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#ActualL. Spiro

Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:46 PM

Hi, my name is Jonathan and I am currently 16 going to my local highschool, and I was planning on going into the game industry as a programmer.

Hello Jonathan. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

 

My first question is does it mater what language I focus on? […] I was thinking of learning C++ because it is currently the industry standard, but when talking to my dad he says that since technology changes so quickly so can the standards.

C/C++ are not going anywhere, no matter how hard the push for Java is. As Google found out with Android, major studios already have full toolchains in C++ and without C++ support they simply won’t target Android devices. As with many major studios, my company’s in-house engine is C++, and that will never change.

 

My next question is, how should I practice/develop my skills inorder to be better equipped for the game industry?  Right now my experience as a game programmer is working with Gamemaker and Unity. After reading many forums they seem to agree that coding a game in scrach is a great skill (ex. just using a compiler). But when asking on forums (this one especially) they seem to say the opposite, where as it's better use other libraries made or sdks.

Develop your skills by using them.
As for the rest, this is subjective and may depend on your ultimate goals, but:
#1: This is a false dichotomy. Why not just do both? It’s not as if taking time to do one means you are losing time on the other—people get burnt out on doing the same task all the time and often just go watch TV instead. Instead of that, make your time more valuable by working on the other project.
#2: Being able to work on the lower-level aspects of any game is always a benefit to your job hunt in the future. Being able to use Unity 3D is only sometimes a benefit to your job hunt. People who tell others to use Unity 3D are usually misunderstanding the “make games, not engines” mantra, which is misleading at best. If your goal is to make games, you should make games. That means using an engine such as Unity 3D. If your goal is to learn how everything works (which is the best way to prepare you for your future) or if you just enjoy making low-level functionality more than higher-level functionality, make engines. If you want to learn but also want to make a complete game, make a simple game from scratch, such as a Tetris clone.
Generally, if your goal is to prepare for a future, working with raw code, not Unity 3D, is recommended.
 

My last question is, since I'm still in highschool I am still unsure of what colleges I should be looking at and what courses I should be taking for my next two years. Should I look for colleges that focus on programming as well as courses? Or would it be more important to look for colleges that have a little bit of everything?

Most people recommend a course in Computer Science. I took a course in Computer Programming, which makes more sense to me if you want to be a computer programmer.
The industry isn’t really strict on what degree you have, if you have one at all. Just make it relevant as possible.


L. Spiro


[EDIT]
Heh, this is the most exact-opposite Tom Sloper and I have been in replies to a single post.
[/EDIT]

#1L. Spiro

Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:44 PM

Hi, my name is Jonathan and I am currently 16 going to my local highschool, and I was planning on going into the game industry as a programmer.

Hello Jonathan. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

 

My first question is does it mater what language I focus on? […] I was thinking of learning C++ because it is currently the industry standard, but when talking to my dad he says that since technology changes so quickly so can the standards.

C/C++ are not going anywhere, no matter how hard the push for Java is. As Google found out with Android, major studios already have full toolchains in C++ and without C++ support they simply won’t target Android devices. As with many major studios, my company’s in-house engine is C++, and that will never change.

 

My next question is, how should I practice/develop my skills inorder to be better equipped for the game industry?  Right now my experience as a game programmer is working with Gamemaker and Unity. After reading many forums they seem to agree that coding a game in scrach is a great skill (ex. just using a compiler). But when asking on forums (this one especially) they seem to say the opposite, where as it's better use other libraries made or sdks.

Develop your skills by using them.
As for the rest, this is subjective and may depend on your ultimate goals, but:
#1: This is a false dichotomy. Why not just do both? It’s not as if taking time to do one means you are losing time on the other—people get burnt out on doing the same task all the time and often just go watch TV instead. Instead of that, make your time more valuable by working on the other project.
#2: Being able to work on the lower-level aspects of any game is always a benefit to your job hunt in the future. Being able to use Unity 3D is only sometimes a benefit to your job hunt. People who tell others to use Unity 3D are usually misunderstanding the “make games, not engines” mantra, which is misleading at best. If your goal is to make games, you should make games. That means using an engine such as Unity 3D. If your goal is to learn how everything works (which is the best way to prepare you for your future) or if you just enjoy making low-level functionality more than higher-level functionality, make engines. If you want to learn but also want to make a complete game, make a simple game from scratch, such as a Tetris clone.
Generally, if your goal is to prepare for a future, working with raw code, not Unity 3D, is recommended.
 

My last question is, since I'm still in highschool I am still unsure of what colleges I should be looking at and what courses I should be taking for my next two years. Should I look for colleges that focus on programming as well as courses? Or would it be more important to look for colleges that have a little bit of everything?

Most people recommend a course in Computer Science. I took a course in Computer Programming, which makes more sense to me if you want to be a computer programmer.
The industry isn’t really strict on what degree you have, if you have one at all. Just make it relevant as possible.


L. Spiro

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