Jade Raymond is as close to a star in Canadian gaming as you can get. She built on her love of math and art in school to become a program developer with Sony Online’s Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit games. Jade is now Managing Director of Ubisoft Toronto but along the way she worked on The Sims Online with Electronic Arts and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed. Watch her give an inside tour of what it’s like to work at Ubisoft’s Toronto office.
Developing the Impossible
Send giant cell phones flying through the air to ward off zombies in Dead Rising or protect the galaxy in a cybernetic power suit like Samus Aran in Metroid. Whatever is impossible in real life is transformed by game program developers into bizarre possibilities to keep players endlessly challenged. Anything goes when game developers get to step outside the limits of everyday life to make the imaginary seem so real you duck when an asteroid looks like it’ll burst out of the screen.
All the neat things a player takes for granted in a video game like gravity-free flying through space, flashing a light around a cave or simply clicking to compete with a friend online, are built into games by developers, piece by piece. What the game’s artist and designer envision, the developer turns into reality through program coding.
And it doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all career. Some games can get real complex and require developers who specialize in just one thing like the core engine that drives the whole game; the 3D graphics component; or music and digital sounds. Even inviting a friend to play takes a specialist in network programming to connect a game to everyone, anywhere.
For people who
- Are passionate about gaming
- Love to use math and physics to solve problems
- Are able to translate the gameplay’s vision into programming
- Find it easy to see code as real game elements
- Stay focused on challenges until they are solved
- Have high attention to detail for catching glitches and bugs
Game developers have strong programming skills such as C and C++. Some universities like Carleton, Lakehead, Brock, Algoma and University of Ontario offer game development specialty streams within bachelor degree programs in science or computer science. Development and design programs are offered at community colleges too like Seneca, Sheridan, Centennial, Fanshawe and George Brown.
Game developers find jobs at the 329 video gaming companies across Canada or become self-employed as an Indie developer and freelancer for gaming companie . Check out the complete list of where companies are located and what types of games they develop at CanDevs.
$40,000 - $85,000
- IGN’s Top 100 Game Developers: How to Get Started
- Top 100 Game Developers: Humble Beginnings
- So You Want to be a Game Programmer - Blog
- Digital Interactive Gaming Conference - London, Ontario