Wizard of code

The lowdown
A game developer or programmer creates art and writes source codes for games that are played on computers, mobile phones or gaming consoles. S/he is responsible for all aspects of game development where visual art is required and enforces the rules of the gaming world. While a team of designers, producers, artists and developers may be involved in process of designing the game (story/rules/visual style), it’s the artists and developers who implement all the minute components of a game. With explosive growth in the smart phone market — at a rate faster than that of the PC market — and the social media sites pulling more players in, the demand for game developers has increased. What counts is not just the experience,  it’s about what you’ve accomplished and the expertise you’ve gained. Some companies even share profits with employees who make the product shine

Clockwork
9.30am: Meeting with art director
10am: Writing source code for the features
1.30pm: Lunch
2.30pm: Resume coding
6.30pm: Commit code into version control
8.30pm: Call it a day

The payoff
Salaries are fairly low for starters, at about Rs. 10,000 a month, because the Indian gaming industry hasn’t matured as yet. With time and experience, however, you can expect considerable hikes. After three or four years, you can become a senior game artist and get paid around Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000 a month. After spending seven to eight years in this line, you can graduate to the level of art director or senior art director at which positions salaries are much higher

Skills/TRAITS
* An artistic bent of mind
* Penchant for working very hard. You might end up spending 14 hours a day in front of the computer screen
* Ability to unlearn and relearn to keep up with fast-evolving technology
* A strong sense of logic and the ability to do research

Getting there
You should study visual communication in fine arts at the bachelor’s or master’s level. You could also get training from a technical institute that offers courses in animation and gaming. To become a game programmer, a degree in computer science with knowledge of C, C++ and Visual Basic can help. You may enroll in a programming school (NIIT, Aptech, M/BSc, M/BCA etc). Joining an open source programming project online gives you a chance to enhance and showcase your skills. Community sites like CodePlex, BitBucket, GitHub and SourceForge are a few examples

Institutes and URLs 
* College of Art, Delhi
www.delhi.gov.in/wps/wcm/connect/lib_collegeofart/Collegeofarts/Home/Programmes
* Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (MAAC)
http://www.maacindia.com
* ICAT Design and Media college, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad
www.icat.ac.in
* DSK Supinfocom, Pune www.dsksic.com
* Hg Init, http://hginit.com/

Pros and cons
* A highly lucrative field
* The industry is in its infancy but this is the right time to enter it
* Long working hours

Game development can be a challenging, rewarding and fun profession. Think of all the smiles you can bring to people’s faces-Pranav Tekchand, technical director, RZ2 Games, Goa

 

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