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MilfredCubicleX

Programmer Portfolio

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Hello, Winter break is coming up, which means I have loads of free time. This is when I like to write games (along with summer break). So, my question to you: what do game companies like to see in a portfolio? I was thinking about writing a full-fledged game with a storyline, beginning, ending; the whole deal. However, I was thinking, will a company really bother to sit down and play the whole game, even if it's only a few levels? Should I maybe present some background and then have them play a single level with lots of action? Should I do a tech demo? Come up with something innovative? Something I like? Singleplayer, multiplayer, does it matter? (in the past i've worked on multiplayer, but I was wondering if they would bother to set a game up and play with several people) Or am I missing the point and I should just send screenshots and/or a video with it? Thanks for the help, -Steve

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In a demo you look for everything shown to be as close to perfect as possible. If you can make an entire game that is polished and wonderful you're hired. But if you make an entire game and it's buggy you're not hired. You're much better off making a simple demo in a specific area:

Looking for AI? Show me some cubes flocking around or doing something interesting. If there are cover mechanics just supply a tiny animation switch or a model change to indicate that they're in cover.

Looking for Graphics? Show me some amazing scene I can walk around in and watch the pretty stuff swirl.

etc.

Having a large scope and lots of things done to 50% will get you nowhere. Having a small scope with everything done to 100% is the way to go.

It's actually pretty rare for a programmer to have a demo at all if they graduated with a CS degree. Generally, as a programmer, you only need a demo if you don't have a programming degree and thus need to "prove" that you can actually program. A demo is certainly a nice something extra but it's not manditory by any means if you have education to back you up.

But mostly, in programmers, you look for past experience (big projects in school, interesting resume bulletpoints). And you look for the ability in that programmer to explain, in detail, every aspect of the things they claim to have produced (you'd be surprised with how many people lie and take credit for stuff they barely understand).

I also look for a deep understanding of C/C++ since that's what we use.

-me

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Well I got hired with this portfolio by Hybrid Graphics (NVidia Copr.) :
http://www.dawnbringer3d.com/Portfolio/Portfolio.html

Anyway, as far as I see companies want to see that you have some experience in the field. If you want to be a game programmer then you should have done a few games (remember to let them test your games and even review the source code).

Here is a good FAQ what you should know :
http://www.housemarque.com/Programmerfaq.htm

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I can`t imagine someone to test the multiplayer aspect of the game unless your position in the company would be in this field.
So, just concentrate on the aspect in which you want to search for a job.
Unless, you`ve got heaps of time available, in which case, just go for a full game. You can work on it throughout the year alongside school and gradually make it better. Even just 15 hours a week can get you somewhere.

I don`t think you can try to compete in the graphics field with other candidates (and also because of the required experience), so unless you code a renderer with visuals like in Crysis (good luck finding free artists to produce art assets in relevant quality), it`s better for you just to concentrate on gameplay,AI,Front-End part of the game.

You will always send the screenshots anyway (don`t forget to enable max AA/AF when snapping them) alongside the download link for a demo.

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The usual advice is to focus on making something small, doing a good job of it and most importantly ...finishing it!

If it's really slick then put it on a website, show it off on some forums, maybe get Google-ads to earn a few extra pennies from visitors(???). Rather than have a portfolio why not have a back-catalog instead?

Pick something that interests you be it technique, field or game idea. Something that you think you'd do a good job of and won't lose your passion for. You probably won't get many more chances to go off and do what you want to do again. If you don't then it's unlikely you'll even finish it.

Most importantly, do it for yourself. Do it for your own sense of achievement. Do it because you want to make a game, not because you want a job. Do it because you love doing it.

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