How to Start a Career in Games

SO many articles I’ve encountered about how to get a job making video games are misleading. They spend too much time over-emphasizing, and sometimes exaggerating, how competitive the game industry is, and yet simultaneously propose a perfect formula for “breaking in”.

Even the phrase “breaking in” is a misnomer- although it can be difficult to get a paid job making games, if you’re making games at all, then you’re contributing to the game industry, and you are a game developer already. You’ve already taken the most important step to making games as a career: making a game. Let’s not gatekeep the terminology.

I can’t tell you exactly how to run your game development journey. Maybe you want to secure a AAA job, maybe you want to do your own indie thing, or maybe you need help taking the first step to make a game. I’m not going to be condescending and tell you what you want out of your game journey or career, or try to look cool by exaggerating how competitive this field is to get a job in.

Instead, I’m going to do my best to present a list of adaptable ideas for improving and finding paid work as a game developer. Because hey- once you’ve made your first game, you already are one. ❤️

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Custom Diffuse Shader in Unity

If you want your game to have a unique aesthetic, a great way to accomplish that is to have all of your objects using a shader that you personally wrote for the game. The only lighting scheme I’ve written about so far is cel shading, but that’s not the only way to go about stylized looks!

So, I decided this tutorial series needed a post on diffuse shading. Lots of tutorials have already covered diffuse shading in lots of languages, so this post also has a few ideas for ways to improve and expand upon a basic diffuse shader.

In the header image, the watermelon slice is using Unity’s default diffuse shader; on the right, it’s using the shader we write during this tutorial!

We’re going after a stylized look, so the ideas presented here introduce some basic ideas and skip over others. This is certainly not the ‘best’ way to write a diffuse shader, and there arguably isn’t one single ‘best’ way- there’s just what’s best for your game!

For your reference, here’s the final code for the simple diffuse shader in Unity.

Now, on with the tutorial!

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Full Game Aesthetic Walk-Through

Hey, y’all! My friends Kytana LeLucien Ye, and I created a chill, atmospheric, color-based puzzle game called The Endless River during the 2018 Global Game Jam. In the spirit of the Global Game Jam’s encouragement of knowledge-sharing, here’s a tutorial on how we made all of the visual effects in the game!

Firstly, here’s the entire Github repository for the whole Unity project. Feel free to download it and use the resources, as long as you include the same open-source license with your project.

I’m going to talk about how we chose the effects that we used and give a short overview of how to implement every effect. One of these effects uses a shader that’s controlled by gameplay code, so this tutorial should be a great example of how to integrate shaders into the overall aesthetic and the game mechanics for your games.

In addition, there are a couple of tutorials that cover the details how the shaders were written for some of the effects, as there’s more material than would fit in this tutorial:

Now, on with the tutorial!

Continue reading Full Game Aesthetic Walk-Through