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  • You Can Make Games

    [12.20.12]
    - Mare Sheppard

  • What if I'm not a geek?

    If you're worried that you don't fit in or aren't right for this industry, let me assure you: You definitely do belong here. The clunky old "geek" stereotype you may feel you aren't part of is actually not as representative of game developers (or gamers) as some might say, and you certainly don't have to be a geek to work in this field. Looking around at game-related conferences and events, it's obvious that game developers are far more varied than the stereotype suggests.

    Unfortunately, this isn't well known outside of the industry. Eventually, our culture will catch up, and by ignoring stereotypes and working where you want to, not where it's implied that you fit better, you will help to change them. The things that matter are your attitude and capability, not some outdated definition of who you "should" be.


    What if I can't afford to go to school?

    It's hugely beneficial to have educational resources and tutorials available, but experience -- playing, learning, experimenting, and spending time working -- is even better. School is useful, but you already have everything you need to start learning on your own, and for free or cheap, on the internet. The internet is an incredible resource with the answers to pretty much any question you could ever have. Also, the best way to learn how games work is by experimenting on small projects by yourself or with others.

    If you're worried that your skills aren't at the level they need to be to work in the game industry, there's good news: It's never too late to learn, and the great thing about skills is that they improve with practice. Plus, there are so many tools out there to help you (many of which are explained in this very magazine). In game development, your potential isn't limited by what you know or what you can do right now but by how willing you are to learn and try new things and how well you persevere through difficulty.


    What if I can't code?

    You can always learn. Knowing how to code is a useful skill, especially on a small team where you will have to work in a variety of roles. You could also explore modern game-making tools, such as Stencyl, GameMaker, and even Flash, which remove a lot of the difficulty inherent in programming but still let you create interesting and fun games, like Canabalt, Spelunky, and Tuning.

    If you're talented in another way, then you can also team up with others and collaborate. Collaborations often lead to many innovative, exciting projects. PC and iOS hit Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery is the result of Jim Guthrie (a musician) and Craig Adams (an artist) teaming up with Capybara (a talented game developer). Each contributed their own perspective, creating a compelling world and an immersive playing experience. It's like Chrono Trigger, where different party members can team up to execute different special moves; instead of attacking enemies, you're making a game with different people and skills that you can combine in remarkable ways.

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