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Game Career Planning - Early Learning Stages


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#21 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3157

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 09:27 AM

Hi, Estabon

How are you doing today? Did ya get some sleep?Posted Image

You did pretty good with the posts considering

I was suffering from a 4 day long insomnia when I wrote that about you...


However, if you get all rested, then you might hit the 7 point upvote post level of your opponent, ApochPiQ, in my thread here.Posted Image

All joking aside, I can always use someone like you on my team to defend me. (drum kit effects: b-doomp, crash!)Posted Image

This stuff is important so it's good to get different points of view.

My basic flow chart is:
1) Learning stage - open source as much as possible, willing to collaborate
2) Indy Game Developer Stage - I will go underground in order to develop my first marketed game, heavy into proprietary creation, meaning pure indy game developer.
3) Hit Game Publishing - When I have that big hit, I will need to form a team again to improve future games and diversify the releases, which means incorporation.

It's amazing to me how much everybody thinks along similar lines, often not even realizing it. Posted Image


3Ddreamer - "Here comes the dreamer again!" "I hope he doesn't beg us to interpret his dreams like last time!" Posted Image

Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer


Sponsor:

#22 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6122

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 10:22 AM

@3Ddreamer:
People here critical shit heads. :/ (my only tip: You're better than indie games. You're only an indie game devoloper as long as you say you are. Say you're a business! And that's what you are.) And, you are right about gaining the proper resources before jumping into it head first. Sometimes it's fun to do that, but having good material to fall back on and read is how you make progress. As soon as you start reading some shitty book, you'll be back to looking for different books. What made you decide to go with C#?


indie = independent = not owned/financed/controlled by another company(usually when it comes to games this would be EA, Ubisoft or one of the other big publishers). it has nothing to do with the quality of the products or professionality of the business. (Allthough successful indie studios are very likely to get bought up by the big publishers and thus cease to be independant)

Edited by SimonForsman, 17 August 2012 - 10:25 AM.

I don't suffer from insanity, I'm enjoying every minute of it.
The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!

#23 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 15832

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 10:30 AM

@ApochPiQ
I don't know. I don't mean to pick you apart and judge you, I just find the way you look at programming to be very different than how I view it, and it interesting to me in that respect. You sound like you spend far too much time trying to remember every last detail before moving on compared to how quickly I like to make progress. Again, I'm not judging you, I'm just really interested.
I moved onto Programming with the Win32 Api after about a day of learning C++. Don't get me wrong, I take programming very seriously. I know when I've gone too far and need to take a step back and prepare, but I also really enjoy jumping in head first, feeling lost, and figuring out a solution.
Just to let you know... I was suffering from a 4 day long insomnia when I wrote that about you... (when you go that long without sleep; you enter a psychosis until you fall asleep). By the way you've replied you've showed a lot about your character and you have my respect.
If you're interested. I would enjoy hearing more about what you do with programming. So feel free to message me if you want to. I most likely won't agree with any advice from you. Right now you have me interested. How long have you been programming and what level would you say your at? What have you've acomplished project wise?



I don't mean any of this as any kind of slight against your skills, because I honestly know nothing about you, but every time I hear that someone "learned C++ in a day" or such other extreme claims, I am deeply skeptical. I've spent many years learning C++ and still have a lot of dark corners and cobwebs in my knowledge of the language. That's not because I'm a slow learner; it's because C++ is extremely complicated and tricky to master.

I speak from the perspective of long and diverse experience, not from the perspective of just starting out and still ramping up my abilities; this probably accounts for the differences in our viewpoints. I've seen far too many beginners slap together some quick, sloppy code and proclaim themselves experts because they got something to work. The fact of the matter is, getting something to work is actually pretty easy in this day and age. There are countless resources, web tutorials, references, and tools out there, and they make it borderline trivial to "write" certain kinds of programs.

I have no doubt that you, 3DDreamer, or anyone else could take a long weekend with a reference and hammer out some interesting stuff. Maybe even a simple game. As others have pointed out, with tools like Flash available, an awfully broad swath of games can be created with relatively little programming skill or effort.

However, my advice to 3DDreamer was tailored for his interests and situations. He covered a lot of different programming topics in his post that he wants to try and learn; and once you start reaching a certain level of scope and complexity, doing good programming - and mastering that many techniques and technologies - becomes radically more difficult. If you want to be good at something, it takes many years of dedicated effort.


Put simply, there is a vast gulf between banging out a couple of Flash games every month and writing AAA-industry-quality code. It sounds to me like 3DDreamer wants to end up in that position, which is why I cautioned him that it will take a lot of time and investment.

For clarity, when I suggested doing a single one-year project, I'm not talking about making Tetris or Asteroids or Pong or whatever else. I'm talking about picking a set of technologies, say, related to animation, and designing and implementing all of that stuff in a complete package. Making a good game from the ground up, while learning new techniques, and polishing it all to a good degree of quality, is something that will take a year easily - especially for an inexperienced programmer working alone.

There's a reason why major game titles take years to develop. It's not because we're unproductive people.


There is absolutely great benefit in jumping in and learning. I understand this probably better than most on this forum, because I started programming before references and tutorials and tools were widely available. I had to learn my first several programming languages by trial and error and trying to decipher compiler messages for hours on end with no way to find out what they meant; so believe me, I fully appreciate the learning experience. I'm not advocating that people memorize the C++ Standards documents and half of the MSDN Windows API reference before writing a Space Invaders clone. I'm saying that when it comes time to produce work that will gain attention and respect from industry developers, you need to be ready to sink many months into a single project.

More than that, my recommendation to 3DDreamer was to learn to deal with large scale projects, precisely because he wants to end up working on them eventually. When all you know is slapping together a 3 week project and shipping it, you miss out on the sensation of working for years on something before it is done. If you've never done anything long-term, it is exceedingly likely that you will burn out and get bored long before finishing a larger project. That's no way to get a major game title to your name.


You're free to disagree with all of my opinions, of course; as I said before I know nothing about you so it's possible you're correct to disagree with me. But I'm coming from the perspective of 20 years of programming experience, three shipped AAA game titles (not including 2 that never made it), releasing several award-winning consumer software products, leading a moderately successful open-source programming language project, and a senior position working on one of the biggest MMOs of all time. I won't rule out the possibility that I'm wrong about some of this, but it'd be a hell of a shock ;-)

#24 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3157

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 11:05 AM

Posted Image

Well, it was predictable that the big guns of qualifications would come ( I like to look at people's profile before I respond - good advice, don't you think?Posted Image ), but even I felt the shock wash as that one went past me. Posted Image


3Ddreamer - "Who awaked me from my slumber?"

Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer


#25 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3157

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 12:14 PM

First of all, calm down. I'm just giving you some advice based on personal experience. Not shooting you down or anything.

Oh, I am quite happy.


Game development is complex for even the simplest developer



Not true. Some games can be developed easily.

E.g. Take a look at the games on a flash portal such as Newgrounds. Google around for tutorials. You'll see how easy a beginner can make similar flash games in just a few days.

I understand what you saying. Do you realize that a person can make a simple game without being a game developer?

To me, a game maker is simpler than a game developer. In the company environment where I worked, the owner was a skilled programmer doing all the programming and he was the game developer. The said game developer hired a game designer to use the game developer's system. The game designer in turn was responsible for managing the art team. Now there was some overlap of work, but in that company there were three distinct levels: Game Developer, Game Designer, and Art Team. Some companies follow this general structure but the leadership decides both the structure and what each level will be called - not I, not you, and not this community. Each company has the right to determine the terms of service and agreement. The two are closely tied, as you will see when you look more closely into it. I hope this helps.

I still managed to earn a living and learn Win XP, Win Vista, Win7, Computer and Network Security, administrate a popular modding website, and become intermediate in 2D and 3D art while creating well over 100 3D models for several simulations.


Why did you do all these instead of actually making games?

As explained elsewhere, mostly due to caring for my disabled mom and other loved ones. (I almost cried over that response and I am not prone to cry.) Since my games will be heavily art focused and I need system experiance, this was the path I chose because I liked it.

Moving to the next point, I feel that for most people, this would be perfect advice that you gave. In my case, I will not just be the chef, I want to be the executive chef and owner of the restaurant, put in symbolic terms compared to game development. Making games [cooking food] will be added to overseeing others [kitchen help, waitresses, accountants, managers, janitors, and so forth].


If you look at head chefs who are also owners of successful restaurants, they have quite a passion for cooking and actually spend a considerable amount of time cooking before they got to where they are. You will not find one who spends years learning how to do the accounts, managing janitors, learning how to manage the front etc, instead of actually cooking.

Pardon my frankness, but I think you are missing something important. What I was doing is like learning several things short of "cooking" a game, like prep cook, and other entry level work in the kitchen. Maybe you don't see the value of doing several things short of being a "chef", but the many things I learned which are part of games will be very helpful later and allow me to focus more time on programming. Try to look at a game maker as a cook but an indy game developer is an executive chef who owns the restaurant, like some famous chefs do.

Besides all this, the highly skilled art work which I want in my games in a few years will require the skills which take years in their own right. Most of that is behind me. It's clear to me, but I can't make everybody understand everything, so I hope you understand now.

Many people in these forums don't seem to understand that making a game is fine, but game developer can potentially be far more than only making a game. On one extreme some people make games only and the other extreme is the game developer who makes the tools and a custom system [game engine] for the game and a specialized suite for game development (servers, website, intranet, and so forth). Most people are in the middle of these two extremes.


Well, if you make tools, servers, website, intranet and so on, you're not a game developer. Because a game developer, well, develops game.

E.g. If someone say he is a chef, you'll expect him to know how to cook. You'll not call someone who make pots and pans a chef, nor would you expect a chef to be able to make pots and pans.

All I am saying is this: If you want to make games, make games. Stop waiting.


Game maker is like the symbol of a cook.
Game developer is more like an executive chef.

Game Maker: Think cook
Game Developer: Think Executive Chef

Do you see the difference?

Game Maker is like the race car foreman
Game Developer is like the automobile manufacturer

Get it?

They don't call this a game maker website. They call this a game developer website. Posted Image

There are tons of game maker and game designer websites out there and few game developer websites. Why?... Readers are asking? Because there are far fewer true game developers (most of which are professional or aspiring to be, though some are hobbyists), but by contrast there are far more game makers (most of whom are hobbyists with no strong desire to go pro).

Basically I have done most things in the kitchen shy of creating the menu, combining all the ingredients, and heating it, to put it again in symbolic terms - almost everything short of a cook, so why knock it?

I know what I want to create, so I am in the process of researching what I need to do it. What is so hard to understand about this?

If I wanted, I could make a simple game within several days and send it to you to play, but I would be no closer to being a game developer without learning system issues.

Make a game vs create a system to create a game: See the difference?

3Ddreamer - "Ahhh... You poor thing, Mr. dreamer... so misunderstood. Come now... let me make your ouwey all better!"Posted Image

Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer


#26 Goran Milovanovic   Members   -  Reputation: 1104

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 11:38 PM

C++ is extremely complicated and tricky to master


What are your thoughts on C?

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#27 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 08:13 AM

As explained elsewhere, mostly due to caring for my disabled mom and other loved ones. (I almost cried over that response and I am not prone to cry.) Since my games will be heavily art focused and I need system experiance, this was the path I chose because I liked it.


No, this is not what I was asking.

What I am asking is: You found time to learn Win XP, Win Vista, Win 7, Computer and Network Security, administrate a popular modding website and become intermediate in 2D and 3D art while creating well over 100 3D models for several simulations.

Why not instead spend the time developing games?

Game maker is like the symbol of a cook.
Game developer is more like an executive chef.

Game Maker: Think cook
Game Developer: Think Executive Chef

Do you see the difference?


Unfortunately, to get to executive chef, you need to spend years cooking. Not spending years doing everything else except cooking.

For clarity, when I suggested doing a single one-year project, I'm not talking about making Tetris or Asteroids or Pong or whatever else. I'm talking about picking a set of technologies, say, related to animation, and designing and implementing all of that stuff in a complete package. Making a good game from the ground up, while learning new techniques, and polishing it all to a good degree of quality, is something that will take a year easily - especially for an inexperienced programmer working alone.


Very good advice. Couldn't agree more.

Given that the OP seem to lack game development experience, I suggested that he hammer out a few quick games, using easy tools like Flash or otherwise, to gain some basic experience.

I am in fact in a year long project myself, after previously developing several smaller games. There is so much one can learn from practical hands on experience. I strongly discourage spending years "preparing" and hoping that one day you will be suddenly ready to make World of Warcraft or Call of Duty with 0 prior experience, simply because you spent 5-6 years studying.

#28 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 15832

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 11:29 AM


C++ is extremely complicated and tricky to master


What are your thoughts on C?



C is a much simpler language, but the fact of the matter is C's legacy of "undefined behavior" is precisely what led to C++ liberally dousing itself in the stuff. C is a great language for what it does, but it's still hard to get right. It also suffers from a lack of many modern programming concepts and idioms, and requires a fair bit of magic to accomplish stuff that's trivial in other, more up-to-date languages.

#29 Goran Milovanovic   Members   -  Reputation: 1104

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 12:30 PM

Some would say that C's limitations are actually a benefit, in the sense that they encourage a very simple design; It's difficult to implement anything of even moderate complexity, so people try harder to design simpler systems - or, at least, that's the theory.

This is mostly stuff I got from the proponents of DOD (Data Oriented Design). Mike Acton, of Insomniac games, is the most vocal among them. He has some pretty funny slides, and a talk he did a while back, where he explains his views in a little more detail.

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#30 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 15832

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 02:23 PM

True, but that's wandering off-topic. If you're interested in discussing further, please feel free to start a new thread.

Let's try and keep this one focused :-)

#31 greenzone   Members   -  Reputation: 672

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 04:07 PM

Ok, I am going to attempt to meet you half way with your crazy ambition lol. I will say this, its crazy people like yourself that change the world my friend lol. but with that said there is A LOT of wisdom being dispensed here. I completely appreciate your wanting to understand and be involved with all aspects of the game development process from artist to programmer. When examining the industry one will find an overwhelming dichotomy between programmer and artist/creative designer. but with that said there are few legit reasons for this extreme bifurcation. One reason is there are the different types of minds. talented programmers often excel in Maths and problem solving skills and often lack the creative artistic abilities or understanding. Talented artisans on the other hand often lack skills in logic and problem solving. NOW with those of us who are in the game with out talent need to develop SKILLS. in order to do this it requires hours and hours and hours of focusing on these skills in order to master them. with that said its very hard for many if not most people to master the skills of being an good artist and a good programmer. Its like working both sides of the brain hard core. Most people don't have DaVinci abilities. also the scope of a project often dictates the focus of the people working on the project. If i where making some "brilliantly beautiful massively epic in size" game I would require help from many people. people that can do different things to maximize their contribution to the game. i mean i would want the best art in the game so i will find the best artist. i want the smoothest game mechanics so i will get the best person or people that specialize in that. I would not want some body that can do a little of everything. I mean some people make a living just writing shaders for games. To be specialized is not to be less ambitious it just means you have become focused on one topic until your an expert above most above most in understanding that topic. the same applies to game artist many of them have studied and practiced just being an artist for many many years. the programs that many artists use can consume your time in learning just those let alone programing the the creative tool on top of being the artist using it.

Now with that said i thought i should share some of my situation just to give you a heads up. I completely feel the same way as you as far as trying to be a one man army. I to want to create my own indi game company by myself. but I will say i have no interest in recreating photoshop or 3dsmax in the process. I think my own game engine is ambitious enough potentially too ambitious but i have yet to get discouraged. I have a masters in graphic design and I been straight programming like a maniac for 2 solid years now and I am still in the process of producing my first game. a year project that you focus on and massage until it is very clean and worked out is good advice.

I am telling you from some one that has had a few Computer science classes in general programming and graphic programing as well as a formal education in graphic design its a very taxing endeavor you have put in front of you. If i could dispense any advice being that person that wants to run the restaurant and do some cooking, you should learn the most important restaurant running jobs first. i would put your check list you made on the wall and call it the old check list then i would start programming asap because with out the programming skills you don't have a game well at least the way your planing on going about it. then i would try to implement just a few of the more tangible things on your list there. After actually trying to program these things, you will learn very soon how incredibly naive you where when you constructed the first list. DON'T WORRY I to had this epiphany lol but you then scale down the ambition so your still planning on making awesomeness but the scale is more reasonable for one person. Another thing i would suggest is try not to reinvent the wheel. I mean you kind of don't need to make geometry making programs. i mean there are a lot of free alternatives that would work just find and it would move your plans forward immensely like not having to do that. now Don't be discouraged. i find your relentless passion inspiring although a little crazy. but its the passionate irrational ones that don't give up and do great things. so you will either crash and burn like no other lmao or you will make pure awesomeness. but first and foremost you really absolutely need to start programming so you understand how it WILL affect your predictions about time because i think your current estimates are WAY off for one person. i mean unless of course your some kind of prodigy. In which case i don't think you would be asking question on gamedev i think you would be to busy being a prodigy. I mean trying to figure out your compiler could take weeks alone. trying to get a window with a spinning cube with no help but the internet is going to take you a while i promise you. let alone topics such as collision detection,AI, physics, and shaders. I mean you have not even touched on object oriented programming yet or algorithms such as recursion or searching/Sorting. I think you should start getting your feet wet and come back to your list of awesomeness and update it. I do hope you can figure it all out. it sounds like it will be pretty sweet when you do. But even if you have to compromise a little don't be discouraged.
J-GREEN

Greenpanoply

#32 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3157

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 11:55 AM

Hi, greenzone


The whole post by you I read carefully. Posted Image (A big post, too)

Reinventing the wheel is really not what I want to do. I tried 3DS Max and Blender, which I feel strongly both have many features which I probably will never use or I don't want to use some of them because I don't like how cumbersome the programs are. Perhaps I could be wrong, but I feel that the documentation and online help are atrocious with both of them. Added to this is the reality that I have started studying and working C# which I enjoy very much. Back in the middle 1980s I discovered that I have strong natural talents to learn and problem solve in math and computer languages. The advantage that I have is in constructing systems and methods. Line per line, many people are faster than me, but the advantage that I have is in constructing systems and the methods within them for achieving goals and solving problems. In this last area, these skills are very valuable for my becoming an indy game developer.

The time which it would take for me to learn other people's systems would be better spent for me to create my own system in the long term. I do not recommend this for most aspiring game developers.

Making games on someone else's system will disappoint me severely because what I want in a game is very different from what is available right now. The time spent in learning an existing system and keeping pace with their changes seems like a dead end in my case because I want to become an indy game developer and not merely make games on someone else's system. I am not knocking the people who do make games on pre-existing game engines ( and tools ), it's just not for me in the long term. Short term I am going to choose an open source game engine for learning purposes and evolve my own different system in the long run.

On another issue, formal education such as your computer science classes help many people quite a alot. The flexibility of having broad based knowledge of languages, software, and hardware make for great possibilities.

In my case, I really don't care about learning many things which I know will never be needed to be a game developer. My plan is to use only what it takes to keep progress moving into the future. Being ready for every eventuality is irrelevent to me because I only need to learn, well, what is needed because I will be self employed - independent.

Here is where some people may misunderstand the amount of work which it will take in the first couple years or so. I intend to learn enough to have a broad but thin base according to what I want for a game eventually. Instead of mastering a few areas in a couple years, I want to lay a broader foundation for my future game. Most game features will be shallow in their extent for the first couple years. Developing the system is almost as enjoyable as the game for me. Posted Image ... and almost as important.

greenzone, thank you for your thoughtful post


3Ddreamer - " Here he goes again! Posted Image "

Edited by 3Ddreamer, 20 August 2012 - 12:01 PM.

Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer


#33 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3157

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 12:34 PM


As explained elsewhere, mostly due to caring for my disabled mom and other loved ones. (I almost cried over that response and I am not prone to cry.) Since my games will be heavily art focused and I need system experiance, this was the path I chose because I liked it.


No, this is not what I was asking.

What I am asking is: You found time to learn Win XP, Win Vista, Win 7, Computer and Network Security, administrate a popular modding website and become intermediate in 2D and 3D art while creating well over 100 3D models for several simulations.

Why not instead spend the time developing games?


Posted Image

Well, I give you credit: You are persistent. Posted Image

First of all, the two most valuable areas of work for me were being on an art team for game creation and modding games. The almost two years working in a team under a game designer who in turn worked under a game developer was wonderful organization and technical experience. There are just too many things to list in the vein of onhand experience creating art for a game team. The several years of modding games showed me the many aspects of ingame features and also the way games are internally structured, especially in relation to the most important parts of the game environment.

Getting skilled at the 2D and 3D art typically takes years in their own right. Even one of these could take many people years. It is what I wanted. You can't appreciate that? Added to the art skills, I wanted to learn about systems, play a bunch of games, and mod several games and simulations in order to discover many of the characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages within them. I really learned a lot that would be extremely difficult to learn any other way unless a person had a ton of money which I did not have, so I did it the free way.

Several technical fields must be sharp in me to accomplish indy game developer with the game features that I want: Art, Systems, Tools, and Programming. Half of the work is done. A few more years and I will have the rest.

Can it be explained any easier than that? Posted Image

Hey, listen, I really appreciate your challenging questions, but we need to not spend too much more time on this, okay?



3Ddreamer - "So many dreams, if he could sell them he would be a billionaire!"


P.S. Why not dream big, aim high, and have lofty goals? You might just elevate your achievements if you do! I know that I did.

Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer





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