Written by Nicholas Uster
Peter Ferri is an undergraduate game developer attending Rutgers College. With zero coding knowledge and very little starting money, Peter was able to quickly learn his craft and plan a career path for the future.
Peter Ferri never intended to pursue a career in video game development. It seemed like an unrealistic pursuit, as it often appears that games are always made by big-name companies with hundreds of employees. That changed when he stumbled upon a Youtube video where an average guy recreated the game Pong in the Unity Game Engine. Peter was blown away that this single man was able to create a game in just under an hour. On top of that, the game engine he used was free. This transformed Peter’s perceptions of game development, inspiring him to learn everything he could about the craft. He followed along with the video even though the programming and the interface made no sense to him at the time. He continued to engage with countless tutorials, purchasing a course on Udemy for ten dollars which took him through the creation of seven games in Unity.
As his enthusiasm for the art form blossomed, he began to research salaries and places to work, also exploring what steps could be taken to start his own company in the field. Peter finally decided that game development would be his career path. In only two years he has entered multiple Game Jams, published an app on Google Play, and changed his major to IT. Since he attends Rutgers, IT was the closest he could get to game design. Peter has also set up an Instagram page for his company: @ferrigames.
Peter began studying and practicing game development through Youtube videos and the Udemy course. His next step was attempting to create projects with no outside help. As he explained, “If you want to truly elevate yourself you have to actually jump in and try to make some projects on your own. This will force you to be creative and come up with your own solutions to problems. Often I will solve a problem I’ve been having in my own game, and then I’ll see someone who came up with a better solution. This is great because it teaches me what works and what doesn’t.”
The hardest part of Game Development when Peter started out was the programming and the complex interface. “Implementing one small feature was so overly complicated and frustrating and would take forever. Now that I have a much better understanding of what I’m doing, the hardest part is actually the motivation. To get around this I try to complete something in a project every day, no matter how small the task.” Peter’s experience within his college major has not helped him develop his skills, but he is sticking with it to receive his degree.
Important experiences in Peter’s journey were his first project where he recreated Pong (Pong 2.0), and his first Game Jam game called Escape the LIEbyrinth. Escape the LIEbyrinth challenged Peter to make a game in just one week, and was submitted to the first-ever Community Game Jam hosted by many of the famous YouTubers that inspired his passion for game development. Peter’s app, Chris the Fish, has been his most meaningful and most ambitious project so far. Crafting the app himself, he enriched his understanding of artwork and programming. Peter also learned a lot about overcoming hurdles and keeping himself motivated. His greatest takeaway was the fulfillment of successfully taking an idea from his mind and developing it to share with the world.
Peter has recently entered numerous Game Jams where he has been creating many small games in very short time frames. “I love Game Jams because they are a great way to test out new ideas quickly to see if they are worth pursuing further. Many famous games like Hollow Knight or Forager actually started as Game Jam games and then grew.” Peter revealed that he has started production on another app, but he does not want to expose many details just yet.
Recent Game Jam cover art for Peter's multiplayer game Cactus Crown.
Click the link to check it out!
LOOKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE
Peter plans to continue the growth of his company Ferri Games. He wants to make more apps and PC/Console games to earn a living in the field. He also wants to get a job in the game industry as a good learning experience.
Peter advises that new game developers “Stick with it.” “There were so many times before I even started making my app where I felt like giving up. I had thoughts like maybe game development just isn’t for me, it's too difficult. I also worried that I couldn’t make any money in game development. I always went back and stuck with it, and now I have an app and more in the works. Also, remember to take care of yourself. Game development can be exhausting and you might find you spent the entirety of several days working straight. Don’t forget to eat something and go outside once in a while. Play one of your favorite games and get reinspired by what you love about it.”
Peter finished by including one of his favorite quotes,
“It doesn’t matter how slowly you progress, you are still better than anyone who hasn’t started.”
He loves this quote because “Even just doing something small every day will ultimately make something big. If you want to write a book, even if you just write one page a day you will have written the length of a novel in one year.”
Starting with zero coding knowledge and very little money, Peter was able to build the foundation for a rewarding career in game development. He continues to develop his art and has big plans for the future.
Check out and play some of his games, and follow him using the links below!
Check out his app on Google Play: Chris the Fish App Page
Some of Peter's smaller projects: https://pjferri.itch.io