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I do not know how to program. Can I contribute in any way to game development?

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This question isn’t asking how to get started, which technology to use, or what to learn. It’s just asking if there is space in the field for somebody who isn’t a programmer. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Jan 25 '18 at 14:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Have to agree, this may be a simple question but it is by no means a bad one. \$\endgroup\$ – Engineer Jan 25 '18 at 16:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please avoid posting lists of non-programming jobs that are related to game development. Lists are not what this site is about. \$\endgroup\$ – Alexandre Vaillancourt Jan 25 '18 at 16:26
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Yes, you can.

Developing games requires, generally, a variety of skills. Programming is one of those skills, but it's not the only skill involved. Games generally require art and sound, gameplay mechanics design. They often require writing. Voice acting, marketing, QA testing, and so on.

If you can offer any of those skills, you can potentially find yourself in a position where you can contribute to the development of a game.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I can write how a particular game that I designed works and the material time and no. of players required to play it etc.. Also provide instructions on how to play it. Do I qualify as a game developer? Am I relevant in this stack? \$\endgroup\$ – Srini.n Jan 24 '18 at 19:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Nobody here is the arbiter of whether or not you are a game developer. You’re welcome here regardless of your experience and skill; if you ask good questions and/or write good answers, you are relevant to this site. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Jan 24 '18 at 19:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do try and get a basic grasp on broad relevant programming notions if you're in any kind of position where you'd direct a programmer's work -- that is, most of them. Not every code task is born equal, and that is quite opaque to complete non-programmers. \$\endgroup\$ – Quentin Jan 25 '18 at 9:35
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Even if you don't know how to program, you can still contribute to game development in a variety of ways by being one of the following:

-- Artist - Nearly every image you see in a game was drawn by an artist. If there weren't artists, then game graphics would be just as good as doodles. However, special effects (flashes, explosions, etc.) and lighting require programming to make (techniclaly, you can draw anything frame by frame, but special effects are the ideal and more performant way of drawing special effects). Also, the technical details of how to use and animate the images are handled by the programmer. OpenGL and DirectX are used for the programmer-side of things.

-- Musician - A game needs music and sound effects, of course. Programmers can also participate in this by doing interesting things with the sound card (OpenSL, Direct Sound, something similar is for this)

-- Translator - Needed for when you need a game in a country whose language you don't know.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Programmers can also participate in this by doing interesting things with the sound card - that's a thing of the past for about 20 years now. Programmers did neat things in the 80s and early 90s to get more out of the limited sound chips of that era, but modern sound chips can play anything a DAW can produce. And DAWs are so powerful and versatile today that there is really no need to have programmers on a game development team who program custom software synthesizers or audio filters. But what you do see are programmers who better integrate audio into the game itself. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Jan 25 '18 at 12:16

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