Do I need a degree in college to become a Game Developer?
Im in 6th grade and never had a mom. Growing up with my dad I became a tomboy who loves video games. I once saw the creation of 'Assassin Creed: Black Flag' and wondered how they made games. I'm also very artistic and knew that was a lean toward the game development, do I need a degree in college to become a Game developer? Thank you for reading this!
Game development is an incredibly broad field - and being a game developer can mean a number of different things:
Would you like to be a programmer that writes the app that runs on your console, phone, or PC? Would you like to be a graphic designer who designs a game's interface or in-game-artwork? Would you like to focus on the business of games and come up with ways to market a game and get as many people playing it as you can?
All of these different paths into game development require different levels and kinds of formal education. I'm a programmer and can talk a little about the programming side of things:
Programmers, like anybody else, benefit from a good formal education. In college, you'll learn different techniques you can use to write apps like games, some of the theory behind it all, and you'll prepare yourself for the continued and constant learning you'll do for the rest of your life. But programming is half learning and half talent - it's similar to art in that some people are natural drawers and some people just aren't. I've known excellent programmers who've gone to college and some who were self-taught.
The easiest way to find out if you're a programmer at heart is to try it out now! It's best if you don't set out a goal like writing "Assassin's Creed" right from the start - since that's an incredible bit of work even for a large team, but try programming a few simple things and see if you like it! One of the first programs I wrote when I was your age was a small game I'd come up with, and while my dad was a college trained electrical engineer, I very quickly became a better programmer than he was. I just had an aptitude for it. All these years afterwards, he still teaches me some of his electrical knowledge while I give him pointers on programming :)
You'd mentioned that you're good at art, so that's an entirely different path into the business of game development. I'll leave it to other commenters to give you some guidance that way.
Whichever way you choose to become a game developer: welcome to the business :) It's a career that's as broad as your imagination!
Good for you! Great to see someone as young as yourself have an interest in games and thinking about your future! To answer your question- NO you do not need a degree to become a game developer. I have a programmer friend (who is also was a tomboy) who never went to college and has worked as a programmer at several big game companies (Microsoft, Sony). She had to work really, hard but she's become quite successful and happy.
That said, I would HIGHLY encourage you to get a college degree (community, technical, or university- doesn't matter) even if it's not in a game development related field. College prepares and trains you to think about things in ways you won't learn in elementary, middle, or high school- which will pay off in innumerable ways for the rest of your life.
I'm a game artist and here are some suggestions on the ways you can get into the industry as an artist:
1) Go get a digital art degree from a technical/ art school (Art Academy, Art Institute, Cogswell, Savanah College of Art and Design, Ringling). These schools offer degrees in all sorts of digital art- 2D, 3D, animation, concept art, video production etc. Often they also have online programs if you aren't in the area or can't afford to move away from home.
2) Take online courses and teach yourself how to make digital art. There are a wealth of well- regarded online options to learn digital art. In addition to some of the colleges listed above, there's: Gnomon and e- learning sites such as Lynda. This does take a lot of focus and discipline but if you are very self- motivated, this is a much cheaper way to learn the software and techniques than going to college. This method works for some people, but not everyone.
3) Go to a traditional university, and get a design or visual art degree and learn 3D while you're in school (this is what I did). Many schools have computer- art related courses that will teach you the techniques to become a digital artist. Getting a degree in a traditional design or visual art field (architecture, industrial design, illustration, visual arts, etc) gives you a very good art foundation that makes you a stronger digital game artist.
Here some of school to get a bachelor degree to get in art game that is a really nice a beautiful profession.
Below is a list of Florida schools that offer game art, game design, and game development degree programs:
Digital Media Arts College, Boca Raton
Programs available: MFA Visual Effects Animation, BFA CA, Game Art Concentration, BFA Computer Animation, BFA Graphic Design, MFA Web Design
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Full Sail University, Park
Programs available: A. S. Graphic Design; B. S. Computer Animation, Digital Arts and Design, Game Art, Game Design (online only), Game Development (traditional only), Graphic Design (online only), Web Design and Development; M. F. A. Media Design (online only); M. S. Game Design (traditional only)
International Academy of Design and Tech, Tampa, Orlando
Programs available: Graphic Design, Game Design and Development, Web Design & Development
Keiser University Campus, Tallahassee, West Palm Beach, Hollywood, Port Saint Lucie, Lakeland, Tampa
Programs available: Design and Multimedia, AS, Video Game Design, AS
Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota
Programs available: B. F. A. Computer Animation, Game Art and Design, Graphic and Interactive Communication, Illustration, Motion Design