $50 million, the 100 floors never interested me. I was kept wondering about the backdoors of disappearing elevator shafts and evaporating tenants.

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