The video game market in the United States is estimated to be worth over $60 billion, so it is understandable why some businesses are looking for ways to capitalise on this. To ensure their online presence is managed effectively, these businesses may choose to employ internal teams or outsource their web, app and software development to a third-party provider.
In this situation, many businesses must evaluate whether or not the saying “devs are devs” is accurate. The answer is no; developers who create websites and developers who create video games are not necessarily the same. While there are advantages of working in multiple areas of development, many developers remain focused on one specific area after understanding the effort required to transition.
In what ways are web developers different from game developers, and why do these two fields need independent hiring practices?
In Other Words, What Exactly Is It that Web Developers Do?
Web developers are accountable for designing and creating websites and other online content. They are in charge of creating, launching, providing backend functionality, maintaining and supporting websites and web applications, from basic blogs to complex online stores and social networks. To achieve this, it is essential to integrate the suitable features into websites.
Front-end developers use coding languages to create the visual style of websites. When a user interacts with a website, it is likely to have been developed by a front-end developer. On the other hand, developers working on the back end are responsible for writing the code which enables the website to function as intended, including gathering data from databases and deciding how that data is presented to the user. Back-end developers usually use languages such as PHP, Python and Node.js.
Full-stack developers are accountable for the entire development process, from front-end to back-end. They are typically highly proficient in all aspects of the process, providing regular contributions to the product’s functionality throughout.
Creating Video Games: The Developer’s Job
It is an oversimplification to suggest that game developers and web designers are entirely dissimilar, however, there are notable distinctions between the two disciplines. The development of a video game requires a comprehensive procedure from concept to completion, involving planning, design, programming and distribution. Whilst websites have grown to be more interactive and incorporate AI, they cannot yet match the degree of interactivity seen in video games.
The production of a video game requires a variety of tools and assets. This includes anything from the game’s physics and digital models to its core logic and landscapes. When constructing a website, however, it is not necessary to consider these elements. Some web developers will opt to focus on a particular area of the industry, such as 3D graphics, project management, server-side programming, game engines, and more.
The production of a video game is a complex and collaborative process that requires a variety of skillsets. The length of time to create a game can range from a few months to several years, depending on the complexity of the game and its funding. It is not uncommon for a development team to have multiple teams working on the same game at the same time in order to meet the desired deadlines.
Game designers, artists, sound engineers, level designers, testers, producers and developers are all essential roles in the creation of video games. Website creators may not have to consider elements such as music, scenery or physics when creating a website; however, these are vital components for providing an engaging and immersive experience for players of video games.
Engineering professionals for video games are responsible for bringing the designs and concepts of the art and design teams to fruition, by creating the executable code for the game on various platforms. This involves incorporating artwork and setting up the user’s ability to access and interact with the game, as well as constructing the fundamental coding features necessary for the game to function. Furthermore, engineers must take into consideration aspects such as multiplayer networking, artificial intelligence, and more.
Can a Game Developer Work in Web Development, or Vice Versa?
Organisations wishing to hire a developer should establish the type of software they intend to create before recruiting for the role. Creating a video game is a far more complex and lengthy task than developing for the web.
It is not reasonable to assume that the skills and knowledge required for web development and game development are interchangeable. Although there may be some similarities between the two, they differ significantly in terms of development methods, specialisations, procedures and collaboration requirements. Consequently, it is not possible to substitute one role with the other.
Due to the limited number of positions in the gaming industry compared to the number of people looking for work, the industry is highly competitive and selective. After completing their education or training, web developers may find it easier to secure an entry-level role.
The transition from traditional programming to game development can be challenging due to the additional considerations involved, such as sceneries, art and physics. This requires a shift in mindset and methodology that cannot be easily toggled on and off. It is important to recognise that becoming proficient in either requires a significant amount of time and dedication to learn and build experience.