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fredercl

Switching Jobs - To game development

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I have held a respectable run-of-the-mill programming job for several years now. However, I feel like it''s time to jump boats and switch to professional game development. I have some reservations about the best way for me to tackle the switch. On one hand, I feel like I should go back to college to earn my Masters in some math/programming related field that will help me land a job in game development. On the other hand, part of me feels like I should skip the Masters, generate a healthy library of completed homebrewed games, and start applying to game development houses. If anyone has any advice, i''d love to hear what you have to say! Thanks!

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I say get a book, and learn. You can probaly use your knowledge to accelerate your learning. You know C++, right? Anyways, get a good compiler, and some game programming books. I like OpenGL Game Programming.

Scott Simontis
Big Joke: C#

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The masters wouldnt hurt, no doubt the math would look good. What you should focus on is getting some actual game programming experience. Learn the win32 API, DirectX, OpenGL. Then start getting into the nitty gritty. Learn to use different images types, sound, video, AI, collision detection, network efficiency, how to deal with latency, and the 3d aspect of game programming. There is a lot more then I listed, but Im sure youll find that in time. Good luck!

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both dude. masters gaurantees you won''t be jobless..unless you''re dimwitted...but then, you wouldn''t have a masters if you''re dimwitted...BAH i''m confusing my self..so if i were you, do the masters and in your spare time do a LOT of demos.

of course, you''re hearing this from a 14 year old...so i don''t think i should count as a credible source...

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quote:
Original post by Village Specialton
I say get a book, and learn. You can probaly use your knowledge to accelerate your learning. You know C++, right? Anyways, get a good compiler, and some game programming books. I like OpenGL Game Programming.

Scott Simontis
Big Joke: C#


Tell me, where does it say that he doesn't already have a compiler? It doesn't, look at his profile and you will see that he has used C++ before. Also where does it say that he has never used an API before? He doesn't, again after looking at his profile it looks like he might have some experience with DirectX. It also looks like he has experience with OpenGL.

BTW, please change your sig. OR show me that you actually know what you are talking about when you say C# is a joke...



[edited by - Bakingsoda36 on August 7, 2003 2:02:18 AM]

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Hi there.

One of the things I hear most often from these boards (and I''m inclined to agree with) is that demos matter more than qualifications.

Well, perhaps not ''more.'' They are certainly just as important, though.

If you''ve held down a decent programming job for some time, I take it you had qualifications for it - a computer science degree, or something like it? If so, that will be more than enough to go into gaming... more and more, it''s becoming just like any other area of development. Your years in standard programming could even give you an advantage over a fresh graduate - you''ll have seen techniques that aren''t applied to games, and so you may be able to apply them in innovative ways. Plus, you''ll be used to working in a team, to milestones/deadlines, etcetera.

Often people don''t care that you don''t already know everything - just that you''ll say when you don''t know something, and be prepared to go look it up. Nobody is expecting you to be able to do every aspect of a project; that''s what teams are for.

So, IMO, the ''safest'' strategy is to keep your run-of-the-mill programming job for the time being, but work on some game demos in your free time. Build a library of game books - may I recommend Rollings and Morris''s Game Architecture and Design for one - and once you''ve got a small portfolio, you can start looking for jobs in the industry.

Without demos, you''ll possibly be able to get a position like my one (testing/QA, and a small amount of level design). I''m 16. You can do better.

One last word on portfolios: don''t just make a bunch of clones and/or tech demos. Make complete games - showing that you have the stamina to stick with a project to completion - and if you must make ''classics,'' be sure to put a twist on them in some way, to give the employers something new to remember you by. For example, I''m working on a Tetris game for Enginuity, but rather than just doing a plain tetris clone I''m wrapping the playfield around a cylinder. It''s not exactly a common occurence.

Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.
Enginuity1 | Enginuity2 | Enginuity3 | Enginuity4

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I''m in the same boat as you mate. Fed up with making boring business apps! I''ve set myself a target of 6 months to get some great demo''s together and then start applying for jobs.

Send us an email if you want perhaps we could learn in tandem!

Cheers
Nick

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Six months may be a little aggressive unless you are already pretty familiar with this stuff. I started HEAVY back in February and have been working 2-3 hours a night 5 days a week (at least) and am still nowhere near where I think I should be before jumping ship.

Here''s the journal I''ve kept along the way.

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We need a job exchange program, so we can see if the grass really is greener...

I''ve been working as a games programmer for nine years now, and frequently think the Answer to (some of) life''s problems would be to write games as a hobby and write business apps for a living.

I have this daft idea in my head that as a business app programmer, projects will be planned in advance, schedules will be realistic and thus I might get out of the office in time to see some daylight once in a while. Feel free to debunk these!

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I agree with Pootle. I had a job programming business apps for 3 years and I want to stay in that business. But recently I quit my job to finish my studies (computer science). After that I''ll probably go for a Masters degree and a better job, but at the same time, I want to make games as a hobby.

Mostly because all the horrors (like crunch time) I''ve heard about the game industry, I don''t really want to go there. In my previous job, I could hardly even manage 12 hours a day (and 5 days a week) for more than a couple of weeks. Luckily, that was necessary for me only twice in a year or so.

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