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8 Jan 2014

Use 2014 to Learn a New Skill Beneficial to Developing Games

On the first week of the new year, I wrote a series regarding how to make 2014 the year that you find your dream job at an indie development studio. It contains a lot of helpful advice for those looking to make a fresh new start, and if you are at all interested in how to grab the attention of hiring managers and make yourself look presentable, I highly encourage that you check it out.

While writing the series last week, I started wondering about how the new year could help those that are actually happy in their careers. What about the indie devs that own their own studio or are happy where they are and do not want to go anywhere else, yet they want to benefit from making 2014 a year that is full of new experiences career-wise?


Learn a new skill that can be beneficial to the development of your future games! Use 2014 to learn a skill that you once thought was impossible and do your part to learn it. Besides, we live in the Internet age – anything can be learned by anyone with enough patience. What’s the best way to learn your new skill so you can look back on 2014 with pride? Here’s the best way to go about this challenge and make 2014 one of the most productive of your life.


Discover the skill you want to learn

There are skills that we wish we could learn, yet we feel there is no possible way that we could ever learn these skills. We feel as if fate simply didn’t want us to be able to use this skill, yet as stated above, we live in the Internet age – anything can be learned with enough patience and time. So that skill you feel is impossible for you to learn? Make 2014 the year that you will learn it.

If you are a programmer and you know next to nothing about how to draw beautiful images? Make 2014 the year you will learn how to do this. Are you an artist yet you have no clue how to make music? Again, use this year to be the year you will learn the skill you once thought was impossible.


Besides, we live in a world where learning any skill is never impossible.


Have the skill you want to learn? Grab the toolbox to learn it

As recently as 10 years ago, if you wanted to learn a skill and needed a certain tool to learn it, you needed to fork over a ton of money in order to even use the tool to learn said skill. Nowadays? Many of the best tools needed to learn a certain skill are free, and if a tool that is considered ‘best’ is not free? A free alternative can usually be found ( is a great resource for finding the best free alternatives to the best tools).


Training for your skill

In the same way that tools were expensive to purchase only a few years ago, the same is true about training. For every obstacle you run into when training for your skill, there is almost a guarantee that you will be able to find a YouTube video that explains how to overcome the obstacle and continue training to hone your skill. In fact, you could almost master a skill just by watching YouTube videos, no specialized, expensive training required!

And if you cannot find what you are looking for on YouTube for some reason, a quick Google search will guide you on the path you need to be on in your quest for learning a new skill.


Never tell yourself ‘later’

You are probably going to find yourself telling yourself that you will “learn that skill later.” When is later anyway? Is it in a few hours? Tomorrow? Next week? Next decade even? When you think about it, ‘later’ a soft term for telling yourself that you will not something now. As I stated above, you have the tools and training at your disposal no matter what type of indie development skill you want to learn, and it’s available to you now.

Thus, why wait until ‘later’ – especially when you have no idea when ‘later’ will be? Never tell yourself that you will do something later – instead, start now. Even if you can only learn a small tidbit of information now, always do something productive every day in an effort to improve the skill you are looking to master. Even if you only have a few minutes to spend on the skill a few days a week, make those few moments count. Get into the habit of working toward your goal every day, and you will find that often, when a day passes that you do not strive to learn the skill, your day will feel incomplete.

And guess what? You will find yourself being forced to learn the skill the next free moment in the day that you get. Always be productive toward learning your new skill!


Got an idea? Use it. Now.

As you progress in learning your new skill, you are probably going to find that you have new ideas surrounding said skill. For example, if you are learning how to make music, you will probably find a jingle in your head that you want to create for yourself. Use that idea and turn it into something real. Don’t tell yourself that one day you will create the jingle – find out how to do it starting now! It doesn’t have to be perfect during the first draft – in fact, it won’t be. Create a barebones prototype of the jingle, see how you can make it work, test it, and learn new methods you can use to make the jingle a reality.

It sounds fun, doesn’t it? Learning something new is fun depending on how you approach it. Use 2014 to be the year you learn a new skill that will help you in your game development career. Without question, when you look back on 2015, you’re going to be proud of the work you accomplished!

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