The term game developer (gamedev) has been overused, misused and mistreated by many. The same applies for a pixel artist. I am going to focus on the first term here. What is a game developer? When does one have the right to be called a game developer? Who gets to call someone a game developer?
Recently, people who install and run any game engine give themselves the honor of being called game developers. I have even seen some rookie testers calling themselves game developers. I am calling them rookies because they only play a beta version and complement it without any knowledge of the software testing protocols. There are other professional game testers out there adding so much value to the gamedev industry.
RQ1. (Validity): Does installing and running an engine make you a gamedev?
RQ2. (Originality): Does playing around an engine and creating short/test games make you a gamedev?
RQ3. (Identity): Does every task related to game development considered gamedev?
RQ4. (Stupidity): Is every artist a gamedev?
If you are able to create a game using an engine specialized for its genre then you gotta work harder to earn the title gamedev. For instance, I am currently using Adventure Game Studio (AGS) to create my point and click adventure games. I refused being called a gamedev for only doing so, even though I created my graphics and story from scratch. I have to put several mini-games and “non-adventure gaming material” in between. Simply, using an engine for a different genre which requires tons of original code. I even reached a point where I had to edit the engine itself (AGS is open source) to test some of my custom functions.
Nowadays, game engines attract hobbyists with the most appealing line: few or no coding knowledge required. This kills the game development experience instantly. IMO this only creates a game director rather than a developer. I am now asking all of you hobbyists to edit your profile and change your gamedevs to game directors! This industry is suffering enough. You are being an extra burden.
Oh speaking of suffering and burdens, if you’re into gamedev for the money, I got bad news for you. You can work for years on a game -a super game in your case, by the time you finally manage to release it, it would be as old as the mobile device you were using during the time you decided to purchase the engine you are using. Who is going to buy your old looking game (assuming during the development time no one else created a better version..)? A few ‘game director’ friends and/or a couple of people into classics and near-dead genres?So basically, you have to know the gaming core mechanics and be able to manipulate them yourself. Meaning, if the engine you are using lacks a feature but you managed to include it with your own work (probably code) then you are on the right path of being a gamedev. If you use a combination of available features to mimic something your engines lacks, then you are on the path of a game director.