Little guidance needed - how to fight self made doubts?


#1

Hi everyone!

Maybe it will be too much for short introduction, but I felt like writing down all of the below and sharing for the first time.

  • Backstory

I’m a 23 years old guy, currently working as a local/remote IT consultant for a tech company.
I always loved playing games since the moment my father put a PS1 controller in my hand.

While growing up I had the chance to play a lot of games & sketched some game ideas here and there, and always wanted to become a game developer, but I was afraid, since everybody was telling me that I had to be a math genius in order to manage in that field.
So I caved and learned basic computer science, economics, foreign languages - English & French.

  • Education

Due to some financial problems, after I finished high school, I did not have the chance to go to university, and I had to start working to help financially my family and to be able to afford for my hobby.

Since I am with a computer almost always throughout the day, I started to watch some YouTube podcasts later tutorials to get familiar with the game dev field, and tried to dedicate all my free time to expand my knowledge.

Did think (still do) about going to university at some point, though I did not find any specific courses like ones I saw online people talking about, in my country.

  • Game Development Start

I picked up Unity as a starting game engine and started to follow the official online tutorials / YouTube channels.

In the end of 2017 I started to take Online courses on Udemy, and Coding your own game is easier than you think! ( sorry I had say it ).

Side note: I bought the Complete C# Unity Developer 2D course long ago, but due to mostly my own laziness I always put it on hold for “the next weekend”. Finally I decided to go through the whole course and I don’t stop until its finished. I really like the updates that you guys have made!

I managed to replicate some all time classics such as PONG, BreakOut (BrickBuster), and put together a small platform game using Kenney’s asset package.
All the games have multiple scenes(levels), working UI, particle effects, etc, and basically they are not making you poke your eyes out.

I find C# extremely fun to mess around with, and to figure out how things need to be written in order to turn my idea into reality.

My main focus is on 2D games as I always like 2D side scroller games.

At this point I have not tried to learn 3D modelling, PixelArt or 2D Art but I am eager to start.

  • Current goals

Continue learning C# more
Start to learn 3D modelling
Try to create a pixel environment tile set & a small character
Goal for the year: publish a game on iOS & Android
Biggest goal of the future: find a job more related to game dev than my current job

  • Doubts and fears

I’m unsure if it is possible to learn all the above mentioned skills - but I am honestly interested in all of them - can someone be actually good in all of them? (I’m asking this question as I saw many people stating that you either do the coding or the Art)

I’m also a tiny bit (liar) afraid that I won’t be able to find a job without a college degree. - Though countless YouTube channels, and several people on forums have said that the portfolio is more important. (I’m on it… - until then I made an itch,io profile) — Would it be a good idea to put the games that I created during different online courses on the portfolio/itch.io page as well?

Or I should only put my own projects. ( I’m not talking about copy & pasted tutorial games, but they didn’t pop out of my head by themselves either)

  • “Others in the same boat”

I don’t have friends with whom I could share my learning/ developing paths with, and I would like to talk/meet likeminded people.

Currently some of my colleagues like the tiny games I crafted previously, but they are uninterested in learning anything related to it ( and extremely lazy ) so I cannot really share my thoughts or struggles with them.

So if anyone is in the same boat and want to talk/ share experience/ create or just play something please let me know here.

This is the first time I wrote down my little story, and also the first time I’m posting it online… so if I made mistakes, please let me know. :slight_smile:

Thank you for reading!

Regards,

Zoli


#2

Thanks for sharing so much about yourself Zoli.

As I am only learning as well and not working in the industry talk what I say with a pinch of salt.

It is entirely possible for one person to learn all the elements that go into creating a game. There are a lot of games out there that were only made by one person. Will you be as good an artist as somebody that focuses purely on art? no. That is where you you need to be realistic with your goals.

Personally I want to have at least a base knowledge in all areas of development. Firstly so that should I join a team I have a better understanding of what other team members are doing. Secondly so I can see where my strengths are.

At 23 you still have time on your side. Experiment with your games and areas of focus and see what you enjoy the most.

Regarding jobs in the industry it can be difficult as so many of us want to get into that industry. You are working with Unity which is an industry standard so that’s a big plus, look at studios career/job pages and most ask about Unity and Unreal. Build a portfolio of games to show that will always help.

Two things I would advise publish the games you create even if its for free and see what feedback you get and keep iterating on the games to make them better. The second and quite simply the most important, to me, is to enjoy yourself. If you don’t enjoy what you do then where is the point?

feel free to drop me a message on here or on the GameDev.TV discord and I will happily talk. I’m nearly 20 years further down the road but its taken me this long to finally pick up game development.


#3

The “I do everything great” guy, while achievable, is pretty much the Unicorn of the Industry. While it’s certainly a goal to strive for, don’t ever use it as a means to beat yourself into thinking that you aren’t great. Also keep in mind that when you work on a team, nearly everyone is going to want you to be in your strongest role whenever possible. So while being able to switch roles is great (and also necessary for small teams), don’t be surprised if everyone wants you to always be the

As for starting out, everyone begins at square one, everyone starts out not really knowing a whole lot. That’s why Game Development is a skill you build. From an education standpoint, you’ll be happy to know that it IS possible to get a job with a Studio if you don’t have a degree (heck, I’m living proof of it) but you DO cut yourself off from some of the more lucrative AAA jobs (or at least it becomes far more difficult to get in). On the note of Jobs, it’s very possible to just be self-employed, but you’re going to need to make sure you have a separate source of income while you work on your game, it’s not uncommon for Indie creators of any stripe (Writer, Painter, etc) to have a unrelated (part-time) job to help pay the bills while they work on their craft.

As for finding new friends/colleagues, you’ve already taken a major step by joining us here! If you aren’t already aware, this community also has an active Discord server located here with plenty of folks who can help you out on your learning journey (including me, though I’m more on the Unreal-side of things for now).

To sum all of this up. Game Development is hard, can take a long time to learn and get good at, and you’re going to fail during in the process. Keep your chin up, ask for help, keep your scope(s) small, and make the most awesome game(s) you can!


#4

i didn’t “succeed” yet and probably no where near that, so i am in a similar boat to yours, with the difference that, i did manage to enter university.

i have been trying to make games since Jan 2016, so, around three years for now.

the most important thing in my opinion, is taking it slow, while working consistently, i mean, as long as a person keeps running, he’ll reach the goal, even if he is super slow.

for a portfolio, i agree with what you have heard, the most important thing, really is probably, a portfolio, if someday in the future, i have my own game making company, i really wouldn’t bother looking at anyone with a degree unless they have a very strong portfolio, in other words, the degree really, wouldn’t matter at all to me, because i know, having the degree doesn’t mean, you can do good enough work.
but, having a portfolio, proves you can do good work, even if you have some small learning to do.

but, for what to upload your portfolio, i think, what i most people recommend, is uploading the best of the best of your stuff, that means, no games, you made through, following along with the actions of the instructor in a course or something.

of course, taking the end product, you made with the course, remaking it from scratch and adding your own elements to it, thats probably okay.

at least, thats from what i hear about portfolios, having the best of the best of your things.
but honestly, i am not with that opinion, i am more with actually, just uploading most “acceptable” projects you make, that are not, follow along with instructors, even if they’re bad, as long as on the page, you actually categorize your things properly, where the best things show up first, and then the more mediocre stuff.

for how to fight self doubts made by your self, i don’t even really know myself, i am making 2 projects right now and still doubt myself on daily basis, but what i made sure to do, is to create a schedule for myself, that i do my very best to never break, and in it, i dedicated a certain number of hours, to creating the games, and i just do my best, to stick to that schedule, and hopefully, my games will get done at some point, and hopefully, they’ll be successful, at least, if they make the amount of money i put into them, i’d be a bit fine with that :slight_smile:
i did buy few assets and place them in them, if you want to use assets, i’d heavily recommend that, but, only, after you have become at least intermediate, buying assets when you’re still a beginner, who can’t make projects, without following along step by step tutorials, then, you probably shouldn’t grab assets just yet).

note that: for assets part, i am speaking about following step by step, not googling stuff, googling stuff, is very fine, and all people from professionals to beginners do it, so, it is only common sense, but, it is the step by step, need that you should be learning to steer away from.


#5

Dear Chris,

I really appreciate that you read my story and gave an amazing response to it!

I don’t want to chase unrealistic dreams, but I am really interested (and not highly skilled at the moment) in all parts of this field. I’m happy to hear that it can be possible though , as at the moment I don’t have anyone to share this passion with.

I agree with you 100% on the fact that I have to enjoy developing the games. At the time of writing this, I created 6 small games and I loved every single minute of the process!

I would love to listen to your stories and experiences :slight_smile: , will make sure to join the official discord channel of the community!


#6

Dear Tuomo,

Thank you for taking the time to read my story, really appreciate your answer.

I’m glad to hear from you as well, that its not obligatory to have a related degree to be able to get a job, and congratulations for successfully finding a job in this field!

Currently as I wrote, I’m working for an IT company, since I lack a lot of skills and experience, I cannot give up this job to be self employed. It gives a great financial safety, and I can enjoy my hobbies ( playing games, developing them ) while supporting my family.

Though like everyone interested in this field, the ultimate goal is to work in the industry.
Hopefully one day I will be able to start. Until then, I’m learning & learning & learning…

I will make sure to check out the Discord channel!


#7

Dear Mo’tasem,

Thank you for reading my story and sharing yours as well!
I agree with you, and I am trying not to depend too much on tutorials and step by step guides.
I really like solving problems and creating features with c#. I have read many books, followed YouTube & Udemy tutorials, but I always think that my knowledge is not enough as I did not learn programming in school.
(I am open to any good book/site/tutorial suggestions)

Every time I am creating games based on tutorials I manage to extend the features ( different movement, new, more visual effects, more scenes, different menu options (Info/credits/level select/main menu etc) add tool tips and headers for myself for Unity’s inspector etc.

For this year I also put together a tight schedule for myself. Currently following several courses/tutorials, and my goal is to finish the ones I purchased (or simple found on YouTube) already. The weekends fly away super quick when I am creating the games. Unfortunately due to frequently changing schedule I don’t always manage to work on my games during the weekdays.

Wishing you all the best & I hope you will be able to finish your current projects quickly!


#8

You have us :slight_smile:


#9

Currently, it is a life of continuous learning and getting feedback.
After more that 30 years working in the IT, I can truly say. Keep on learning and improving your self. If you are smart enough to go to an University, than without it you can also succeed!

Stay flexible. Focus on things for the future and don’t hinge on the past. And focus on your own personal skills. Undertake things, participate in projects, expand your network by contacting people.

As a freelancer I started with multi media CD-Rom development, switched over to creating websites. But website creation is basically automated. So my knowledge is being used to create web applications. And I’m looking for the next step. And for me that will be content creation. Like using Blender 3D. Because creativity is a long way off, being automated. I hope so…

Good luck.