I wanted to start a discussion to ask a question that I’ve had for a while, that I am sure a lot of people with a similar experience level to myself may also be struggling with. A disclaimer before we get started: I know there is no one-size fits all answer to this question, but the hope was that maybe we could start a conversation that myself and others could perhaps gain some insight from.
So, on to the question: How do I pick a specialization in Game Development?
When I was a kid, game maker was basically the closest I could get to a game engine. So when I decided that I wanted to make video games, I started by figuring out that I would have to learn to program, so I did… Programming is the critical essence of a video game, without it the game–quite literally–cannot exist. Therefore, as a kid I held a strong connection between my programming ability and my ability to make video games… as I got a little older however, I started to learn that a lot of game developers got their jobs by making modifications of other videogames, doing things like making maps and content. Organically, I fell into making maps in Unreal 2K4, and then UT3 Shortly after. Years later, I have amassed quite a bit of spread out experience in almost every aspect of game development. The problem is… I love all of it. I have not found one thing that I don’t like (aside from manually creating a navmesh in the skyrim creation kit… that is annoying as hell).
How do I pick between all of these things that I love? I don’t really want to single out any one thing. I’ve honestly been thinking about considering myself a technical artist and going from there. I’ve learned Maya and Zbrush because I wanted to make my own art, but I realize in a true production environment the art department is entirely separate. I’m not the best 3D artist, but I’m sure that I could get better. The problem is… I just can’t be a great programmer AND a great artist, AND an Engine Guru, AND a Tools/Systems guy.
I’m sure someone else must be struggling with this too. If I love pretty much every aspect of game development, how do I pick something to specialize in? Or do I just follow my whims and end up with a Frankenfolio that has bits and pieces of code, thrown in with level design and then art pieces?