What’s It All About
The gaming industry works to bring an idea or concept for a game right through to the finished product. This involves various stages of creative planning, technical programming, production and testing. Games development teams are comprised of producers, developers, designers, artists and testers. Protypes are produced and they are exposed to rigorous testing and refining until the games’ publisher is happy with the end-product. Games are long and complex and as a result game production is a very lengthy process – often taking several years to complete.
Gaming in Ireland
The Irish Gaming industry is a thriving sector that is growing rapidly and making waves on the international stage.
Ireland has invested significantly in the gaming industry. With over four decades of experience and growth in this field, Ireland has become a significant contributor to the global gaming industry. Ireland first became involved in gaming in 1978 when Atari, based in Tipperary, produced arcade machines. We have come a long way since then and now Ireland is home to some of the top gaming companies in the world such as Blizzard Activision, Zynga and Sony Computer Entertainment, as well as home grown gaming companies such as DIGIT and Demonware.
Ireland has been heavily involved in the production of ‘middleware’. Middleware is software that connects software components or applications. If you are a gamer you have most likely seen the Havok logo appear when loading certain games. Havok is a middleware Irish company that has worked with some of the world’s best known publishers and development studios including Microsoft Games Studio, Nintendo, EA and Warner Bros. Havok has also been involved in some of the most famous games ever made such as Call of Duty, Halo, Dead Rising and Skylanders. The rise of Havok is just one of the success stories that has emerged from the Irish gaming sector.
The gaming industry enjoys a casual working environment and promotes fun. Many companies encourage employees to socialise together; recreation and club events such as team sports, board game clubs, yoga and social events are organised in effort to bond and strengthen staff relationships. The websites of many gaming companies display employees dressed in jeans and t-shirts lounging on couches playing video games; an attractive environment for any games’ enthusiast.
Despite the casual environment you will still be expected to put in the hours to produce the games. This sometimes means working long hours and working under pressure to meet tight deadlines.
Skills and Knowledge
Designing and developing computer games demands a high level of creativity and artistic vision. Games are built on narratives, so you will need to have storytelling ability to create a world for gamers to inhabit. Understanding the gaming market, how games work and how they appeal to customers will assist you in becoming a games developer or designer. Knowledge of computer games, programming skills and the ability to work as part of a team are all necessary to work in the production of computer games.
Having an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject such as computer science, software engineering, physics or maths is a solid foundation to build a games development career upon. There are also many degree courses offered by third level institutions across the country that are more specific to the industry, such as computer games design or development.
Gaming is a very competitive industry. Having a passion for computer games is a great starting point but not enough. You will need to show potential in your field to be noticed by employers.