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RavNaz

Game industry interview tips

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Anyone want to donate some game industry interview tips..i.e what employers may ask in the interviews etc...etc..

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Be honest. You''d be amazed how many recruits I end up turning away because I caught them in a lie in the interview loop.

Don''t exaggerate on your resume. I had one individual who put himself down as CEO of a company. (He was interviewing to be a tester.) I did some research, and found that the company was one he created to build PC''s. It had been around for two months before he gave up on it. Was he telling the truth, saying he was a CEO? Yes. Was he sending across the proper message with what he was saying? No. He didn''t even make it TO the interview process, even though he was qualified.

Don''t be cocky. You may (think you) know it all, but how you come across in the interview is how the interviewer will think you are going to get along with the team. Games are made by effective teams. Cancelled projects are made by effective individuals.

Don''t be afraid to say, "I don''t know," if you truly do not know. Those three words show the interviewer that you are humble enough to admit your failings, and don''t mind going to somewhere to get help.

When coding in an interview, do a mental debug after every line. Catch your own bugs. Don''t give the interviewer a chance to do it for you.

Study up on your basic algorithms prior to your interviews. Doubly-linked lists are commonly brought up as a coding exercise.

Be observant. Usually, your interviewer will indirectly tell you in the first ten minutes what he is most focused on.

Show up wearing business casual clothing. At most of the game companies I have worked at, wearing business formal clothing was actually a mark against you in the interview.

Read every project post-mortem at Gamasutra.com. Learn about the industry before trying to work in it.

Play games. Play as many as you can. Learn what the games did right, and what they did wrong.

Do logic puzzles in your spare time. They keep your mind sharp, because some curves WILL be thrown at you in your interview.

Ask yourself how to best serve the customer when you are thinking of answers. Any company that doesn''t keep the gamer in mind when hiring or making a game is a company that won''t be around for long.

And finally, a self-serving plug...read my columns at http://www.ugr.net. [grin]

RomSteady - Test Locally, Test Globally, Test Early, Test Often

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are there any other code type tests/question aynone can think of??

when you say doubley-linked lists I assume you mean linked lists which you can go backward and forward along nodes.

what kind of curves will be thrown in an interview?

Cheers,

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The types of test really depend on what type of programmer you are applying to be. Graphics programmers are usually given tests related to ray-tracing, model blending, or sorting difficult scenes (lots of transparency, etc.). Sound programmers are usually given tests related to sound blending and transforms. Lower level programmers are usually given tests related to engine design or memory management.

I could give you example after example, but an interview is a test of not only your knowledge, but your ability to adapt and create on demand...exactly what is needed as a programmer.

Just remember your math and algorithms, know C++ inside and out, have faith in yourself and your abilities, and remember that few companies use the same test for each interviewee.

RomSteady - Test Locally, Test Globally, Test Early, Test Often

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Rom... excellent post. I was trying to think of something to add, but I think you pretty much covered everything! Take this to heart would-be interviewees.

Interviews really do run the gamut, you never know what to expect. I''ve breezed through an interview by talking about Total Annihlation for 30 minutes, and I''ve also been relentlessly grilled on tough algorithm problems.

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Why not read this......

http://gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?whichpage=1&pagesize=20&topic_id=64588

[edited by - randomDecay on September 14, 2002 11:58:53 PM]

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That was an excellent post Rom. I''ve been interviewing candidates for technical positions for years, and you really hit all the high points.

In terms of curve balls, there''s always something, and some are curvier than others. First, you''re almost certainly going to be asked some variant of the "where do you want to be in five years" question. Don''t blow this off -- I''m really surprised at how many candidates don''t really have an answer for this. This question is intended to ask you where you see your life and career going. If you don''t really have an answer for that (and saying something like "right here, working happily along!" qualifies as a non-answer in most cases), that indicates you really haven''t thought much about where you''re going, what you like doing, and where you want to be in the future.

There are other much curvier questions. One of these that I was asked (and I confess have asked in a few interviews myself) is: "You''re in a boat, sitting in the middle of a lake or pool where the surface line of the water is very clearly marked. In your boat is a large rock. If you pick up the rock and drop it overboard, does the water level in the lake go up, down, or stay the same?" This question is not so obvious as it might seem at first, and the point of it is not to see how quick-witted or logical you are (or even to be sadistic when your brain is fried at the end of a long day of interviewing). It''s designed to see how you approach a problem, what questions do you ask, what knowledge do you draw on, etc. I have more questions like this one too.

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quote:
Original post by archetypist
"You''re in a boat, sitting in the middle of a lake or pool where the surface line of the water is very clearly marked. In your boat is a large rock. If you pick up the rock and drop it overboard, does the water level in the lake go up, down, or stay the same?"


Bah...my guess is that it would stay the same?

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It would depend on the density of the rock. If the rock is the size of a pea, but weighs 200 pounds, while sitting in the boat it will be able to displace quite a bit more water than it would if it was in the water alone as the body of the boat adds to the effective surface area of the rock.

In most normal cases, I think the level of the lake would go down as well as the rock is surely going to have less surface area than the boat.

Mark Fassett
Laughing Dragon Entertainment
http://www.laughing-dragon.com

[edited by - LaughingD on September 15, 2002 12:10:40 PM]

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