Pursuing a career in game development requires a blend of technical skills, creativity, and an understanding of the gaming industry. Here’s a breakdown of relevant subjects at various educational levels in the UK:

High School Level

  1. Computer Science: Fundamental to understand programming and software development.
    1. Often, computer science in high schools are shockingly bad, other times they are pretty good. Choosing this for GCSE (if you have a choice) will help get into a college doing computer science.
  2. Mathematics: Essential for game programming, especially algebra and calculus.
    1. Pay attention – the more you learn here, the better you will find the job. I often have the expression of ‘Why should I find X’… well, in games, if you can find X, you can point a cannon at it and blow it up. Co-sign and Sign are what is used for your Analogue Xbox thumbsticks… look it up.
  3. Physics: Useful for game mechanics and simulations.
    1. like math, this is a must for any game play programmer.
  4. Art and Design: Helps in game design and graphics.
  5. English: Important for storytelling and communication skills.
    1. if you want to ‘Design’ games, English and writing skills is what you need. It is all about the story and articulating your message.
  6. Information Technology: Understanding hardware and software basics.
    1. IT – it is always good to learn the basics of the software you will be using like Office, Excel etc… if you learn Excel, you pretty much understand how every game is made – especially Fallout and games like League of Legends – they are all just Excel spreadsheets.
  7. Business Studies: Offers insights into the gaming industry and marketing.
    1. even if you dont want to go into business for yourself, I highly recommend you taking this. You need to understand the value of money, and understand how to sell yourself going into a company. At the end of the day, a company is a business, and you are a cog in that business and you need to make money.

College Level (A-Levels, BTECs)

  1. Computer Science or Computing: For a deeper understanding of programming and algorithms.
  2. Mathematics and Further Mathematics: For advanced game development concepts.
    1. College math is perfect for games development… anything higher might be overkill, unless you want to specialise in Materials, or Physics development.
  3. Physics: To enhance understanding of game mechanics.
    1. Physics and Code did not mix. In older companies, you would have a Physics Professor who knew the math, and a programmer next to them inputting the equations… not so much now.
  4. Graphic Design: For learning about visual aspects of game design.
    1. To be a game programmer, you don’t need to know graphic design, but it can not hurt.
    2. If you want to be an artist… I highly recommend this. I did not take any graphic design, or artist courses when growing up and I 100% regret it.
  5. Media Studies: Understanding the interaction of media elements in games.
    1. What is Media Studies? often in college or Uni, it is a ‘catch-all’ option… normally not specialising in anything. When I speak to ex-students of Media Studies they always say it is a waste of time and they didn’t learn anything… but I say to them is ‘why didn’t you learn anything’ to which they reply ‘I was not taught anything’. Here is a reality check for you. You are not supposed to be hand held at college or Uni and spoon fed. It is up to you to self learn and be committed to making cool things, cool things with media.
  6. Business Studies: For knowledge about the commercial aspect of gaming.

University Level

  1. Computer Science or Computer Engineering: For comprehensive software development skills.
  2. Game Design and Development: Specialized courses focusing on all aspects of game creation.
    1. Software Engineering is a great option. If there is a specific Game Progamming course, even better. The Game Development course at Liverpool John Moores is a brilliant course for programmers and students learning programming for games. I would not recommend it for Game Design… but you do learn about Game Design, but the industry in Liverpool needs more programmers, hence the course focuses towards that – supply and demand. If you wish to do Game Design, do an English course.
  3. Animation and Graphic Design: For careers in game art and visual design.
  4. Software Engineering: To learn systematic approaches to software development.
    1. Games progamming is software development – you just specialise in making code run 60 times a second instead of a single button press and waiting for the result.
  5. Creative Writing or English: Useful for narrative and story development in games.
  6. Physics or Mathematics: For technical roles requiring complex problem-solving.
  7. Business and Marketing: If interested in the commercial and marketing side of gaming.

Additional Recommendations:

  • Extra-Curricular Activities: Participate in coding clubs, game jams, or online communities.
    • for your CV this is a must – companies like extra credit and they love the fact that you are doing the work in your own time, outside of school/college/uni.
  • Personal Projects: Develop your own games or mods to build a portfolio.
    • if you only have school projects then you are out of luck – do your own projects, extend school projects, even if they are small and simple.
  • Internships: Gain real-world experience and industry contacts.
    • internships in games is hard – the industry is overworked and understaffed, so managing a person who does not know how to do the job is pretty hard. This is why your own personal projects are a must.
  • Online Courses and Tutorials: Platforms like Udemy, Coursera, or specific game development tutorials on platforms like Unity or Unreal Engine
    • Stay tuned to this site as we are building small courses to get you started in the games industry.

Each role in game development requires a different skill set, so focus on areas that align with your interests, whether it’s game programming, design, art, or the business side of games.