As this is a blog dedicated to games I like to think most people already figured out what industry I am talking about – the gaming industry. This time around I would like to focus on a news report published on Gamesindustry.biz which reveals a study done in the UK.
Apparently most teachers, students and their parents don’t really know what it takes to get into the industry. The study shows that only 3 percent of 11 to 18 year-olds, 7 percent of parents and 15 percent of teachers consider math as the most important subject when choosing this career path. The numbers are even more alarming as 30 percent of 11 to 18 year-olds, 18 percent of parents and 44 percent of teachers consider that Information and Communications Technologies is the most important subject. Only 22 percent of the teachers are claiming to have basic knowledge of programming.
This is worrying as the study shows that most of the following generation of programmers and game designers don’t actually know what they are getting into. The very first lesson of ICT I had in school was when I was in the 5th grade and my first question back then was – “What do I need to learn if I want to make computer games?” The answer was short and simple “Learn programming languages (C++ being a standard when learning I consider) and math. Lots and lots of math”
At the time I don’t think I fully appreciated those words but as time passed this slowly became true. The first hint towards this was a couple of years later when working on a custom map for Starcraft : Brood War. I worked over a month for it, developing the story line of the map, developing characters and timing events. It showed me how much some basic math knowledge and some good old fashion programmer sense could help me along to get the job done. This became even more of a fact when moving up in the world and starting work on the Half-Life engine in my room. Making my first map, tweaking configuration files for Bots and the sorts, were all essential in my path towards my career of choice at the time.
A lot of modern day users, whether they are still in their teens or even fully grown adults don’t take into account the fact that a simple bird flying in a game requires a lot of work and mathematical as well as programming knowledge. Those things don’t just fly in games. Only when you start grasping to the fullest extent what game design actually is and what game development is all about, only then can you truly make an informed decision. The most important aspect still is dedication of doing this. A simple example would be the development of a series of maps which I planned once Wacraft 3 Reign of Chaos was released and all the planning that went into that. Despite my greatest efforts, on my own I could barely inch my way forward, creating a whole campaign on my own was out of the question.
I think I went on a rant long enough so I will be stopping here. In case you are determined to get into the game industry make sure you really want it. Make sure to keep studying math and programming as much as you can since these will help you no matter what your career path will be and don’t think everything can be simply resumed by – you do that and I’ll do this. Until next time, I’ll be programming chickens to lay eggs in this new game I dream of.11