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Which programmer is responsible?


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#1 Antonios   Members   -  Reputation: 163

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 05:09 AM

In various games who is responsible from the dev team for making the weapons fire, magic spells execute, bullets firing from guns etc?



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#2 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31198

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 05:53 AM

Gameplay programmers / game programmers / programmers 



#3 Antonios   Members   -  Reputation: 163

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 06:43 AM

Are there any specific requirements for the job description of gameplay programmer? Any defacto knowledge that is considered to be standard?



#4 pcmaster   Members   -  Reputation: 682

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 08:05 AM

Yes, the company's main working languages (e.g. C++ plus Lua, or a similar combo, don't start the flamewar :)). Valid for all programmers.


Edited by pcmaster, 04 November 2013 - 08:06 AM.


#5 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 16079

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 10:19 AM

Basic 3D math, logical deduction, how to use common-ground tools like Excel, and a decent sense of game design are pretty common requirements as well.

#6 Petter Hansson   Members   -  Reputation: 602

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 10:26 AM

My impression is gameplay programmers need to be perfectionists, and have a sickly desire to tweak code and values ad-infinitum until the game subjectively "feels good" according to someone's vision. At least engine programmers don't have to deal with subjectivity to that amount, though they still need to be perfectionists.



#7 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 16079

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 10:58 AM

My impression is gameplay programmers need to be perfectionists, and have a sickly desire to tweak code and values ad-infinitum until the game subjectively "feels good" according to someone's vision. At least engine programmers don't have to deal with subjectivity to that amount, though they still need to be perfectionists.


Meh... usually designers are the ones tweaking values, not programmers. At least, that's how it works if you have reasonable tools instead of a crap workflow :-P

#8 Petter Hansson   Members   -  Reputation: 602

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 11:21 AM

If you have non-crap designers ^^



#9 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 16079

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 11:37 AM

If you don't, you need a new job.



#10 Petter Hansson   Members   -  Reputation: 602

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 12:00 PM

It was a stage, fortunately.

 

Edit: To elaborate, I'm now doing engine programming instead. I appreciate it because there are objective measures on how good my work is. If I reduce CPU usage on the MMO server I'm developing for a certain amount of players by 50% without making the code unreadable or introducing weird bugs it's an undeniable improvement and I will not be asked to revert it. When I was doing gameplay programming for a multiplayer online game it would frequently be like "this character needs shoes, please change the Unity prefab object and scripts to accomodate the new model and attachable objects". After being done a few hours later: "revert the change, it didn't look as good as we thought".

 

Doing gameplay programming strictly as a hobby again.


Edited by Petter Hansson, 04 November 2013 - 11:55 PM.


#11 King Mir   Members   -  Reputation: 2032

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 12:35 PM

You need programmers to make stuff that fires stuff.

You need artists to make the stuff look like guns firing bullets.

You need writers to explain why there are guns in the game at all.

You need QA to make sure the guns only fire bullets and not seg faults.

Am I missing anyone?

Of course a particular person can have multiple roles.

#12 Ravyne   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 7880

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 01:16 PM

There's a kind of progression, ideally.

 

  • Best case scenario it can be achieved through a data-driven workflow, and designers can do it themselves with tools.
  • Next up, the desired effect needs some plumbing to make it work, or you don't have a data-driven workflow, and so you need a programmer to be involved -- this is one of the jobs of the gameplay programmer. In theory programmer/gameplay programmers are really doing everything that makes the game a game -- everything that exists between the low-level rendering, input, system abstraction and other systems, and the designers.
  • Finally, its possible the engine API makes it difficult or impossible, so you need to pull in engine-level programmers to add support inside the engine.

 

The idealized model would be strictly tiered, and no tier would ever do the work of another, but just enable the other tier to do what they need by supporting their needs, but there tends to be some role-overlap and plenty of schedule-driven or pragmatic compromises in reality.



#13 LorenzoGatti   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2738

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 03:48 AM

Meh... usually designers are the ones tweaking values, not programmers. At least, that's how it works if you have reasonable tools instead of a crap workflow :-P


A smart gameplay programmer provides the "reasonable tools" that enable some game designer to assume responsibility for the tweaking work, letting the programmer work on programming tasks. Even if the designer is the programmer with a different hat, making changes easy and build-test cycles short is very useful.
Produci, consuma, crepa

#14 NightCreature83   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2937

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 06:46 AM

It was a stage, fortunately.

 

Edit: To elaborate, I'm now doing engine programming instead. I appreciate it because there are objective measures on how good my work is. If I reduce CPU usage on the MMO server I'm developing for a certain amount of players by 50% without making the code unreadable or introducing weird bugs it's an undeniable improvement and I will not be asked to revert it. When I was doing gameplay programming for a multiplayer online game it would frequently be like "this character needs shoes, please change the Unity prefab object and scripts to accomodate the new model and attachable objects". After being done a few hours later: "revert the change, it didn't look as good as we thought".

 

Doing gameplay programming strictly as a hobby again.

 

You were doing it wrong, that is not the job of a programmer thats a character artist and a scripters/designers job to make that change happen. If it needs a programmer your pipeline needs some refactoring.

This is way I like systems work you will still be in the trenches but you get to play arround with the hardware and new API's as well :)


Worked on titles: CMR:DiRT2, DiRT 3, DiRT: Showdown, GRID 2, Mad Max

#15 Petter Hansson   Members   -  Reputation: 602

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 01:17 PM

I mean, it should be like you say. Unfortunately the organization overall was inadequate. Not that I blame them, it was their first game, and managed by people without direct game experience. What could possibly go wrong with multi-national multi-continent cooperation between a tech company and an education company. ^^ I'm not angry, those were simply unfortunate circumstances that I accepted at the time of sign up. Because they/we didn't manage to hire a single competent designer all programmers were pulled into direct scripting, level development, and such in addition to engine development. Quite the experience.

 

Still, I strongly suspect the issue I described in the post you quoted is still more prevalent in the gameplay programmer profession than the engine programmer profession. Not only from my limited own experiences, but also from what I've heard from other programmers.


Edited by Petter Hansson, 05 November 2013 - 01:27 PM.


#16 NightCreature83   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2937

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 05:32 PM

I mean, it should be like you say. Unfortunately the organization overall was inadequate. Not that I blame them, it was their first game, and managed by people without direct game experience. What could possibly go wrong with multi-national multi-continent cooperation between a tech company and an education company. ^^ I'm not angry, those were simply unfortunate circumstances that I accepted at the time of sign up. Because they/we didn't manage to hire a single competent designer all programmers were pulled into direct scripting, level development, and such in addition to engine development. Quite the experience.

 

Still, I strongly suspect the issue I described in the post you quoted is still more prevalent in the gameplay programmer profession than the engine programmer profession. Not only from my limited own experiences, but also from what I've heard from other programmers.

It depends I have done all kinds of work when I was dedicated Front End programmer, for which the work at the time ranged from pipeline work, back end systems (atlas texturing, render to texture tech), to implementing functional sides of UI screens. However the only time a programmer was interfering with art work would be at the structural level, as in how a scene has to be put together, this was a drawback of the tech. And when a scene contained multiple child anims max only allows one anim line whilst our tech allowed for 4, also drawback in tech, that would end up in not to complicated xmls but complicated enough that everyone forgets who it works until you have to create one again.

 

We never really got involved with the look or real feel of it unless it would break a usability thing or a tech constraint.

 

Just wondering but what do you class as engine programming?


Worked on titles: CMR:DiRT2, DiRT 3, DiRT: Showdown, GRID 2, Mad Max

#17 Petter Hansson   Members   -  Reputation: 602

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 06:25 PM

 

I mean, it should be like you say. Unfortunately the organization overall was inadequate. Not that I blame them, it was their first game, and managed by people without direct game experience. What could possibly go wrong with multi-national multi-continent cooperation between a tech company and an education company. ^^ I'm not angry, those were simply unfortunate circumstances that I accepted at the time of sign up. Because they/we didn't manage to hire a single competent designer all programmers were pulled into direct scripting, level development, and such in addition to engine development. Quite the experience.

 

Still, I strongly suspect the issue I described in the post you quoted is still more prevalent in the gameplay programmer profession than the engine programmer profession. Not only from my limited own experiences, but also from what I've heard from other programmers.

It depends I have done all kinds of work when I was dedicated Front End programmer, for which the work at the time ranged from pipeline work, back end systems (atlas texturing, render to texture tech), to implementing functional sides of UI screens. However the only time a programmer was interfering with art work would be at the structural level, as in how a scene has to be put together, this was a drawback of the tech. And when a scene contained multiple child anims max only allows one anim line whilst our tech allowed for 4, also drawback in tech, that would end up in not to complicated xmls but complicated enough that everyone forgets who it works until you have to create one again.

 

We never really got involved with the look or real feel of it unless it would break a usability thing or a tech constraint.

 

Just wondering but what do you class as engine programming?

 

Writing the backend server software for that game, for instance (partially outside of Unity). Fixing and adding functions in some of the middleware we used, as well.

 

+1 for interesting reply


Edited by Petter Hansson, 05 November 2013 - 06:30 PM.


#18 Antonios   Members   -  Reputation: 163

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 07:30 AM

Is it better to have experience using an engine e.g. Unreal?



#19 cozzie   Members   -  Reputation: 1659

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 12:23 PM

Passion is what you need also, lots of it :)
And when you want to "get in" it's always helpful to have "home projects" and some finished games (even if there relatively easy), finishing an actual home/ hobby project is a plus for sure (knowing how many projects start with lots of drive and enthousiasm and in on some backup source code folder :))




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