Are you interested in becoming a game developer? Read on to find out what these professionals do.
A game developer is a software developer which could be an organization or an individual, who creates video games. He may specialize in specific video game consoles like Nintendo’s Wii, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s Playstation 3. They could also develop games for a range of systems as well as personal computers.
Different Roles of Game Developers
Game developers normally specialize in particular types of games like role-playing video games or first-person shooters. There are some who concentrate on porting games from one system to another while there are others who concentrate on translating games from one language to another. There is also just a handful that does other kinds of software development work in addition to the games. There are many video game publishers who maintain development studios like Electronic Arts’ EA Canada, Square Enix and Naughty Dog. But even if they keep development studios, their primary activity is still publishing and they are generally called publishers instead of developers.
There are also third-party game developers and they are usually called on by video game publishers to come up with a title for one or more systems. The publisher and the developer will both have a say in the design and content of the game; however, it is really still the publisher’s ideas or wishes that rule over the developer because generally the publisher is the one paying the developer to create the game.
The agreement between the developer and the publisher is overseen by a contract and this agreement specifies several milestones that should be carried out in a specified timeframe. The publisher will then verify the progress in the work with the updated milestones that he receives quickly enough to meet the deadline set and so that a direction can be given by the publisher to the developer. This will give them an overview of how the game is turning out other than what is expected in some way. The developer is paid by the publisher in royalties every time a milestone is completed and accepted. Often, the developer uses the money to fund his payroll and or its operations.
Developers that are successful can actually maintain several teams that can work on different games for different publishers, but in general, third-party developers are usually small and would only be composed of a single, close-knit team.
The third-party developer industry is a bit of an unstable business because they have the tendency to be dependent on funding from one publisher, and one cancelled game could greatly affect a small developer. Given this, many smaller development companies do not last for more than a few years and there are even some that only last for a few months. A third-party developer becomes persistently distracted with the constant struggle to get payment for milestones and to line up the next game contract. Those who are unsuccessful in the industry usually sell their business to the publisher, thus they instantly become an in-house developer.