I want to get started in game development, how do I start?

Who doesn't love gaming? I think a lot of people have this skewed idea of what gaming is so when you talk to them about gaming, they're immediately on the defensive end saying that they don't like it and they never play games. But then, I'll see something like Duolingo or the Elevate app or their phone. Why is that relevant you may ask? Well, these are learning or educational apps that have been gamified to keep you interested in using them. No one wants to be on a boring app that's just spitting information at you while you have to focus and try to remember everything thrown at you. People much rather have something interactive that brings to life whatever it is they're learning.

Past the misconception, there's a whole new world
Queue the 'Whole New World' song! A lot of people have one idea and one idea only of what a game is therefore their idea of a game developer and what goes in the making of a game is completely skewed. For example, there are so many jobs and careers that don't even involve the programming of the game but rather the more artistic side like art and creativity. ie. Game design, Concept artist, 3C artist, animator, rigger, etc. It might sound silly but when I first wanted to get started in games, I wasn't even aware that there were so many different paths I could take, that require a different set of skills for every one of them. Knowing that, I would say, is the first step to getting started in the industry. At least, once you know where you're heading, it's easier to know what you should do.

Let's go the programming way
Let's say, after doing your research, you confirm that you want to continue with game programming, where do you get started? I would recommend choosing a game engine that fits the style of game you'd like to create. You can go with Game Maker Studio if you're thinking of mostly making platformers, Unity for anything 2D or 3D that's not too heavy, Unreal Engine for heavier and more graphically intensive games, or Godot for something in between. There are obviously a lot more but these are the most known and common ones. 

Once you've chosen the game engine that you want to at least commit to learning, I suggest diving deep into the language first. I think this is the biggest mistake a lot of game developers do, including myself, when starting: they only focus on learning the language on top of the game engine which already has wrappers and extensions that help you program. It's useful but what will save you the most time is understanding what is actually happening under the hood of each of these wrapper extensions. 

Once you've got a good grasp of the language you're learning, you can start diving into your first game! How? Open the software and do something! Watch a tutorial and just go with it! Most important is to just do it. Something that I think is very valuable is to give yourself homework to go past what you learned in the tutorial and explore a little bit more every time to get to know more and more about the software every time. 

Get creative!
The last part is the most fun part in my opinion, because that's where you realize that you have the world at your fingertips! The moment you realize that you could make anything happen and all you're missing is time and knowledge. So that's when you just have to dream big, be creative, and let your mind lead the way.

The best piece of advice
Something that you'll hear every game developer say is to finish your game! No matter what, aim to always finish the game you started so you get used to completion. A lot of game developers have this bad habit of having 53 'working' games and never finishing any one of them. I think it stems from the fact that when a game takes too long to make, you become better at coding and as you improve, looking back at your old code hurts your eyes and now, you feel like you just want to start fresh. The problem is this never ends, you'll always, hopefully, get better so at some point you just have to be okay with having parts of your code that are not as good as the rest of it. 
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