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Console game programming - how to go about it

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I''m planning on applying to some game development studios. My resume is decent enough, plenty of C++, some mod experience and 3D engine experince (DirectX). In corresponding with some employees at certain companies, they say that their companies are placing emphasis on console development experience, particularly PS2 and Gamecube. How does one get set up for developing on console platforms? I assume that one must buy the console platform, but what else is necessary? I''m particularly interested in Gamecube and PS2. Value of good ideas: 10 cents per dozen. Implementation of the good ideas: Priceless. Proxima Rebellion - A 3D action sim with a hint of strategy

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For Nintendo licensing, have a look at :

http://www.warioworld.com

And for Sony :

http://www.scee.sony.co.uk/scee2/devinfo4.htm
(well, this one is european developers support site... it should exist a US one ...)

__________________________



Bruno Wieckowski
Lead Programmer
Exood4 Studios



[edited by - brunow on August 17, 2002 11:46:27 AM]

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1. For the official devkits, follow the links brunow posted. However forget it unless you''re already representing a commercial company with a track record of published games, a full years audited accounts and a publisher signed and ready to publish a game for you. The official devkits are 10k+ apiece, and that''s just for "rental", the console manufacturer still "owns" the kits.


2. For amateur development (i.e. if you don''t yet have a job doing this stuff, you''re still an amateur who wants to [and hopefully soon will] become professional):

a) For the GameCube you can forget it - running self written code on a retail NGC would require it to be able to play unprotected NRs (mini DVD) - AFAIK GC hasn''t been chipped yet, it''s disc format hasn''t been cracked, and you can''t write 8cm DVDs on most consumer level burners.

b) For GameCube your best bet is to get proficient in OpenGL. The GX library used by NGC is similar to OpenGL, some of that knowledge will apply.

c) For Xbox, it''s a still similar situation, learn Direct3D.

d) For PS2, there are many people already writing code for it without official devkits. Do a Google search and you''ll find some stuff.

e) Sony have realised that amateurs/hobbyists would like to code PS2 so they''ve released the PS2 Linux kit which lets you write proper code for it.

f) There isn''t really a PC API similar to the PS2 - I''d recommend learning vertex shader assembly language, general assembly language, multiprocessor issues etc. Maybe even play around with a Commodore Amiga emulator or similar platform (some of the memory mapped hardware, specialist processors, multiprocessor etc concepts are similar).


3. "experience" and "experienced" seems to mean different things to different people. "GameCube experience" in the context of a game development job advertisment usually means "you have worked on a commercial, published game at a game development company using the official devkit/SDKs".


4. Smaller development companies tend to mainly hire people who have worked on published titles for a specific platform.


5. Even if you did manage to produce demos on say NGC without a devkit, its likely that those demos would require special boot swapping procedures to run and probably wouldn''t run on a devkit at all (demos intended to show your console experience would be tested on official devkits - not so impressive if it doesn''t work unless run on a chipped retail machine).


6. Larger development studios are more willing to take on "talented amateurs" with C++, 3D experience, and some good demos. These aren''t so much trainee positions as most of the games industry still isn''t big on training - you''re more likely to be dropped in at the deep end but with the guidance of a senior programmer. The larger companies are the ones who''ll let you loose on PS2/NGC/Xbox kit - once that happens, you''re in the position of having "PS2/NGC/Xbox experience" and able to apply for jobs requiring it.


7. Jobs doing lower level engine work for consoles will always require experience on those consoles. Work on higher level gameplay elements usually won''t - PC demos showing, say, lots of cool physics, and a CV (resume) to back it up could quite possibly get you a job coding on, say, a PS2 game.

--
Simon O''Connor
Creative Asylum Ltd
www.creative-asylum.com

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