Should you learn Web Development as a Game Developer?

Andrew Velez
Posted on 1/1/2019Last Modified: 1/2/2019

Everyone who understands Game Development has the ability to learn Web Development. With that in mind wouldn't it make sense that if you knew Game Development you'd want to learn Web Development. There are so many benefits to being able to create a website. The biggest benefit is that you can have a place for people to buy and play your game. Steam charges 30% for each sale of your game. That is 30 dollars for every 100 dollars you make. If you could find a way to get your steam customers to buy from your website directly you could make a lot more money.

You will have to learn a new language to pick up web development. Most games are not made in Web Languages. Make sure to keep best practices in mind when you are learning a new language. Try to take the time and find out what is the best way to code before jumping in and coding up your classes. Every language is different.

A lot of people make the mistake of jumping straight into a language like JavaScript without ever taking the time to learn about all its little intricacies. (Hello, my name is Andrew and i jumped into a JavaScript Internship with only having done one course in JavaScript.) You should take the time to take more than one course or read a book on the language you want to learn. Not only are some of the books really interesting, they will allow you to understand a lot of the coding problems newbies have with JavaScript.

Javascript meme from Programmer Humor on Reddit.

Null is not equal to zero nor is it zero in JavaScript.
When you convert null to a numeric value with <= than it is treated like 0. null == 0 is false but Number(null) == 0 is true.

We all need to take the time to truly understand what all the equality operators do. A really great book i read that thought me about implicit and explicit coercion was You Don't Know JS Types and Grammer by Kyle Simpson. Kyle Simpson is a great author and completely demystifies coercion in one of the chapters of the book. The rest of his books helped me land a job at IGT.

Why I use JavaScript?

JavaScript is my language of choice when doing web development. It is a really easy langauge to first get into to. It allows you to have a website up and running very quickly. I like to use React for my Websites. There is a really good guide that teaches you how to get a website up in running on React. It's important to do it yourself so you understand what all the packages you are adding are. I use Express and Next.js to do the Server Side Rendering, these are both JavaScript Frameworks so that means everything for my website is in one language.

Having only one language for everything on my site makes it really easy to code. You Create components for the Rendering in the Pages Folder. Any React Component in the Pages Folder is a url on your website. If you have Contact.js file under Pages like /Pages/Contact.js than on your website it would show up as https://www.(DomainName)/contact. If you want to debug a page you know exactly what file to go to.
Using Next also allows you to send your page only once its been loaded on the server. This makes it so you only render a page that is fully rendered first with the Database info. You want this so that your website is not loading while the user is scrolling. If images are popping up while the user is scrolling they are likely to click on something they didn't mean to.

The biggest benifit of Next.js is that you can setup Server Side Rendering(SSR) with your website. This allows you to do Search Engine Optimization(SEO). Without Server Side Rendering it wouldn't be possible for google robots to index your site. The robots don't allow JavaScript to run on your website, they only allow plain html. That is why you need to have a way to generate the page from your servers. Your servers need to be the ones to traverse the database and get the information they need when the robots first initially load the page. You can test that your website is SEO friendly by turning of JavaScript in Google Chrome.

Benefits of learning Web Development
You can save money for each sale of your game. You get to keep 20-30% more of the sale. Over time that could really add up. That is why i made it a priority to get my own website up to have a place to host my games for close to no cost. Having a website also allows you to make money using ads and affiliate links. It opens your game to a whole host of different advertisement methods and money making methods.
A lot of game developers don't like to think about the marketing side of game development until the very end. This is the worst time to start promoting your game. You have to constantly be sharing your progress in your game so that people are excited for it. Its not enough to just put a lot of effort into a game. You need people to see your work and be excited for it, that is how you make money. (Shamless Plug: If you interested in posting videos and photos of your game progress on our website please contact careers@learngamedevelopment.net with your resume we pay 25 dollars an article.)
Having a website is a great way to appear on Google Search results and other search engines. You determine exactly what information you want google to display in the search results. This is an extremely powerful tool.
Another reason to learn Web Development is that you are more marketable. There are very few cities that are good for Game Development jobs. If you are not willing to move to Seattle, California or Nevada then you are most likely not going to be working on games. It's good to have a back up incase you have to get a job soon. Web Development is extremely common across the country. There will always be Front End Web Development positions across the country.

Web Development is great don't fall victim to the thought that you are either a game developer or web developer. You can be both. If you're reading this article and your are new to coding then i definetly recommend learning web development. It is a great way to start learning coding since it s so easy to startup. React is my favorite way to make websites but there are so many different ways to create websites that you should use what you are comfortable with.

Thank you for reading i hope you have a great day!

Andrew Velez
Posted on 1/1/2019Last Modified: 1/2/2019


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