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I want to get into the industry. I'm lost. I have no idea where to start.

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First off, I'm a very disorginized person, so please excuse my insane ramblings. Anyway, let me tell you about my gaming backround. I've been game since I was seven years old, so that's about half my life. (Grade 9, Age 14) Over time, I became more passionate about gaming. I've developed a real big love for Nintendo games, (yes, I'm somewhat of a fanboy), as well as graphic adventures, RPGs, and anything fairly story driven. With the love both games with deep and involving stories, as well as games made by Nintendo, which focous on creative, quirky plain old fun, my tastes have truly shaped into something that I think is one of a kind. Anyway, the reason that I want to get into the gaming industry is because I want to express myself artistically, create, tell a story, and make innovative new gaming conventions. As you can see, I'm not getting into the gaming industry because I'm a left-brained computer whiz or science geek. I'm a whacked out artist, plain and simple. This is something that I'm worried about, is it possible to become a designer if you're marks in science and math are poor? Could it be a possibility if I rise to the top by starting out as a concept artist/writer? I mean Miyamoto and Aonuma were both artists right? And look, Miyamoto made Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, Kirby, the list could go on...as for Aonuma, he directed Majora's Mask, The Wind Waker, and the upcoming Twilight Princess. And those two are a couple of my favorite designers in the industry. As for my next question, I'm writing two game design documents. It's a creative exersize, something fun to do, so I want it to be good, and I want to get across my game idea but it doesn't need to be professional. Anyway, I was wondering what you guys think of my ideas, and if you have some suggestions of things I should take into consideration when designing levels and worlds, etc.. So, these two games are linked, and tell the same story, but I seperated them because the gameplay in the two parts of the story are too different. My first title is undecided, and pretty much everything overall is undecided beyond the main concept, which I have a good clear idea of what I'm doing. Just to tell you this description may not read too well since I'm writing my idea off the top of my head. And my real description is somewhere else. The main character in the first game is a legendary soldier, someone who has fought in the army since he was ten years old. He spends all of his waking hours relentlessly training for battle and he's so powerful he could destroy a small army all by himself. However, he is starting to question what he is doing as a soldier. He kills countless people and many of his slain enemies aren't even fighting for what they believe in. And while he may hate the opposing side, the people fighting on the opposing side aren't necessarily bad. He doesn't want to kill anymore; he has hurt too many lives with what he has done. Anyway, this is how the story fits into the gameplay: It's a high-speed, stealth-action platformer, something like Sonic meets the 3D PoP games, with heavy stealth mechanics. Of course, the twist is that since the character is morally perplexed, he can't kill too much. You're constantly attacked, but you have to complete your objective of the level without hurting too many people. This makes the player think about how they comeplete the level without resorting to the obvious route of destruction and gory violence. If you do choose to kill everyone in sight, you won't be able to swing your sword as well, your accuracy with a bow is lessened, you won't be able to keep your balance walking across a small walkway high off the ground and you may possibly halucinate. Hmm, that's everything for this game, now for a description if it's sequel: It's called Innocent?. (yes, the title has a question mark) In "Innocent?" you play as two characters. One of the characters, is a young cartoon child, who for some mysterious reason has opened the portals between the real world, (Earth), and a fantasy alternate universe. But that isn't all, the child also has opened up the path between the "realistic" and "cartoon" worlds of the game. The child begins his journey in the cartoon world. Everything is quite innocent and fun, almost like something out of a Saturday morning cartoon. Anyway, you spend the first level of the game learning the core mechanics of the cartoon portion of the game. (where you spend the majority of the time in "Innocent?") It is fairly easy to get around the cartoon world as a kid. Since he's lived there his entire life, and he has his great imagination by his side. Without an imagination, you can't survive in the cartoon world. If you have an imagination, you can do loads of crazy cartoon stuff, like summon falling anvils from the sky onto a small army, or turn into a giant and go onto a smashy smashy rampage. Yes, it will allow for some pretty crazy, fun level design and puzzle design. Anyway, by the end of the tutorial level, the child gets warped into the real world. Soon after that he is kidnapped by a gang. Then starts the first level in the realistic world. Because the child can't rely on his imagination or crazy physics, so he has to rely on stealth to escape from the gang. You spend some time in the realistic world, and the kid comes to the conclusion that the realistic world is much, much, much harsher and filled with more evil than in the cartoon world. The other character is a detective who when you first find him, is trying to track down a criminal gang, in fact, the same gang that kidnapped the kid. Now when he finds the gang, a large part of the plot is revealed. He finds out about the key to opening up these alternate universe, and soon tries to track down the kid. Who made his way back to the cartoon universe. When the adult detective reaches the cartoon place however, he brings trouble. Because of his cynicism, he brings evil monsters into the world. And that doesn't help, since he's more down to Earth, and doesn't have much of an imagination. Please tell me what you think and if you have any questions about the games, feel free to ask.

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You may want to read the sticky threads/forum faq for the Game Design and Writing For Games forums. But to cut a long reply short, I must warn you now that you won't get into the industry just with game ideas, no matter how good, nor are they going to help you much if you start off as an artist. And along those lines, you may find that you can work your way up to lead designer via the artist role but - and this is purely speculation on my part - I believe most western games companies look more to programmers and level designers to fill lead design positions. For every artist that became a lead designer I bet you will find about 10 programmers (eg. Richard Garriot, Will Wright, Peter Molyneaux, Chris Sawyer, Chris Taylor, Sid Meier, etc). I think the main problem you're going to face is that to get into the industry, you're going to need to produce evidence that you can contribute something significant to a project. That means something a lot more concrete than ideas.

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Start here.

Welcome to the club. I'm finishing the same grade you are, but even now I know that game development is what I'm for. My advice to you is: learn to program. You won't regret it, even if you're an artist. Programming isn't too difficult, though some people make it out to be. Without a programmer, your games will not get made, and if you plan on starting NOW, like me, you'll have to learn to program to get your games made. I advise starting with a simple language like FreeBASIC or Python , and then moving on to C++.

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I always have and always will suggest starting out with C++ first, because that is what is used for almost all professional games, including those you stated that you are a fan of! It is more syntactically difficult than the others mentioned, but if you were ever to become a lead designer/artist, you will be able to relate to your programmers better. Plus, it gives you a way to implement some of your ideas and test them out! It really isn't that difficult to learn. Download bloodshed dev-cpp, get yourself a book on it, and start programming! It is a very good experiance, even if you aren't going to be a programmer. Sorry, don't mean to discourage, but Kylotan is correct.

Good luck!

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Original post by silverphyre673
I always have and always will suggest starting out with C++ first, because that is what is used for almost all professional games, including those you stated that you are a fan of! It is more syntactically difficult than the others mentioned, but if you were ever to become a lead designer/artist, you will be able to relate to your programmers better. Plus, it gives you a way to implement some of your ideas and test them out! It really isn't that difficult to learn. Download bloodshed dev-cpp, get yourself a book on it, and start programming! It is a very good experiance, even if you aren't going to be a programmer. Sorry, don't mean to discourage, but Kylotan is correct.

Good luck!


C++ is much better as a second or even later language to learn. Python is becomming a more common suggestion as a first language. I haven't tried it yet, I've only done Java and a bit of C++. You're not going anywhere fast in the industy if you only learn one language, and don't learn how to learn another fairly fast.

I much rather learn the basic concepts on Java than C++, as there are fewer things to go wrong in your code. Python has even fewer.

In short, you should mostly ignore people telling you to start with C++ because "Thats what all the pro's use", as its not quite as bad, but nearly as bad as saying that you should just learn to walk and skip crawling, as walking is what all the adults do, so why waste time crawling?

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Original post by Talroth
C++ is much better as a second or even later language to learn. Python is becomming a more common suggestion as a first language. I haven't tried it yet, I've only done Java and a bit of C++. You're not going anywhere fast in the industy if you only learn one language, and don't learn how to learn another fairly fast.

I much rather learn the basic concepts on Java than C++, as there are fewer things to go wrong in your code. Python has even fewer.


Well, it just means you learn good, solid debugging skills early on in programming. I'm just becomming a Junior in Highschool myself, and I've had previous experience with VB 6.0 (Back in 6th/7th grade) and now I'm starting to learn C++. If you get the right book, trust me, it's really not hard to learn. I'm starting off with a book called "C++ Without Fear" by "Brian Overland." It's well organized and makes everything very logical.

To address this kids situation, because we really have no idea if he wants to become a programmer or not, I'll say the following.
(1) Learn to be organized, no one in a job is going to want a "very disorganized person" working in their establishment.
(2) As for feedback on your game idea... The first idea seems too cliché to me. I don't know, if I were to try to name another game with the same "I don't want to fight anymore!" type of storyline I'm not sure I could. Yet the concept as a whole just seems to be rather cliché. Also, addressing the issue of taking out a small army by himself, every kid loves to see mass destruction or a lone guy being really powerful. Yet, when it comes to gameplay you want something that will be fun and challenging. Not just, GO MY SOLDIER OF DOOOOOOM!!!!!! *Kick, thrash, bash* Time to go to the next map! *Tee hee!* Although it can be fun to see mass destruction every once in awhile, it gets old pretty fast and you'll need to have other ideas for gameplay in store.
In respect to the second game you've listed, it's a much more original idea (Or at least I think so), though again, realistically speaking it's impossible to make a game engine than can instantly spawn any type of item the user wants due to their imagination. Even if it were possible it would again make the game too easy. Oh look, 20 guys running at me... Oops! I just thought up this lovely Gattling Gun! So again, more thought into the details of the gameplay is needed to make a game that's challenging and fun.

Anyways, just a large chunk to think about.
--- Gollum

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Original post by Talroth
C++ is much better as a second or even later language to learn. Python is becomming a more common suggestion as a first language. I haven't tried it yet, I've only done Java and a bit of C++. You're not going anywhere fast in the industy if you only learn one language, and don't learn how to learn another fairly fast.

I much rather learn the basic concepts on Java than C++, as there are fewer things to go wrong in your code. Python has even fewer.


Well, it just means you learn good, solid debugging skills early on in programming. I'm just becomming a Junior in Highschool myself, and I've had previous experience with VB 6.0 (Back in 6th/7th grade) and now I'm starting to learn C++. If you get the right book, trust me, it's really not hard to learn. I'm starting off with a book called "C++ Without Fear" by "Brian Overland." It's well organized and makes everything very logical.

To address this kids situation, because we really have no idea if he wants to become a programmer or not, I'll say the following.
(1) Learn to be organized, no one in a job is going to want a "very disorganized person" working in their establishment.
(2) As for feedback on your game idea... The first idea seems too cliché to me. I don't know, if I were to try to name another game with the same "I don't want to fight anymore!" type of storyline I'm not sure I could. Yet the concept as a whole just seems to be rather cliché. Also, addressing the issue of taking out a small army by himself, every kid loves to see mass destruction or a lone guy being really powerful. Yet, when it comes to gameplay you want something that will be fun and challenging. Not just, GO MY SOLDIER OF DOOOOOOM!!!!!! *Kick, thrash, bash* Time to go to the next map! *Tee hee!* Although it can be fun to see mass destruction every once in awhile, it gets old pretty fast and you'll need to have other ideas for gameplay in store.
In respect to the second game you've listed, it's a much more original idea (Or at least I think so), though again, realistically speaking it's impossible to make a game engine than can instantly spawn any type of item the user wants due to their imagination. Even if it were possible it would again make the game too easy. Oh look, 20 guys running at me... Oops! I just thought up this lovely Gattling Gun! So again, more thought into the details of the gameplay is needed to make a game that's challenging and fun.

Anyways, just a large chunk to think about.
--- Gollum


Yes, exactly! And what beginner wants to master python, then learn that they can't apply their new skills very well? Talking to girlfried, g2g. Sorry.

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Original post by silverphyre673
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Original post by Gollum1378
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Original post by Talroth
C++ is much better as a second or even later language to learn. Python is becomming a more common suggestion as a first language. I haven't tried it yet, I've only done Java and a bit of C++. You're not going anywhere fast in the industy if you only learn one language, and don't learn how to learn another fairly fast.

I much rather learn the basic concepts on Java than C++, as there are fewer things to go wrong in your code. Python has even fewer.


Well, it just means you learn good, solid debugging skills early on in programming. I'm just becomming a Junior in Highschool myself, and I've had previous experience with VB 6.0 (Back in 6th/7th grade) and now I'm starting to learn C++. If you get the right book, trust me, it's really not hard to learn. I'm starting off with a book called "C++ Without Fear" by "Brian Overland." It's well organized and makes everything very logical.

To address this kids situation, because we really have no idea if he wants to become a programmer or not, I'll say the following.
(1) Learn to be organized, no one in a job is going to want a "very disorganized person" working in their establishment.
(2) As for feedback on your game idea... The first idea seems too cliché to me. I don't know, if I were to try to name another game with the same "I don't want to fight anymore!" type of storyline I'm not sure I could. Yet the concept as a whole just seems to be rather cliché. Also, addressing the issue of taking out a small army by himself, every kid loves to see mass destruction or a lone guy being really powerful. Yet, when it comes to gameplay you want something that will be fun and challenging. Not just, GO MY SOLDIER OF DOOOOOOM!!!!!! *Kick, thrash, bash* Time to go to the next map! *Tee hee!* Although it can be fun to see mass destruction every once in awhile, it gets old pretty fast and you'll need to have other ideas for gameplay in store.
In respect to the second game you've listed, it's a much more original idea (Or at least I think so), though again, realistically speaking it's impossible to make a game engine than can instantly spawn any type of item the user wants due to their imagination. Even if it were possible it would again make the game too easy. Oh look, 20 guys running at me... Oops! I just thought up this lovely Gattling Gun! So again, more thought into the details of the gameplay is needed to make a game that's challenging and fun.

Anyways, just a large chunk to think about.
--- Gollum


Yes, exactly! And what beginner wants to master python, then learn that they can't apply their new skills very well? Talking to girlfried, g2g. Sorry.


From my experiences with Python, it tends to map fairly well into C programming skills, particularly in comparison to the canonical beginner languages.

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From what ive heard, almost every game company requires a previous software
experience on the resume. And since there are so little ways to get experience, there is another way. Programmers can create a "Demo Reel" to show off what they can do with computer graphics. A Demo Reel is a game and is created
individually.

Maybe, an artist can do something like the same to get into the industry,
maybe write a sample storyline with pictures or something like that?

P.S. If im wrong on the demo reel idea please correct me

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First off, if you want to get into design work, get organized. Disorganized designers don't go anywhere fast. Learn to write in a very clear organized fashion. Other people will be using your writings as the guide for building the game. If it's not professional quality, IT'S NOT PROFESSIONAL QUALITY. If you really want in the industry, learn to be a professional.

Design is the hardest door to get into. You have to have something besides cool ideas. Everyone in the industry has a cool game idea or ten lying around. It's the ability to convince others that your idea is cool and feasible and marketable that is important. Your communications skills are your stock in trade. Let me repeat that because it is the most imprtant thing in this reply. As a designer, your communication skills are your stock in trade.

There is a bit of chicken and egg problem, you won't get a design job unless you've designed something cool in the past. I know people who have done mods, others have published board or card games to get the foot in the door in the interview.

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It's generally much easier to get into a design position if you have programming/development experience, but it's not necessarily the only way to go. Jack Emmert comes to mind, for instance. The problem you will encounter is as Kylotan described: development houses are going to want people that can contribute concrete assets to a game. There's a lot more to game design than just coming up with ideas. A designer position generally also includes a lot of balancing, fine detail tuning, writing, and managerial decisions (e.g. what features to axe because you're running low on time). These are all concrete skills that require some qualifications if you want to hold that kind of position. In any case, game design is not an entry-level position in any development house; you're going to have to play the good ol' ladder game and climb your way up. Bit of advice from inside the industry: sneak in through the back door and build up to a designer position. Prove yourself in every job you do, and make it apparent (but don't hammer the point) that you have game design concepts to contribute as well. A lot of people who are currently at "the top" will tell you the same.

The core issue is that, in the real world, ideas are worthless. Someone with lots of good ideas but no other development skills is a dead weight and will never be hired by a sensible development studio. Ideas, in and of themselves, have no value whatsoever - and, by extension, someone who does nothing but come up with ideas is not valuable in most cases. No business will want to pay someone to just spit out a great game idea every year or so while the rest of their staff makes it happen - that's not efficient use of money.

What is valuable in the game industry, and what will make you a valuable potential employee, is the ability to produce games from ideas. Making ideas reality is where the value is at; in a sense, that's exactly what the game industry exists to do. You described yourself as an artist; this is a good beginning. Art is a very valuable resource in game development, and I daresay you won't have an extreme amount of trouble getting into the industry if you are a good artist. Depending on the kinds of art you work with, you will have varying degrees of challenge finding an entry-level position. Concept artists are (in my experience) usually the hardest to secure a role unless you are extremely good. On the other end of the scale, 3D modellers, texture artists, and interface artists are in higher demand. There will be competition for artist positions, though, so be sure you've got an impressive portfolio and a good variety of skills to offer.

Writing is also valuable, but also seems to be a little higher-competition. Just being a good writer by itself won't guarantee you a position anywhere; with the possible exception of scriptwriting, you'll usually be best served by combining writing with other skills such as design or high-level programming (game scripting).

You have a lot of time ahead of you before you need to worry about getting a job. There's a few things I'd recommend you do with that time. First, don't worry exclusively about getting a job. You've got a good four years (eight if you opt for secondary education) before that happens, and you don't want to waste all of it in front of a computer. However, that doesn't mean you should quit planning ahead. Just be ready for your plans to change, and don't be afraid to let them change. Pick up some interests outside of games. Reading, writing, opera, sports - anything really. Having some perspective on life outside of gaming and technology is very valuable for designers and creative people of all types. A diverse experience of life will also give you all kinds of fodder for ideas and inspiration in the future.

Secondly, hone your skills. If you like drawing, draw anything and everything. Combine this with your other interests as well. For instance, if you like rock climbing, go draw (paint?) a climb you've successfully completed. If you're into 3D modelling, model the climb instead. Don't just work on things for the sake of work - make sure you enjoy what you're working on. If you ever catch yourself being bored of something or feeling like you'd rather do something else, go do something else, even if that means gaming or sleeping. You're too young to do things you dislike all day [wink]

Third, start looking for internships and apprenticeships. These are basically positions that are designed for people to get some real-world experience, usually without pay. Chances are labor laws won't let you work much for the next couple of years, but once you can take a position, get one - heck, get several. Summer jobs are great. They will give you experience in the line of work you're interested in, and they make great resume filler. Employers will appreciate the fact that you have proven yourself capable of doing the work they want to hire you to do.

Finally, keep an open mind. It isn't uncommon for young people (especially talented young people) to have shifting interests and changing desires as they get older. If you start getting feelings that maybe you want to pursue underwater basket weaving, don't be afraid to do so. You have a lot of life ahead of you, and you will gain a lot of new understanding and perspective as you live through it. The game industry is your dream for now, but don't force yourself to stick to it just because it's your dream. You don't want to hit the big four-oh and realize you've spent twenty years working on something you never cared to do in the first place. Be honest with yourself and be willing to switch gears if that's what you truly want to do (just don't use that as an excuse to quit when things get tough [wink] ). Explore some alternatives in life; get as much experience in as broad a range of things as you can. Even if you end up sticking with game design in the long run, you will be a much stronger and more interesting person for it.



Oh, and regarding Python: it's not as useless in the "real world" as some of you seem to think. For instance, Civ 4 will have virtually all of the game logic defined in Python scripts. I have a hunch that it won't be too many more years before Python is a very powerful force in game scripting - and scripted game engines are only going to become more commonplace as time goes by, because of increasing pressures from the mod world, and because script/engine architecture is an extremely powerful development paradigm.

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Well, it just means you learn good, solid debugging skills early on in programming.

Or it means you get stuck because you have to worry about completely irrelevant issues when you *could* be learning actual programming.
Saying that C++ teaches you solid debugging skills, OO principles or anything else better than other languages only proves one thing: The person making the claim doesn't have much experience with other languages.
The same goes for the claims that learning C++ allows you to easily learn all other languages. First, it works just as well the other way (learning C++ when you already know Java or Python), and second, it's just not true for all languages. Trying to learn ML, Lisp or Prolog with prior C++ knowledge is no easier than learning one of those as your first language.

To be honest, whenever someone pushes one particular language as *the* starter language, they're probably wrong. There just isn't one "best" starter language.

And too often, these recommendations are based on "I started with language X and succeeded in learning it. Therefore, X must be the only possibly language to begin with, and if anyone else says differently, they're wrong, or recommending a difficult/pointless path."
It's rubbish, and it's not helpful. ;)

Anyway, back to the actual topic. If you want to design games, you're in for one of the trickier paths. Professional designers are almost always picked from other positions. (A lead programmer or clever artist might be made designer, rather than actually try to hire a designer externally), and even more than usually, prior experience is important. A good programmer might get a job if he can prove he's a damn good programmer. A designer will have a hard time finding a job if he hasn't actually made a complete game before.

So, here are a few options:
- Join a mod team for some game. It's relatively easy to hook up with some hobbyist programmers wanting to make a mod, if you have some good ideas
- Learn some of everything, and try to actually make a game (or mod) yourself. A hell of a lot of work, and it requires you to learn everything from programming to 3D art to sound/music.

But before you get to that point, do the following:
- Learn to organize and present your ideas in the best possible way. This is huge, it's what designers are *for*. A designer who can't explain his ideas isn't much good, no matter how brilliant his ideas are.
- Learn the basics of other areas (programming, 3D modelling, or whatever). This is optional, but it might help you get into the industry if you're qualified for other positions than game designer, and of course, it helps communication with your team members if you know roughly what they're doing and how.
- Don't expect anyone to pay your ideas the least attention. Everyone has ideas, and everyone thinks they're one of a kind, but only a rare few actually turn these ideas into games. You might have the idea for a super hit game, but so has just about anyone else, and even if your idea is better than theirs, you still need to prove it before anyone are going to listen to you. ;)

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First I'd recomend you take a look at this site. It's got loads of advice related to getting into the game industry.

Second I'd advise to start learning some skills relevant to the game industry, you say you're an artist, so you could start with learning 3D modeling or level design. If you pick up a game that allows modding (e.g. Half-Life 1 or 2, any of the quake series etc) you can try your hand at making levels and you can put 3D models you've made into the game world. Once got some skill in your chosen craft you could try joining a mod team as Spoonbender said, or even start your own (though this will require a lot of work).

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You don't need to be good at math or science to get into the industry, if you're not going for a programming job. Game designers don't really need to be good at math or science.

For game design positions that involve scripting, a bit of programming knowledge helps, but you don't really need it. I'd learn to script in languages like python and lua. Perhaps download some open source engines, and do some scripting in them. Work on design documents, etc. Make your work look very professional, and present it well. For a design job, you don't really need to demonstrate knowledge of programming, but being able to demonstrate your skills through quality, finished work you've done on a mod, would be a huge advantage. Look for an existing game that allows scripting, and make something good with it.

Having a degree relevant to your skills is a big advantage too.

All I can do is give you my experience, which obviously will be slightly different from yours, due to my different career goals. I started off by doing a degree in Bsc Computing (Games development) at the university of Abertay, Dundee. (that's not the games tech course, it's basically just the regular computing degree, but you get a few games modules in 3rd and 4th year). I developed my interest in the games industry quite late, so by the time I graduated, I didn't really have the game programming knowledge to get a coding position. I took at job at a local games company, as a games tester, and did that for a year. After that, I secured a position at the same company as a scripter/game designer, where I worked until a few months ago. My degree, knowledge of game programming, and the fact I'd been doing research into current scripting languages were a big help.

One thing to bear in mind, is that it's a lot easier to get a job in the games industry from the inside, than it is from the outside. Getting a job as a games tester at a game developer can help. I don't think many developers have QA departments these days though, it's mostly publishers that have them. When you're working for a company, you get to hear about job opportunities, and meet people that you wouldn't have heard about before. The only thing is, I don't know what it's like at other companies, but when I was working in QA, QA tended to be isolated from the company a bit, and didn't tend to meet people in the other departments as much. That said, were still opportunites to meet the right people, and I know several people that started out in QA, and managed to move to other departments, including myself. I wouldn't stay in QA too long though, the amount of overtime will burn you out pretty quickly.

I can't speak for every company, but in my experience QA do a hell of a lot more overtime than the rest of the company, so don't get too put off by the amount of overtime. It varies from company to company though, from what I've heard about EA, they're hellish for overtime, and I'd never work for them unless I was absolutely desperate.

If you're already working for a company, and you're a good worker, it's so much easier to get a job elsewhere in the company if you have the skills.

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I still think learning Python would be a good idea, but if you guys think that it won't have any practical use in the industry, then I'd advise learning Lua. Lua most definitely is used in the games industry. In fact, I've seen a couple of jobs advertised in my area recently, where Lua skills were cited as being an advantage.

Besides which, I still don't think that learning Python is a bad idea. Firstly, it has been used in the games industry in the past. Secondly, once you've learned one language, it's quite easy to pick up another one.

Like another poster said, I don't think the day is far off when python will be used more in the games industry.

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In the end, it really depends on how dedicated you are to learning how to program, and how detail-oriented you are. It also depends on how many hours of frusteration you are willing to deal with before you understand the concepts that are especially difficult to lear in c++, like pointers, virtual functions, templates, etc. I wasn't paying much attention yesterday, cause I was on the phone and can't multitask, but I have revised my opinion: if you aren't very organized, you will probably want to start with Python. It is easier to start with than C++. Whatever you decide,

Good luck!

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one of these days I'm going to have to sit down and learn python so I can have my own view on it, and not just what I've read on it.

I'm told with python, you have to be trying rather hard to break it.
Java, isn't hard to break but easy enough to do even low levels, but I've found any broken thing in Java is fairly easy to fix, just because there isn't a whole lot to it once you get past working with classes.

C++ however, is VERY easy to break i've found, and has an extra layer or two over Java that just makes fixing those errors harder. If I knew the language better it likely wouldn't be so bad, but those extra layers to it compared to Java make it harder.

If you're tying to think about how you want something to come out, AND how you NEED to do something in the language that is a little vague on why you need to, then you have a harder time working your way through programming. However, if there are only a FEW things you have to keep in mind while programming, (python) then the real problem is easier to manage. Once you can easily take on those mid-high range problem in a fairly simple language, moving on to another language should be easy enough.


And I can't stress this enough, do NOT expect to learn ONE language.
Thats like learning to fix ONLY KIA cars or something, and giving yourself no clue how to even change a tire of a ford or something. KIA or fords aren't all that different, things are just layed out a little different, but once you learn how do change a spark plug in one, you usually just have to learn where the spark plug is in the other.

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Original post by silverphyre673
In the end, it really depends on how dedicated you are to learning how to program, ... understand the concepts that are especially difficult to lear in c++, like pointers, virtual functions, templates, etc... It is easier to start with than C++. Whatever you decide,


He said he's going for a design job, not a programming job. Learning C++ is completely unnecessary, and his time would be better spent learning things that will actually be of use to him as a designer.

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Original post by Oxyacetylene
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Original post by silverphyre673
In the end, it really depends on how dedicated you are to learning how to program, ... understand the concepts that are especially difficult to lear in c++, like pointers, virtual functions, templates, etc... It is easier to start with than C++. Whatever you decide,


He said he's going for a design job, not a programming job. Learning C++ is completely unnecessary, and his time would be better spent learning things that will actually be of use to him as a designer.


basic programing WOULD be very useful as a designer I think, even if you're not getting into very advanced things.

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And besides, if you want to be a game designer, one who comes up with the gamplay, concept, style, and things of that nature, and doesn't have another function, it will be quite hard for him to get any practice here :) How many people really latch onto a project unless they are either getting payed for professional work, or the game is at least partly finished? If he learned to program somewhat, it would help him relate to the programmers, to have another thing on his resume, and start some projects that might attract the interest of others, so he could get some experience in directing a project.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
This is the way I see it: You can type, and you don't sound like an idiot. That right there is a huge leg-up on pretty much all the other 14 year olds who try to get into game development. Have fun.

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Original post by Anonymous Poster
This is the way I see it: You can type, and you don't sound like an idiot. That right there is a huge leg-up on pretty much all the other 14 year olds who try to get into game development. Have fun.


Absolutely! Proper captitalisation and spelling (hope I spell everything in this post correctly). Use decent grammar, and use commas appropriately. Other than that, work your ass off, and get some credit amongst the slackers on this board (like me, and everyone in the lounge with a rating of over 1100). Post your accomplishments online, so we can download and review them, if we feel so inclined. Use please, thank you, and you're welcome. Manners! These are especially important skills to learn and cultivate for successfully getting taken seriously here. And don't post in the lounge. I just did, and it killed the rating I had built up :) I could have broken 1100 (tear).

And, if you must mention your rating, DO NOT make a post about it specifically, and take under a sentance.

You are fortunate in having such good advice to start you out with. Why, back in my day, boy, we didn't know not to use 1337 5P34|<. (Don't EVER use it, unless you know exactly what you're doing :)

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Original post by Spoonbender
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Original post by Gollum1378
Well, it just means you learn good, solid debugging skills early on in programming.

Or it means you get stuck because you have to worry about completely irrelevant issues when you *could* be learning actual programming.
Saying that C++ teaches you solid debugging skills, OO principles or anything else better than other languages only proves one thing: The person making the claim doesn't have much experience with other languages.
The same goes for the claims that learning C++ allows you to easily learn all other languages. First, it works just as well the other way (learning C++ when you already know Java or Python), and second, it's just not true for all languages. Trying to learn ML, Lisp or Prolog with prior C++ knowledge is no easier than learning one of those as your first language.


Uh, you read way too much into that... I didn't say C++ was the first language to learn and I wasn't trying to be completely Pro-C++. It was really meant more of a joke so I apologize that you didn't receive it in that way. I personally think that the language to start with is different for each person as everyone is unique and each language has their own separate characteristics. Truthfully though saying "Or it means you get stuck because you have to worry about completely irrelevant issues when you *could* be learning actual programming." kind of annoys me. Debugging is a serious part of programming, and although yes, it is nice starting out by actually accomplishing a simple program here or there, it really is necessary to learn debugging. When working for a company you're going to run into software bugs that you're going to have to figure out, and so C++ throws you, although not gently, into the world of debugging. That's just my two cents.

Each language has its own advantage(s) and disadvantage(s). C++ was originally meant for operating systems. People should pick whichever one they think fits them best, people can't just make a generlization of "take this language," or "take that language." You were entirely correct when mentioning this in your own post and I firmly agree with it.

--- Gollum

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Original post by Oxyacetylene
Game designers don't really need to be good at math or science.


That probably explains why we get so many "help me design/choose a combat system" threads!

Personally I think no designer should be without a decent understanding of probability and statistics. Issues of power up and weapon capabilities, combat lethality, soldier and vehicle costs, experience point distribution, skills systems, and more besides really hinge on these two areas. Of course, other areas like calculus or vector mathematics are of less importance unless you do programming.

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One thing to bear in mind, is that it's a lot easier to get a job in the games industry from the inside, than it is from the outside. Getting a job as a games tester at a game developer can help.


I agree with your advice here, as the testing route is certainly a valid one, but I would add that there seems to be a consensus that this route is becoming less and less useful as the industry consolidates.

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Original post by Oxyacetylene
You don't need to be good at math or science to get into the industry, if you're not going for a programming job. Game designers don't really need to be good at math or science.


Well, you have said that he needs NO programming experience, that he needs no math or science, and I don't think you've really offered him much idea of how to start. Sorry, but if he is going to make any headway into the industry, he will need some related skills. If none of these, and besides just being able to think up 15,000 ideas for a Hockey MMORPG, then what would you suggest? Its not like you send programmers through college and have them get a masters in CS, and get Joe Layman off the street to design the game. I think it would be wonderful to have more posts in the "help wanted" section from potential game designers who know what they are talking about. I don't know about you. </rant>

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