One of the most complex problems in the game development industry I analyzed lately is that programming, 3D, 2D or any other possible development area is lacking in determining seniority level. In this article, I am planning to share my experience on this issue.
In order to make things clear, I am Murat Şahin Kılıç, Lead Game Developer at Vertigo Games, we are developing the game called Critical Strike for more than 3 years. The game contains online, coop, AI and many other features including armors, helmets and such. I have been developing games for almost 10 years. Even though I have been working for like 10 years I was just able to put my title as Lead Game Developer which I wasn’t even the one who put this title to myself. It was only after I worked as a developer at Vertigo Games and wrote and managed the whole architecture of Critical Strike. That’s how I was able to get this title as Lead Game Developer.
Firstly, about determining your seniority level, you just don’t. You create games and then people determine if it’s good enough to level up your rank. In my opinion, if you have not been on any professional team before you would be still junior level unless you published your codes and let other developers code-review them. The code review is one of the key tools to increase your seniority level. Without it, no matter how hard you work you wouldn’t be able to level up. Not only getting code review but also giving it a boost your progress bar to achieve the next seniority level.
Secondly, the game genre is affecting your ranks and skills. Let’s illustrate with hyper-casual vs casual. In hyper-casual games, there is almost not any challenge in development or 2D/3D after a few months however the marketing team is increasing their skill to achieve better results. On the other hand, casual games must have the best 2D/3D visuals in their game and also the economy behind them is very important to players. Also needing to have social features and almost complex systems helping programmers to increase their level up. If we move forward to the next genre like mid-core we will be able to increase almost all of our skills due to it requires GPU/CPU improvements, complex animators, sometimes networking and such. So, the next genre means the next level.
Lastly, in a new project or a new team, you are always Junior till their onboarding are over. The reason for this is that you don’t know codebase, you don’t know packages, you don’t know marketing techniques, limits for 2D/3D, the art style, analytic events, problems and countless areas.
In conclusion, all types of developers must consider code review, game genre and be new to another project. Also not determining your seniority level but showing it is a better way.