For a lot of gamers, creativity outside of games is part of the appeal. That is to say, beyond being good at actual games, some enthusiasts in the gaming world like to be able to customize their experiences and enhance their own enjoyment. This can be easier said than done, but for those who do like the idea of customizing the gaming experience, a handful of skills can come in handy….
1. 3D Printing
3D printing didn’t seem like a particularly accessible technology just a few years ago. Now though, it’s something amateurs are experimenting with more and more. According to a Lifehacker guide to 3D printing, machines are available for as little as a few hundred dollars, and once you have one “the sky’s the limit.” It can absolutely take some time to get the hang of it, and designing your own projects for printing (as opposed to downloading others’ designs) takes some work. But it’s reasonable today to expect to be able to buy a printer and create your own objects.
As for why this is of use to gamers, one need only consider the possibilities! But 3D Printer Chat’s examples of projects provides a few good ideas that might get you thinking. Among the examples are a custom stand for a PS4, a faceplate for an Xbox One controller, and even a few makeshift, retro consoles. Through projects like these you can begin to see how 3D printing could become an awesome skill for any gaming enthusiast.
2. App Design
Not unlike 3D printing, app design used to seem extremely complicated, and somewhat out of reach for the average person. But it’s since gotten a lot easier. This is partly tanks to the fact that education is widely available; those who want to learn mobile app development can do so at minimal cost through any number of online resources. It’s also thanks to the emergence of easier build platforms though. A list of app builders by Mashable demonstrates clearly that there are now all kinds of programs — including some for people with less development know-how.
It’s still a challenge to piece together a great app. But any gamer who’s ever had an interested in actually designing a video game can give it a try, and it’s easiest to do so in the mobile arena.
3. Printed Circuit Board Design
We took a look at some of the ‘Best Processors for Gaming 2021’ back in July, conveying the idea that some gamers do like to customize their machines a little bit. Most typically for a PC, the installation of a new processor can bring new power to a gaming experience. But on an even more nuts-and-bolts level — as well as a more creative one — we’re going a step further here and suggesting that some gamers might also like to create their own circuit boards for gaming electronics.
This is another process that definitely requires a bit of education, but it’s easy enough to come by. For starters you’ll want to learn what you’re actually dealing with. In this regard, an Altium overview of circuit board parts makes clear that with today’s design software you can start by essentially laying out the different parts needed to form a circuit. Then, all in a digital environment, you can begin to build them into a mock-up for a functioning PCB. Through these processes you can learn how to make a PCB to suit a number of purposes related to gaming. In some cases, for instance, gamers will build circuit boards as part of the effort to construct their own keyboards, controllers, or other electronic accessories.
4. Composition & Sound Mixing
Depending on what kind of gamer you are, you might be a fan of playing to music. In some games, this doesn’t work because you really need to hear what’s going on in the game. That said, some like to turn up sound effects while turning down in-game music. And for other games in which the audio really doesn’t matter, some gamers — particularly while competing — will simply blast whatever music of their own might help them zone in.
If you’re that kind of gamer, or the idea intrigues you, we’d suggest composition and sound mixing as additional skills that could be beneficial to learn. These aren’t quite the same sorts of skills as the ones discussed above. But if you get good at using even a basic program (like GarageBand on Mac), you can start putting together scores and soundtracks for your own gaming time. It’s actually a pretty fun idea to play around with.
These are ultimately totally different skills, each requiring some focused learning and dedication to master. But in their own ways, they can all make things even more fun for an avid gamer.