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Want to program for big developer. what should i be learning?


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#1 Donal Byrne   Members   -  Reputation: 150

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 07:16 AM

Ok so im 18, Ive been into game development for a bout a year now. Ive learnt javaScript and C#. Ive been primarily been using Unity. Recently I've been wondering if I'm going down the right path. Like would it be more beneficial in the long run to use something like UDK?

Also I really want to start working on some of my ideas and start making good games and possibly submit to websites like kongregate/newgrounds etc. But since I'm doing this solo would it be better to use something like flash? it seems like a lot of successful web games are made with that.

Kinda of a two part question, any advice would be really appreciated

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#2 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6568

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 07:27 AM

Using UDK isn't the best way to learn programming, it is good for artists and game designers, but programmers, even if modding udk, should start at the basics. You are only 18 years old, so if you like to be a coder for a big studio you should start with a degree.

An other thought about UDK: studios don't need coders to use the UDK, that will be handled by game designers/artists, they need coders to do the things which are not supported by udk out of the box.

Edited by Ashaman73, 24 October 2012 - 07:30 AM.


#3 kunos   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2149

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 07:34 AM

the industry standard for game development, at the moment, is C++. There are no signs the language will be dropped for anything else any time soon.
Most game company have a demanding C++ test as part of the interview process.
That's your best bet. You need to get really familiar with C++. Most game studios will also request some familiarity with graphics API, so that's your second step.
Being 18, you might want to get some expertise on something that might become very hot topic in 4-5 years time, such as sparse voxel based rendering, software rendering, ray tracing.
Stefano Casillo
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TWITTER: @KunosStefano
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#4 Donal Byrne   Members   -  Reputation: 150

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 07:34 AM

cool thanks :) also, when I graduate this year I'm planning to get my bachelors degree in computer science and then go on to do a masters. So by then I should have the programming knowledge. I just wana start designing/developing games now so Ill have some experience when i start job hunting

#5 kunos   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2149

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 07:37 AM

just never forget that school and colleges will never teach you how to program and optimize. that's YOUR job, and it's essential you do that by yourself.
Stefano Casillo
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TWITTER: @KunosStefano
AssettoCorsa - netKar PRO - Kunos Simulazioni

#6 ISDCaptain01   Members   -  Reputation: 1247

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 11:10 AM

just never forget that school and colleges will never teach you how to program and optimize. that's YOUR job, and it's essential you do that by yourself.


This is so true. Especially if the professor is utter crap. Best advice: dont wait for school, get started already. School is just a formality

#7 Anri   Members   -  Reputation: 593

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 02:19 PM

I usually recommend Java these days, but if one means serious business...

1. Learn C++.
2. Learn to program with WinAPI, and write a small 2D game with it. Keep it simple.
3. Before rushing into a graphics API, write a Ray-Caster demo with the WinAPI first. Don't forget floors and ceilings!
4. Learn DirectX.

...as for education, try and sign up for courses in Maths and Software Development. For maths, you need to aim for at least Algebra - Calculus and Physics are very much recommended. For the computing side, you can teach yourself the language, but software development is not about the language but good habits, planning and implementation - this really comes down to experience, so it pays to be taught by an experienced person...

In conclusion, teach yourself with a strong foundation on C++, but seek to improve your CV with qualifications when the opportunity arises. And when the going gets tough, always stand strong and know that any problem can be broken down and solved.

Good luck! ^_^

#8 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 11939

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 07:36 PM

Firstly, this is not the appropriate place for this topic. This is: http://www.gamedev.n...games-industry/
If you were to go there, in the upper-right corner you would see inside under a green header this text: “Breaking In FAQs (please read before posting)”.
If you were to then click that link you would find all the answers to your question(s).
Especially http://www.sloperama.com/advice/


To answer your first question, C++ is obvious.
To be blunt, this is something you could have easily answered yourself by going to the jobs section of whatever major studios interest you and checking on what they require.
For example, I randomly sampled the following:
Valve’s Software Engineer Listing: Proficiency in one or more of the following programming languages: PHP, SQL, C/C++, (or equivalent)
Naughty Dog’s Graphics Programmer Listing: Strong knowledge of C and C++ programming languages
Nintendo’s プログラム開発エンジニア Listing: C/C++(必須)、Perl、Rubyなどのスクリプト言語による制作経験者

Even if you can’t read Japanese, the obvious common denominator is C/C++.
If for whatever reason you can’t find the site for any major studio you are considering, you can always use GameDev Map.


To answer your second question, it would be a waste of time. If you already knew Flash it would be fine. But you should be focusing on C++ fairly heavily now, especially since you are at least 4 years behind the learning curve on it. By 18 you should already know C++ fairly well, along with C# and Java. It isn’t that those projects wouldn’t help to get a job (anything you can show would help), it’s that you don’t have time for something like that when you are playing catch-up with C++.
It would be more useful both to your own learning and to your job hunt to make games in C++ instead.


cool thanks Posted Image also, when I graduate this year I'm planning to get my bachelors degree in computer science and then go on to do a masters. So by then I should have the programming knowledge. I just wana start designing/developing games now so Ill have some experience when i start job hunting

Major strategy failure. Neither a Bachelor’s nor Master’s degree will help you in the least, and can in fact hurt you.
Not only are they non-impressive, many studios consider never to hire such people because they always ask for a huge salary while not being able to perform so well in the work place.
My first job’s CEO told me he almost always just throws away applications from the best university in that area for exactly that reason.
Just because you went through a lot of school does not mean you know what to do in the workplace.
I also interviewed a guy for a Japanese company who had a Master’s. I felt he had the skills and I gave him a pass, but then he ended up asking for too much of a salary and didn’t get the job. He was 6 years older than myself and unemployed, struggling to make ends meet, and being interviewed by someone 6 years younger than himself who had dropped out of high school.

At my current workplace another person started on the same day as myself, but he had a Bachelor’s.
My salary is double his because all the time he spent studying I spent working. He had to take a lesser position until he gains enough actual workplace experience to graduate up to my position.


Ultimately you are just going to spend a lot of money on an education that has no meaning only to find that you are 28 (after a Master’s degree?) and living on a 21-year-old’s salary. Regardless of your education, you start with an entry-level salary, so you may as well actually be 21 when you have such a salary.
To put it frankly, a 28-year-old with 7 years of work experience will 100% always get the job before a 28-year-old with nothing but school on his or her belt.

If you want to get a Master’s, go be a doctor. This is not the industry for that. We care about results, not education.
I myself dropped out of high school in order to get an early start on actual workplace experience and as such I currently travel the world programming video games. The janitor has a higher level of education than myself.
My salary and desirability are based on my actual performance, not education.


L. Spiro

Edited by L. Spiro, 24 October 2012 - 07:44 PM.

It is amazing how often people try to be unique, and yet they are always trying to make others be like them. - L. Spiro 2011
I spent most of my life learning the courage it takes to go out and get what I want. Now that I have it, I am not sure exactly what it is that I want. - L. Spiro 2013
I went to my local Subway once to find some guy yelling at the staff. When someone finally came to take my order and asked, “May I help you?”, I replied, “Yeah, I’ll have one asshole to go.”
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#9 superman3275   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1976

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 07:49 PM

cool thanks Posted Image also, when I graduate this year I'm planning to get my bachelors degree in computer science and then go on to do a masters. So by then I should have the programming knowledge. I just wana start designing/developing games now so Ill have some experience when i start job hunting

Computer Science isn't programming, it's doing science with computers.

Getting a degree in Computer Science won't help you a bit. In this industry, it's you that has to take the initiative and start learning. Just because you have a computer science degree won't help you one bit. You need to have solid code samples and games. Think about this: If you were hiring someone, would you pick the person with a Masters Degree in Computer Science, no code samples, and who only can use Unity, or would you pick someone without a degree, with a published game and solid code samples, who has programmed everything himself. 99.9% of employers will pick the latter, because in Video Game Design getting a degree isn't experience. The only way to get hired is too actually have a game out or actually have a strong portfolio of art.

Unity or UDK aren't helpful. Anyone who only had these tools on their resume won't get hired. They won't even get glanced at. If I was hiring someone, I'd look for strong code samples from a programming language, and it's a huge plus if they also can script nicely.

However, a college degree has some advantages. It shows you can spend 4+ years working on and completing projects. It shows that you have dedication and won't give up halfway through something. But if you haven't taken the initiative, those qualifications will go to waste.

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#10 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18374

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 10:24 PM

First, you need to get the CS degree.

A bachelors degree in computer science is the bar for entry level.

As for languages, learn whatever you want. Major studios use JavaScript. Major studios use Flash. Major studios use Java. Major studios use C#. Major studios use C++. Major studios use Python. Major studios use many other languages.

Whatever programming language you learn, you will be better for it.
Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#11 cardinal   Members   -  Reputation: 797

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 11:03 PM

Yeah, I'd also recommend a bachelor's CS degree as well, a Master's might be overkill, but I've never seen anyone rejected for a job for having one (I work with tons of engineers with CS or software eng degrees, a few have masters degrees, the odd person has no post-secondary education, and a couple even have PhDs).

While you don't need a degree to work in the industry, chances are if you were good enough to get in without one, you wouldn't have to ask about whether you need one or not.

If you do choose the post-secondary education route, it's worth noting that you only get out what you put in to your education, and you will have to supplement your learning outside of your courses, especially if your main interest is games.

If you want to work for a major developer, learn C++, and learn how to make games. If any particular area of games piques your interest in particular (i.e. rendering, animation, AI), etc., learn about it.

Choose your electives based on your interest. While most universities don't focus on these areas in undergraduate programs, there are usually select courses on AI, graphics, which may be more academic than practical, but understanding these things are important.

#12 Amadeus H   Members   -  Reputation: 1180

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 06:21 AM

Major strategy failure. Neither a Bachelor’s nor Master’s degree will help you in the least, and can in fact hurt you.


I'm sorry, but this is just plain lies. The OP wants to know how to get into a big developer studio. Most (all?) big developer studios hire HR to weed out recruits and HR ticks of at Bachelor education minimum. I would personally skip the master's though, like you explained - it's a waste of time for what the OP wants.

#13 Faelenor   Members   -  Reputation: 381

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 07:02 AM

Major strategy failure. Neither a Bachelor’s nor Master’s degree will help you in the least, and can in fact hurt you.


Don't listen to this!!! I don't know where L. Spiro is from, and maybe this tip is good for his/her isolated place on earth, but I know for sure that here in Montréal, where the gaming industry is big, they will never hire a programmer without a Bachelor degree. He's right for the master's degree though.

#14 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 11939

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 08:08 AM

L. Spiro is from…Earth. If you want useful advice and you also come from Earth, listen up.

My friend DragonRift also comes from Earth, and in fact he comes from Canada’s Montreal.
And he can testify that without a degree he was able to get a game-making job there.
It is utterly stupid to say that any city on Earth will not hire someone under such-and-such conditions.

It’s an entire city.
At most only a few companies hire Bachelor’s-only recruits.
The other 99% hire only non-Bachelor’s candidates, and the rest just don’t care as long as you can perform.

This is the universal truth, regardless of what a few friends told you.

Even if you did get a job with a high salary due to your Master’s, the only result is that you alienate yourself from your peers. And yes those people 10 years younger than you are your peers, and most of them are also more skilled than you.
Hence the alienation.

You aren’t doing anyone a favor by getting a Bachelor’s or a Master’s.


L. Spiro
It is amazing how often people try to be unique, and yet they are always trying to make others be like them. - L. Spiro 2011
I spent most of my life learning the courage it takes to go out and get what I want. Now that I have it, I am not sure exactly what it is that I want. - L. Spiro 2013
I went to my local Subway once to find some guy yelling at the staff. When someone finally came to take my order and asked, “May I help you?”, I replied, “Yeah, I’ll have one asshole to go.”
L. Spiro Engine: http://lspiroengine.com
L. Spiro Engine Forums: http://lspiroengine.com/forums

#15 Faelenor   Members   -  Reputation: 381

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 08:48 AM

Ok, let me clarify. He was talking about "big developer", I assumed that means major publishers, like for example, Ubisoft, Eidos, Warner or EA (all in Montréal). You are right that you may be able to get a programmer job without a bachelor's, but it's really exceptional and you need a lot of experience. In 10 years, I've only worked with one guy without a bachelor's. I can assure you that in all these companies, in Montréal, at least 95% of all programmers have a bachelor's. It's also always asked for in job descriptions.

Without a bachelor's, you can probably get a job in a smaller mobile game studio, but even there, they usually ask for it.

#16 kuramayoko10   Members   -  Reputation: 386

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 09:23 AM

What L. Spiro tried to say is that if you spent 4+ years working and completing good projects, you will probably end up with a good portfolio that will make your resume' visible as well.

However I don't agree that a Bachelor degree is a waste of time because of that.
In college I acquired discipline to study and work hard in areas I didn't have any interest and that gave me great knowledge and experience to deal with problems.
In college I got to really work in groups and deal with different kind of people every day (this is a must).
I also acquired many, many contacts (networking is a must).

But note this: I had all this wonderful experience because I wanted to. The university doesn't deliver alone all this knowledge/experience to you. You have to work hard, to join groups, to organize and attend different events and have to make those 4+ years of your live fit in more than one line of your resume.

I have applied for a position at Microsoft (US) recently and in their model of resume they had:
- One line for you degree
- One line for your GPA
- A section for your Major School Projects
- A section for your Awards and Leadership
Those two sections will be filled pretty easily with your 4+ years of college experience.

A second note:
At Valve, for example, many job positions (e.g. Software Engineer, System Engineer) have a requirement "Bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology or equivalent" or "Bachelor's degree in computer engineering or applied mathematics (or equivalent)".
Positions like Web Designer and Level Designer do not require a BS.

Conclusion: you have to know what kinda of work you want in the job industry. If you want a artistic/designer role, maybe a BS in Computer Science is not the best option. But if you want to work in the systems and core engineering of companies/studios like Microsoft and Valve a BS may be a requirement

Edited by kuramayoko10, 25 October 2012 - 09:27 AM.

Programming is an art. Game programming is a masterpiece!

#17 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8495

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 09:44 AM

Usually the things L. says is gold, but her advice against degrees is iron pyrite. L., just because you and some people you know have managed to get jobs without degrees doesn't mean that's the way everybody should go. You are exceptions, not the rule. There are other things you did that trumped your lack of degree and got you hired. Once hired, the resume includes experience, which trumps degree. The trick for most people is getting hired in the first place, and not having a degree makes that problematic for most people.
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#18 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18374

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 10:21 AM

The key is that you are not competing in a vacuum.

When there are 50 entry-level applicants to chose from, a degree is one quick and easy filter.

From talking with friends in HR, there are some great stories about non-degree people who are frankly delusional about their prospects of getting a job as a programmer. (Of course maybe their creativity could be applied to a designer position...) At the three major companies I've worked with, lack of a degree is an automatic barrier through HR at the entry level.


A CS degree is the minimum bar to breaking in. There are very rare exceptions to the rule; but that is because they must be exceptional in some other way, either through demonstrated experience, or through the right social connections, or through sheer dumb luck.
Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#19 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 11939

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 10:54 AM

Usually the things L. says is gold, but her advice against degrees is iron pyrite. L., just because you and some people you know have managed to get jobs without degrees doesn't mean that's the way everybody should go.

I have nothing but personal experience to back myself up, but that experience has recurred many times. I already mentioned 3 experiences with people who pursued education over practice and the results were obvious.

So why do I advise against degrees?
Part of it is due to my own lack there-of. I didn’t need one, so why should anyone else?

The other part is because I have had to interview people and I usually pass those with degrees. And then they usually request too much and the CEO’s don’t accept. The CEO of my first job said the same thing.

There is always some chance anywhere at getting a job.
My personal experiences don’t always represent the norm., but I feel they might represent the majority and you should pay attention.


L. Spiro
It is amazing how often people try to be unique, and yet they are always trying to make others be like them. - L. Spiro 2011
I spent most of my life learning the courage it takes to go out and get what I want. Now that I have it, I am not sure exactly what it is that I want. - L. Spiro 2013
I went to my local Subway once to find some guy yelling at the staff. When someone finally came to take my order and asked, “May I help you?”, I replied, “Yeah, I’ll have one asshole to go.”
L. Spiro Engine: http://lspiroengine.com
L. Spiro Engine Forums: http://lspiroengine.com/forums

#20 froop   Members   -  Reputation: 636

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 12:49 PM

her


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think "she" is a he. The avatar is one of his drawings I think.

On topic: I don't have a degree (studying isn't my thing), but I've met my current boss at the university (he got his degree), but he knew about my skills so he urgently wanted to hire me, so I wouldn't say it was a waste of time :)




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