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Breaking into Game Design

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#1 Orymus   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 09:03 AM

Hello all, I've been trying to break into the industry for a couple of years now. My background is that of a university degree in history, I've managed to make into as a contractor QA for a big gaming software company for over 6 months, and I have an indie title to be released in Q4 2011 where I stood as lead game designer (it is no biggy, but it is 3d and could compare to early 2000ish fps/adventure games with interesting systems). I read a lot of articles about design and am constantly attempting to improve my experience and overall capabilities. Basically, right now, I'm wondering, what, from your own experience, is the next step I should take to acquire more credibility for a job interview as a game designer? I understand most companies are looking for people that have 2 or 3 published titles (commercial, aka, from a big company) under their belts, but since this looks like a dead-end, is there anything 'else' I can try to actually get inside of a company as a game/level designer? Note: - I have a decent programming background, but I couldn't work as a programmer. - I also happen to have very good musical composition skills, but companies usually contract external people for that job (they don't keep one in-house, and it wouldn't drag me any closer to my goal) - Like I said, I've done QA, but it didn't seem to get me any closer to design after 9 months on a AAA.

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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9558

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 10:56 AM

9 months in QA is not enough time, young Jedi. You need to give it more time. At least two years. Nobody will promote you into design from QA in less time than that. Another thing you can try is level design.
Read these:
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson14.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/designprep.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m69.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson24.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson27.htm
http://archives.igda.org/breakingin/path_design.htm

-- 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 Washu   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 5002

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 11:23 AM

Time, experience, and a good portfolio.
Don't expect to be a designer anytime soon. You'll probably spend several years in QA (if that's the path you choose), and more time as a lead QA or the like.

Even then there's no guarantee that you'll become a designer.

Spend time building and modding games, find the FUN in things.

#4 snake5   Members   -  Reputation: 189

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 11:44 AM

I could only tell you right now whether you're going the right way or not... if you care to answer a few simple questions.
-How do you define fun that one gets from playing games?
-To what extent, in your opinion, a game should help the player to gain fun?
-What are the qualities that define a good game?
-Do you have any game ideas that you would like to see implemented?

So I think it's not that much a matter of time as it is of experience you've gained while designing games. And if you're experienced enough (that is, if your portfolio shows that), I'm sure you'll get a job.

P.S. Game design is quite a lot different from level design so I do not support mixing them in one group..

#5 Orymus   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 06:47 AM

"9 months in QA is not enough time, young Jedi. You need to give it more time. At least two years."

Although I understand and I agree, this is one of the things where I miss the point. Sure, Game Design is all about a producer trusting you with a portion of his/her game, which represents considerable sums of money, and a certain trust needs to be established. From my experience however, some QA are lazy asses who'll await years in that position to grab the title. I don't think '2 years' is as good a measure as dedication in the field. I won't brag about the details, but one could say I was dedicated.
Also, I went into QA from my 'own accord' and not as a means to go into design. I thought QA was a very good way of learning the gears from within the industry (oh and yes, it is!) but it seems to be on the other end of design. Design is about 'structured' imagination ('structured' because it is what most designers seem to lack, and on that end, i understand a need for a bit of QA first) while QA is all about logics. Or more likely 'illogics' (try to do what you're not expected to and see how it results).

I've also delved into the task of LD. I seem to agree more with snake5 on that subject. The LDs have the job that is closest to the testers in that they use more logics than creativity. The job is incredibly different from the game designer, the so-called 'juggler of illusions' as they call him. LDs, from my understanding, use ingredients made by the GD and generate a new recipe: very logic, simple, tangible. The GD's job is to create ingredients out of thin air. That's a lot more 'magic' than tangible so to speak. Therefore, I am not sure LD is 'such an improvement' to gear towards Game Design as would, for example, design elements in a portfolio earned in a different way.

"Time, experience, and a good portfolio."
Time and experience are vectors that go in a same way, and one will vary according to the other, depending on the capacity of the recipient to learn fast or not. I think experience here matters more than time as time is simply the measure through which experience will be earned (provided an external factor that varies from one individual to the next that defines the rate of experience development over time).
Portfolio, however, is the part that puzzles me. What would you include in a portfolio? Like I said, my only indie-commercial title is released Q4 2011, but I don't suppose that is enough.
Of course, I do have 1001 ideas stored over my computer, some of them good, some of them finished, some of them bad, and others obviously good on paper, but cataclysmatic once developped. Is it good to use non-produced designs in a portfolio? If so, which one should be preferenced: original works that appear to be good ideas? or simpler designs which seem more realizable? (I think the latter is what modern production is gearing towards, less risks, more farsighted, etc, but I'll let you be the gurus there as I'm obviously a rookie in that area).

As for snake5's questions:

-How do you define fun that one gets from playing games?
I try to earn emotional responses at clear intervals, balancing stress and relief, using rewards at 'balanced spots'. I think the player benefits from relief moments and from being rewarded. The big question is how to reinvent the causes of stress/relief and the magnitude of the rewards and their distribution throughout the game. I think a player will find it fun to be superman at first, but if there is no longer a threat sufficient to generate a stress or fear from the user's end, then obviously, he became superman too fast and the game has reached an end. I think a lot of people want the epic side, because it does have some fun, but designers should tinker with that carefully. I got that from my heavy-rpg past. A good rpg is all about mathematical decisions leading to a perfect balance. The rpg rules are simple (I will disregard the story for this analysis though). If the rpg is too easy = fail. Too hard? A few hardcore players will enjoy it, but the bulk will quit. Then comes the question of 'what is your audience and thus, what kind of players will have fun playing this game'.

I also use the 'relative time' approach where I want either the player to forget about the time, or to feel it flies by too rapidly. This, of course, comes with appropriate game flow, and once again, it is the final balancing that defines this entirely.

Flavor elements (Story, visuals, etc) are also part of the fun, but I have stopped to believe in my youth long ago that they could suffice. What would be Deus Ex without its gameplay elements? A crappy movie (whose production was canceled by the way as told by imdb...) But then again, what would be Deus Ex without its story? a decent game, not very compelling, played by a few, but never a GOTY. Story is the kind of tricky thing you need to think beforehand, and adjust along the way. It won't protect your game from failure, but it can make it a lot more fun if the game has already a strong backbone.

-To what extent, in your opinion, a game should help the player to gain fun?
I think it is acceptable to 'hurt' the player. Frustration, stress and fear are vector one has to play with diligently. If used properly, at an appropriate level, the player will earn fun from the relief moment (success) and the amount of work invested to earn that victory (measured mostly by negative emotional responses) will make that relief moment that much more memorable. Good example: Miguel in Chrono Cross. This boss is epic in that he will kill you the first 5 times, but not because it is made that way. It is part of the learning process, and the save point is nearby. Frustration? Definately! Want the quit the game? Borderline... Relief value? Priceless. Counterexamples would have included a distanced save point forcing the player through a tedious gameplay section. Earlier ninja gaidens have erred on that part. More often than not, I found myself passing through various enemies to get back to the boss. The boss was already a sufficient frustration factor. The enemies were not even that much of a threat. There, there simple were too many obstacles (frustration).
Also, aside from rage-quiting a game out of frustration, the tendril of fear can have a dramatic impact. Too much fear, and the player is no longer affraid. He has come to expect and receive. The greatest part of fear is when the player expects something frightful to occur and nothing happens... So it becomes a bet, and when something DOES occur, the player is surprised. It may not earn a fun response immediately, but relief from fear, if handled properly, is just another tool of the trade. If the player comes to expect and receive at every turn, the fear factor becomes boreness factor.

To sum it up, you need to smite the player and reward him for surviving. And once again, it is all in the balance. A game will help the player have fun only if he or she is ready to sweat for it. But the amount of sweat necessary will vary from target audience to target audience.

-What are the qualities that define a good game?
Wheter it be casual or immersive, games are made to entertain the user. They are good when they manage to entertain their audience. Entertainment comes in a variety of packages (puzzle games, platformers, shooters, etc). Like I briefly mentionned in the previous two questions, I think a good game is one that can earn and generates emotional responses. I think someone unable to have emotions would not play a game, unable to see the point. It is how the machine plays with our nerves that trully makes it fun. Thus, a good game has the ability to touch one or many emotional vectors. Most games, use stress and relief. Even dating sims what the player to fear that he or she might not pick the right dialogue tree option. If a player cannot fear the consequences of his or her choices, the game fails. If the player actually earns relief upon finally 'guessing right' or 'finding another way around' a said issue, then, the game has found a way to score.
In bullet-point:

+ Simple/Coherent Design (This doesn't mean that there needs to be few elements, but that they need to be easy to explain to the player, easy for them to understand, but quite hard to master. Likewise, if one design element does not naturally fits with the others, then it should not be there. The design should flow as a single entity which makes sense of its own. I can't help but find in great games flaws about misplaced elements. Every gun works with bullets, and then one works with energy. This may work out, but it doesn't smoothen the design. Capitalizing on a varying ammunition systems would be a more coherent design than adding this spin-off weapon system).

+ Balance (Everything is about balance. Anything can go wrong if the balance is off, but not everything can go right if the balance is right... though it always help to minimize the impact of other mistakes than to balance them fairly. Balance affects not only rewards and level difficulties, or even AI interactions. It also affects the gameflow, to distribute progressively the action. One wouldn't find any fun in a game packed with 8 hours of action, then a 4 hours idle, and then another 8 hours of fun... the 4 hours off would be just too long. Spread evenly, although not 100% evenly).

+ Emotions (If the game has a flawless design and the balance is great, but the game doesn't earn any emotional responses, it still fails. Add an intriguing or immersive story or flavor elements so that the player identifies him or herself to the protagonist and shares the pain. Heck, even Pac-Man could generate tremendous amounts of stress!)

-Do you have any game ideas that you would like to see implemented?
Thousands, and then, not really. The usual reflex would be to reshape the entire game groundup with my views and all, and this is an automatic failure. There is no such thing as 'my game'. There are constraints. The customer wants something, then the higher instances want some other things. When it falls down to me, I know they can already tell me 'I want an FPS revolving around a specific theme set in a specific world' and more often than not 'make it sound like an expansion of this franchise that we own'. I am aware and I cope well with this. I can still twist the design around, but I can't torch it clean. More often than not, from my indie experience, I realize that 'previous ideas' may generate discussions, but it will be genuinely new ones that will emerge instead. It is always good to have thought about things that games should do, but this is all so theoric, when it falls into such a narrow environment, it would make no sense to import these design elements. Design is like everything else, it evolves and adapts to new criterias. I have made my peace long ago that I won't ever be making my 'dream-game' but I have already used a few of these ideas, evolving them into something entirely different, but that served a similar purpose: make a fun and addictive game. Besides, everything I have 'on paper' sounds fun to me, but outside from its theorical context, and deprived from my own subjectivity, it is just another concept awaiting to be fleshed out, and in the end, like any concept, it could just fail.


... So much for 'a few simple questions'
They are the kind I have heard in my interview, and of course, I've learned never to leave it to chance. If you are to answer a question, make it matter. If you answer too short, no one will believe you can generate a conversation about design. I read somewhere that the art of designing was the art of explaining something simple in a ridiculous amount of paragraphs. Then again, sorry about the lack of structure, but there is only so many options you can use on a forum textbox. Identation, font sizes, etc are not within grasp.


#6 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9558

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 09:09 AM

Ory wrote:
>Sure, Game Design is all about a producer trusting you with a portion of his/her game, which represents considerable sums of money, and a certain trust needs to be established. From my experience however, some QA are lazy asses who'll await years in that position to grab the title.

You can't be serious. No "lazy ass" has the patience to wait years to become a game designer, and no "lazy ass" could ever get promoted to game design.

>I don't think '2 years' is as good a measure as dedication in the field.

That's not what it's supposed to be. 2 years is the minimum length of time it takes the average person to learn enough about the industry (and for the person's bosses to learn enough about the individual) to qualify for moving up into the studio from QA.

>LDs, from my understanding, use ingredients made by the GD and generate a new recipe: very logic, simple, tangible. The GD's job is to create ingredients out of thin air. That's a lot more 'magic' than tangible so to speak. Therefore, I am not sure LD is 'such an improvement' to gear towards Game Design as would, for example, design elements in a portfolio earned in a different way.

My only point was that level design is a surer way to becoming a game designer than QA is. Level design is an entry-level position, an alternate entry pathway to QA.

>I think experience here matters more than time as time is simply the measure through which experience will be earned

Don't forget demonstrability. How do you demonstrate the possession of knowledge? By your actions over time -- and by your portfolio.

>What would you include in a portfolio? Like I said, my only indie-commercial title is released Q4 2011, but I don't suppose that is enough.

No, it's not. Read these:
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson49.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson12.htm

-- 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.

#7 Orymus   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 09:48 AM

Quote:
You can't be serious. No "lazy ass" has the patience to wait years to become a game designer, and no "lazy ass" could ever get promoted to game design.

I realize a word didn't get transcribed from my mind onto the post. I didn't mean to generalise, but I've seen a lot of people attempting to show-at-experience through time, but without actual dedication. They've been there for years, I'm told, and when I look at the quality and/or quantity of their work, I feel superior in more ways than can be listed (but I'm far from being the only one, I've seen several QA do exactly the opposite: Great job.) I do realise however, and this is supported by people from the industry as well, that QA is actually a better way into higher QA instances, and strangely, production more than design, although it is really a grey pathway. Most people I've seen however insisted that it is not 'entry-level' except salarywise.

Quote:
That's not what it's supposed to be. 2 years is the minimum length of time it takes the average person to learn enough about the industry (and for the person's bosses to learn enough about the individual) to qualify for moving up into the studio from QA.
&
Don't forget demonstrability. How do you demonstrate the possession of knowledge? By your actions over time -- and by your portfolio.

Point taken. I hadn't seen it that way, that's food for thought on my end, thanks.

Quote:
No, it's not. Read these:
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson49.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson12.htm

Will do, once again, thanks for the input :)
edit: the funny thing? I've read 3 of your articles already :P small world...

#8 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9558

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 10:08 AM

Quote:
Original post by Orymus
Most people I've seen however insisted that [QA] is not 'entry-level' except salarywise.

I have never seen anybody say that it's impossible to get into QA without industry experience.
That's what "entry-level" means -- a position one can get without having any previous industry experience.
QA is most definitely entry-level.

-- 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.

#9 Orymus   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 02:30 PM

Hm, since I was lucky enough to catch your attention and you seem to have a lot of advices to hand out (and believe me, I've just crash coursed through your whole site, oh and what gems I found!)
here's a question, that I hope you will not find "stupid" (Let's assume this is my exam ;))

What is the attitude adopted by people from the industry regarding 'alternate' education?

Let me define what I mean by alternate first, otherwise, I possibly won't earn the appropriate answer:

I did a lot of formal studies which are considered normal pathways (college, leads into university, majored in history, etc). Let's assume I did NOT go that way, let's say I dropped after college, but let's also assume that I've 'studied from behind the curtain':
(Examples)
- I've read wikipedia entirely twice (well obviously not but it is an example)
- I took art classes on evenings
- I took an internet course about literature
- I read a series of book about game design
- I go to 'bookclub'-like movie critics every now and then
etc...

Basically, let's just say I have found knowledge through an alternate path. I know you encourage this, and I know everyone should always continue to go that way, because we're always learning new stuff, and it helps to strengten our craft. Like you say, it is never enough.

But how is it perceived by people from the industry when they are presented with such a curriculum? What stands out as positive elements and what makes the person responsible of the hiring process feel doubt or risk when faced with such a candidate? Lastly, what key questions would you ask to someone who is self-taught in that way to separate the good from the bad seed?

*I understand the last sub-question may feel stupid as I do not have a clear understanding of the categorization of individuals that pass the interviews. I merely employed the terms good and bad to refer to the prospects you would consider against those you wouldn't. Please forgive the effort, but there is only so much one can word appropriately in a question when he knows nothing of the answer.

#10 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9558

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 02:45 PM

Quote:
Original post by Orymus
I did a lot of formal studies which are considered normal pathways (college, leads into university, majored in history, etc). Let's assume I did NOT go that way, let's say I dropped after college, but let's also assume that I've 'studied from behind the curtain'

But why are you asking this? You said you do have a degree -- in history. If you're just asking out of idle curiosity, I'm not very compelled to spend any time answering it in detail. The reason for your asking would illuminate your REAL question so you could get the best answer.
I may have already answered this before. See
http://archives.igda.org/columns/gamesgame/gamesgame_Oct05.php
http://www.igda.org/games-game-september-2007
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/bulletinbd.htm#enough
http://www.gamecareerguide.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3244
Also, what country are you from, and in what country do you live? Your wording is a little off. And that might affect your design career chances too.
-- 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.

#11 Orymus   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 05:04 PM

Most people don't seem to figure it out anymore, I might have lacked a lot of english immersion lately... I am canadian (french speaking) and work for the local ubisoft branch there, where, should I say, my english appears to be way over average. This does not seem to affect negatively my carreer attempts here, but as you state, it may become more of an issue as I attempt to move around. I try to compensate through constant practice, but it is hard in this area. Luckily enough, I have spanish to cope. And well, latin, if it *should* resort to that (for whatever strange reason? I suppose it would allow me some form of communication with languages using the same kind of grammar, such as German).

Also, I did NOT finish my university degree in history, and this, despite the very fact I was accepted-on-word for a masters degree. That was back when I didn't see the point in pursuing a program that didn't provide tangible job opportunities. "How wrong you were" I can hear you think, and I have to agree in restrospective, but I can no longer support this endaevour financially.

Yes, yes, now that you mention it, I'm starting to struggle with english, though I used to be a bit better. Normally, however, in official documents, I get a chance to revise long enough to make sense out of it, I suppose I haven't put quite the same effort in the structure of my sentences on forums, though I try to avoid typos as much as possible as it causes plain confusion to the reader.

Thanks for the links, once again, as you might have guessed, I'm an avid learner (it took me about 2-3 hours to read through your lessons) and though I can do good research, I'm always a bit iffy about the actual credibility of the articles I stumble upon. I have found several articles with fitting titles that turned out to be written by charlatans, frustrated people that had failed, etc, so I appreciate the guidance you have provided thus far, and I don't think you should mistake me insisting for lazyness as much as a search for credible answers (answers are easy to come by, good ones seem to be harder to find, and someone in my position is hardly able to judge of the worthiness of one such answer).

Thanks again, I'll read through these links!

#12 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9558

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 05:15 PM

Ory wrote:
>Most people don't seem to figure it out anymore

Figure what out? I'm confused.

>I am canadian (french speaking) and work for the local ubisoft branch

You might know Benoit Lelièvre?
He too is French-Canadian, and recently asked a question about writing for games. http://www.igda.org/forum/seeking-feedback-work-job-hunting-purpose

>I did NOT finish my university degree in history

Ah. That was not clear from your previous posts. Well, you haven't stated a new question, so I have nothing more to add just now.

-- 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.

#13 Orymus   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 05:17 PM

In the light of what I have just read,
is 4 X 1 year diploma better than 1 X 4 years diploma?
I have heard a game designer claim (creators of emotions' ubisoft website) that it was better for a game designer to present a dozen minors than a major. Is it true? To what extent?
I am a bit unsure about this...
On one end, it feels like taking 4 small projects instead a big one (which is a nice way to start in the actual industry) but it also seems like displaying the inability to go deeper into one project (which obviously makes one fail).

Edit:
Interlude, a brief geography pointless pause.
I do not know a Benoit Lelievre, but from reading his post, I understand he resides in Montreal, which is a 3 hours drive. If I were to broaden my horizons in the near future (as it could happen quite naturally) there is a chance I might actually get to meet him: Montreal, by most locals, is considered (at fault?) the center of the universe when it comes to making games. I think they are mostly happy that a canadian city has earned so much importance in the market. It feels like a really great place to improve networking, especially with the recent events it seems to bring about.

#14 Obscure   Moderators   -  Reputation: 174

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 06:07 PM

Quote:
Original post by Orymus
Basically, let's just say I have found knowledge through an alternate path. ...

But how is it perceived by people from the industry when they are presented with such a curriculum?

Many companies (not all) require a degree - especially larger companies who get a large number of applicants and use it as a way to filter out applicants. No degree will mean your application goes in the trash can on the first pass. Not having a degree will limit your employment possibilities and when applying for companies that don't require a degree you may still lose out to those applicants who do have a degree.

The problem with your self-learned knowledge is that you have no way to prove it to an employer. A degree is a qualification issued by a competent, registered authority attesting your successful completion of a course programme. A employer will take that as an indication that you have done the necessary work. If you don't have a degree then you don't have a way to prove to an employer that you have this knowledge (you can't just sit in the interview and recite everything you ever learned).
Dan Marchant - Business Development Consultant
www.obscure.co.uk

#15 Orymus   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 06:49 PM

Then again, I've sat at my history classes, and I'm a big nerd, I was scoring high, one of the best out of 200. I haven't completed the degree because I failed to see the use for my carreer, but the truth is my competence in that field was at least over average. I can still safely assume I know more about history than 175 students of that wave. I've seen people just "pass by" with mediocre scores, but they will get a degree. I find it odd that they should be hired and not me, but then again, I don't suppose they would get passed the interview with their lack of seriousness, and if I was lucky enough to get an interview, I would have more chances.
I understand that a degree is some regularised document that allows someone to make a quick judgement call, but it sadly fails to define competence.
I do understand why they work that way though, biz can't really take the time to delve into each and everyone and I see the reason for "passes".

So they wouldn't hire me based on that fact.
Assuming I can't compensate with self-leaning, what can compensate from this dire flaw in my curriculum according to you? Aka, how can I be hired despite not having the diploma, how can I prove I have all that knowledge and have put more dedication to the task than the average?

#16 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9558

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 06:51 PM

Quote:
Original post by Orymus
1. I have heard a game designer claim (creators of emotions' ubisoft website) that it was better for a game designer to present a dozen minors than a major. Is it true?
2. On one end, it feels like taking 4 small projects instead a big one

1. Everybody has their opinions. I don't know how many years it would take to get twelve minors. I don't understand this guy's point, and you might be quoting it out of context.
2. Do not go through life based on your "feelings." When you don't have sufficient facts, you have to do your research. Read what I wrote in http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m70.htm about how to make decisions.

-- 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.

#17 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9558

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 07:00 PM

Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
Quote:
Ory wrote:
>I did NOT finish my university degree in history

Ah. That was not clear from your previous posts.

Actually, Ory, in your first post you said,
"My background is that of a university degree in history"
which was clearly an attempt to make us think you DID have the degree. Truthfulness is very important.
Quote:
how can I be hired despite not having the diploma, how can I prove I have all that knowledge and have put more dedication to the task than the average?

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

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#18 Orymus   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 07:30 PM

Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
Quote:
Original post by Orymus
1. I have heard a game designer claim (creators of emotions' ubisoft website) that it was better for a game designer to present a dozen minors than a major. Is it true?
2. On one end, it feels like taking 4 small projects instead a big one

1. Everybody has their opinions. I don't know how many years it would take to get twelve minors. I don't understand this guy's point, and you might be quoting it out of context.
2. Do not go through life based on your "feelings." When you don't have sufficient facts, you have to do your research. Read what I wrote in http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m70.htm about how to make decisions.


I re-checked. I am positive (and this is french, so I can't be mistaking about the wording) that he claimed they were looking for people with as many minors as possible instead of a major. He examplified someone who'd have a minor in cooking, history, etc. The context was answering the question what is most desirable as a background to get hired as a game designer, I suppose it doesn't get any clearer than this. From what you wrote, I am guessing you are in disagreement.

You stated that a spectacular portfolio would balance the fact of not having a university degree, but isn't a spectacular portfolio ALWAYS necessary, even with a degree?

Also I did not intend to be misleading with the information I undisclosed about myself. My background is indeed that of a history degree that I did not complete, but it doesn't change the fact that I have attended to these classes, and thus, it is my background, the knowledge that I have earned. I might have erred on the meaning of the word "degree" and I suppose it was a mistranslation on my end, which would come back to the fact I am not a native speaker of the english language, which in turn is a different barrier I need to overcome.

As a last question, since I have already managed to "get my foot into the door", is an university degree still (as) relevant? Should I rather capitalise on continuing to broaden my portfolio while adopting a professionnal attitude at work instead?

I'm only trying to make the most out of my chances with what I've been given, knowing there is no hope for me to go back and finish that degree. Hopefully it is doable.

#19 snake5   Members   -  Reputation: 189

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 02:08 AM

Very nice! I like your answers. :)
I can say without doubt that the way you're going is right. (Actually, I can't wait to play a game that you have designed)
I'd suggest finding a programmer (or doing most of it yourself) and making some simple but good games for the portfolio. I think that one big game + many small games would be more than enough, if all of them are very good.

#20 Obscure   Moderators   -  Reputation: 174

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 02:55 AM

Quote:
Original post by Orymus
I haven't completed the degree because I failed to see the use for my carreer, but the truth is my competence in that field was at least over average. I can still safely assume I know more about history than 175 students of that wave. I've seen people just "pass by" with mediocre scores, but they will get a degree. I find it odd that they should be hired and not me,...

Because they are not as dumb as you seem to think - they realised that a degree is useful for their career - a fact which you could have researched BEFORE you dropped out. Some of them probably also realised that it is good for life, not just for your career.

Quote:
So they wouldn't hire me based on that fact.
Assuming I can't compensate with self-leaning, what can compensate from this dire flaw in my curriculum according to you? Aka, how can I be hired despite not having the diploma,

A bunch of doors are now closed to you because you didn't get a degree. You cant undo that except by going back to school to get that degree. If you can't do that then the best you can do is to try to maximise your chances with those employers that don't require a degree. As Tom says, that means you need a really top notch portfolio, plus you need to be good at interviews, have a really well laid out resume and have some luck.


Dan Marchant - Business Development Consultant
www.obscure.co.uk





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