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Zerotek

Rushing The Path to Become a Game Developer

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Hey, I was wondering if anybody could tell me how feasible they think this is. We're 5 people, who are taking serious steps to form a game company. All our youth, we've been making little games, little game companies and such. We're about to graduate from a 2 year programmer/analyst course, well, three of us are, the other two are from a multimedia course. Our education is generalist, it covers the basics of pretty much everything in our field. We've all agreed on focusing on one element of game development, so that we'll form a team. Anything that lacks, we'll contract to other people, like music. Making the company is very possible, the government seems to be willing to give us enough money to do it, and we have plenty of free ressources available to help us start a company. Costs will even be kept down by using almost entirely open-source tools. The problem is, we have little knowledge of game development. We're aware of all the wonderful ressources out there (if you have any handy, it'd still be nice to know them though), and we're ready to learn. Big Question: Do you think it is possible for a group of people to master enough of game development in two or three intense months of studying, to make a commercial grade game? We're all fast learners, we got used to learning nearly entire courses right before the exams, due to our abuse of Counter-Strike during class. But is pulling such a stunt too difficult, in your opinion? [edited by - Zerotek on January 17, 2003 11:52:20 PM] [edited by - Zerotek on January 17, 2003 12:17:01 AM]

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3 months????

Geeze, well my uncle has been doing C for 7 years, and even he doesnt know it all, and hes the lead programmer for a company! ( dont know what its called). However if your REALLY into it, and u have previous experience in game makeing, u might be able to.

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quote:
Original post by Zerotek
Big Question: Do you think it is possible for a group of people to master enough of game development in two or three intense months of studying, to make a commercial grade game?



No. Definitely not. Sorry to break it to you but there is no easy way, if you've never written any code before, programming (in any language) alone takes at least 18 months to become decent at. This is unless you want to make klik & play games or do something in Flash.

[edited by - sark on January 18, 2003 4:19:57 AM]

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No no no, you've got this the wrong way, we've mostly been coding since 9th grade in various languages, it's game development that we have little experience with else then small unfinished project, we're trained programmer/analysts who study a lot on their spare time, we know C, C++ with MFC, Visual Basic, UML and various methodologies, ASP, PHP, Java, Linux/Unix, SQL & PL/SQL, etc. and the others are fluent in lots of multimedia applications like Photoshop, 3D Studio Max, Sound Forge, etc.
I've started working C# because I'm employed as a part-time junior programmer at a small company, and I fix computers, set up networks and designed a web site for another small local company.
And I'm 19...

Programming languages are no problem, you pick up a book, you learn it. As long as you grasp the programming concepts and logic. What I'm talking about is do you think it's possible for us to master game development concepts?

I apologize if I'm not getting my thoughts across clearly, I'm French, I might get the grammar and syntax right, but sometimes I have trouble conveying my ideas clearly, so please bear with me.

[edited by - Zerotek on January 18, 2003 3:06:23 PM]

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While you may have the technical skills required, you don''t have any industry experience, any contacts. Breaking in would be like trying to live in a city where you don''t understand the native language.

I''d recommend going and working at game companies - not necessarily all together at the same company - for a few years. Get to know people; see how things work from the inside. Learn what sort of problems arise; how to solve them; when things get busiest, and so on. You also get things like names of people at publishing houses - which is vitally important. You also get some money in, as starting a business requires capital.

Of course, stay in close contact with your other potential team members. Compare notes (while adhereing to NDA, of course), and meet up to develop small games together - but I seriously wouldn''t recommend going commercial yet. At a time when more and more dev houses keep closing down, it''s not a good idea to be a totally fresh startup.

You''d probably pick up people along the way; 5 people might be enough for a relatively small game, but most games these days are made with a staff of 20-30 (at least). If people find out you''re leaving to do it yourself, they may well want to join you.

Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.

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Still no. With a programming background like that, I''m sure you could produce some kind of simple game after three months of fulltime work. A commercial game is a whole other story.

Look around you. Virtually all the "commercial grade games" you see were made over a period of a few dozen to a few hundred man-years by teams of experienced professionals working with budgets in the millions of dollars, backed (more or less) by big publishers. Read a few of the postmortems on Gamasutra to get some idea how it works, and check out some of those "game industry" articles that are flying round.

That said, I''m sure there''s potential for indy games/shareware, that kind of thing. That could definetely be worth looking into.

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Thank you, that''s what I wanted to hear.

"Breaking in would be like trying to live in a city where you don''t understand the native language."

Actually, I''m going to try to do that in my life time, eventually in my life I''ll be going to Tokyo. But I''m learning some basic Japanese too, but I think the best way to learn something is to jump in. A friend of mine is South American, he came to Canada through some exchange program, didn''t speak a word in English. Now he speaks it well.

That''s what I''m trying to do with game development.

As for the money thing, we''re currently looking into the various programs available to milk money from the government, this part of Canada I''m in is kind of desperate, and they''re pumping a lot of money into economic development, and cost of living is really low. We can take a share of that. We''ll be using free tools like Crystal Space for the engine, Linux, KDevelop, Audacity, Blender, The Gimp, Kdenlive or Kino, etc...

For me to get game industry experience, I need to move to either the United States, or another Canadian province. That''s not so bad, but it''s as drastic as starting my own company.

But I appreciate your replies, and will pass the message on to the rest of my team.

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New-Brunswick, where the government funds a game design course, but there''s no game companies. O.o

No visible ones anyway.

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Hi,

Being an indsutry professional, I though maybe I should give some advice here.

The term "commercial game" can mean many things. It can mean everything the large titles (so-called AAA titles) with huge budgets and made by 20-30 people to small niche products sold on-line. Both are commercial.

Whether Zeroteks company can come true depends on your ambition here. If you intend to start out making AAA-titles then you can forget all about it. That requires talent, a lot of experience, and a lot of money. And publishers these days will not even to consider funding you unless you have released other games first (preferably on the PlayStation 2). So forget that.

However, if you choose to focus on small title first - for instance a eduatainment title that focuses on Canadian stuff then your chances are better since it is more focuses. The number of unit you will sell will be less but you will also have used less money to make it. Also, making stuff based on local culture or for education also makes it easier to get government funding for starters since it seems "more serious" or "more cultural".

I know some people that started like you and made it. Look at this:
http://www.cotwarlords.com/main.html
as an example of what can be done. It is niche but interesting enough for some people to want to play it.

I hope this helps.


Jacob Marner, M.Sc.
Console Programmer, Deadline Games

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