Cross Discipline is Crazy

In game design there is a lot of separation. There are writers, programmers, artists, designers, sound people, the list goes on and on. Through school I have been studying the computer science side of things, so getting deep into code to make games happen. It’s a really fun and crazy thing, and I should just super focus on this and never try anything else ever, right?

Well this post would be really short if the answer to that was yes.

I’m not the type of person who’s going to do just one thing, I’m just not wired that way. This is something that has a good sized list of pros and cons.

A lot of people are really good at one thing. Maybe programming AI, maybe modeling characters, maybe drawing 8 bit art. And the people who do these things really well do these things REALLY REALLY well. It’s a very hire-able thing, to be an expert in one specific area.

But for some reason that’s just not what I want to do. So to start I have been learning a lot of different areas of programming. I’ve written a post about my adventure in learning programming AI, and I’ve also been learning multiple engines and how to program gameplay, AI, etc. But over the past couple weeks I’ve been working on even more. For my 3d Game Design class I created a pitch document which implemented a lot of my general design knowledge. I also have a digital drawing tablet, and so I’ve been working hard on improving my art skill so that I can just have a better understanding of what my teammates who focus in art do!

So which one is better? Well neither, there’s a great place for both. A specialist is going to be looked upon as an expert in their field, and so will get the jobs at the bigger – medium sized companies that are looking for someone who is amazing at a certain one or two things. But for smaller teams, say with 2-4 people, it’s helpful for someone like me who doesn’t focus on one single thing, but tends to be a jack-of-all. This is something I’ve especially noticed in my personal projects when it’s just me and an artist, I have to know a lot about design and programming at that point for us to make a decent game.

But what do you guys think? Is it really a bad idea to try the jack-of-all route? Let me know what you think!

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