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    VR game developer goes industrial

    When studying my degree in Business Information Systems with a specialization in Game Development, I always assumed I would eventually work in a game company. Or at least that I would work with games in some capacity, be they digital or not. It seemed like the only logical choice given my specialization.

    Turns out I was wrong; I don’t work in a game company, or even really with games. And I still get to utilize what I know of games and gamification in my daily work.

    Using a game engine to build industrial solutions

    Soon after graduation I ended in a joint project between Microsoft and Insta Digital, a software company with no apparent relation to the game industry. The project wasn’t really even game-related at all – it dealt with industrial virtual reality solutions.

    To many, the word industrial might sound like an antithesis to games. But I don’t think it is; not anymore.

    The tool we used to build the solution was Unity – the popular game engine that I had used for most of my study projects. This wasn’t the first time I had used Unity in a non-gaming context either; during my practical training, I worked for a startup that used Unity to build a physiotherapy application.

    So, tool-wise, my game developer background was actually a perfect match to an industrial domain. And the surprises didn’t end there; it turned out that the overlap between gaming and industrial solutions extended beyond just shared tools.

    Gamification is everywhere

    Since joining Insta Digital, I have been a part of multiple virtual reality projects for various domains, from industrial fields to security and beyond. In each project, gamification has been present in one form or another, whether it’s designing an immersive, engaging GUI, or thinking up ways to reward the users (or players, if you will).

    As it turns out, non-gaming solutions can benefit from elements of gamification and ludification (playful elements), and virtual reality itself has a lot in common with games. Both are meant to be immersive and engaging; you wouldn’t play a boring game, just as you wouldn’t use an unconvincing virtual reality application. They’re both all about the provided experience.

    Unlocking a new stage of game development

    As far as I’m concerned, you don’t have to work with games to be able to fully utilize your game development skills and tools. On the contrary, sometimes utilizing your talent outside the obvious makes for interesting experiences and insights.

    Game companies aren’t the only ones in need of game developers, and that opens up a whole new world of career paths and opportunities. Gamification and ludification have really given new depth to the terms game developer and game designer.

    Today, you can be a game developer without making games.

    Author

    Paula Ylinen