How to become a game developer without a degree?
First, you have to practice programming and then build your working portfolio as a game developer.
You can do this by reading different programming books, joining online courses, and watching different YouTube videos.
Then you should start developing different games to add them to your portfolio.
After building your portfolio you can apply for different game development jobs.
- Start Learning How To Code
- Use Freely Game Engines for Game Development
- Observe and Play Games From Different Genres
- Take Game Development Online Courses
- Look for Free Courses Online
- Read Gamedev Blogs and Visit Forums
- Network With Game Developer
- Follow Experience Game Developers
- Build a Portfolio
- Choose A Specific Programming Language
- Know Who Your Target Audience
- Start Simple And Scale Upwards
- Learn Additional Skills
- Set Realistic Goals
- Don’t Give Up
Methods to Become a Game Developer Without a Degree
To become a successful game developer you don’t even need a university degree.
In reality, more than 60% of programmers in the US are self-taught which means you can become a successful game developer or a programmer without a degree.
Here we will explain how to become a game developer without a degree.
Start Learning How To Code
You need to learn how to write code if you want to develop a game.
All the stuff such as AI, physics, rendering, and game logic depends on the code and you cannot download code like other downloadable assets.
Programming is not just limited to implementing any kind of functionality in your game but it also teaches you to think more logically and solve complex problems with the most reliable solutions.
Now you have to think and ask yourself exactly why you want to learn to program.
Whether you want to start your career in game development and programming or you want to get a secure job?
After taking a decision then you have to allocate some amount of time from your daily life routine to learn programming and game development.
You can start with 1 hour per day and 5 days a week in the beginning. Now you have to select a programming language.
We will recommend you to learn Python initially like,s syntax is quite easy to understand as compared to the other programming languages like C.
If you are interested to use one of the best and popular game engines of the industry that is the unity we will recommend you move to the C# after learning python.
For this, you can check some online resources.
For beginners looking for some free educational content, YouTube is a great source.
A different number of short courses, crash courses, and detailed college-style courses are available there which are created by experienced teachers and professors with modern level knowledge.
Some YouTube channels such as FreeCodeCamp.org.
The new Boston, Derek Banas, programming with Mosh contains very useful video content and these channels can help you build strong programming basics.
After that, you can join the courses which also offer certification when you complete the course.
You can also test your programming skills by taking part in different competitive programming.
Use Freely Game Engines for Game Development
There are a number of game search engines like Unity, GameMaker, Unreal, Godot, and Construct which offer a great number of tools that you need to develop a game completely from scratch to playable.
You can use Lightroom or Photoshop for some great artwork of your game.
For beginners, it is suggested to use a free game engine instead of trying to write on your own. Because it’s quite tough to create an engine.
It has been experienced that even multiple degree holders and experienced developers struggle to create a game engine in a specific amount of time.
The game engine is necessary because it provides the basic game framework to develop a game.
The rendering engine of 2D or 3D is included in it which helps to create graphics, a physics engine to manage collision, an editor for coding, and an audio engine.
For unity and Unreal, you can find a great number of tutorials online and both of these are the most commonly used engines in gaming so we will suggest you start with one of them.
Observe and Play Games From Different Genres
You must have the right vision if you want to develop a good game.
It starts with a basic concept like how your game should look and play.
What type of mechanics this game should have.
If you don’t like to play games then it will be quite tough for you to develop a game with good ideas.
You must have a look at the well-designed and games of different periods from different platforms and genres.
You need to understand how their developers or creators were thinking like why they decided to have a particular HUD choice or menu.
By playing a number of different games you will know what works for you and what does not work.
Games are basically and without learning to appreciate which has come before you, it is not possible to create good art.
Like if you never watch movies you can’t become a good director.
In a similar way, you cannot design or develop an excellent price of a game if you don’t play games.
Take Game Development Online Courses
You can visit online learning platforms such as Udacity or Udemy and have a look at different game design and programming courses.
You will find some C# tutorials and 2D & 3D game development courses in Unity with some animation courses and resources on how to design board games.
You will get a lot of this type of stuff.
You can also learn how to build a portfolio or create a paper resume and how to set up your Linkedin profile if you are serious about your career in gaming.
YouTube and blogs are one of the best available resources available out there.
But there is a thing you don,t get from YouTube which is customized information specially designed for you.
Moreover, you have to complete the course with others learning the same course as you.
You can also have 1 to 1 coaching sessions with some well-experienced tutors.
You will also get certificates from these websites but you must remember that it will be more valuable to get a degree from an engineering college instead of a random online certificate.
Look for Free Courses Online
In the previous section we talked about paid platforms like Udemy and Udacity but now we will discuss which things you can get free of cost from the internet about game development.
There are some YouTube channels that are dedicated to teaching the basics of programming and art design.
Furthermore, some very interesting game development blogs and forums are available out there.
Where you can have a knowledgeable talk with people on different topics like game mechanics, design, and level.
The difference between paid courses and free stuff is that in free stuff you will have a lot of information.
It will take time to find a particular thing which you are looking for while in the paid course you will find this thing straight away.
You will not get well-organized content from free resources.
But if you have the desire to learn and are patient enough to sift through videos then you will definitely find a particular blog or video.
Which will teach you exactly what you want to need to move forward in your journey.
Read Gamedev Blogs and Visit Forums
You can check platforms like UnityForums GitHub, the Android development community, stack Overflow, and similar online forums.
Where you can find some enthusiast game developers to discuss different types of programming tools and topics about game design.
You can also check the blogs like Gamasutra, HobbyGameDev.com, and Gamedev.
Network With Game Developer
Game developer meetups and expos are some of the best places to find some new information and network with professionals in the industry who can give you valuable tips and guidance to become a game developer without a degree.
It is important to build contacts because in this way you can get access to the resources or documentation which you can not obtain otherwise.
Moreover, you will have a chance to learn about the inner workings of gaming studios.
You can also get a job opportunity as well if you have a good portfolio to show your experience in the field of game development.
Follow Experience Game Developers
As you are going to start your career as a game developer then you must know that by reviewing the work of experts you can learn in the quickest way.
There are some great personalities and experts of Game development like Vladimir Limaechenko, Jonathan Weinberger, and Alexander Zotov.
Some YouTube channels such as Sykoo and Brackeys also offer some great content for game development.
Build a Portfolio
It is funny to develop games as a hobby on a daily basis.
But you should remember that it is not enough for you to do something creative or achieve your goals.
You need some amount of budget and manpower of the development team.
Which means you need to get a game development job first.
But to get a job you also need a college or university degree.
You must have a degree in programming.
But we can see that these days most of the companies prefer people with some kind of experience in game development.
Having a good qualification does not mean that you can get a well-established job.
But if you have any kind of experience of working with a group or team on a particular project then you have more chances to get hired by a reputable company.
How you can show your skills necessary to get a job.
For this, you can create some small projects like building games to demonstrate that you have experience working with different game engines and programming languages.
In this way, you can build your portfolio.
Furthermore, if you are interested in a particular field such as rendering or AI then you should focus more on these particular areas to show them in your portfolio.
Choose A Specific Programming Language
Commercial game engines such as Unreal or Unity have a native programming language that is supported by the engine for scripting.
Such as C++ for Unreal and C# for Unity.
First, you should stick to one language and master it.
Then select a game engine that has all the features you need with a lot of tutorials and documentation.
Know Who Your Target Audience
It is important to conceptualize before you start working on it.
Like how this game will look and what will be the genre?
But you also need to know about the target audience for which you are creating a game.
Are you targeting 10 to 12-year-olds or more than 12?
It could also be a fun project in which you have picked to learn the game development principles and you are not interested in monetizing.
You should try to develop a game that people will love and enjoy playing.
Start Simple And Scale Upwards
Initially, it is fun to develop games.
But if you set lofty goals it will result in disappointment.
First, try to make something simple such as a mobile game or a retro platformer.
It works well then you can expand it and start working on a bigger project.
Your failures in small projects will prevent you from the mistakes in bigger projects.
You will definitely like to make mistakes with big projects as it is impossible to recover from them.
Learn Additional Skills
If you are working on a game alone then it is not enough for you to learn coding only.
You have to develop or create a world in which characters will move and perform different tasks.
You must have a creative vision upon which to base the products to create 2D sprites or 3D models.
You will end up moving around a circle if you don’t have a clear vision for the game.
Here we don,t want you to become a fully skilled artist overnight.
But it will definitely help if you can do something creative.
It is not a matter of make or break for your game especially if it is a simple indie game in the platformer genre.
You just have to look at Mario, which is one of the most famous games of all time.
Gameplay matters the most. But if you are interested in developing an RPG or strategy-type game then you must write some dialogues and tell a story.
You have to join some art classes for this and learn to design pixel graphics and sprites.
Set Realistic Goals
Suppose you decide to develop an RPG game with C# in Unity.
For some reason, you may be thinking about learning the language in the first two weeks and then game engine in the next 2 weeks.
But in reality, it is not as easy as it seems.
So, you should have a look at the online forums and try to talk with some experienced developers before you start thinking about the sky-high goals.
It is always important to lay a proper foundation before you start any kind of work.
Try to learn and understand different concepts before you take any big step and follow the instructions in a video to develop a game that you can not understand.
There is not any type of shortcut available to create a good game which means you need to take a good amount of time and learn before you start working on it.
You should work on a daily basis and keep improving your skills day by day.
Don’t Give Up
You need to stick to your aim to become a game developer but you will observe that a lot of people will give up their aspirations of game development mid-way.
Because it requires a good amount of time and effort.
It is just like a New Year’s resolution you make to lose 50kg weight but you forget only after the first week. It requires constant desire and effort to keep learning.
It becomes more difficult if you are a newbie and don’t have any previous experience in art design and coding.
You might be developing your first game as a hobby but the skills you will learn will last for a long time or forever.
After that, you can increase your skills to the advanced level or start working in a relevant field.
There are also some chances that your goal of game development also develops a passion for coding in you.
You will also learn discipline and time management by developing a game and these two skills are applicable to everyday life.
You can develop some enjoyable games in your free time unless you are looking for a job.
You just have to use the resources on the internet available for free.
Moreover, you will also find a community of self-made enthusiast game developers who are eager to help you.
Can I be a game developer without a degree?
To become a game developer you don’t need a bachelor’s degree in computer science which is based on reality.
There are a great number of game developers who just started with the free educational material which anybody can find easily online.
Moreover, you also don’t need to take any kind of art class to draw any kind of concept designs for your character.
Can you be a game developer by yourself?
Without the use of graphics, it is almost impossible to develop a game.
Due to this reason, it is good to learn the basics of computer graphics and mathematics behind the 3D design.
You can learn the most common type of mathematics like Linear Algebra that is used for manipulating and creating 3D graphics.
Do you need a degree to be a game designer?
It has been observed that most game designers have a bachelor,s degree in graphic design, multimedia, or a related field.
There are also some universities that offer degrees in video game design.
Their coursework includes software engineering, 2D and 3D programming languages, and computer design.
How can I create my own game?
- Conceptualize your game after doing some research.
- Work on the design document of your game.
- Make a decision whether you need software or not.
- Start coding.
- Then finally test your game after development and also start it,s marketing.
What education is needed for game design?
Usually, the video game designers have a bachelor’s degree in game design, computer science, or computer engineering which needs four or five years for completion.
The courses of game design may also include project management, integrated video design and technology, level design, and game prototyping.
If you want to be a game developer and don’t have a degree then you don’t need to worry because you still have a chance to become a game developer.
But you should know the basics of programming.
There are certain things like hard work and your dedication towards your goal which are necessary for you to become a successful game developer.
We have explained in the above line how to become a game developer without a degree.
Hope it will help you to achieve your goal.