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Video game development is a hybrid field, drawing from the fields of computer science, mathematics, and production. As such, the jobs with development studios that are available to game development graduates are similarly diverse. This article helps international students understand the nature of video game development, distinguishes the discipline from other specialized game degrees, and identifies the capacities in which video game development graduates will be prepared to serve on a development team when working with a studio.

The decision to study video game development is a popular choice amongst international students coming to the United States. Many people enjoy playing video games, and an increasing number of international students have decided to take their passion for playing video games and turn it into a career in making video games. Besides being the dream job of many gamers, the reasons behind making the decision to study video game development are plenty. This field offers diverse job opportunities, enjoyable and fun work environments, high starting salaries and the ability to have a career that thrives on creative freedom. However, that doesnt mean that everyone who enjoys playing video games will enjoy creating them. In fact, creating a video game is a long and complex process with many subsequent tasks and roles required to make a finished, playable product. An international student will need to inquire about more than the fun they will have studying video game development in order to know whether a degree in video game development is right for them; international students should also ask: "What is video game development?"

So, what is video game development?

Generally speaking, video game development is the field that spans the entirety of the many aspects involved in creating a video game, from conception and storyline to graphic design, programming, and public release.

Video game development is a diverse field, it is a hybrid of game production and game design and has requisite skills from both fields forming the core of a video game developer's knowledge. A video game developer is usually a big-picture position in the creation of a video game, guiding the project through multiple phases. That being the case, a video game developer is a cross between a producer and a programmer, they are a coordinating administrator with an artistic vision who also possesses the technical skill to oversee and contribute to software engineering, image rendering, editing and other aspects of game design.

Video game development, unlike one of its sub-fields like graphic design, is a broad field where those students who study video game development must decide what role on a development team they would like to have upon graduation. Once a desired role has been established, an international student should then subsequently fine-tune their degree that they are to receive so that it will optimally prepare him or her for that particular role on a development team.

Roles on a Development Team

Video game development is a field with many sub-disciplines and responsibilities drawing from both game production and game design, but what are the roles on a development team?

  • Game producer
  • Game artist
  • Programmer
  • Graphic designer
  • Creative writer
  • Storyline editor
  • Audio specialist
  • Level designer

Students studying video game development will become familiar with both the overall process of creating a video game and game production, as well as the particular elements of software engineering, programming and graphic design utilized in the actual construction of the video game. In order to most effectively study video game development, keeping a specific specialization and role on a development team in mind while studying in the United States is the best plan of action for any international student hoping to seriously prepare for their career in video game development.

Despite the initial excitement and allure that comes with pursuing a dream occupation like video game development, international students who want to effectively study video game development in the United States will have to begin asking important questions like, "What is video game development?" Asking these types of preparatory questions will ensure that an international student is both equipped and able to pursue the specific degree and desired role on a video game development team to which they are aspiring.

To learn more about whether a degree in video game development is right for you, learn more about the career options available to students with a background in video game development.

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