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The gaming industry, advice!


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#1 samsonite133   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 10:03 PM

I am currently 14 years old, however I am interested in working in the gaming industry. However I have zero expirence with programming and little expirence with art design on computers. I do play a handful of games from triple A titles like bf4 on pc  to indie games like insurgency standalone and rising storm. I have always wanted to have  a taste for doing something along the lines of creating textures and level design and or weopen animations like reloading and shooting. Through research I found many people to have worked long hours starting off as things like game testing were the pay is bad and the labour is intensive, but I was just loooking for insight and opinions on things like; how easy it is to find a job, pay, hours of work, enjoyable, stressfull,  and is it a longterm career that is worth looking into, what education do I need.

also a side note Is would it be good to start small and purchase game maker and create a 2d platformer, me and my freidn are interested in making a game like spelunky and possibly finding a way to sell it.



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#2 Josh Petrie   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3840

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 10:15 PM

However I have zero expirence with programming and little expirence with art design on computers. I do play a handful of games from triple A titles like bf4 on pc  to indie games like insurgency standalone and rising storm.

 

 

You should work on getting some experience with either or both of the first two topics. Making games is fundamentally different from playing them; while it's generally a nice perk that you are interested in playing games a hobby, it's not going to get you a job.

 

Through research I found many people to have worked long hours starting off as things like game testing were the pay is bad and the labour is intensive,

 

The industry has a reputation for being tough, but it's not a universal truth. You don't have to settle for extreme hours of unpaid overtime (and you shouldn't; when you do you only contribute to the problem). You also don't have to start in QA (and I don't generally recommend it), and it is not necessarily any easy to use QA as a stepping stone than it is to just get the job you actually want right off the bat (that is generally an exaggeration passed off as reality by clueless gaming press).

 

how easy it is to find a job, pay, hours of work, enjoyable, stressfull,  and is it a longterm career that is worth looking into, what education do I need.

 

It depends. If you are good, it's easy to get a job. If you are smart and self-confident (and not wholly risk-averse), the hours are normal. Whether or not it's enjoyable a stressful is very subjective, but it's certainly a viable long-term career path.

 

The education you'll want to get depends on your area of interest. If it's programming-related, you'll probably want a computer science degree. Art, probably some kind of art degree. Et cetera.

 

also a side note Is would it be good to start small and purchase game maker and create a 2d platformer, me and my freidn are interested in making a game like spelunky and possibly finding a way to sell it.

 

It is always a good idea to start small, and always a good idea to work on and finish game projects. It's highly educational and can eventually give you some awesome portfolio pieces. And maybe even make you some money along the way.

 

Be careful about spending money outright though; if a tool has a trial version, make sure you try it out completely before paying. You can make games without paying a single penny, so don't throw down your hard-earned money until you know you need (or want) to.


Josh Petrie | Game Developer, Undead Labs


#3 samsonite133   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 10:31 PM

Thank you so much, Gaming isnt just a huge hobby for me, it greatly interest me as the thought of someone else enjoying the work that I did is awesome! Especialy if you see a bunch of reviews  on youtube of it, then maybe il get a sense of joy and value in life and have a career I actualy like. Recently I really took interest into going to the game industry although its been floating around in my head for while. After watching the movie indie gamer it made me research a whole about gaming careers, this is something I am passionate about, and when I am passionate about something I  learn 10x faster than something I am not interested in and I have drive! I greatly appreciate your help, but lets say I wanted to specificaly design textures and graphics like lighting or effects more in the animation and art part, what do you think I would need. side note, when I generaly draw on papper picture it is something im terrible at however I have a great imagination hopefuly this wont affect computer art? I know I am still young however after getting into highschool it hit me il need to choose a career path soon! more detailed insight would be apreciated, such as personal expirences like any struggles, or job expirences that are good and or bad to tell?



#4 SeanMiddleditch   Members   -  Reputation: 7148

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 12:17 AM

lets say I wanted to specificaly design textures and graphics like lighting or effects more in the animation and art part, what do you think I would need.


Buy a book or two. Sign up for some local art classes. Nearby community colleges might even have some 3D-oriented programs for young students. Most won't be game-oriented, but games aren't your only option. Working for an animation company might also be right up your alley.

Normally I'd agree with Josh on not spending money, but it can be somewhat difficult to _usefully_ experience a skill on your own for free. A good book or class will give you far more quality exposure in far less time than you're likely to acquire on your own. You might still be able to do it for free or very cheap via a high school program, too, if you're lucky.
 

side note, when I generaly draw on papper picture it is something im terrible at however I have a great imagination hopefuly this wont affect computer art?


First, art is a skill. Practice it, with guidance (doodling by yourself is not practice, but using a good book or taking a good class is another story). There's nothing magical about art; you learn how to do it the same way you learn how to write, play sports, do math, play an instrument, etc. Sure, some people will have more talent at it than others but the same is true for any skill. When I was your age my stick figures were barely humanoid but after a single good art course I was able to draw a quite recognizable self portrait.

Second, no, classical art expertise is not the same thing as 3D art expertise, though teachers do tend to teach one before teaching the other. Not because drawing on paper is critical to 3D art but because it's easier to learn the necessary skills for seeing and sharing the visual world with simple drawing exercises than it is with a specialized art tool like a 3D modeling package (which takes a fair bit of learning just to do basic things with aside from learning the art!).
 

I know I am still young however after getting into highschool it hit me il need to choose a career path soon!


I didn't get my first real job in the games industry until I was 28 and didn't graduate college until I was 30. Take your time and try out some possibilities before you commit to anything. You're on the right path now: actually start experimenting with art or programming or writing or whatever now and get a strong idea whether you'd really enjoy doing it for many years.

Edited by SeanMiddleditch, 04 February 2014 - 02:42 PM.


#5 Sunsharior   Members   -  Reputation: 521

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 05:39 PM

Like everyone already said, you should start learning a programming language. Start with making very small project.

When i was a teen, i learned actionscript during a summer, made a game and then publisher it on a gaming website. (I really like newgrounds back then)

 

Granted the first few games i made was total crap, it gave me some needed experience.

 

Try not to understand everything right aways. there is just way too much things to learn. Take it at your own pace.

Work your way from that. If you think about it, you can only get better and better.

 

And when you play a game, think about how it's made, how the guys did this-and-that.

 

Good luck smile.png


Edited by Sunsharior, 04 February 2014 - 05:40 PM.


#6 samsonite133   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 07:21 PM

started first work in gaming at 28?! and isnt an art or computer art degree or whatever only a year or 2? I really need to think about this more, but through research I get mixed answeres which is why I came here. btw to be 100%  honest I never really loved art or hated it, it was ok for me considering I was never really good at writing or fine drawings (fidgety hands) but I had the creative ideas. Im starting to lean more towards level design, less animation more textures and building maps, something that sounds veryyyy apealing to me, like creating flora/vegatation to my liking or laying out the landscape like hills to creating an urban closed off battle place where balancing and thought is put in. I know interest change, and I have gone through diff phases were id want to do one thing and then a couple months later I change my mind, however this one has a unique spark to it! I spend so much time playing video games, and thinking how they couldve balanced the map out better, or made this look cooler, or  better optimized it. If I were to take a direct path into level design is that such a job that I could makee a living off of? or do I have to be able to do a variety of things to get a longterm job. Also if level design is something I can choose to only learn and do for the rest of my career, what kinda games generaly would a person deal with, very vague but I would liek personal expirence and thoughts! thanks a bunch. Finaly I have one more question, its rather dumb and kinda stupid, but what exactly is coding, and why is it refered to as a language, is it hard to learn, what are the types and what is coding used for?


Edited by samsonite133, 04 February 2014 - 07:22 PM.


#7 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10158

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 07:29 PM

I'm moving this to the game industry Job Advice board, then will read further and perhaps respond.

1. Through research I found many people to have worked long hours starting off as things like game testing were the pay is bad and the labour is intensive,
but I was just loooking for insight and opinions on things like;
2. how easy it is to find a job,
3. pay,
4. hours of work,
5. enjoyable,
6. stressfull,
7. and is it a longterm career that is worth looking into,
8. what education do I need.


1. Actually, the hours are longer and more intense for those working in the studio (especially the programmers). In QA (test) the overtime pay can go into overtime and double overtime, so that's usually tightly controlled.
2. Not very.
3. It depends on which game job you have, and how long you've worked in the industry. Read the Game Industry Salary Survey. There's a link to it in this forum's FAQ section.
4. Ostensibly 40 hrs/wk, but most people in the industry wind up working more than that, especially towards the end of a project.
5. Yes.
6. Yes.
7. Worth is subjective. You get to decide this for yourself. Read the FAQs.
8. Depends on which job you want to go for. Read the FAQs.

isnt an art or computer art degree or whatever only a year or 2?


An art degree can be obtained in 2 years, but I prefer to see a 4-year degree.
-- 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.

#8 PlayfulCritter   Members   -  Reputation: 132

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 02:46 AM

Toms post there reads like a girl your trying to chat up just politely answering enough of your questions just to be nice, but leaving you under no illusion of that your getting nothing from her. OP is 14 man, elaborate on your answers a bit more than just 'yes' and 'not very.' 

 

On topic:

 

One thing you need to remember here, and is key to any role you find yourself in, is that you have to love it. You have to love to code. You have to love to draw. You have to love game design etc. It's what your going to be doing for, perhaps, the rest of your life and this industry evolves at a rapid pace so you need to be able to keep up and learning new things quickly (but that comes with experience). 

 

Honestly, don't put too much faith into a degree. Whilst yes they might be useful, a lot of employers want to see how skilled you are in your respective area. Who cares if you got a 1st class degree from a swanky university. Any employer worth their salt will still offer you an interview as long as you have passion and can show case some of your work. When I was at uni I learned more doing projects in my spare time than the classes I did at uni. Partly as I was doing things I was interested in and partly as I'm not the best in those sorts of learning environments (classes / lectures etc).

 

I'm not saying you shouldn't go, but I am saying don't worry too much about it.

 

Another key concept is networking. Try and get your face known in your local game dev scene. I know a lot of indie companies and friends who have hired people / got work purely because they knew someone who knew someone. So keep your people skills up. 

 

Finally, for your own game, pick up the free copy of Unity and use C#. I use both professionally and you can do anything you want with it, including non game related subjects. The website also offers some of the best documentation and tutorials i've ever seen in relation to code and game development. 



#9 Valoon   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 484

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 04:28 AM

He's only 14 I think he should definitely go for a degree, he has plenty of time. He just needs to know that he will need to work on his own on the side.

 

Degree + Talent + HardWork > Talent + HardWork in the mind of HR people



#10 ProtectedMode   Members   -  Reputation: 1279

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 06:30 AM

Toms post there reads like a girl your trying to chat up just politely answering enough of your questions just to be nice, but leaving you under no illusion of that your getting nothing from her. OP is 14 man, elaborate on your answers a bit more than just 'yes' and 'not very.' 

 

On topic:

 

One thing you need to remember here, and is key to any role you find yourself in, is that you have to love it. You have to love to code. You have to love to draw. You have to love game design etc. It's what your going to be doing for, perhaps, the rest of your life and this industry evolves at a rapid pace so you need to be able to keep up and learning new things quickly (but that comes with experience). 

 

Honestly, don't put too much faith into a degree. Whilst yes they might be useful, a lot of employers want to see how skilled you are in your respective area. Who cares if you got a 1st class degree from a swanky university. Any employer worth their salt will still offer you an interview as long as you have passion and can show case some of your work. When I was at uni I learned more doing projects in my spare time than the classes I did at uni. Partly as I was doing things I was interested in and partly as I'm not the best in those sorts of learning environments (classes / lectures etc).

 

I'm not saying you shouldn't go, but I am saying don't worry too much about it.

 

Another key concept is networking. Try and get your face known in your local game dev scene. I know a lot of indie companies and friends who have hired people / got work purely because they knew someone who knew someone. So keep your people skills up. 

 

Finally, for your own game, pick up the free copy of Unity and use C#. I use both professionally and you can do anything you want with it, including non game related subjects. The website also offers some of the best documentation and tutorials i've ever seen in relation to code and game development. 

Short answers for simple questions are okay in my opinion...

 

But anyway, many people like to see a degree. If you have two simular applicants, but one has a degree, you will choose that one. You can assume people with a CS degree at least want to work a bit and know a lot of programming, design etc. A portfolio will definitely help but a degree is probably the best way to go for somebody who's only 14 years old (even though university can be very boring).

 

Finally, your last few lines read like advertisement... There are a lot of very good developer tools out there and Unity is not one of the most cheap, easy or small engines out there. I'm not insulting Unity, it's a great engine. But for a beginner who has also a lot of interest in art too, I would recommend Gamemaker. It's very cheap, easier to start than Unity and probably better suited for small games made by only one or a few people. 



#11 SeanMiddleditch   Members   -  Reputation: 7148

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 02:03 PM

started first work in gaming at 28?!


I went down a different career path at first after flirting with some other jobs out of high school. In general I wouldn't recommend jumping right into a costly and time-consuming higher education unless you're sure you know what you want to do. If you just want to get the basics out of the way, aim for a cheap community college that you can later transfer to a full 4-year university once you have a good idea what you probably want to do with the rest of your life.

and isnt an art or computer art degree or whatever only a year or 2?


There are technical schools that are this quick. They're not really degrees in that they're usually not accredited programs. A BFA (Bcahelor of Fine Art) degrees usually takes 4 years.

Im starting to lean more towards level design, less animation more textures and building maps, something that sounds veryyyy apealing to me, like creating flora/vegatation to my liking or laying out the landscape like hills to creating an urban closed off battle place where balancing and thought is put in. I know interest change, and I have gone through diff phases were id want to do one thing and then a couple months later I change my mind, however this one has a unique spark to it!


You're young. Experiment with any interest that does pop into mind. You wont' know how you really feel about something until you've tried it.

If I were to take a direct path into level design is that such a job that I could makee a living off of? or do I have to be able to do a variety of things to get a longterm job.


Spend some time building maps or modding existing games. It's good practice, gives you time to decide if you really enjoy it, and helps build up your portfolio.

I'll echo both of the previous sentiments about degrees: they can be a help or useless depending on which companies and jobs you apply for. You'll likely need to do some research on the companies you're interested in and jobs you're interested in once you have a better idea. I wouldn't worry too much about it at your age just yet; just do your best in high school so if you do end up wanting to go to college you have plenty of options available to you.

what exactly is coding, and why is it refered to as a language, is it hard to learn, what are the types and what is coding used for?


You have to express rules to the computer. Just like expressing ideas to a human being is done through language, expressing ideas to the computer is done via language (though computer languages are not at all like natural spoken languages). By itself the computer doesn't know how to do anything of interest as it's just a glorified calculator. Coding (aka programming, software engineering, developing, etc.) is the act of telling the computer what to do to get all those things on your screen to appear to move and act and do interesting things. Game designers will sometimes do a little bit of simple coding (mostly just hooking up logic snd events, like spawning an enemy when the player enters a particular room) but all of the really hard/interesting stuff is left to the dedicated software engineers. You might try watching the introductory Khan Academy videos on programming to better understand what coding/programming is in general.

#12 samsonite133   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 05:05 PM

I am so happy to recieve so much advice! I will defiently expirement with coding and art in gaming. This is really dumb but I wanted to start off with the free software called scratch, super simple, but after playing around with it, its actualy quite confusing, not hard just confusing. I did look at game maker, and after I get better with scratch il move to making games on game maker, where if the quality is good imo, I might even ask a indie game selling website if they'd advertise it so make some money, and more importantly get me known by the community, andddd recieve critsism for future projects. unity looks like such a cool software, I am thinking of finding people from school who are expirenced with coding in the future and making a fps survival game, or a fps simulator. Despite my plans for the future, I am getting rather frusterated with scratch! any tutorials you guys could suggest for making a game off of scratch? found a few, but they all had diff versions from the one I have off of teh website, and sometimes they werent clear!



#13 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10158

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 08:57 PM


I am getting rather frusterated with scratch! any tutorials you guys could suggest for making a game off of scratch? found a few, but they all had diff versions from the one I have off of teh website, and sometimes they werent clear!

 

samsonite, this discussion is taking place in the game industry Job Advice board because you started off asking about preparing to get a job in the industry.  In this forum we only talk about job advice -- not technical questions about game making tools.  We have to compartmentalize our discussions according to the board/forum topics.  If you want to ask questions now about Scratch and Game Maker, please go to the For Beginners board and start a new thread there.  If you don't have any more questions about preparing for a game industry job, maybe this thread should be closed (it's easy enough to start a new one anytime). 


-- 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.

#14 samsonite133   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 02:38 PM

fair enough, but id like this thread or whatever its called to stay up, simply because I can look back at it. But I understand if you HAVE to delete it



#15 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10158

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 04:02 PM

I do not intend to delete it. Just close it, if it goes into an off-topic technical discussion.


-- 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.




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