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linternet

Feeling like an MMORPG newbie :-(

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Sorry for this rant, but I feel it's somewhat appropriate here. I recently lost my job doing business programming to outsourcing and felt it was time to take a shot in the game industry. I'm running an independent project that at least some industry professionals would recognize (<- shameless plug) in the latter stages of development and I have 7 years of business industry experience. I figured I had a prayer I was wrong :-(. I sent out resumes and got very few responses (all rejections - anyone that has given me a reason said that they were looking for local candidates - I'm in New York have been applying to California). Feeling a little frustrated, I did some research and visited www.coolgamejobs.com which is a headhunting firm for the gaming industry. I tracked down the number of the company's CEO and gave him a call. After asking me if I have ever worked in the gaming industry the conversation went really downhill and he started telling me about how many resume's he gets from people who say "I've played games all my life and am passionate about the industry" and asked what was different about me. I told him I had a degree in CompSci, experience programming professionally and some independent experience. None of it mattered. My game wasn't 3D, I can't do "partial differential equations in my head" and I had no professional game industry experience. Well, after dealing with his contempt for about 5 minutes, I realized he had no intention of helping me get a job and I returned his lack of respect. In retrospect I was wrong to tell him off (though it did feel good) and I will take his "advice". I'm going to finish my game, and then start a game using state of the art technology while becomming a calculus and linear algebra guru. I hate feeling like such a newbie :-(. [edited by - linternet on May 25, 2004 1:18:09 PM]

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heh, that''s just how it goes. getting into the industry is the toughest slog of the process. the only shortcut that can help is to make friends with someone / many people already in the industry and have them pass your resume to HR for their company. companies tend to give a LOT more attention to resumes submitted internally than ones just spammed to the HR department. it''s annoying but that''s pretty standard for most industries i believe.

but yes, you will most definitely need to have at least a basic understanding of linear algebra and have an advanced understanding of whatever language the company uses to make their games (most likely C++). typical interview questions for programmers are "explain the dot product/cross product and when you would use them". "calculate the product of this matrix and this vector", etc.

the other approach is to work your way in as a tester and go the "pay your dues" route. You could also try applying for internships.

-me

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to be honest, applied knowledge matters much more for getting a job than does theoretical knowledge. what i mean by this is that if you can create a pretty sweet 3D demo / game and be able to explain how everything works you have an INFINITELY better chance at getting a job than if you can explain the theoretical underpinnings of linear algebra. I''m not saying the latter knowledge is useless, having an intimite understanding of math will always help you be a better programmer. however, your goal is to get a job in the industry. As such, it would be much better to spend your time on learning how to program a 3D game (and all the _applied_ math involved) than to learn theoretical math.

You will get questions about game programming and how to apply linear algebra to games. you will not get asked to write proofs or do any other "hard" maths. maybe if you are applying as a graphics programmer, but as a straight up junior programmer it''s much more important that you can work as a programmer than as a theoretical mathematician.

-me

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Palidine,

You may be correct, I don''t know any better. I, however, feel that there is enough material on the internet, enough sample code, enough formulas, enough API documentation for me to put together a 3D demo.

What I feel is rare is the why. I think, if I can pull it off, the understanding is what will distinguish me.

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I just checked out www.coolgamejobs.com, and wasn't impressed.

Don't let them get you down. I've dealt with alot of headhunters in other industries, and this one seems like more of a mom and pop shop that doesn't care about their clients, or seekers. I wouldn't use them.

I like the condescending quotes they use, like "The world is filled with people who 'think' they are talented artists"...

Also, take notice that the site doesn't mention any companies that it actually hires for.

If I were you, I wouldn't sweat it. This place sounds like they're looking for Carmack, and even if they found him, they wouldn't be able to place him, since they probably aren't reputable in the industry.

I'd say keep working up your demo ;-)

EDIT: Check out this thread on flipcode about them, this reaffirms what my previous thoughts about them.

http://www.flipcode.com/cgi-bin/msg.cgi?showThread=00000831&forum=industry&id=-1

[edited by - jakem3s90 on May 25, 2004 2:18:47 PM]

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quote:
Original post by linternet
What I feel is rare is the why. I think, if I can pull it off, the understanding is what will distinguish me.


i completely agree with you, actually. I was just suggesting that you don''t skimp on the actually programming the demo thing to learn stuff that is in the "icing on the cake" category. if you want to do both in parallel that''s great. the problem with that stuff though is that it will never come into play unless you get an interview. during the interview it might actually be really hard to bring up since people tend to not ask questions in that direction.

sorry, i don''t mean to sound discouraging. learning math theory can only help you and you should pursue it by all means. i''m just not sure how useful it will be in the whole "get a job" process. it will definitely help once you have the job or even in your own hobby undertakings, it''s just hard to reveal that strength during the process.

but either way as long as you are working towards your demo / building you applied skills you should definitely learn the maths. it will certainly help you learn the programming aspects faster in the future.

-me

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@Linternet: Hey mate, don''t give up. Make your game and get something to show and shovel it up coolgamejobs CEO''s ass. He''ll be happy to use it by then.

If I only had the link to the ID software employees journal left, it was a REALLY great read that I think you should find interesting. Anyone else remember this link?

And again, don''t give up.. when you have something to show others, they will be more interested. You know, it''s if you CAN implement it a good way that matters, not how you do it.

Good luck mate.

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I programmed professionally for 5 years and just recently was able to get into the game industry. I''ll tell you what happened, but I''ll warn you ahead of time: It was painful.

Like you I got rejected a few years ago. When I got over it, I went to Gamasutra.com and looked at the job listings. Several needed experience programming DirectX so I got a book on DirectX and downloaded the SDK. I read the book and did short "demos" to prove to myself that I understood what I was reading. Then I went back to Gamasutra for another topic. Over the course of 2 years, I wrote demos on physics simulations, pathfinding, DirectX, and more. I read/worked every evening and weekend with few exceptions. At one point I even took my vacation from my real job and did nothing for a week but work on my demos.

It took me two years before I was hired into the industry. What really took me off guard though, was the comment by my hiring manager that he would prefer someone with 2 years game industry experience to someone in my shoes (5 years professional experience and 2 years at home demos).

I''m living proof that it CAN be done, but honestly, it''s a bitch. The demand for these jobs is huge. These managers get LOTS of resumes so they can afford to skim off the top 1% and throw away the rest. Good luck.


-------------
VenDrake

To understand recursion, you must first understand recursion.

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