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- your input on game design career needed -


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#1 Helmacc   Members   -  Reputation: 139

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 08:32 PM

Hello everyone,

 

I've been an inactive member of this site for... a long time now. I'm at a point in my life where I just need to get real. I work a job I hate - unable to find work in the field (sociology) I graduated in 8 years ago, and now, I really want to make something out of what's left of my life. I simply can't see myself continue to work a job I despise so much just for the money.
 

A little bit of back story -

 

I have a college degree in sociology and also did quite a bit of digital art (photoshop) that I never continued with. I have a keen interest in game design and understand the work involve. I'm not looking for some quick fix. Two years ago I went back to school for a second degree in computer science, however I had to stop attending due to the fact that I received no financial aid as a second degree student, thus it became unafordable for me with all else I have to pay for.

 

A new hope -

 

I like to do research and try different things when the odds are agaisnt me. Thus, after a regular school became unafordable, I read about Gameinstitute.com  which offers game design courses for very cheap. I aslo read many negatives about them but at those prices, I thought I would find out for myself. I bought their entry level programing 1 course (which I'm still doing) and to my surprise, it was/is very close to what I was taking at Umass Boston, except one course there was close to $1000. So I plan to continue with all of the Gameinstitute courses and eventually do the animations as well. What I would like to know is, with the skills I will gain, will I be able to find a job in the industry if I can put together a decent work porfolio or will the industry "look down" on me as someone they won't bother with due to where I learned my stuff? 

 

The goal -

 

I want to be independent and work for myself. I'd like to make apps/games for IOS and others. Not looking to be a millionaire or anything, but I just want to be free from corporate america.  I would rather make 45k working for myself than make 100k slaving in the corporate salt mines. That is my long term goal. Now remember that is my lonnnnnng term goal, just so no one is confused since in my last paragraph I'm asking if I'll be able to find work in the industry.

 

So am I on the right track? What would you recommend or do different? It is wise of me to learn c++ first or should I go for Objective C  instead? Am I at a disatvantage in learning 3d Studio Max (only one offered at GameInstitute) over Maya, in the next few months?  

 

Thanks for taking the time to read about my mid-life crisis and will appreciate every reply.

 

cheers-

 

Helmacc


Edited by Helmacc, 07 May 2013 - 08:42 PM.


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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8712

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 08:51 PM

1. ...I graduated ... 8 years ago... in sociology ... Two years ago I went back to school for a second degree in computer science, however I had to stop attending due to the fact that... it became unafordable...
I read about Gameinstitute.com which offers game design courses for very cheap. ... I plan to continue with all of the Gameinstitute courses and eventually do the animations as well. What I would like to know is, with the skills I will gain, will I be able to find a job in the industry if I can put together a decent work porfolio or will the industry "look down" on me as someone they won't bother with due to where I learned my stuff?

2. The goal -
I want to be independent and work for myself. ... I just want to be free from corporate america. I would rather make 45k working for myself than make 100k slaving in the corporate salt mines. That is my long term goal.

3. So am I on the right track? What would you recommend or do different? It is wise of me to learn c++ first or should I go for Objective C instead? Am I at a disatvantage in learning 3d Studio Max (only one offered at GameInstitute) over Maya, in the next few months?
Thanks for taking the time to read about my mid-life crisis

1. Nobody cares where you learned how to build an awesome portfolio.  You're about thirty, and you've presumably got real-world work experience.  So the "get a degree" advice you've been reading doesn't apply to you.  You need to build an awesome portfolio, and get credits (get your name listed in some indie games).  And of course you also need to live local to the companies where you apply, and all the other stuff listed in FAQs 24 and 27.

2. Whoa, now I'm confused.  In question 1 you asked about finding a job. Now you say you don't want a job at all, that you want to go indie.  Which is it? Or are you saying you'll want to go indie after working at a game job for a while?

3. I can't talk to the languages question -- that's a question others can discuss.  Learn Max or learn Maya, either way is fine for starting. The important thing is to learn how to make stuff.  Once you master one tool, you can easily pick up another.  Oh, and "mid-life" doesn't happen until forty.


-- 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 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6471

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 06:48 AM

rather make 45k working for myself than make 100k slaving in the corporate salt mines

 

Just a quick reality check here:

I don't know what the situation is in the US (I'd consult the latest survey if I were you), but I'd be surprised you'd get either of these a year from now.

First, and foremost, working as an indie is incredibly tough. You need to start small, and have some "fuel" to drive you before you break even. Even so, it's not guaranteed. There are a lot of failing indies, and particularly now as the current economy has been particularly tough on them (there's been layoffs in the industry on a weekly basis, so imagine the amount of startups that have been created by the folks unable to find a job right now? That's a LOT of competition for the coming months).

Also, 100k is generally not something you get upfront, no matter what field of work you get in.

 

Aside from that, I'll have to agree with Tom, it's unclear whether you want a job or not (and whether your views on the viability of going indie without experience are in sync with its reality).



#4 Helmacc   Members   -  Reputation: 139

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:51 AM

I believe I would have to work in the industry before going solo so I can get valuable experince. Hence why it's my long term goal. Thx for your reply.

#5 unit187   Members   -  Reputation: 274

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 04:20 PM

The post is a mess in my opinion, its not clear what you want and what do you ask about. Do you really understand what game design is about? It is pretty damn tough job by itself, you need years of experience in general game development to become a game designer.

You need to start somewhere else. Become Unity engine scripter. Fairly easy to learn, a lot of jobs you can do in your free time. Or become 3d modeller. Get into the industry and some time  later you might start thinking about game designer.

IMO.


Edited by unit187, 08 May 2013 - 04:21 PM.


#6 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 19040

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 05:07 PM

What would you recommend or do different? It is wise of me to learn c++ first or should I go for Objective C  instead? Am I at a disatvantage in learning 3d Studio Max (only one offered at GameInstitute) over Maya, in the next few months?  

Yes, you would be at a disadvantage to attempt to be both a programmer and a modeler and an animator.

 

There are few RELIABLE ways in to the game industry: Programmer, Animator, Modeler. The jobs are not hyphenated with major companies looking for a "Programmer-Modeler". These jobs regularly hire people with minimal experience.  

 

If you build a good enough portfolio and continue to work on your own games on the side, given enough talent and real effort, a dedicated individual can almost always break in to the industry.

 

Note that talent is one feature.  If you are a bad programmer, a bad animator, or a bad modeler, you won't make the cut.  There are many talented programmers, animators, and modelers out there, and if you don't have the talent you won't make it.  Also if you don't put in any effort to your job hunt you statistically won't make it, and that is true of any specific industry.

 

There are UNRELIABLE ways into the industry that people can travel.  These include breaking in via QA (QA to designer, QA to producer, etc), entry level writer, entry-level level designer, inexperienced producer (almost never happens), audio, management.  While these job paths certainly exist, they are not reliable.  Many people attempt them and fail.

 

 

 

If your plan is to become a professional game developer at age 30 or 35 you need pick one of the three major fields (Programming, Animation, Modeling), develop your talent so you become exceptional in that one field, and build a portfolio of exceptional work. With that talent and portfolio you begin a very dedicated job hunt that involves identifying and then contacting specific individuals in person and on the phone and electronically.


Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.




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