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Similar experience vs Published title


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#1 gbMike   Members   -  Reputation: 152

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 03:15 AM

I'm at a bit of a crossroads for deciding which direction to take with my programming. Specifically, what do you feel is more important for better preparing to entering the industry, a published title (aka a self-published indie game) or experience in a similar industry?

 

As a self-taught programmer, I feel I could learn a great deal interfacing with other developers in even a non game related, production environment, but I'm concerned that the general skill sets that I possess and want to improve, will not cross over between jobs ( 3d math, in engine scripting and UI, and other similar. This is just based on what I have seen. If this is inaccurate, I would love to know. ) Likewise, a complete, published game speaks to my credibility, but might not provide the best avenue for improving my own skills, since I would not be working with anyone more experienced than myself.

 

Just a quick sidenote about my experience thus far, to give a little better idea of where I stand: I started teaching myself around 4 years ago. I've completed several small flash games, but never published, or sold one. I've worked on a variety of projects in C++, and several other scripting languages, but again, no published or marketed final projects. I consider my coding ability to be solid, and I can typically pass any programming test I'm given. (at least, so far)

 

Thoughts? Which would you think is a more useful direction to go?



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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10161

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 06:31 AM

what do you feel is more important for better preparing to entering the industry,

[a.] a published title (aka a self-published indie game) ... [that] might not provide the best avenue for improving my own skills, since I would not be working with anyone more experienced than myself.

[b.] or experience in a similar industry? ... As a self-taught programmer, I feel I could learn a great deal interfacing with other developers in even a non game related, production environment, but I'm concerned that the general skill sets that I possess and want to improve, will not cross over between jobs ( 3d math, in engine scripting and UI, and other similar. ...

Typical 2-choices question that ignores options [c] and [d] "All of the above," as well as [e] "None of the above."

The way you've described your option [a] you've painted it as an undesirable choice. Clearly you think [b] is the way to go, but you purposely haven't provided details about [b] that makes [b] a good choice. So I vote for either [c] or [e], in which [c] is "work collaboratively on an indie project, not solo."  And if you have to make an income, then do both [b] and [c].


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#3 gbMike   Members   -  Reputation: 152

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 11:55 AM

I appreciate the feedback, I did not mean to paint the indie title idea poorly. I only meant that if I were to assemble my own team, most of its members would likely have an experience level similar to my own, as compared to a development studio, which often have 10-20+ year veterans. Regardless, I’ll check around, and see if I can’t find an existing indie group, who might be in need of another programmer.

 

You also mentioned this question as ‘typical.’ In the future, what would be a more acceptable phrasing for comparing the potential worth of a particular experience?



#4 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 14272

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 04:32 PM

I don’t see why making your own project wouldn’t be enough of a learning experience.  Whenever I wanted to learn something new I decided on a project that was motivational to me yet just above my skill level so that I would be forced, if by nothing else than my own motivation, to learn and grow.

 

The overall process was described here.

 

Working solo can’t be compared so easily to working with others because it entirely depends on the quality of your choices.

There is no reason you can’t work solo and still learn the 3D math, engine scripting, etc. effectively by asking questions when you get stuck.

You only need to pick a project that actually has all of the elements, or at least some, that you want to learn.

 

And I would go with learning them one-at-a-time, since if you are working solo you will have too many tasks otherwise, and if you are working with a team you would only have one task while some other guy or girl does the engine scripting.  In either case you learned only about 3D math and nothing about scripting.  And if you worked with the same team on the next job, your task would be the same and so would theirs.  You would never get a chance to round yourself out.  Even if you are motivated enough to drop off your 3D knowledge and start from scratch with scripting on the next project, the guy or girl who just did scripting would not be so happy to be unable to carry over any of his past experiences while watching you make all the same mistakes he or she did with the result of a product that takes longer and has more bugs than it should.

 

 

Ultimately, I would go for working solo.

You can pick your own projects, you are free to handle any and all of the tasks, and you won’t get stuck with the same task on each following project.

And you are free to have multiple projects going at once.  I tend to have one main massive project with a bunch of smaller ones on the side (not at once).  The massive ones take many years and each smaller one takes a month or so, and whenever I get tired of one I go to the other.  This keeps me learning all the time.

Your mileage may vary, but it is generally hard to get more efficient at learning than that.

 

 

L. Spiro


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