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What are your aspirations?

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Hi all, I''ve recently been exchanging emails with a lady who works for Climax and have also talked with game developers at Kuju entertainment. It has always been my ambition to be a revolutionary game designer, and I always envisaged that programming would be a good way to gain experience in the industry, before eventually moving into design and writing etc. Everbody I''ve spoken to in the game industry says that it''s almost unheard of for a programer to move into design! Designers no longer need to have a knowledge of programming - marketing and design skills are infinitely preferable. If you read the section below, from an article on Gamasutra, you''ll see what I mean. I''ve decided to do a PPE (philosophy, politics and economics) instead of computer science, probrably for the best since I''m good at essay subjects :-) I would like to know what your aims are - just program other people''s games or actually be the designer??? Should be an interesting post... "The disadvantage of this kind of job [programming], at least in a publishing company, is that it has a glass ceiling - it''s hard to get promoted beyond a certain level. There are two reasons for this. First, if you''re excellent artistically or technically, a company is going to want you to continue to do whatever it is you''re doing. If they promote you into a management position, you won''t have time to do the thing you''re best at, the thing they appreciate you the most for. Unless you can demonstrate to them that you''re a better manager than you are a programmer, they''ll keep you doing programming. Growing publishers almost always hire their middle management from outside, rather than promoting their creative talent. The second reason developing within a publishing company has a glass ceiling is that the higher echelon jobs in a company are fundamentally about money. To rise in a company, you have to have something to do with money, because making money is the company''s primary purpose. In addition, it''s best to be on the side of the people who bring the dollars in (sales and marketing) rather than on the side of the people who spend them (product development). Sales people are the heroes who "make the numbers," "make the quarter" and so on. Product development people are the ones who miss deadlines, blow their budgets, and constantly demand expensive new equipment. While there may be engineers at the top of engineering companies, there won''t be many at the top of mass-market consumer product companies, which is the business we''re in. " Stuffing feathers up your ass does not make you a chicken.

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I''m not totally sure really. I guess I''d love to be the Lead Programmer on a project, which I''d imagine would involve a great deal of design work. The way I see things though, is that I''ve got a lot of strong ideas tucked away in my head and I just need a way to realise them; which is where the programming comes in.

I must admit, I''m a great fan of FPS games and looking at an early release movie for Doom III, it looks absolutely breathtaking. Seeing this type of movie, really drives me on to get a foothold in this industry.

So who knows really. Design can vary a great deal from level design to a storyline or even character realisation. Funnily enough, I used to make maps for Duke Nukem 3D. Didn''t have an Internet connection though, but played those over a LAN at home hehe.

--hellz

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what are my aspirations?

world domination

I intend on getting there through mad programming and business managerial skills. Would I be satisfied programming the designs of others until the whole domination thing takes place? Sure. The key is to just make sure you work on a project that you''re going to like. If you really like sports games then don''t work on an RPG and vice versa.

Thats why for now (well, I am in college) I''m working on projects with close friends. If you have your degree in say Computer Sciences and Philosophy, and you''ve contructed some great projects with some great design by you, then you''ll be able to get that design job. Create a strong portfolio. Go for what ya want and be like Mike - Just do it.

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zer0wolf, I think that if you are determined and talented then anything is possible, but here''s something you should bear in mind:

Every single other programmer has a great idea they''re sitting on, with the hope of one day becoming the next Peter Molineux . The publisher will only let someone design a game if they have a proven track record, people management skills and a good knowledge of finance etc, as is discussed further in that article.

From the information I''ve gathered, it looks like programmers just don''t become games designers.

I''m not saying it''s not possible, but getting someone to invest millions (that''s MILLIONS!) in your idea is just not likely to happen unless you''ve got management experience.

Stuffing feathers up your ass does not make you a chicken.

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I don''t think I used the best wordings in my post...

my point was that I basically agreed with what you said, lol. I don''t really want to be a game designer, I''d rather use my skills to develop other complete designs, possibly throwing in my two cents here or there. I mentioned that if you wanna be a game designer, sure go ahead and study CS in college so you know about comps, but then study something else like philosophy, economics, etc and work on some projects with your friends with you in a designer position. Having something that you''ve designed yourself and you followed it through till its completion is impressive ... just doin'' it

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Certain personalities are good at management and "soft stuff". These personalities are most often not good at engineering. Thus, engineers very seldom make good managers or executives.

If you''re in a company that won''t let you grow as a technical or artistical contributor, though, you should seek some company that lets you grow. Glass ceilings can be shattered, and some companies have much less of that than others.

If you want to design games, I''d suggest going in through the producer track, which means project management, task tracking, user feedback analysis etc.

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Yeah, apparently that is the best way to become top dog

What I really want to know is whether everybody here sees their future as being about programming or design.



Stuffing feathers up your ass does not make you a chicken.

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My current goal is to finish our first person tactical shooter game and to make it competitive on the game market as a freeware product. A réally good freeware 3D fps game hasn''t been made yet (in my opinion), so I want to be the first to accomplish that.
The keyword in the development is realism, as long as it doesn''t affect the gameplay too much.

My design document can be found here .
AlterNova homepage

*sorry for my screeny-addiction:
(click to enlarge)








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Experience like that would probrably be invaluable in getting a job in the games industry.

I know there are probrably a million things you intend to add, but I think you need a lot more objects in the rooms. The textures might look better if they were a few shades darker too.

Stuffing feathers up your ass does not make you a chicken.

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Thanks, that are my intentions. This is just a test-map to test stairs and stuff like that. Our mappers are very busy with making some eyecandy :D

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Since I have just finished college and now heading for the university, I'm thinking of first completing it and getting some Computer Sciences papers or something... and I will take a job as soon as possible.

I think that I will be somewhat more realistic and take a job as a programmer at a "standard" company or something like that...

But hey, I always thought that If I get a Computer Sciences paper then I will have the "whole" world infront of me?

But of what you guys say, it seems more like your own portfolio is more important??

So, what does weight more when applying for a job?
The papers from school/university or your portfolio?

[edited by - bilsa on May 4, 2003 5:54:00 PM]

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I would definately say portfolio, then college. Grades are all fine and dandy, and it does show that you''re quite capable of completing something, but your grades don''t really show what you''re good at.

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If you made it through college without writting any code on your own time for your own pleasure, then you might want to consider whether or not you really love programming enough to do it day in and day out.

Back to topic:

If you apply to a game company, you will need a code sample. May only have to be a few hundred lines, but you will need somethign that demonstrates you have talent and passion, not just a peice of paper. If you haven''t shipped a title, then something runnable in the area you wish to focus would go even further.

Having a degree means they may look at your demo before the demo of someone who doesn''t have a degree. But you still need to impress them just as much.

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So, how should a portfolio look according to you guys?

Should there be hundreds of small projects. (Lets say games like Pong or Astroid... ?)
Or would it be better to have lets say one or two projects that are bigger. (Let''s say a RPG game in 3D with multiplayer or a 3D shoot em up... etc...)

Does anyone of you guys have an online portfolio we others could check out and get "inspiration" from?


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Generally, at least 1 midsized project would probably be good. You want to demonstrate that you can work beyond simple little test apps. Something that shows some dedication would probably be helpful.

Don''t worry too much about the scope or size. People won''t look at anything beyond 3 projects anyway.

Having a degree shows that you can work inside a system and can stick with it.

Having a demo shows that you have some talent and didn''t just breeze your way through college. It might not even get looked at, but having some test apps may be the difference between you and the guy next door with a degree and nothing to show for it.

A single central app would probably be the best, but I haven''t been involved in the hiring process. I came in through the mod community -- I actually shipped a game before interviewing anywhere. I got lucky.

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What keeps me motivated, more or less, is a CD-ROM I obtained ..... from a PSM issue, I think....or maybe it was a PS Underground Package......anywho, on the CD is a video that shows behind the scenes at Naughty Dog Software. Everytime I need help focusing on my work, I put the CD in and watch the video. It sorta.....keeps me on the track.


Wikedgamer

[edited by - wikedgamer on May 5, 2003 2:31:03 PM]

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I´ve checked with some developers in Sweden, Digital Illusion and Warthog. They both say they prefer getting one or few demos that are fairly big and well done, than lots of small maybe not-so well done demos. I think it´s the same with most developers.

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