The video game development market is showing no signs of slowing down, helped in part due to the pandemic, as people sought alternate ways to keep themselves occupied with limited access to pre-pandemic entertainment (movie theaters, concerts, packed arenas breathlessly watching mimes). In addition, gaming has been embraced by the world and no longer just a hobby for the “uncool” kids.
With the continued rise in interest for video games, it follows suit that the need for people to create those games is on the rise as well. Video game developers are the backbone of game development, and work alongside storytellers, level designers, artists, voice over talent, and game testers to make the world of their games come to life. To do that, however, a developer needs a specific skill set, beyond the normal software development fundamentals.
Seeking a career in game development will require programmers to make a few decisions early on that could shape their career path. For example, video games can be programmed using a number of programming languages, with the most common being C++, HTML5, C#, Java, and Python. Figuring out the platform you want to code games on matters too. If you want to make games for consoles like the PlayStation or Xbox, then C++ is a must. Online game devs will fair well with HTML5; the same could be said for VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) game creators.
Top Online Courses to Learn Game Development
Normally in articles that highlight courses to learn a programming language, we break the listings down into categories for beginner, intermediate, and advanced developers. This time we are taking a different approach and giving coders game development courses covering different languages, game engines, and career paths. At the end of the day, you might want to consider taking several of these courses, as the more experience, game development environments, and languages you have under your belt, the better.
Game Writing: Storytelling through Video Game Design from Udemy
Just as with regular programming, knowing syntax, keywords, methods, and functions are great, but they are not all a developer will need to know to become a great software engineer. Program design and an understanding of software architecture are essential concepts for a programmer to know. For that reason, we start off our listing of video game development courses with a surprising entry: Game Writing: Storytelling through Video Game Design.
This game developer course involves zero coding or programming languages. Instead, it sets its eyes on one of the most vital parts of a video game: storytelling and game design. If you have ever played retro video games, you will know that only a few of the thousands that were created ever stood the test of time, regardless of poor graphics and limited memory/processor resources. Super Mario Brothers, Zelda, and Duck Tales were all stand outs not because of superior graphics, but because of solid game design. Symphony of the Night is a revered cult classic from the Castlevania series largely due to its immersive story and replayability.
This programming course teaches students how to write video games and design them. You will study how story is conveyed through gameplay and examples of memorable narrative elements. By the end of the class, students will be able to develop a video game idea from conception through to the story phase. The course is two hours total, with bonus material promised at later dates.
You can sign up for this quick game development course by visiting its page on Udemy: Game Writing: Storytelling through Video Game Design.
Unreal Engine 5 C++ Developer: Learn C++ & Make Video Games from Udemy
The Unreal Engine 5 C++ Developer: Learn C++ & Make Video Games course is great for new developers that want to not only learn video game development, but also the basics of C++ and the ever-popular Unreal Engine.
One of the best things about this particular course is that, by the end, you will have made 5 basic video games. This means that you won’t just be learning code and code principles; you will be actually putting your knowledge to work, helping ensure that what you learn sticks and makes sense in the real world of coding.
The course is pretty long, weighing in at nearly 30 hours. It comes with a “Certificate of Completion” once your finish the class. Video game development topics covered include:
- How to use (and make games in) Unreal Engine
- Object-oriented Programming (OOP) principles and concepts
- C++ fundamentals and best practices
- Writing clean code and documentation
- How to use artificial intelligence (AI) for behavioral programming of NPC and enemy characters
- How to use Blueprint
- Game development technologies and techniques
You can sign-up for this course and begin creating your first five video games by visiting its Udemy listing: Unreal Engine 5 C++ Developer: Learn C++ & Make Video Games.
Introduction to C++ Programming and Unreal from Coursera
If you are looking for a shorter course to learn both C++ and the Unreal Game Engine, Coursera has a course titled Introduction to C++ Programming and Unreal that may be a better fit before you tackle something larger.
The course does suggest you have knowledge of programming in some language, as C++ (even at the beginner level) can be a little challenging. The course is 20 hours long and is the first part of a larger series called the C++ Programming for Unreal Game Development Specialization. It is made up of four modules, detailed below:
- Module 1: Create a C++ console app and Unreal Script
- Module 2: Store and use data in your programs
- Module 3: Uses classes and objects to create object-oriented code
- Module 4: Learn how to use the Unreal Engine
You can sign-up for this course by visiting its page on Coursera: Introduction to C++ Programming and Unreal.
Introduction to C# Programming and Unity from Coursera
The Introduction to C# Programming and Unity from Coursera shifts focus from C++ and Unreal and, instead, cover C# and the Unity Game Engine, which is another popular game development tool. One of the great benefits to this course is that it teaches students how to code in C#, which is one of the world’s top 5 programming languages. C# is also highly flexible and powerful, so if you cannot find a job developing games, you will have plenty of other options.
The course is 19 hours long and does not require you to know any programming or software development at all. The course contains four modules with specific goals for each module:
- Module 1: Write a C# console application and some Unity scripts
- Module 2: Learn how to store data
- Module 3: Use classes and objects in C#
- Module 4: Learn how to create basic 2D games using the Unity engine
You can sign up for this C# game development course by visiting its Coursera listing: Introduction to C# Programming and Unity from Coursera.
The Hands-On Game Development Bundle: Make Your Own Games! From TechRepublic Academy
The The Hands-On Game Development Bundle: Make Your Own Games! bundle is made up of 10 courses, each of which cover an important aspect of game design and development. This is a particularly interesting bundle, because students will get to make several types of games on different gaming platforms and even use a few different game development tools.
In the first course, the focus will be on how to program a micro-strategy game. The second course covers C++ programming for beginners. With a little C++ syntax under your belt, it is time to look at another set of tools for game creation: Node.js and Express. From there, Godot game development is taught, followed by an overview of humanoid animation tools, which are used to animate characters in your games.
With these skills learned, you will next create an actual augmented reality (AR) game called Space Shooter. Unit movement is then covered, after which you get the opportunity to create your first 3D game using Unity. The final two courses in the bundle tackle two more game types: mobile game development and how to use C++ to make a text-based role-playing game (RPG).
To signup, visit the game development course’s page at TechRepublic Academy: The Hands-On Game Development Bundle: Make Your Own Games!
The 2022 Premium Learn Game Development Bundle from TechRepublic Academy
The The 2022 Premium Learn Game Development Bundle is another huge bundle. While it contains fewer courses than our previous listing, it contains an astonishing 130 hours worth of material. A great part of this bundle is that it focuses on other elements of game development and design that other courses tend to skim over. For example, one of the courses covers 2D game creation in Unity, while another teaches 3D modeling with Blender.
Design patterns are gone over in great detail and there is plenty of C++ coding as well. Finally, an “RPG Core Combat Creator” section teaches C# and intermediate level Unity.
To learn more and begin taking this game creation course, visit its TechRepublic Academy page: The 2022 Premium Learn Game Development Bundle.
How To Get A Job In The Video Game Industry from TechRepublic Academy
Learning game development principles, programming languages, and how to work with game development tools like Blender, Unity, and Unreal Engine are all integral parts of becoming a game developer. However, if you do not know how to showcase those skills, network, and create an eye-catching portfolio, none of it will matter. Because of that, we decided to close out this article with the How To Get A Job In The Video Game Industry course from Udemy.
As the name implies, this course will teach you the following career development techniques and tactics:
- How to stand out from other candidates to ensure your get an interview
- Interview techniques and answers to common game developer interview questions
- How to create a brand for self-promotion
- LinkedIn networking strategies and how to catch the eyes of decision makers
- How to create resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and portfolio that are tailored to the gaming industry
- Learn how to find jobs and create opportunities when they do not exist
You can sign up for this course to get your career as a game developer started by visiting: How to Get a Job in the Video Game Industry.