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morningstar2651

Member Since 18 Mar 2007
Offline Last Active Dec 25 2015 10:52 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Student looking for feedback on game design portfolio!

25 December 2015 - 10:51 AM

I keep closing your portfolio on accident because if I click on a project, the project takes over the entire window without opening a new tab or leaving a back button to click. This is bad. If someone closes your portfolio on accident like that, they might just move on to the next one in their list of applicants.

 


1) How important are research papers and journals to a game designer portfolio? In my mind, being able to articulate the game industry and analyze a popular game's mechanics would show knowledge about games. I realize having playable games are more important, and that is what my portfolio primarily contains, but would a few papers also help?
They won't help - especially if you call them "Research Papers". Your portfolio shouldn't showcase a bunch of your homework - it should showcase ONLY your best work. If you want to showcase your writing about video games, then you should start up a blog on gamasutra and start pitching articles to websites like gamecareerguide or game design aspect of the month. Labeling anything on your portfolio in a way that suggests "I had to do this for a class" is a bad idea.

 


2) Right now, every game on my portfolio can be played online and most can also be played on Android. Even with this, should I also provide download links for the game executables? Is there a particular hosting service I should use for this task?

I don't see why not. I'm partial to itch.io for hosting downloads, but you don't have to use it.

 


3) With each piece of my portfolio I tried to both show wireframes/prototypes as well as tell a story. Is there any standard on how these entries should be constructed? Most articles I've read online have said this is a vital piece to a game portfolio and yet I could only find a couple game portfolios that did this.

On top of "Only show your best work", I'd like to add "If you don't think it looks like the work of a senior designer, it isn't good enough to be on your portfolio yet".

 

The idea behind showing wireframes is to show your design process. You can do this without the wireframes.

 


4) I currently have a few games up on itch.io and link to them. They're playable web games but the itch.io links contain downloadable executables and gameplay information. Should I continue linking to itch.io or should I instead move the web games to my server and put instructions on their portfolio page? Also, in general, should I continue having every link open a new window?
Keep using itch.io. If you're sending someone off of your website, do so in a new tab so they don't accidentally close the tab that has your portfolio on it.

 


5) Is there anything missing from my portfolio? I am working on a map and game mode for Unreal Tournament (2014) so Unreal Engine/3D Level Design is represented but is there anything else I can work on? Right now outside of Unreal Engine I plan on finishing what's in my portfolio. Hopefully the Phantasy Star Online Journal will be completed before the end of the year.
I think your portfolio currently has too much in it. You should cut anything you don't consider your best work and improve anything else until you believe it is high enough quality that a senior developer may have worked on it. Your goal isn't to simply convince HR that you know what you're doing - your goal is to convince them that you are the BEST candidate for the job.

 

Structurally, I would move your name, your desired position, and the projects up to the very top. I don't know who you are, what kind of job you want, or what your skills are when I open your website for the first time. I have to scroll down to find out. The bio should be at the bottom if included at all. I think the video is pretty cool, but I'm not sure it's something that belongs on your portfolio. I'm pretty good at foil fencing and I've won a blue ribbon in tango at a ballroom dance competition, but neither of these are on my portfolio because they don't showcase my ability to design or develop games.

 

If you'd like to see an excellent example of a portfolio, check out this one: http://www.carolinedelen.com/

 

If you're looking to break into the mobile space, you should definitely be showcasing your programming skills as well on your portfolio. Mobile teams are usually smaller than your typical AAA team and they tend to want to hire people who can wear multiple hats. I like that you share the code for the pinball game on github, but make sure you clarify what work you did. I don't know if you worked on the code or the art for this game. I also wouldn't share the design document. Most companies won't look at your design document for the same reason they destroy unsolicited submissions without opening them - they want to avoid any risk of liability if they are working on a project remotely similar to your document. I also don't see any of the art styles from the document represented in the game.

 

For the resume, you're losing a lot of space to your large margins. Vertical space is expensive on the resume, and the easiest way to get more space is to shrink your margins to fit more content on the page. You lose a lot of space with the huge indent on your content. Your skills should be higher up on the page as well since they're going to be more important to HR than what school you went to. You should also include the url of your LinkedIn page on your resume and put in big bold letters at the top what job you're looking for instead of using an objective line. If the top of the resume says "Game Designer" then we can skip the objective and move on to what skills you have to offer the company.

 

I also wouldn't put your GPA on the resume or on LinkedIn if it isn't above 3.5. Some companies will immediately rule out your application based on that alone.


In Topic: What Are a Game Designer Job Requirements?

12 October 2012 - 11:01 PM

hey,
I'm already watching the EC show but yet you guys drew lots of light right at the areas i needed, so thanks a dozen.

one thing to note: and im not into having a career in the indie game community - since i want a solid stable job, yet after reading what u say - i will sure give a stronger push on making my own completed games, so i'd have things to show in job interviews.

@morningstar2651:
i understand what u said and since i'm planning to study for a bachelor degree, it raises me the next, sorta complicated, question:


Telcontar said that there aren't really 'game design' only jobs,
for a role which contains the most game design work in a typical popular video game company, should i look for a degree in game design, computer science or graphic design?
i have no priority over none, and it seems like computer science would give me an extra push in interviews more than the game design one, either because the game design degree is less developed\stable, or the computer science is harder- i might be way wrong but i just want to know,



Thanks again for all the help, much appreciated!,
Asaf,

I actually recommend either double-majoring or taking a minor in art or programming. Graphic design is not what you want - it's too focused on 2D art and professional game companies these days make 3D games. Computer science will definitely teach you a lot about programming, but it usually doesn't focus on game-specific programming techniques.

I recommend checking out the digital counselor at game career guide. It should help you find schools to look into.

In Topic: Stuck with my idea.

12 October 2012 - 11:15 AM

Hi guys,

II thought about this idea a while ago, about a multiple character platformer game where the player controls a few characters.

The (current) game idea is as follow :

1) The player starts with a character and he can save more character as he progress.
2) Each character get a timer, which will deplete when the player use that character.
3) When all the character finish their timer, the turn ends. Each turn will cost the player resource(Battery) and it is important to gather those battery.
4) The game is room based and to exit the room, The player must turn on certain switches and get all his/her characters to the end point.
5) Each room will provide the player with opportunity to get items/power-up/equipment but will cost the player extra time from their characters.

I toyed around with the multiple character ideas but it seems like something is missing from the game that makes it interesting and fun. I am too close to the game to see the bigger picture so maybe someone can point out the real problems, but first let me state some of the problems I had with the game.

1) The game is too slow paced. Having to switch character every 20 secs or so kind of break the momentum of platforming game. To counter this, I tried another mechanic. In the new mechanic, the battery will run down as the character deplete its timer. This means that each battery provide one character with one recharge instead of recharging the entire team. This makes the game more fast paced but reduce the need for having more than one character, which bring us to the next point.
2) There isn't a need for more than one character. I can't seems to make this part work without make it into a puzzle game.
3) Problem with having enemies. If the game have enemy, then it might attack the player's non-active characters. I am not really sure how to go about dealing with this or is this the "player's problem" like how RTS don't care if your units are being attack while you are building your base. Having no enemy makes the game too static.
4) Repeating task. If I put my end point away from my start point, then the player need to perform the same actions, walk the same paths for every character to reach the end point. I kind of find this frustrating. If I put the start point near the end point, then the challenges of having multiple character is totally removed. I could start all the characters at random positions but I am not quite sure if that should be the way to go.

I know that this post is too long so for those people with not much time
tl;dr : My platformer game with multiple controllable characters is having some fundamental design problems.

Maybe the idea can't be saved so just go on and flame me for that =P, but if you have any good idea or tried this before, please point out some of the major issue with this.


I've played a multiple character platformer that worked well before.

The Lost Vikings.

In Topic: What Are a Game Designer Job Requirements?

12 October 2012 - 11:03 AM

Hey,

This question is directed to the people who work in an official - not indie - video game companies.

I'm a young dude, who would like to be a game designer, I think I have the right potential but have no idea how to execute it.


That's why I making this thread and asking about the job requirements, the institutions I should apply for, experience I should already have, and such.


Any help will be grateful,
Thanks,
Asaf

http://penny-arcade....a-game-designer

Excellent question. I second the recommendation to not only watch this episode of Extra Credits, but to watch as much of the series as you can. It's a freely available resource and James Portnow gives a lot of really great advice. This episode is spot-on.

The requirements do vary from company to company, so I'm going to focus on the core of design that doesn't vary. Take this as a supplement to this episode of Extra Credits.

"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works." - Steve Jobs

The primary skill is design. It's not about coming up with ideas or stories, it's about designing systems. Mechanically, all games are an interesting system to explore. You need to be able to see how the parts of a system interact in able to craft systems that are fun to explore. Due to this, I highly recommend studying some systems thinking if you intend to get into game design. It will help you understand and map out how the game's internal economies and mechanics function and make it easier to spot imbalances or problems in the design of a system.

The best way to learn how game systems and mechanics interact with each other is to play with them. This means playing games as a designer, and it also involves tweaking rules. The fastest way to start doing this is with board games and card games. In fact, board games & card games are a great starting point for studying the design of games because you can literally deconstruct them to examine how everything interacts. For example, in Monopoly you could change the ratio of beneficial chance cards to detrimental chance cards, change the amount of money earned each time you pass go, change the amount of money properties cost or earn, etc. When changing a rule to see how the change alters the way the game plays, only change them one rule at a time. This way, you can be absolutely which change produced which result.

There is a lot of competition for design jobs, so most companies are now looking for designers that have successfully shipped a game. I'm not just talking about following a pygame or unity tutorial - I'm talking about building a complete game and getting it approved by certification at Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo. It's a bit of a catch-22: If you want to make games professionally, you must first make games.

For your first forays into digital game development, you should start small. Pong small. Breakout small. Don't go beyond 2 dimensions yet. The classic mistake that every developer makes with their first game is trying something too big and not realizing how big it was going to be. Find some friends that want to make games and work on some small arcade-style games together. Even if your first 5 attempts to make a game fail, you'll still have 5 times the experience of that other applicant that just has some good ideas. Many places are also looking for designers that have branched out from pure design. Designers that have art or programming experience (especially programming experience) have an edge over a pure designer when applying for a design job.

I'm going to recommend a few good books for beginners, as well:
  • Challenges for Game Designers by Brenda Brathwaite & Ian Schreiber - this book is an excellent workbook filled with game design challenges and design problems to explore with paper prototypes, card games, and board games. It lets you get design practice without needing programming or art experience. It's perfect for the beginning game designer that wants to get their hands dirty playing with game mechanics.
  • Fundamentals of Game Design by Ernest Adams - Ernest was my introduction to game design, and his book is a great foundation of knowledge to build upon.
  • Game Design Workshop by Tracy Fullerton - Another great introductory book with a focus on prototyping and playtesting early and often in the course of designing a game.
These are the main 3 that I recommend for beginners and they provide you with a great foundation to build upon. :)

Also, you should participate in the Global Game Jam in January. I did my first game jam at the end of last month and it was an amazing experience to build a complete game in 48 hours or less.

PARTNERS