FAQ: How to Become a Game Developer
According to GameCore founders, Russia’s game development hub is very small in comparison with other countries. The USA with its’ 300 million inhabitants has over 700 game production studios while Russia has only 40 ones.
Alexey Bezgodov, senior researcher at E-science Research Institute, says that the level of game industry is an important driver for development of the whole IT industry. As one of the main training center for future IT gurus ITMO has decided to contribute to the domestic game industry – the more so since its’ specialists already have some experience in this field.
“Eight years ago I founded the first game development studio at the University IFMO/GameDev. It was working during two years as a student club. Then Ivan Zaporozhchenko launched Game Crunch club that served the same purpose. GameCore is an open platform for creative people. We consider it as a force, which fuses together developers who want to create games in a team as well as helps ideas turn into projects ready for business incubators and accelerators,” noted Mr. Bezgodov.
Games as a part of science
Game development covers tons of scientific areas. Using the knowledge gained by these activities students can apply to their theses and scientific articles. For example, artificial intelligence, high load systems, physical modeling and so forth. According to Ivan Zaporozhchenko, he started to develop games when he was a junior student at Information Technologies and Programming Faculty, as he wanted to connect his hobby with his major so as to replace abstract tasks with real ones. Most professors supported this idea.
“Thanks to that I prepared lots required documents for my project. My thesis also was focused on data base optimization and security data development,” said Mr. Zaporozhchenko.
Games as a part of state-of-the-art tech
While following the training program of GameCore the students will learn about all aspects of video game development such as shader programming, C++ and C# coding, game engines (like Monogame and Fusion Engine) and also will code their own.
“It is not difficult to develop a game using Unity or Unreal Engine services. However if one makes his or her own engine one will obtain skills that can be applied to other fields, for instance, gamification of other processes. The ability to develop games means that one can create simulators or usable apps. Specific solutions are always the best ones. You can also launch the next project using the previous as a basis,” said the expert.
Games as a part of art
“Game development is not only about coding and engines,” suppose Maria Karpova, head of Game Crunch. “It is important to take into account how to attract gamers and understand what makes a game interesting for them. All this issues will be discussed at our classes.”
“Videogames implement visual arts, screenwriting, music and stage-management. The main point is that game is a story, which is told by means of information technologies. This story is more captivating than any movie or a play, as it is you who become the main character,” said Alexey Bezgodov.
Games as a part of business
GameCore tutors believe that game development and game promotion issues are equally important. The students will learn about how to gather a team and manage projects. Another useful skill is to explain one’s thoughts correctly. One won’t be able to organize the work of a team of find the necessary funding without it.
“It is necessary for a developer because a team consisted of four people has to make one game together as opposed to four different games,” mentioned Ivan Zaporozhchenko.
The program will also include a course on writing concept papers and game design documents. Even the brightest idea costs nothing if it is not supported by the necessary documents. One can work on it oneself or even outsource.
According to Arseny Tretiakov, manager of Project Management and Innovation Department, costs for marketing purposes are equal to half the whole budget of a game project. That is why ITMO University will assist the authors of the best projects with attracting partners and investors as well as with promotion.
“The plots of contemporary games are gradually become better than even plots of movies – large game development corporations hire screen writers to do that. But here one faces the following problem: DOOM was developed by ten people, Duke Nukem by 15. Currently corporations make it impossible to create independent projects. We want you to be ready for something more than developing mobile games and gaining money for them. You should manage to organize small game studios and produce high-grade products without failing deadlines. Personally I have been waiting for Half-Life 3 since high-school. Our department will help you to make contacts with St. Petersburg studios and game centers from Russia and abroad. We will help you to present your games at Steam Greenlight and assist with its’ first sails.”
When and where
Everybody can join GameCore for free. It is not obligatory to be ITMO University student. The classes will be held on week days at ITMO on Birzhevaya Liniya 14 at 6.30 pm. The organizers have prepared hackathons, game jams, conferences, “Xbox battles” and other special events on Saturdays. The first GameCore meeting will be at 2 pm on September 17.