Unity Student To Game Developer To Udemy Instructor


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Originally published at: http://blog.gamedev.tv/unity-student-to-game-developer-to-udemy-instructor/

One of our favourite parts of the day is hearing from you folks, and there’s a ton of places that can happen - email, Udemy DMs, Facebook, Twitter, the forum, reviews etc. A few weeks back we got the following awesome message of thanks…

I just wanted to say thank you for the Unity (and Unreal.. and Blender!) courses you've made - since taking your original Unity course, I've become a freelance/indie game developer - I've released one game and am working on another (unannounced) project for the same company. I'm also about to release my third Udemy course! Your course helped me switch from being a (junior) software developer to working in the games industry with enough knowledge to share with others - so thank you! Jenny

Delighted, and intrigued to hear more, we reached out to Jenny. Below she shares her GameDev.tv journey.

What's your background?

I used to be a theoretical physicist (in quantum information) and did not particularly enjoy programming! After leaving physics, I decided to look into coding again - its logic appealed to me - and this time found I really liked it.

Growing up, I always wanted to be an astronaut or physicist; I enjoyed playing games but never considered making them. My favourites as a kid were Populous, Monkey Island, Simon the Sorcerer, and Rama.

How did you end up on a Udemy course?

I got a job at a company that made software for the NHS - they required a scientific background but no prior knowledge of programming! While there, I developed an interest in game development, but found it hard to branch out. I left my job for an unrelated reason (I had to move across the country) and discovered Ben's Udemy courses! They helped me really understand game development and I discovered I loved the process of making games. Rather than looking for a 'proper' job, I decided to start making my own games - I developed several small ones that I used as a portfolio to look for freelance work.

How did you find the experience of the course?

I have no 'formal' game development training at all - that all comes from GameDev.tv's courses supplemented with various YouTube videos. I really enjoyed the Unity course. Ben's a great teacher - he explains everything really well. The Unity course is an especially good beginners course because he explains the same thing in different ways which really helps you understand why.

I've also completed a fair amount of the Blender course, which, even though I'm not an artist, I found to be invaluable when working on freelance projects as it has meant I understand what the 3D modeller needs to do and I can even correct small things.

I started the Unreal course, and really liked Unreal, but I didn't enjoy coding in C++ as much as C#. I plan to go back to it soon though. I'm also planning on taking the new Godot course - it's always good to learn about new game engines!

One thing I really like about online learning is the ability to go at my own speed - if something's making sense, I can zoom through a section and learn a lot in a very short amount of time. If it's not, I can pause and repeat parts of the video, or ask questions, until it does. I don't think there's anything I dislike about online learning! The GameDev.tv community is awesome too - it's a great place to share your work and ask questions.

My own stuff:

I'm now a freelance/indie game developer and create my own Udemy courses - GameDev.tv's courses helped me switch from being a software developer to working in the games industry with enough knowledge to share with others.

I was programmer and co-game designer of Terroir, a winemaking tycoon game for General Interactive Co. I'm currently working on another (unannounced so I can't talk about it!) freelance project, and am making a game with writer Gwenhyver Davies under the company Living Ember. It's called Cultivate: Before Time; it's a twee farming adventure driven by a strong narrative based around a time travel accident that propels a whole village into prehistoric times.

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I've also just released my third Udemy course. My first course, Coding in Unity: Procedural Mesh Generation, teaches you how to procedurally program meshes, from simple shapes to complex terrain and infinite fractal landscapes. My second course, Coding in Unity: Introduction to Shaders teaches you how to create image effects, swaying sprites, dissolving models and custom lighting in Unity by writing your own shaders. My newest course (co-created with Gwenhyver Davies), Game Writing: Storytelling through Video Game Design, is about designing rather than programming games. It teaches you how to generate and develop your ideas, how to structure a story-rich game, and how creating a narrative and storyworld will enhance all games, even those that are not story based - it teaches you how to design your own games.

You can find Jenny over on Twitter @EdgeOfCode