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Ask Amiqus: How much does new gaming technology require developers to learn new skills?


Games technology has always been evolving

and learning new skills has always been a prerequisite for games industry professionals. Since the smartphone and tablet explosion, in recent years cross-platform accessibility has become a major theme within game development. On top of this comes the continued evolution in next gen console hardware, 4k gaming and VR. With such exponential development, how can we be sure the skills keep up?

Perhaps surprisingly, despite its continued evolution core skills tend not to change that much within games. Even for the newest, cutting edge tech areas such as VR, the core code-base is still built on object oriented programming and hasn’t moved far away from C++ and C# for some time. On the art side there is demand for assets and environments created using Physics Based Rendering (PBR) and again these skills are fully transferrable. When it comes to software, Max, Maya and Photoshop have also been prolific for a long time. Of course keeping up to date with the latest versions of software is important so it’s always appropriate to seek out training to keep your skills sharp.

Without the need for a step-change in re-skilling, what’s the best way to keep your skills relevant? We find it’s not so much about the core skills but the context of deployment that has taken precedence. For example there is a high demand for engine specific experience across disciplines, in particular UE4 and Unity because the integration of art assets and gameplay features is so heavily reliant on the power and functionality of the engine. 

So what are the challenges for studios looking for talent? Put simply, the sheer power of the new tech has lifted the lid on making games bigger and better. While the code-base stays broadly the same, what has changed significantly is the size and scale of pipelines alongside an increase in storage capability. This has paved the way for the likes of Microsoft’s Xbox One X revealed at E3, claiming to be the world's most powerful console with true 4K graphics and 40% more power than any rival. Where once the ambition of the studio might have hit a ceiling, with the right budget devs now have the option to deploy resource upon resource to reach new heights in creating immersive experiences – the sky’s the limit. A bigger challenge for the larger devs now is where to draw the line on features and detail to constrain the team sizes and keep the balance of production versus release-cycle in check. 

The effect for studios acquiring talent is a continued squeeze on the experienced market with those who can hit-the-ground running in higher demand than ever across all disciplines. High-achieving grads with up-to-date skills are always welcomed in to the industry, but studios increasingly need to attract established games professionals to be able to fully utilise their tech and apply their expertise of the dev lifecycle. New tech is both exciting and powerful for developers and although it doesn’t demand a re-invention of skills, the gap between supply and demand looks set to widen at least in the short term. This is a familiar cycle for developers and recruiters and a lag between innovation and an up-skilled workforce is perhaps inevitable. The games industry has always overcome these skills gaps over time and for us, it’s all part of the enjoyment of recruiting for this inspiring, cutting-edge market.   

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This is a very good mod
Joshua, 23 July 2017
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