If you don't know of Extra Credits, you should go check them out:
We had James Portnow on the podcast a few weeks ago, and he asked us to send him some ideas for an episode called "So you wanna be a developer".
They've done two previous episodes in the "So you wanna" series:
but they don't have personal experience with development and decided to ask us for help.
Now, we have lots of ideas about what makes a great developer and how to get started. For example:
- Code, code, code -- There's no substitute for just diving in and learning to code, and starting is easier than you think.
- Explore -- Don't tie yourself down to one language or approach. Explore other languages, other paradigms, other ways of approaching problems.
- Learn from smart people -- Don't code in isolation. Get involved in an open source project, find a local hacker group, participate in an online site about programming, etc. Find a way to learn from people smarter than you.
- Develop your communication skills -- You need to be able to communicate your ideas to other programmers. You also need to be able to communicate with non-programmers (and this is usually way harder, but equally important)
- Learn other stuff -- Don't just program, also study things like economics, writing, and math. All of these will come in handy, to some extent.
- Ship something -- It won't ever be perfect, but get it out the door. You'll learn more in 10 minutes of letting a real person use your product or a real developer use your code than you will in months of introspection.
Which is fine, but the show is about the game industry and none of us are game developers.
So our question for you is, what's different about game development? What advice would you give to someone who wanted to be a game developer? What skills are more important / less important in game development than other types of developing?