Everyone knows video games are meant to deliver non-stop entertainment at the comfort of your own living space. With endless hours of playing and living vicariously through an in-game character, one would not imagine the difficult and pressurized side of the video game industry from the developer point of view.
Not many know the painstaking hours and the huge amount of sacrifices that were made to create a highly successful video game title.
To know more about what a video game programmer does, letâs dive into the various job roles of the many men and women who are instrumental in providing us the very best recreational pleasure.
The common game developer is known to be a software developer that creates video games through various aspects that include programming, art designing and testing. Depending on the company he or she works for, a game developer can be one who undertakes all areas of developing or just stick to a specific aspect such as programming the operating systems of the game.
Similar to game developers, game programmers are largely responsible for bringing all the drawing board ideas into a functioning working game. Through numerous amounts of written codes, the game will then begin to materialize.
Game programmers tend to specialize in one aspect of programming the game. The different specialized programmers will then work in teams to develop the game.
Typically, there will be 3 specialized set of programmers that produce the different characteristics of the video game. The specialized programmers are Audio programmers, Special Effects and Graphics Programmers and Artificial Intelligence Programmers.
In many games, the music soundtrack sets the tone of the game. A chirpy soundtrack may derive a pleasant reaction while a menacing and dark set of tunes may ignite suspense and thrill from the gamer. Irregular sound effects may create spontaneous reactions from the gamer which would make the game seem more excitable.
By highlighting the product of an Audio Programmerâs work, you can see how critical his work is. Audio programmers are to write utilities and software that blends the sounds of the game nicely with the design graphics to make the game seem organic and seamless. Besides knowing the programming functions, audio programmers have to be equipped with an array of digital audio production skills.
Special Effects and Graphics Programmer
With the release of next generation gaming consoles such as the Playstation 4 or the Xbox 1, game programmers have to keep up with todayâs demand for higher definition graphics and amazing displays of special effects in the game. Gamers are demanding for realistic in-game environments that emit effects of awe and charm. Gamers also want to see very human-like facial features on their in-game characters instead of cartoonish 3d characters.
To accomplish such a mammoth task, programmers have to spend long periods of time coding on visual cues. In order to showcase their visual illustrations seamless, Graphic Programmers need to condense all their data files to allow the game to run smoothly. They will also have to use mixtures of different graphic arts and complex programming techniques to create a fantasy 3-dimensional world from a 2 dimensional medium.
Artificial Intelligence Programmer
Artificial intelligence (A.I) on video game characters is definitely a requisite. The game character interactions with other characters and its environment have to be logical and smooth in order for the game to be playable. What many donât know is that for just a simple action made by a video game character, tons of programming with an application on engineering theory has to be done for that very mini action. The many alternating choices that gamers make in-game will have to trigger different routes of programming which adds on to the pile of work for A.I programmers.
Being an Artificial Intelligence programmer will require you to utilize robotics programming. Programmers have to anticipate the in-game character actions and reactions as well, when programming the game. Similar to a graphics programmer, A.I programmers have to search algorithms and compile written codes to allow the game A.I characters to proceed without any glitches or lag.
Not all fun and games
Working in the video game industry is no doubt rewarding especially when you get to see legions of adoring fans rushing to purchase your games and playing them for hundreds of hours. But the unpleasant side of the industry is that making a game is not an easy task and developers and programmers have to spend long working hours (could be 80 hours a week!) to produce the best possible gaming experience.
Kenneth Yeast, Director of Engineering of Bad Juju games, compared game development to a sausage industry. He claimed, "You (gamers) may like to eat sausages, but you donât want to see how they're made."