The “Gaming Developer” Dilemma

Savas Ziplies 9:57 pm on July 11, 2011 Counting comments...

There is a developer saying: “To understand recursion, you must first understand recursion!” This humoristic approach describing the fundamentals of recursion is true in many ways as it is helpful to know or already have an idea about something if you are trying to fully comprise something similar (mirrored knowledge). In game development this paradigm is ubiquitous as many job descriptions request “Gaming Experience”, “Fun with Games” or “A real Gamer”. A Gaming Developer is what is requested… But is it a blessing or a curse?

The Gaming Developer

I myself am a gamer. Always was, always will be. From Portal and it just kept me nailed to the display as it was somehow so simple but so intriguing. So straight forward but so extensive. I just thought about how to replicate it, had to experiment and try it out myself. Even if I did not know any specifics, a simple idea made me learn more in a few days than I had learned in the months before. A blessing for me as a developer!

Blessing or Curse?

I don’t think that an action-adventure developer has to play Tomb Raider or Uncharted… but it can help! I don’t think that a motion-gaming developer has to own a Wii… but it helps! Even with my very concrete bad experience I think it is more blessing than curse to be an (extensive) gamer when doing game development. It helps conceiving and developing motion-controls if you already played some other examples. On the same side I have seen developers just great and brilliant in their technical understanding and implementation without the passion for gaming. Therefore, I wouldn’t label it a necessity. Nevertheless, right now I would always prefer the Gaming Developer as he can be driven by passion and can incorporated a possible outcome already very early in design, maybe changing the whole development phase. Therefore, I would chose the Developing Gamer… at least with some guidance sometimes ^^’

So, what do you think? The Gaming Developer: Blessing or Curse? Necessity or Evil?