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Breaking into industry without coding or art skills.


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#21 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 04:29 AM

Just adding to what I said last.

 

Maybe I was thinking too specific in the terms of core team as in reference to my own experience instead of the experience others have had. 

 

That being said, I can only go off of my own experiences and the same can be said for everyone else. Woland has opened up to share some of his experiences and views with us and I think this entire conversation has turned rather ugly because our experiences or views don't really match.

 

I'm not innocent of being a little jaded just like everyone else, but I think we missed a prime opportunity to have a serious discussion on the different paths into the game industry.


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#22 PosthasteGames   Members   -  Reputation: 123

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 03:46 PM

"A game designer doesnt need to know how to code but it helps, he or she will be well served if they can" - http://www.videojug.com/interview/getting-a-job-as-a-game-designer

 

"No one expects you to write a code but you need to understand the programmers need" - from Flint Dille & John Zuur Platten's book

 

So take it easy, breath slowly and relax. But of course, SOME companies demands it, some doesnt. We shoudnt deny that.

The same with getting an academic backround, some demands it, some doesnt.

I personally dont know how to code, i have serious problems with numbers and math. Therefore i do mods instead, and i read this lovely book by Dille/Platten

(Ultimate Guide to Videogames). I have even showed my drawings and 2D design to a former designer wich gave me good feedback. Not the best, but good.

So i believe, it can work, i believe it can go, but it depends on the boss sitting the chair. And another thing, i dont have academic backround either.


"Woud you rather make a game with a preliminary originality, or a game that shocks the people and maybe even politicians?" - Posthaste Games


#23 starbasecitadel   Members   -  Reputation: 694

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:50 PM

Since we really don't want to limit ourselves with indie companies, let's focus on AAA.

 

That is part of the disconnect.  You are discussing AAA, but the discussions you are critiquing are virtually all hobbyists.   

 

Obviously with a AAA company and a 15-200+ full-time team, like WoW, LoL, Sim City etc you have not only the budget but also the need for some pure designers, ideas guys etc.   Keeping track of game balance and coordination at that level can be more than 1 full time job.

 

But that isn't what is being disussed at least with any of these conversations I've seen here.  They are all being posed by people who have no experience in the industry besides at most a couple years on the hobbyist/indie side (and frequently not even that).   The context is hobbyist, unpaid teams of people (frequently trying to produce something just like WoW only 10x better smile.png).  

 

In this context, the problem is almost always that people dream up ideas that are unrealistic compared to the amount of coders and artists involved in the team.  It is good to dream and have passion, but part of taking it to the next level is coming up with a realistic plan that has some chance of success.  To that end, the majority of these people (who don't have coding or artistic skills)'s best course for success involves: learning coding, learning art, recruiting coders, recruiting artists, or joining an existing team that already has assembled some coders and artists.   

 

Even in AAA companies, the vast majority of people are doing coding or art.  Your chart and reasoning attempts to apply the same weight for a Finance person as for a coder as says "see, people with coding or artistic skills are in the minority!", but if you actually factor in ratios, you get to something closer 80%+ of the staff are coders, artists, and musicians.    


Edited by starbasecitadel, 07 March 2013 - 05:51 PM.


#24 Woland   Members   -  Reputation: 371

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 02:50 AM

Once again, I would like to propose to find a difference between a "job" and a "role". In every studio, bigger or smaller, some jobs can consist of several roles. Still, the roles themselves remain unchanged. Designer is a designer, lawyer is a lawyer. The chart was about the roles, not about the jobs. The answer to the question "what can you do without coding or drawing skills?" remains the same - you can take on every role or combination of roles that doesn't require these skills. I never got into probability or percentage of vacancies that require specific skillsets.

 

My article isn't only about discussions on these forums. Believe it or not, there are other places out there where people are asking the same questions and receiving the same biased answers. These answers, both here and everywhere, base on an assumption that if a person has no experience whatsoever, their choice is limited to school projects and most basic indie teams. If I could get into AAA industry without any prior experience, it is a proven possibility. If you look closer at the discussions you mentioned, even in here, it's often not the questions that focus on indie development. It's the answers. And even if it were all about indies and school projects - does a broader perspective really hurt that much? Is it that annoying, incorrect, wrong, revolting or unacceptable to look around and see there's more to game development than struggling to release a game for $0.99?


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#25 starbasecitadel   Members   -  Reputation: 694

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 06:22 AM

 I never got into probability or percentage of vacancies that require specific skillsets.

 

I think that is a shortcoming of the analysis, however.     The rules of supply and demand are at work, so since there are only a small number of positions in the development process that don't require coding or artistic/musical skill, and many people who are interested in those roles (designers and producers), then your realistic chances of getting that position are much less likely.  Really the only position that has large numbers of non-coders/artists is QA, and even here there are far more people qualified for that position than for coding and art/music, so they are hard to get as well.  

 

In terms of roles such as lawyer and accountant, these generally aren't involved in game development and so really shouldn't be factored into this discussion.  

   

Maybe I have just missed the kinds of threads you have in mind though, or I am checking the wrong sections (I probably check Game Design the most here).  The ones I've seen are almost always along the lines of "I want specifically to be a producer or designer, and here is a brief or detailed description of the game I want to build.  But I have no coding or art experience, nor any coders or artists on my team."   For those kinds of people, they typically seem so wedded to their own specific game design that it is hard for me to imagine them being happy in another role like QA for someone else's project.  It is for these situations where the standard advice is they should learn coding or art, and I think it is good advice.

 

And even if it were all about indies and school projects - does a broader perspective really hurt that much? Is it that annoying, incorrect, wrong, revolting or unacceptable to look around and see there's more to game development than struggling to release a game for $0.99?

 

The answer here is going to be different for every person.  For some people, they would be very happy in any position contributing to the game development pipeline for any sized company on just about any project.  For them, a broader perspective can be a good thing.   For other people (and I'd include myself here), a large part of the fun is being a game designer for specific games you or a small team you are involved in comes up with and build it from scratch.   I've had several opportunities to join game companies but so far haven't been interested.  I'd much rather do what I'm doing now, which is work on non-game stuff for my day job, but have tons of creative control working on my own game on the side.   Which path is better will depend on individual personalities and goals. 

 

 



#26 Woland   Members   -  Reputation: 371

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 02:16 AM

It might be just the way I was raised, but I think broader perspective is always a good thing. Whether you want to stay in your hometown or travel to other continents - knowing only about your hometown is just silly.


Edited by Woland, 11 March 2013 - 02:17 AM.

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#27 CC Ricers   Members   -  Reputation: 623

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 03:40 PM

This might be reducing the statements made in the original post, but because there's disagreement and ambiguity with what is really programming and what is art, the point might be made simpler by saying "I want to break into the industry without very focused left-brain or right-brain skills".

 

You may not call a writer's job making art, but it does require creative thinking, just like an visual artist. So it's mainly a right-brain skill. Scripting requires a good understanding of logic like programming, a left-brain skill.

 

So to put it another way, we are looking to get down to the jobs that are more of a balance, a more moderate use of both sides of the brain for those that do not really excel at either.


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#28 Katie   Members   -  Reputation: 1244

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 03:00 AM

"If you want to code, code.

If you want to draw, draw."

 

And if you want to design games, design games.

 

Design board games. Write an RPG system and give it away. Design a CCG, print it out using a POD business-card printer. Playtest the things, am-publish them. Just get on with it. Bloody hell, this forum is constantly full of people whining that they don't have the resources to do games when the world is awash with print on demand houses and games components sellers. Design wargames -- that's how I got one of my games development gigs. I can code AND I understand how to simulate tank combat.

 

Games are games -- understanding what makes a game fun and how people interact with games and with each other while playing them is the experience you need. Want people to let you see what you can do with their $10M-a-month dev team? Might be worth demonstrating you can design a game with $50 of random components first. Because the guys who already ARE running those teams definitely can; Molyneux, to pick an example, apparently designed Populous as a boardgame to start with (using Lego for the modifiable landscape).

 

What better way to get hired than being able to send the company one of your games that you know is fun and letting them find out that you can make things people want to play. And if you can't do that, why would someone give you millions of dollars a month?

 

Seriously -- if you can't look a pile of parts and figure out how to make a game from it, you're not a game designer. Because games designers don't NEED a bunch of coders and artists to make something that entertains people. The medium is not the skill. And if you can't afford marble yet, sculpt in clay until you can.



#29 Kyle Rowley   Members   -  Reputation: 106

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 04:56 PM

I've worked at three large studios (150 people +) as a designer and I'd say about 50% of the designers I worked alongside had no real art of programming skills. Scripting is NOT programming; understanding how to script events and prototype features using Kismit or Flow Graph is NOT programming; neither is taking functions given to you by programmers and doing basic logic with them. 

 

I can design, build and script logic into levels - but I can't program. I can also build blockout levels in Max, SketchUp, Solids or Brushes and create wireframes in Photoshop or any other 2D software package... but I'm definitely NOT an artist.

 

Just some perspective....



#30 Buster2000   Members   -  Reputation: 1394

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 06:14 AM

Scripting is NOT programming; understanding how to script events and prototype features using Kismit or Flow Graph is NOT programming; neither is taking functions given to you by programmers and doing basic logic with them.

 

This is programming.  Kismet and Flowgraph are graphical programming languages.  Just because your job title is not programmer and you may not know C++ does not mean that you are not programming a machine to do something.

 

I can design, build and script logic into levels - but I can't program.

 

Yes you can.  You just don't know the syntax of any main stream programming languages.

 

 

I can design, build and script logic into levels - but I can't program. I can also build blockout levels in Max, SketchUp, Solids or Brushes and create wireframes in Photoshop or any other 2D software package... but I'm definitely NOT an artist.

 

No not an artist but, you definatly have some artistic skills to be able to block out a convincing level.



#31 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8477

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 08:26 AM

Kyle Rowley, on 05 Jun 2013 - 16:03, said:
Scripting is NOT programming; understanding how to script events and prototype features using Kismit or Flow Graph is NOT programming; neither is taking functions given to you by programmers and doing basic logic with them.

This is programming. Kismet and Flowgraph are graphical programming languages. Just because your job title is not programmer and you may not know C++ does not mean that you are not programming a machine to do something.
Kyle

Rowley, on 05 Jun 2013 - 16:03, said:
I can design, build and script logic into levels - but I can't program.


Yes you can. You just don't know the syntax of any main stream programming languages.

 

This is one of those points of discussion that always makes an argument.  A scripter calls himself a programmer, and a programmer says 'scripting ain't programming.' A scripter denies being a programmer, and somebody like Buster says 'what you do is programming.'

It's just semantics.

I have done lots of programming-like things (including programming), but I am definitely not a programmer.

Think of scripting or data tables as "programming lite."


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#32 walsh06   Members   -  Reputation: 594

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 08:57 AM

Id be very interested to know what the authors role is in the Games Industry just as a direct example of the article. Its not that I dont agree with it so much I think the information is not really accurate. There are two main things and both have been mentioned.

1) The distribution of the jobs. While you show only 1 job out of 10/12 needing programming but the percentage of workers that actually is, is much larger than 1/12 people.

2) Sure you can work in finance or legal or even as someone said a janitor. But while you work in the games industry youre not having an affect on the games. It would be like saying you wanted to be a professional soccer player but you are not good enough so instead you decide to do laundry for the team. Sure you are part of it but are you doing what you want or having an impact?

 

My last issue really is the fact that art is being classed as drawing. Instead I think it should be classed as having a skill and seeing programming, drawing, music etc... all the same. The argument could easily be turned to say I cant program or play music what can I do? A: Do art. But what if you cant do art either.






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