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#5306173 Is the Bay Area affordable for entry level designers?

Posted by on 16 August 2016 - 09:35 AM

San Francisco is ridiculous.  At $50k you are either going to have 2-3-4 roommates and probably still have to use BART to get to work since you won't be close,  Or live in the east bay or Oakland and have a 10-20 minute drive to a BART station and then another 45 minute train ride.  Any studio that would offer $50k would know that is not a very livable wage and it is probably looking to take advantage of people trying to break in.  Driving in the city is horrible and I would only do it if I had no choice.


Is there any reason you want to move to San Francisco?  Midwest has some game studios and the cost of living is much more reasonable.  West coast has droves and droves of people looking to get in the industry and they are already here.  You are going to have to have quite a bit of a nest egg to make the move since it could be months before you even get a job (or ever).  You can probably take a part time job at fast food or something to help with the bills but that is time you can't spend looking for a job or making your portfolio better.

#5286975 How beneficial can personal projects be?

Posted by on 14 April 2016 - 11:42 PM

Your portfolio can just as easily be a patchwork of half understood code cobbled together from the internet just as easily as it is totally you own original work.


I agree with frob that your professional work history is a bit more important.  Making games is a job, generally a fun job, but a job nonetheless.  Granted you didn't do 100% of the work and may have coasted from time to time but it shows you were able to work with a team and get things done on a reasonable schedule.  Working on and hopefully completing projects on your own is great and isn't something that a lot of people can do.  But working on something when you want to isn't the same as working on things when you have to.    

#5274470 Looking for an engine for a 2d action RPG.

Posted by on 05 February 2016 - 10:29 AM

Maybe RPG Maker, but you aren't going to find any solution that isn't going to require quite a bit of legwork on your end.  You want a list of very specific things and most game engines are made to be as generic as possible.


As for Unity, I don't think your team has really looked in to what it can do.  Everything on your list is very achievable with some coding.

#5274395 Footware at work

Posted by on 04 February 2016 - 10:59 PM

Shoes are pretty optional at work.  Not uncommon to see people bare foot in the office though.  I can see it as being a safety thing to wear shoes but some people in game development aren't always keen on taking frequent showers.

#5274281 Unity vs. a more "lean" game engine

Posted by on 04 February 2016 - 11:08 AM


The good reason is it gives them more fine control. The bad reason is it makes them feel superior and smart. (I'd rather not reinvent the wheel.) The third reason is not bad and it is simply that some people can't get their heads around Unity.

Good point. I do like having not only control but also _understanding_ of what's going on. But you have to draw the line somewhere, else we would all still be writing in assembly. =)



The more I've progressed in my career and the more games I've released at work I've cared less and less of what is going on under the hood.  Getting results done faster and with (usually) less hassle is more important then being able to fiddle with all the knobs.  And thus Unity has become more and more my go to tool.  But when you want to do something that Unity wasn't built for then it is a massive pain because there are no knobs.  The native extension system for Unity is pretty good even on Windows and Mac if you need to do things Unity wasn't made for.  You can't change the physics system that Unity uses but if you need fluids or something you can write that in C++ to run fast in native land and pipe the results to your scripts.  Community support is super as well.  Nearly every question I've ever had has already been answered on Unity Answers.


One huge gripe I have is you are going to have a bad day if multiple people need to make updates to the same scene.  You can negate a lot of this by prefabing everything out but it sucks to go commit your change and see that somebody else has committed it first.  Scenes are saved as YAML so you can merge them by hand but it is a pain.  The other big thing is if you have a good sized project with a few hundred or more scripts Unity seems to like to recompile all of them if you make a code change so it can take several seconds to get Unity responsive again.

#5272378 Risks Of Using Computer As Webhost?

Posted by on 23 January 2016 - 11:55 AM

OP, you never did state what you think you need a web host for.  If it is for creating your version of eBay but better the reasons for not using your PC have already been thoroughly discussed.  Or do you want a host that you can play around with web programming with?  If it is the latter just install WAMP/XAMPP on your machine and serve everything from your closed localhost (or a VM with Linux for full control).  All the other computers on your LAN will be able to access the site but no worries of outside trouble (other then the usual).

#5271437 How Important is an Honours Degree in Games/Audio Industries?

Posted by on 16 January 2016 - 12:50 PM

Working in games is a job.  When you have a hundred million dollar budget it isn't play around all day in the lunch room discussing your favorite anime character.  It's a fun job and there is definitely more screwing off going on then in a regular corporate setting.  But like any job you are going to be asked to do a great number of things you don't like.  You either slug through it to get to the fun part or you get your walking papers.  One good thing about college is about half the classes you take you have no interest in but have to do get your degree.  It sucks, but it is good job training.  The other good thing about college is you can always go back.  After a couple of years working you'll wish you could go back to the easy days of college.


If you get a job at a game studio and you think your first day is going to be something like them giving you a big room for six months and them saying "give us a masterpiece" and them promptly ignoring you.  You're going to have a bad first day.

#5271297 How Important is an Honours Degree in Games/Audio Industries?

Posted by on 15 January 2016 - 10:40 AM

Not to sound harsh but the job world is all about jumping through hoops.  The better you get at jumping through them the better off you'll be in the long run.


Lots of people get jobs without degrees.  Lots more people get jobs with degrees.  It really is just a choice you are going to have to make.  One thing to think about is how useful the degree would be for getting a job outside the industry.  Music isn't something like programming where there is always a constant need for a musician on the payroll.  AAA games need several years to complete and smaller studios/mobile games might just buy premade royalty free music.  You may have to pick up side jobs to supplement your main job.  For the record, I'd say finish the degree as a fail safe for the future.

#5270455 Working for a startup.

Posted by on 10 January 2016 - 05:18 PM

Personally, I'd question why a startup thinks they need to (seemingly) create a graphics engine from scratch.  If they have millions in investment, several other industry veterans, and a multi year timetable then it is probably alright and will be around for a few years at least.  But if they are looking to hit half a dozen platforms including mobile and are going to need a Kickstarter round to get the game out that is a company destined to bust before the game is done.


Which job is closer? The game job might be great but if you got an hour+ commute to work every morning even a great job starts to turn sour when you think about all the time you are wasting getting to and from work.

#5269215 Java, still being a good option for game dev in 2016 or there are other optio...

Posted by on 04 January 2016 - 10:20 AM

As the other posters have said, as long as the runtime is bundled with the game Steam won't care that it is Java.  There are quite a few Adobe AIR games on Steam now because you can bundle the AIR runtime in a nice package with a exe to run.  Adobe is even worse then Java when it comes to being updated and security problems.

#5267436 Adding ads to my app.

Posted by on 21 December 2015 - 11:50 PM

Ads are super subjective and totally depend on how your game flow works.  How one game shows ads might be totally inappropriate for your game.  So you really aren't going to get one person telling you where to put ads.  Honestly, you just have to A/B test the crap out of and find what works.  Most of the decent ad networks have a crap ton of options to allow you to segregate users into cohorts for targeted advertising.  Your game might have a bunch of potential trigger points put into it but a user might only see one or two depending on how you set things up.


It is also pretty common to have more then one ad network integrated into a game.  You could even potentially A/B ad networks.  Set the same triggers for both networks but only use one based on some kind of internal player ID.  This kind of stuff is much easier to do on Android since there is only a couple of hours between the time you upload a new binary and it shows up in the store.


This isn't an easy thing to setup and takes a lot of trial and error to try and get right.  There are companies that make a lot of money telling companies how to do this.

#5256865 MySQL applications for a game

Posted by on 12 October 2015 - 09:30 AM

Being able to do simple inserts or selects with order by or group by are trivial and can found on Google with a minute of searching.  MySQL starts getting more interesting with you start trying to aggregate data from multiple tables.  With it being a financial job I'd have to assume you are going to be doing more then selecting a couple of columns from a table.  Just knowing the query language isn't enough either, you have to be able to smartly put together the query for best performance.  You can easily take a query that takes a second or two to run and turn it in to minutes if you tried doing something like selecting from an non indexed column.  Depending on how hardcore you really need to know MySQL for the job they could easily spend a few hours on practical tests.  Trying to do a little mock accounting spreadsheet type app to calculate all the usual accounting info using MySQL to store and create results would probably go much further then a game.  Depending on how starched their shirts are games are still looked down by some in the corporate world.

#5254383 How do I know what Android version to target?

Posted by on 28 September 2015 - 09:21 AM

Android 2.x and 3.x are so old that I don't feel like it is worthwhile to even mess with them.  A couple of our older games at work will start target 2.3 but the Google Play breakdown is something like 97%+ Android 4 and above.  Performance of the games just isn't very good since the devices are always low spec and it is just a drain on our support to have to deal with them.  That is why we made a blanket rule just to support Android 4+ and iOS 6 (soon to be iOS 7).


As far as testing, it is a work place so we have the money and people to have a range of devices.  We probably have 10-12 going from Android 2.3 to 5.1 (phones and tablets) and several manufactures.  Games in development and beta testing will get run though a bunch of them to see if the game works alright but once the game is out then generally just the high end devices so QA can quickly do what they need to do and a few spot checks with older devices for major new features.  Android is so fragmented that it is pretty much impossible to test on everything.  You can pay for a service to test your game but they aren't always cheap and they won't catch everything either (but will have a better chance then you).  There are some software emulators you can use that can simulate different hardware and Android versions but they don't really work that well in my experience.  For a broke indie I'd say just get a Android 4/5 tablet and call it a day.  The crash reporting for Google Play is pretty good (we've fixed more then one issue we couldn't repo from the crash logs) so it can give you a chance to fix things you couldn't test.

#5243120 Is Google Play Game Services or Apple Game Center worth it?

Posted by on 28 July 2015 - 01:18 AM


On a related note, if your game requires any permission stronger than mere "Internet Access", you're never even getting installed. You don't need full access to my SD card storage, you don't need location services, you don't need phone state and caller ID, you don't need Manage Accounts. The crap people want to get away with for even the simplest software these days is ridiculous.


Granted some apps do ask for more permissions then they really need.  But unfortunately, unless you are making My First Android Game you will need quite a few of those for any kind of meaningful and engaging game.


Google Play is one of those things that can help you and hurt you at the same time.  People will complain if you don't have something but they will complain even more if your implementation is broken or is heavy handed.

#5242628 DigiPen: The Game School I Went To

Posted by on 25 July 2015 - 11:33 AM

It would also be interesting to see how people fare outside the gaming industry.  A lot of people end up moving out of the industry for something else.