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Need Good Advice on Game Programming Education & Career


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#1 anka.trooper   Members   -  Reputation: 112

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:09 AM

Hello.

 

First of all let me introduce myself, I'm software engineer with a practical background. I worked in software companies mostly for developing web and mobile applications. My love of programming started with games, I was always curios about game development, a lot of times I found myself asking to myself 'Hell, how did they do this?' when playing computer games. I started programming with turbo pascal then migrated to C and eventually C++ (I programmed some games with Delphi too though using object pascal). Where I come from %90 of the industry is about web and mobile programming and there are not much game programming companies and most of them are producing casual games(mostly flash games using action script) , there is no single AAA game producing software company. That's why I picked web programming and worked on that field for a living but my passion for game development never died. 

 

I programmed tetris, tic-tac-toe, hangman, breakout and that kind of games as a beginner and then I started to study 3d graphics (I'm a self-taught game programmer). Then I have written some 3d applications running on a single window which were rendering some 3d geometry (geometric data from .3ds files, collada files .X files of D3D etc...) with texture mapping them using OpenGL & Direct3D. After digging in 3d programming area I gained intermediate knowledge on fixed and programmable pipeline using GLSL and HLSL. I never used a graphics engine such as unity or unreal and stuff like that because I always wanted to know what's going on behind the scenes. I'm good on Math & Science and C++ (definetly not a guru but I have good foundation on C++ thanks to the books I bought).

 

I quit my job on my home country and now I'm a full-time ESL student in NYC and I want to transfer to a certificate, associate or bachelor degree program on game programming. So you guys have any suggestions on that? A certificate program is better for me considering the time and finance of a 2-4 year full-program. What's the quickest way to jump into the game development industry as junior game programmer and in time become a better game programmer? I'm not in game programming for money, game programming is a passion for me as long as I can pay the bills I'm ok with that.

 

Thanks for your time.



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#2 zee_ola05   Members   -  Reputation: 325

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 12:47 PM

If you already have a software engineering career, you don't really need a game dev degree. And most people I know in the industry doesn't have a game dev degree either. I think what you need to break into the industry is portfolio. Maybe it is about time you look into engines like Unity, Unreal, etc. and make some game out of it. The industry rely on game engines. And familiarity on those is really a plus. For me, I think you already have the right foundations for a game programmer. You just need to show some outputs. Good luck! :)



#3 SeanMiddleditch   Members   -  Reputation: 6333

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:05 PM

What's the quickest way to jump into the game development industry as junior game programmer and in time become a better game programmer?


Start actually applying for game jobs. Internships if nothing else, though you may have trouble paying the bills on intern pay.

Some companies will definitely hire people with no games experience but whose resumes are intriguing and who do well in phone/on-site interviews. It'll be a lot easier if you at least know how games graphics, physics, AI, tools, architecture, etc. work to the point where you can answer interview questions about them. If you really have a passion for making games, one would assume you've read everything you can get your hands on about these topics and played with them some in your spare time and have at least basic hands-on experience.

It will help if you have exposure to what a real production-grade graphics engine (or physics, AI, tools, etc.) do rather than only being able to talk about your experiences writing a shader-based renderer from scratch which, frankly, isn't that interesting; that's like 1% of what a real game's graphics programming team has to deal with. Graphics dev teams also deal with material systems, lighting and shading, performance analysis and fixes, hardware compatibility work, art pipelines, animations, interpolation, shader composition, visual effects, sequencing, cutscene tools, editor plugins, etc. You at least need to know all those pieces exist, what they are, what they do, and the gist of you'd go about designing them. Experience with those system in Unity/Unreal/CryTek/etc. will help you with that, though it's not the only way to learn about them. If you don't plan to be a graphics programmer (the vast, vast majority of game developers never touch the engine's graphics code), then substitute the above list of graphics-related systems with those appropriate to your area of interest.




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