A game is essentially a structured, predetermined form of play, often undertaken as entertainment or relaxation, and at times used as an educational instrument. Games are very different from work, which typically is carried out primarily for monetary remuneration, and from fine arts, which is primarily an expression of aesthetic or political elements. The latter two can evolve as part of a greater whole, but in most cases, the two diverge.
In many instances, the goal of a game is not simply to win, although winning can certainly be a component of the game. To analyze the nature and purposes of a game, we must ask ourselves whether the end state is achieved by the elimination of any set of competing beings, whether the end state is self-satisfied or not, whether the end state can be achieved by the partial elimination of the forces of the environment, or whether the end state is achieved by some sort of communal productive activity. The answers to these questions are fundamental to understanding the nature and purposes of a game. Put simply, a game is either a one-player game or a two-player game; if the game is a one-player game, each player is playing against one another, with no external forces acting against them; if the game is a two-player game, each player is playing against some external force, with the external force using its special powers to assist its own players. So then, we have to ask: Who is the ‘force’ in the game? And what is its nature and purpose?
A game developer has the responsibility of creating the world that the game will inhabit; a game designer can create the world in which the game exists. The game developer will also often use the game’s code as the basis for character and game development, and will often use source code for adding new capabilities to existing games, or improving on existing games. A game developer may work as part of a small team, on just one project, or as a part of a large team, working on multiple projects. The team may work in an established team structure, or they may work more like a loose collective, with members contributing their own ideas and skills to the project.
A game developer will also have the responsibility of implementing the game design into the game objects. In this case, game objects will be the physical representation of the game concept, acting as the interactive interface with the game. Game objects will include characters, weapons, levels, etc., and the game design will dictate how these objects should behave, when needed, in order to fulfill the purpose of the game. Often, the game designers will implement these game objects through the use of programming languages such as C++ and Java. However, some game developers will prefer to write their own game objects.
A video game developer will have the job of actually creating the game objects. This includes, but is not limited to, creating game maps, images, sounds, user interfaces, user stories, game code, data structures, etc. A game developer will need to have good writing skills, good computer skills, knowledge of the history of computing, and a lot of creative ideas. Most programmers will hire other programmers to help them create the game engines that they need. However, some programmers will choose to implement their game concepts themselves.
In summary, game development is a highly technical job. It requires not only technical skill but also creativity and artistic vision. It has a very high educational requirement, but most game developers are provided with on-the-job training as well as substantial course work that cannot be easily completed outside of the professional world. Many people have become very successful in the video game industry, doing so after having spent years learning the basic principles of computer science, math, physics, etc. Video game developers can pursue careers as programmers, designers, producers, or freelance game developers.