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The need to focus

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Heyhey people :) I recently read an article on gamasutra(can't remember the link) about the importance of a good resume whilst sending it off to games companies. Now, although i'm 18 and since i'm not even yet at uni, this shouldn't concern me all that much, i read something which made me think aaa... Basically i am interested in all areas of games development, and don't particularly want to specialise. On one hand i'm thinking i could specialise early and become as proficient as possible in that one area, and in the other i think could become a jack of all trades, but not as good in each individual area. So in short, my question is do i NEED to specialise in a specific area to have a chance to get into the games industry?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
A jack of all trades is less marketable than a master of something. A master of all trades is what is really desired.

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> Now, although i'm 18 and since i'm not even yet at uni

There is a large amount of very experienced 'jack-of-all-trade' guys in the console/PC game industry already; your odds of landing such a job in a game studio through the front door are next to none. Not to put you off permanently here, but only a handful newcomers make it this way. Networking with insiders is a better alternative but not a guarantee for success. The PDA/cellphone/DTV/airborne markets are booming and there are lots of opportunities for 'jack-of-all-trade' guys. Here is one such opportunity where you can make yourself known:

http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/forum.asp?forum_id=65

> my question is do i NEED to specialise in a specific
> area to have a chance to get into the games industry?

The PC/console industry is looking for shader, AI, and Rag doll physics gods right now. So yes, specialization is key. For markets other than the PC/console, the needs are more widespread and the outlook is better for juniors.

-cb

[Edited by - cbenoi1 on August 21, 2004 12:46:49 PM]

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Looking to get into game development? Ditch Linux and start using the tools you will need to use once you get into the industry.

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Quote:
Original post by Obscure
Looking to get into game development? Ditch Linux and start using the tools you will need to use once you get into the industry.


SDL and OpenGL seem more attractive to me than DirectX, and i've always felt this way I use blender for 3D modelling etc, and it can pretty much do anything a normal 3D modelling program would, GIMP for textures, FMOD sound. I know i could use these programs on Windows, but why, if I can just code them on linux? Also i don't like the idea of having to get a warezd' O/S... I've learnt how to port my code to windows, so do i really need to make the switch?

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How atrractive will you be to an employer if you have not used any of the tools that are used in the game development industry? Choice between you and a person with equal skill, who has been using the more common tools used in the industry - they will pick the other person every time.

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To be honest, if my work is at the same standard as the other person, i don't really see why not? I could always create work which was compatible on windows, even that worked for windows. I've done some windows programming in the past, and i could, if i so chose, develop for the windows platform, just not ON windows.
Basically i just love linux, i see where your coming from in that most games companies probably do use those tools, but they share many similarities with the tools i use anyway. The GIMP in comparison to photoshop being a prime example..
At the end of the day, a 3D modeler is still a 3D modeler, fair enough Blender has a weird interface, but 3DSMax just alleviates the task by giving you a more friendly interface.
To me it's like if i learn the theory of one subject, there's no reason why the theory wouldn't apply on both operating systems... if that makes sense to you. And to port things from Linux to Windows is no great task, as long as i start development with windows in mind.
The problem is there are just too many things i dislike about windows that would simply keep me coming back to Linux. As an example, i've never really liked VS .NET, even though i realise it's a great IDE, i just prefer seperating my mind into lots of windows, Scite, Terminal for compilation..
I love the fact you can have multiple desktops, freedom over which desktop you want, freedom over your kernel, how all files are treated as objects, the additional file access security, there's just an artistic side to linux which is just not there in windows imo.
Now don't get me wrong, if a games company said i had to use 3DSMax to be accepted in the company, fair enough i would simply transfer knowledge, or at least this is how i see things, but i'm probably wrong lol.

[EDIT] - You've really bugged me on this one ;), so i started a new thread in the Everything Unix forum (here) in an attempt to get more opinions from people coming from a similar background.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by malune
To be honest, if my work is at the same standard as the other person, i don't really see why not?


Because of the learning curve involved to teach you the tools and techniques that the rest of the team will be using. Why should I as an employer pay you to learn the tools (begrudgingly) when I can hire someone who already knows them fluently?

In addition, a lone wolf who disdains (nay, feels is superior to) the tools used by the rest of the team isn't really that useful to me. You would have to be good enough to live up to that arrogance. As a person without proven industry experience, such arrogance would be unwarranted.

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Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by malune
To be honest, if my work is at the same standard as the other person, i don't really see why not?


Because of the learning curve involved to teach you the tools and techniques that the rest of the team will be using. Why should I as an employer pay you to learn the tools (begrudgingly) when I can hire someone who already knows them fluently?

In addition, a lone wolf who disdains (nay, feels is superior to) the tools used by the rest of the team isn't really that useful to me. You would have to be good enough to live up to that arrogance. As a person without proven industry experience, such arrogance would be unwarranted.


Did you read the rest of my last post? Or did you just chose to ignore every point i made? It seems like you are just arguing for the sake of it.
To re-iterate, my point was, there wouldn't be a learning curve to teach the tools and techniques, because they are virtually the same from app to app, which is why i made the comparisons.
In addition, i've never had the idea of being a lone wolf, or claimed to have felt superior, i just prefer Linux as a games dev. platform. I can understand that what your trying to say is that from a business perspective, it would seem like arrogance, but wouldn't companies rather i had general skills rather than specific app skills? I mean imagine you go for an interview, and they are using an app which you've never seen before. Without the underlying theoretical knowledge, your pretty screwed no? And on either o/s, that theoretical knowledge would still be learnt, just in a different manner. But again, open to argument :)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Imagine that I am an employer and I had two resumes in front of me. The first one has the general background knowledge we are looking for, but the person had a different set of tools and development environment than we used in house. Now imagine that the other resume also had the general background knowledge and, in fact, differed only in the that the person was quite familiar with the tools and environment we used in-house. If there were no other deciding factors, I know which I would choose.

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Having been in the position to hire employees in the past, I will tell you that experience with the tools is a big plus for me. Some of these tools and APIs take months to be quick and proficient in. If I can hire someone who already gone through the learning curve I will hire him over someone who has not (all other things being equal).

This applies when I was hiring outside the games industry also.

FWIW, I wouldn't hire someone with only Windows experience for a job where I needed a Linux programmer if the task needed to be done immediately. Maybe it's just me and I've let some gems of employees slip by in the past (hell, I'm sure I have, but for every opening I've had I had dozebns of applicants).

My recommendation to you is to find the tools/languages/APIs/specialties in use at the companies you are applying to (you have places in mind don't you?) and find a niche that you can fill. Otherwise, you will be just another resume.

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