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d000hg

Game/non-game career...

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I really enjoy programming but only really if what I''m trying to make is of interest to me. Now normally that''s games, hence I want to get in to do that. However where I want to live there aren''t many options. If I could get a job coding for a ''serious'' company for a year or two, would game developers be more or less likely to want me than as a graduate? I don''t wanna do boring coding, I thought maybe someone interesting ie in science etc...
Read about my game, project #1 NEW (18th December)2 new screenshots, one from the engine and one from the level editor
John 3:16

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In my experience getting game development jobs is a very competitive operation. Unless you have a lot of experience then you just aren’t going to be able to compete. The experience has to be on shipped products as well, if you don’t have the opportunity to complete and sell a finished game, then you should get the experience of finishing and selling a more "boring" business application. Without that experience however it''s very hard to get a job.

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I disagree with Ironside.
I graduated from college last May and also wanted to get into the game industry, but I had no experience (Other than independent games that I had done for class or for fun). After four months of trying to find a job in the Midwest (where I lived) without any luck I contacted every game studio in Northern California that I could find and told them I was moving to San Francisco in a month and would like to set up interviews. Long story short, a month later I was living in California with two job offers in my hand. A lot of it was luck, but if you are persistent you are bound to get lucky eventually.
Many people I interviewed with said my lack of professional experience was actually a plus because it meant I was “cheap” to hire. Also, making a game is completely different from making a business application. They told me that experience in one does not correlate to experience in another.
So my advice would to be very persistent (It may take 6 months or more just to get an interview), keep making games in your spare time and publishing them on your site, and be willing to move where the jobs are.

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quote:
Original post by d000hg
If I could get a job coding for a ''serious'' company for a year or two, would game developers be more or less likely to want me than as a graduate?
I don''t wanna do boring coding, I thought maybe someone interesting ie in science etc...


This is is the part I''m really interested in -
I figure applications or whatever coding is more rigorous and built more on stronger theory e.g proper OO design, but you''re probably not encouraged to optimise. Are these remotely true in the real world?!




Read about my game, project #1
NEW (18th December)2 new screenshots, one from the engine and one from the level editor



John 3:16

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quote:
This is is the part I''m really interested in -
I figure applications or whatever coding is more rigorous and built more on stronger theory e.g proper OO design, but you''re probably not encouraged to optimise. Are these remotely true in the real world?!


Depends on what exact "non-games" job you end up doing.

"Edutainment"/multimedia stuff is likely to have a lot of similarities to games and often even less adherence to standards etc.

Many "boxed product" type companies do let retail schedules etc affect programming quality - very similar to the games world (actually a bad thing, but would be good preparation - I did that sort of stuff for a database product vendor before moving back to games).

Any companies doing government work or programming for a particular fixed client or to ISO 9000 standards rather than making products will tend to have a much heavier emphasis on correctness, method, documentation etc. This could be to the point of frustration where you feel 3/4 of your time is spent essentially filing forms to justify very simple code.

As for whether it''ll be valued as good experience by a games company hiring you: the closer the work is to games (i.e. multimedia is pretty close) the better, but ANY commercial experience of seeing a project through from concept to completion is VERY good (i.e. it hints that you can meet deadlines and won''t wimp out when things start getting tough).

Internationally applicaions for games jobs are still VERY competetive despite the occasional "I made it in with just a degree and a passion for games" success stories - I wouldn''t envy anyone trying to get in at the moment (particularly in the UK) - a year or two and it''s likely to be back on an upturn (very cyclical industry).

If I were applying now and were only prepared to take the non-crap games jobs (in the Europe in particular) I''d say I''d need the following to be in with the best chance:
- a good maths or computer science degree,
- a s*it hot demo (look back through FlipCode Image Of the Day entries to see the competition who are also applying for the same jobs you are),
- tons of enthusiasm for games and extensive playing experience
- real work experience on "products"
- maybe credits on a few **RELEASED** shareware/mod games
- other activities within the games world (magazine articles etc)

[Which is of course all the same advice you''ve heard many many times before from questions about "what''s the best way into the industry" on GameDev!]

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

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Thanks for that, very helpful. You reckon working non-games might be better to start with until the market picks up? The pros here are that I can hopefully get a graduate job soon rather than having to wait until graduating before even getting interviews - security in having a job is valuable when I need to afford housing etc.
However if I get a graduate contract now then I can''t decide to chase game jobs later when the ideal opportunity arises!

I particularly don''t want to work where I have no creative input and can''t even see my work in the completed project. I assume stuff like word processing or obscure protocol work would be most boring but I just want interesting problems to solve. I''m not so naive to think that as a newcomer I won''t end up doing that initially - loading screens & save-games, just as long as not for too long!

Anyone got any thoughts on where I could use physics with coding for something interesting? QinetiQ & Logica look promising...

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