Is it worth being a game developer?
Many developers start by creating a game. Afterwards, many will never code a game again, but some find their true passion. Is it worth developing games, and what are the risks?
Triple AAA developer
Being a game developer at an enormous company which produces huge titles is not as easy as it looks. The developers have to care about many different things. The game needs to look good and run with 60 frames per second on any computer, realistic and good working physics engine are required, fast networking and many other things.
Even for a huge team, this is a stressful task. The developers have a hard time working on a massive project. Everyone excepts something impressive. If something does not work after the release, the user thinks it is the developer's fault, but they are not the only people working on it.
Despite the considerable stress, the pay is not that good. Still, many skills are required. What would be a game developer, without understanding physics?
Indie game developer
Having a simple idea with the right tools and knowledge makes it possible for single people to create amazing games. Examples are Minecraft and Unturned, which started single-handedly.
Most indie game developers choose pixel art over complex 3D graphics. It is way simpler to create a sprite texture than a whole player model. Also, the game logic and physics are more comfortable implementing in a 2D world over a 3D world.
Indie game developers also choose engines, like Unity or Godot. There is no need to create the game from the ground up if someone else already did the hard work. It can look overwhelming at first glance, but it is easy to become good at an engine after a small game. Which engine the game uses is not as important. The developers should be good with it, and it should be capable of doing the needed things.
Many people think the Unity engine is terrible because there are many low-quality games. However, this is not Unity’s fault; it is the developer's fault. First projects can be presented to a vast audience quickly, and as everyone knows, first projects are always under the expectations.
Many people try to publish their indie game to the mobile stores, but this will be a guaranteed failure, without the right publisher. When creating a small game, nobody likely downloads it. Publishers have contacts to the enormous stores, pushing their new games way higher up than others. Nevertheless, be careful when reading the contracts.
The most developers out there, suffer from perfectionism. “The game is not ready yet”, because there is always something you can improve or add. Developers need a straight plan. Without the focus on what the game should be, developers will wander around and work on a game which will never be released.
Always set goals and do everything to achieve them. Having a pleasant feeling, after striking a point from the list, will motivate.
Making and publishing a game is hard. It is not as worth it as it looks. Games like Minecraft are one-hit wonders created at the right time, as Markus Persson said.
Other IT sections like artificial intelligence are more worth it than creating a game. Still, if it makes fun, keep doing it.
For new developers, simple 2D games are a good way to start. Read more about project-based learning here