I personally got into game dev through the MUGEN fighting game engine. I’m in love with Felicia, so I sought out to make the best one for the engine, and I succeeded, even making her a golden standard! I even coded a version of her for charity and streamed it! I would not be where I am today without my love for her.
Like you, I don’t do game dev full time, I work on desktop and mobile software. But I have my own company and intend to with a new engine that I work on in my spare time as a successor to MUGEN, Blugen. I also still do some MUGEN work in my spare time, along with data mining for fighting games, so my hobbies intersect very much with my line of work.
It’s too early for me to give any advice, but I will recommend Game Programming Patterns by Robert Nystrom, really great book that covers a lot of what you may encounter with game development.
As for the hardest thing, definitely shaders. I absolutely suck at them, and it’s torture getting them to work.
Omg shaders are tricky little things eh!
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