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Portfolio project

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Hey all, After having taken a glance at an article regarding the creation of MMOG's, I've come around to thinking about the length of time my project is taking. Now I am not trying to create an MMOG, but what I'm making isn't far off (a small scale online RPG). As anyone who has followed my posts may know, the project has been going on for a long time. Now I'm not a clueless newbie by any means, I've completed smaller projects in the past, and have been working wih C++/DirectX now for around 5+ years on and off. I guess I could quite easily finish a smaller project, if I really put my mind to it. My ultimate goal being to complete a portfolio of work to show a potential employer. My problem is simply that it is taking too long, and I'd like to be pushing to apply for jobs within the next year at the worst. Now a piece of advice from this article towards making portfolio work is that you should make something simple and innovative that you can complete realistically in 3 months time. I wonder though what peoples opinions on this are? Is it really feasible to create something of a high enough level of complexity and quality within this time? I ask because I personally think that a project I completed within 3 months would probably not be all that impressive. Sure I may be able to pack it full of fun gameplay, but I don't think gameplay counts for all that much when what they are likely to be looking for is coding ability and understanding of advanced topics. I suppose this depends exactly what area of game programming you are after getting into, but for the sake of arguement and flexibility, lets say that it is just your average standard programmer (not specifically tools, or graphics, or sound or whatever). Do you think this is really feasible? If not, what would you suggest would be a realistic length of time and type of project to go for to impress an employer? I think a tetris clone wouldn't cut it, but obviously a full on RPG is a little unrealistic of me as well (not to say I wont continue working on it). While I've raised the subject, I'd also be interested in knowing how you present your portfolio of work to a developer, what things you include and how you show it off? I guess it's kinda like asking how long is a piece of string and there will be no one perfect answer, but I'd like to hear opinions and ideas if possible! Thanks, Steve

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You don't have to cure cancer in your portfolio demos, just demonstrate that you are capable of doing the things your resume lists in plain text, and hopefully demonstrate it in a somewhat impressive demo. If you're a graphics programmer put together a tech demo of a nice scene with some nice up to date graphics effects. If you're an AI developer make a bot for an fps or something and possibly put together a movie of the bot in action showing off the advanced features or something. You're portfolio is basically an advertisement to sell yourself.

edit: be aware that most employers don't have time to play your game even if you made one, so a gameplay video showing off your contributions would be more useful to them.

For my own presentation in my resume, I listed my games on the front resume page, and said see page 2 for more info about these games. Basically to keep my resume to 1 page, and have a 2nd page if they wanted more info about my previous game projects. I listed my contributions to the games and roles, project lead/lead programmer... Most of the time they would ask about some of my specific contributions to the game, so looking back it was a good idea to include the optional 2nd page for them. Also in my experience they frequently ask for code samples dealing with the areas I advertise myself as strong in, so you should have code samples ready with clean readable code to provide to them should they ask.

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