It is getting close to the end of the degree, and it’s time to start looking forward at where my goals lie. Until recently, I wanted to be a tools programmer. I would still take a tools programmer job, but my interest has shifted to Gameplay Programmer. I find this role to be much more enjoyable as you are writing the code for gameplay.
While researching, I found that the term Gameplay Programmer varies quite a bit between companies. For example, some companies a Gameplay Programmer is considered to be a entry-level job or a junior position where they can move up into engine programmer or other roles after proving themselves. Whereas, other companies consider Gameplay Programmers to be senior roles as they are writing the code that affects the player’s experience. In those cases, they are also expected to be fairly good at game design.
In general, the main skills a Gameplay Programmer requires is experience writing code (most of the jobs require c++ or c experience), knowledge of the technical pipeline for creating games, strong mathematical skills (main examples are trigonometry and linear algebra), excellent written and verbal communication skills, a good personality and finally a huge passion for making video games.
Good news! I have most of those skills. However, I can still identify areas I want to improve in by the end of the year. One of the areas I really want to improve is my knowledge of the audio side. I have worked closely with artists, designers and programmers, however when it comes to audio, I usually just trust their judgement because I have very little knowledge in that field. Recently I have been working on a game that relies on music for the gameplay. All enemies will be moving in time with it, and I have been learning a lot about the music process because I have been working so close to it. However, I still want to learn more about it, and I have decided that for my elective subject next trimester, I will choose an audio course to become more familiar with the field. I feel like understanding that section of game development would help me further connect with a whole team.
Other skills I want to improve my C++ programming skills and my math skills. The outlined skills required for the maths is not a concern, but there is no harm in furthering these skills. The ways I want to do this is just by completing small projects throughout the next trimester. Other ways is to try and apply maths to as many problems as I can within my games. One good time to improve both these skills is at the Make-A-Thing during the holidays.
Finally one last major thing I want to improve is the quality of documentation. At the moment, all my documentation is acceptable, but I want to improve upon it. There are still moments when I or someone else has to another what we decided because it wasn’t written in the documents. I want to start a habit of updating the design document to make it the living document it’s supposed to be. I have started doing this with Dyadic, however, it have yet to start doing it with final project. That is something I really want to focus on next year and will be something that is extremely helpful when I work in the industry.
Overall, my skills are coming along nicely for a Gameplay Programmer and my passion is there, but I still have areas (and always will) that I can improve in to help secure a position. By following through with these things I want to improve on over the next trimester before finishing, I feel like I will have the necessary skill set to be able to get a job as a Gameplay Programmer.
Here are some sources I found to enhance my skills:
Audio Terms: http://www.mediacollege.com/audio/terminology/
Here are some gameplay programmer positions I found to determine the skillsets required: