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Game Design Aptitude Testing


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#1 RAMbrandt   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 05:48 AM

I was wondering where I could find several good 'Game Programming Aptitude Tests'. Hopefully for free, but if there is a paid test that is considered very reliable, I'd like to know. Of course, I've Googled this and found supposedly useful tests, but what DO game programmers have to have in the way of 'natural' aptitudes to succeed other than the obvious 'artistic' talent to design the graphics and 'math' aptitude for the programming? Further, if a college gives a crappy aptitude test for their game programming curriculum, does that necessarily indicate that the curriculum sucks also? There seems to be a common belief by those who love to play video games that this is a valid indicator of their ability to design games. Although I do believe there must be a motivation to 'play something fun' when you wish to go into game design and programming, the best gamesmen I've ever met simply had incredible motor skills and reflexes; he could care less about programming or even owning a computer. The last I heard of him he was managing a gas station. Is it more probable that the satisfaction from designing a game is quite different from the thrill from playing the game?

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#2 JWalsh   Moderators   -  Reputation: 463

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 10:37 AM

Quote:
Original post by RAMbrandt
I was wondering where I could find several good 'Game Programming Aptitude Tests'. Hopefully for free, but if there is a paid test that is considered very reliable, I'd like to know. Of course, I've Googled this and found supposedly useful tests, but what DO game programmers have to have in the way of 'natural' aptitudes to succeed other than the obvious 'artistic' talent to design the graphics and 'math' aptitude for the programming?
Further, if a college gives a crappy aptitude test for their game programming curriculum, does that necessarily indicate that the curriculum sucks also? There seems to be a common belief by those who love to play video games that this is a valid indicator of their ability to design games. Although I do believe there must be a motivation to 'play something fun' when you wish to go into game design and programming, the best gamesmen I've ever met simply had incredible motor skills and reflexes; he could care less about programming or even owning a computer. The last I heard of him he was managing a gas station. Is it more probable that the satisfaction from designing a game is quite different from the thrill from playing the game?


RAM,

I'm guessing you're just getting into game development, but that's not a problem, that's what we're here for.

I'd recommend starting here: Forum FAQ

You see, game development is broken up into multiple fields. The three main areas are: programming, art, and design.

The skills for each are different, and there are different ways for determining the aptitude of an individual in each area. Programming is very technical, analytical, and requires a good understanding of mathematics and problem solving.

Art requires a visual and/or tactile talent for creating images, 3D models, animation, etc...in other words, you need to have artistic talent or skills.

Design is about creativity, writing, game balance, and understanding what's fun and not fun in game play.

Your first task is to determine a) which one you're most interested in. and b) Which one you have an inherent talent for.

Taking A) and B) into account above, pick your discipline, and then begin the long process of learning and experimenting.

Once you know which discipline you want, feel free to ask more specific questions here on GDNet.

Cheers!
Jeromy Walsh
Sr. Tools & Engine Programmer | Software Engineer
Microsoft Windows Phone Team
Chronicles of Elyria (An In-development MMORPG)
GameDevelopedia.com - Blog & Tutorials
GDNet Mentoring: XNA Workshop | C# Workshop | C++ Workshop
"The question is not how far, the question is do you possess the constitution, the depth of faith, to go as far as is needed?" - Il Duche, Boondock Saints

#3 Glak   Members   -  Reputation: 308

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 12:21 PM

"Further, if a college gives a crappy aptitude test for their game programming curriculum, does that necessarily indicate that the curriculum sucks also"

Yes! Though what is wrong with the test? Is it too easy? If it is too easy that might mean that the curriculum isn't exactly bad, but that it will move slowly and that the majority of students will be dumb. If the test is just bad, well then the curriculum will be bad.

I doubt that going to a college for game design is a worthwhile idea.

#4 JohnBolton   Members   -  Reputation: 1372

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 01:03 PM

Game programming and game design are not the same thing -- not even close.

It is important for people that make video games to play video games because everyone working on a game is expected to contribute to the quality of the game. How can person do that if they don't know the difference between a good game and a bad game? But that doesn't mean you have to be a good player, it means in an interview, you might be asked what kind of games you play, and how you would change one of them to make it better or different.


John BoltonLocomotive Games (THQ)Current Project: Destroy All Humans (Wii). IN STORES NOW!

#5 RAMbrandt   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 07:42 PM

Thanks guys for your quick, though not deft, replies.
I don't like to read what other people type either, so maybe that's the problem with those who frequent forums; they want an audience and don't really care if their response matches the 'essence' of the conversation.
Take my post, if I may. I asked for info on 'Game Design Aptitude Testing' and, in fact, it was the title of my post. The first response, from someone whose viewpoint of my post should have been MOST obvious, was to start out with an insinuation that I hadn't read the newbie FAQ's, which he hadn't already read or he would have known that the answer to the ??? posed by my post weren't contained therein. In fact, I'd done a search of the forum FIRST, which is almost always posted as a 'first step' before posting in most forums, yet, ironically, isn't mentioned in the FAQ's on this site!
Next he assumes that I haven't a clue about game design, or any of its components. In fact, I've programmed in several languages, starting with Fortran when I was only 12. There weren't even computers around when I wrote my first program so I had to put programming aside until there were! At that same time I was teaching myself everything from cartooning to master painting and human artistic anatomy (the librarian would question my accessing adult books with nude human bodies in them, but I would just tell her it was 'art' ;). I wasn't sure at the time if I wanted to become an artist or an engineer, but a nervous breakdown due to severe trauma at age 13 would mark the definitive negative answer to that question. It wasn't until I was around 20 and bought a programmable pocket calculator that I was able to gather enough interest in programming again to try it anew. I also got a Commodore 64 when they came out and not only taught myself the 6502 machine language, but figured out how to program interrupts (IRQ's) and copy and run the program code from inside the game cartridges! So I guess my affinity for programming was coming back strong. Unfortunately, though I can still draw someone's portrait by hand and pick up any medium and learn to use it, I still find it very painful to use my artistic ability.
So now I've explained my background, however deficient in the prerequisite skills or knowledge involved in game programming I may have seemed from my post, although, I still can't think of a reason why familiarity with any combination of these components would give me special 'incite' into what aptitude tests might exist or how to judge one in light of the rest. Obviously, no one responding to my post, those who seem to feel they HAVE the knowledge forthwith of those aspects of game programming necessary in order to make an educated guess at an answer, has a clue. The word 'aptitude' is only mentioned in the first response once, not in close proximity to the word 'test', and, in fact, used to cast additional doubt on the hopefulness of my ever getting an answer since, "there are different ways for determining the APTITUDE of an individual in each area (of game programming)", therefore, how can there be a single aptitude test for game programming as a whole?
Well, because there can be! Aren't there IQ tests that attempt to measure the relevent aspects of the very thought process itself? And if you can measure the aspects of thought itself, can't you also ATTEMPT to measure any subset of those thoughts, say, for example, those related to one or more components of game programming?
So, if this is what I am to expect from the most learned frequenters of one of the loftiest sites on game programming, more critique of my knowledge or skills than information, more doubt on the validity of my query than substance in the form of EXPERIENCE with the crux of it (a aptitude test), I think I'll drop the subject. Thank you anyway, dear readers.



#6 yaustar   Members   -  Reputation: 530

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 12:16 AM

1. If you post in the beginners section without giving background information, we assume that you are a beginner. The fact that you ask for a "Game Design Aptitude Testing" in the title and then 'Game Programming Aptitude Tests' in the first post gives the impression that you are confused therefore we have to clarify what you are asking before proceeding.

2. I have no idea about the US, but in the UK I have never seen a single general aptitude test at all for 'games programming' as a whole. This because there are far too many different disciplines to deal with. Graphics, Physics, Gameplay, low-level, platform specialists, etc. The only kind of tests I had to do in my life to gauge how good I was compared to everyone else were the ones I had to take for a job interview and these vary from company to company.

#7 Metorical   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 579

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 12:50 AM

Hey RAMbrandt,

Quite an interesting question but one with many answers and it's hard to see exactly which one you're looking for.

A game programming aptitude test is quite an interesting concept however I don't think I've seen one applied in the industry anywhere. About 7-8 years ago I worked for a company that wrote Playstation games. At the time I was very young and it was a summer internship however I had a strong desire to break in to the industry. I talked to the lead programmers and most the team about it and realised that the interview was probably the easiest bit, the hard bit was getting there.

For the programmers you pretty much had to have a demo game, if not a portfolio of games, that they could try out. After that a strong degree in a maths/science subject was required. The rest was down to their personality as they realised that the applicants were young and would need to build on their experience in the industry. For artists it was similar with a solid portfolio.

At the moment I work in the financial technology field and the tests are very much different. You don't really have work to demo so they will test your knowledge of the language or even general programming skills (following the idea that a good programmer can use any language given enough time to get up to speed). The first instance tests your 'reference' knowledge which isn't really testing your aptitude and the second is rather had to fit in to an interview.

But back to the question in hand, where can you get a good game programming aptitude test. I rather suspect that you can't and like other posters have said it really depends on which specific area you are going in to.

What tests have you actually found on google, perhaps you could show us something and we'd find something similar but better?






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