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climbing the ladder


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#1 kablammyman   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 10:34 AM

Hey Guys, this is my first post on this site...after YEARS of lurking in the shadows. Anyway, I'm a game programmer that has been in the industry for about 3 years. A quick rundown of my experience: - a lil less than 1 year scripting/entry level programming for a ps2 game (contract job only) - 1 year of cell phone dev with j2me (got laid off when company closed bay area office) - my most recent experience is 1 year of a Nintendo DS title (got laid off when company ran out of money) Anyway, since I'm on the job hunt again, I noticed its getting harder to find more "entry" level positions, but the amount of "senior" level positions are amazing! As you can see, I haven't done anything major in my brief time in the industry, and I dont have enough expirence to even qualify as "senior level." Also, most of my jobs (except the ps2 game)I do a lot of work on my own. So, in other words, I don't the to soak up knowledge from a lead programmer. This can be good and bad. Its good since I can learn by doing by myself. It can be bad since I may use or create bad habits. Also, since I'm working on my own, I don't do things much differently than I'm used to (for better or worse) nor get exposed to different types of thinking/problem solving. With that said, I'm asking myself how to "step my game up" or in other words, improve my skill set. I know this is a tough question to ask since you guys have no idea what I can or cant do, but I'm just looking for some general things to focus on improving/learning to really make sure my career takes off. So, I don't need advice on the "basics" of getting into the industry, but becoming a more desirable candidate for bigger and better things. Most of my experience is with 2D graphics, so obviously, in regards to graphics, getting up to speed with OpenGL and DirectX is a must. But, what about the non-graphical part of game programming, like algorithms? Program structure/design? Memory management? Debugging techniques? What types of topics should I start learning about? What types of skills should a person whos been in the industry for a few years be able to show? Any advice is much appreciated. I'm gonna go back to reading this directX book now.

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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10070

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 06:16 PM

Quote:
Original post by kablammyman
... what about the non-graphical part of game programming, like algorithms? Program structure/design? Memory management? Debugging techniques? What types of topics should I start learning about? What types of skills should a person whos been in the industry for a few years be able to show?

Which ones do you WANT to learn about?

-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#3 yaustar   Members   -  Reputation: 530

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 11:29 PM

What type of programmer do you want to be?

Some generic books to get you going:
Code Complete
Effective C++
C++ for Game Programmers
Game Coding Complete

#4 kablammyman   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 04:51 AM

Thanx for the replies. I used to like doing game play programming, but, I find making the systems behind the game to be much more rewarding. So, I guess I want to be good with developing game engines. With that said, I'll see what kind of books and info is out there. LOL, now that i think about it, I want to be good at all those non-graphical things I mentioned....I got a lot of work ahead of me! :P

Also, thanx for the book recomendations. I have code complete, but have yet to really read it, so I guess I know where to start.

Thanx again.

#5 yaustar   Members   -  Reputation: 530

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 05:04 AM

You might be interested in reading "Game Engine Architecture" then.

#6 kablammyman   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 11:52 AM

Quote:
Original post by yaustar
You might be interested in reading "Game Engine Architecture" then.

thanx! Your book recommendations have been great.

I also noticed in your original list that there is a game version of code complete; I had no idea this existed. Since I first started this post, I really dove into code complete...and I now understand why the book is recommended so much! To think there is a game version, really gets me excited!!

So, thanx again!



#7 jmau0438   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 12:03 PM

If you want to beef-up your technical design, why not explore design patterns. For a C++ programmer, knowing the STL and modern design techniques is kinda manditory before you can really call yourself a subject matter expert in the language. The book that started it all (refering to design patterns) is "Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable-Object-Orientated Software". The book was published a long time ago, so there are probably better books out there now. Also, why not build something? Something small that relates to the kind of programming your interested in. Doesn't have to be a full-blown game, it could be something simple like a tool or a plugin.

If your feelin frisky, volunteer on a project. You may not earn any money, but you claim to part of the ownership the title. Despite wether or not it sells, at least you can show it off.

As far your situation goes, its the sign of the times man. Game companies aren't stupid. Unemployment is pretty bad right now, and not just for us. They are looking for the older, more experienced people because they know that they are out there. If you've got less than seven years in and haven't really worked on anything big, its tuff. Hang in there man, you aren't the only one going through this.

#8 kablammyman   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 12:25 PM

Quote:
Original post by jmau0438
If you want to beef-up your technical design, why not explore design patterns. For a C++ programmer, knowing the STL and modern design techniques is kinda manditory before you can really call yourself a subject matter expert in the language. The book that started it all (refering to design patterns) is "Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable-Object-Orientated Software". The book was published a long time ago, so there are probably better books out there now. Also, why not build something? Something small that relates to the kind of programming your interested in. Doesn't have to be a full-blown game, it could be something simple like a tool or a plugin.

If your feelin frisky, volunteer on a project. You may not earn any money, but you claim to part of the ownership the title. Despite wether or not it sells, at least you can show it off.

As far your situation goes, its the sign of the times man. Game companies aren't stupid. Unemployment is pretty bad right now, and not just for us. They are looking for the older, more experienced people because they know that they are out there. If you've got less than seven years in and haven't really worked on anything big, its tuff. Hang in there man, you aren't the only one going through this.


awesome. Thank you for your advice.

STL, eh? I've always thought STL was "too slow" for games. Now, I know better. Also, thanx for the encouraging words. Its good to know I'm not alone in this.


#9 jmau0438   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 12:43 PM

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STL, eh? I've always thought STL was "too slow" for games.


It can be, and C++ haters love to champion it. However, STL is customizable, and is mostly creating in the spirit of "Coding to an interface, not an implementation", an idea championed by most modern C++ designers. To every plus, there is a minus. Just make sure what you get out-weighs what you don't.

Quote:
Its good to know I'm not alone in this.


You can fall down seven times, as long as you get up eight




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