Do Game Designers Have to Code?
One of the greatest roadblocks for aspiring game designers is intimidation surrounding coding. As a large part of video game design, knowing a coding language may seem like an essential part of the job. But, is this really the case? That is what we are here to investigate.
Do game designers code? While coding is certainly a valuable skill for a game designer of any level, it is not entirely necessary. There are many benefits to learning a coding language. However, there are many ways to have success as a game designer, even without the ability to code.
So, is it really worth your time to learn how to code? Should you focus instead on other aspects of game design? Keep reading to learn more about coding in the world of game design.
What You Need to Know About Coding As a Game Designer
Becoming a game designer is the dream of many young people today. As a field that continues to grow at astounding rates, working towards a career in game design is certainly a great choice for many individuals. The job of a game designer is so much more than simply having an incredible idea for a video game. It involves creativity, math, and yes, even coding.
Using Code to Design a Video Game
Every video game today is designed using some form of coding. Because of this, it is highly beneficial to learn at least one coding language to experience great success as a game designer. While you may not be doing much of the actual coding used to create the game, knowledge of code will provide you with a leg up over your competition.
Typically, the more complex a game, the more complex the code is that acts as the foundation for the game. Because of this, knowing how to code is almost essential if you wish to work on a high-level, high production video game design team.
However, as you progress through your career, you may find that you rely on your coding knowledge less and less. While entry-level game designers may be asked to assist the programmers with small tasks, top-level designers often spend their time in other areas of game design.
Keep reading to learn about the many benefits of learning to code as a game designer.
Becoming a Game Designer Who Doesn’t Code
It is important to note that knowing how to code is not necessary for success as a game designer. While it is certainly beneficial, there are several ways to create a video game without knowledge of coding.
Work On a Team With Game Programmers Who Can Code
Most game designers, regardless of their skill level, work on a team with other professionals. In most cases, a video game studio will employ game programmers and engineers who are responsible for writing the code that will eventually turn into a video game.
When working in this capacity, a game designer will create the idea for the video game and compile their thoughts into a document. The programmers will then use this as a recipe with which to write the code. Once the first iteration of the game is complete, the game designer will begin to adjust details and sequences throughout the game.
Use High-Quality Game Engines That Code For You
If you are just starting out as a game designer, you can choose to use one of the many high-quality game engines that are available. Depending on the game engine you choose, you may not have to do any coding as they supply visual tools as a substitute. A few of the most popular game engines include Unreal, Unity, and GameMaker.
Creating your first games with the help of a game engine will help you understand more of the process behind game design and determine if this career path is something you are passionate about.
The one downfall of using a game engine that handles the coding for you is that you will not be able to customize your game as much as you would be when using code.
Benefits of Knowing How to Code As a Game Designer
There are countless benefits to knowing how to code as a game designer. The following are just a few of the top reasons why most successful career game designers eventually learn this valuable skill.
Understand How Games Are Built
Since video games are all built using code, knowledge of coding basics will provide you with a greater understanding of how games are built. This will allow you to be more productive as you create future games.
Easily Communicate With Engineers & Programmers
Perhaps the greatest benefit of learning how to code is to more easily communicate with game programmers and engineers. Basic knowledge of coding will allow you to explain any changes you would like to make to your game in a way that is clear and concise.
This eliminates confusion and decreases the amount of time it will take you to get your next video game on the market.
Ability to Accurately Express Your Ideas
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to communicate with your team with no success. Learning to code provides you with the ability to accurately express your ideas and visions for current or future projects.
Better Career Opportunities
Simply put, a game designer with the ability to code is of greater value to gaming studios. Learning the basics of coding will provide you with better career opportunities in the future. This skill allows you to more accurately collaborate with your team while also demonstrating your drive to excel in the field of game design.
Create a More Complex Gaming Experience
While game engines continue to become more advanced, they will never compare to the versatility of coding. Knowing how to code allows game designers to create a more complex, customized gaming experience. This will set your next video game above others and provide future gamers with a positive experience.
What Coding Languages Do Game Designers Use?
With thousands of programming languages out there, how do you know which to learn? While different types of games are created using different coding languages, the two most common coding languages used by game designers are C++ and Java.
Most professional game designers suggest that an aspiring designer begins by learning C++. Fortunately, many other coding languages closely mirror the concepts of C++ so adding to your knowledge will be much easier.
Games Made Using C++
C++ is by far the most common coding language used by game designers and programmers. Many popular video games have been created using C++ including:
- World of Warcraft
Additionally, many popular game engines such as Unreal utilize the C++ coding language.
Games Made Using Java
In many ways, Java is similar to C++. Because of this, it should be much easier to learn once you have established a baseline knowledge of coding. Some of the most popular video games made using Java include:
- Star Wars Galaxies
- Tom Clancy’s Politika
Even a limited knowledge of coding basics will provide an aspiring game designer with a great advantage over their competition.
Learning to Code As a Game Designer
So, where do you learn such a complex skill? Fortunately, there are endless resources available for a game designer who wants to learn a coding language. Ranging from paid college-level courses to free YouTube videos, learning to code simply requires a computer and dedication.
Online Coding Resources
There are many resources online for an individual interested in coding. Most colleges offer coding courses, there are coding boot camps, and even free videos taught by coding experts. This can help you get your foot in the door to discover which coding language you wish to learn.
Learn Coding By Playing Games
If you love gaming, several excellent video games teach the basics of coding. This can be a fun way to establish a baseline knowledge of coding without needing to attend an official course. Some of the best coding games available today include:
- Code Combat
- Code Monkey
- Human Resource Machine
These educational video games are perfect for the adolescent who aspires to become a game designer. However, they can also be an excellent resource for a current game designer who is simply looking to improve upon their existing skills.
Becoming a Game Designer
The field of game design is constantly growing with no signs of slowing down. A career as a game designer can be emotionally and financially rewarding! If you have a love for gaming and enjoy the technical aspects of programming, consider taking the time to learn a coding language such as C++ or Java. This will add to your value as an entry-level game designer.
However, you will also be able to use your newly acquired coding knowledge in other areas of life. Overall, coding is a valuable skill for anyone interested in a career centered around digital entertainment or online enterprise.
While not necessary for success as a game designer, it is easy to see how learning to code can accelerate your career and assist you in attaining your dream job.
Ready to learn more about game designing? You can check out more of my recent articles here.