game career guide fall 2012.jpegFor the fifth year running, Game Developer magazine's annual Game Career Guide issue -- which aims to help students and aspiring developer secure a job in the game industry -- will be given away for free.

The free special issue is available in digital form, and print versions will be distributed at several major video game consumer and trade shows, including Penny Arcade Expo, GDC, and more.

The 2012 Game Career Guide includes beginner-friendly tutorials on starting out with the Unreal Development Kit, building a mod with the Source Engine SDK, prototyping quick and dirty art assets, and a primer on game modifications. The issue also includes a version of Game Developer's yearly Salary Survey tailored for entry-level game developers, a listing of industry conferences, game jams, and indie competitions that every developer should know of, and a directory of game development programs across the world for students interested in getting into the industry.

It wouldn't be a Game Developer issue without a postmortem, of course. This year's Game Career Guide postmortem is on The Snowfield, an IGF Student Showcase-nominated experimental title from the MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. Project lead Matthew Weise explains what went right and wrong while exploring alternative theories of game narrative (and managing a team of student interns).

"Over the years, our Career Guide has gotten more sophisticated," Game Developer said editor-in-chief Brandon Sheffield, "We realize that new game developers aren't coming from a place of no knowledge. Maybe they've tinkered in LittleBigPlanet, or made levels in Trackmania or Trials Evolution. They've certainly thought about games, and have researched the very basics. 

"That's why we've taken a much more proactive approach to recent issues, including this one. We want to get people making games right away, not just thinking about it. If they choose to, our readers can make a level with the Unreal Development Kit, script an RPG quest in the Source Engine, and prototype designs in an easy-to-use tool, all from within these pages. And if you include past issues, you can learn the basics of Flixel, Unity, Game Maker, and more."

Sheffield continued, "We want all sorts of people to make games, no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they want to make. A sophisticated industry needs variety, and so much innovation can come from first-time game makers. That's why we release this free guide every year, and we hope you enjoy it."

For more on the annual Game Career Guide, visit the Game Developer website at, or go to for more excellent game industry career resources.

[This article originally appeared in Gamasutra.]