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Is GameDev for me possible?

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Hey I'm new here at GameDev but I might not be staying for too long and may never return. Recently I have been thinking a lot about what kind of career I will go into. I am a 16 year old student who will be going into grade 12 after the summer. I would consider myself a bright kid getting an overall 83% average on my final report card. Originally I wanted to go into accounting or something business related because I just wanted to be loaded when I retired. But the summer has given me a lot of time to think and I am reconsidering my choices. I want to do something I love, something I have a passion for. That something is video games. What I want to know from you (the experts) is if it is still possible for me to go into the field of game development and one day work alongside those who have created the works of art that I enjoy today. So I will give you some info. I do not enjoy math, as a matter of fact I failed my math exam and finished the course with a 61%.The only science I have taken is biology (don't ask) and I have never taken any physics. I have never taken any computer related courses ether. And I have 0 knowledge of programming or any of those languages. But I do have a passion for games and calling my self a hardcore gamer would be an understatement. The only experience with making games that I have is using RPGmaker programs to make short crappy games that I let my bros play. So in this last year of High school, is it still possible for me to persue a career that I would actually enjoy doing? (If you need more info just ask, it is late and my brain is in slow mode right now)

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I'm going to be cliché and say that you can be anything you want to be :>

I did VERY bad at maths and physics at school yet now, in my final year of studying for my computer science degree I have not found one thing I wanted to program (games included) that I could not achieve. I have done a few advanced calculus and algebra courses during my course and I didn't do too bad at all.

So all I'm saying is, don't limit your choices by what you believe you are not capable of. Rather make your decision by looking what you WANT.

As for chances to get into game development itself, it depends on what field of game dev you would like. Be it modeling, animation, programing, etc...Some fields are harder to get into than others but once you have a basic knowledge of all fields it will be much easier to get knowledge of another....to a certain extent. And the knowledge you HAVE obtained will also be useful in other areas.

So if you DO decide to try to get into game dev and you want to play it safe, do a computer science degree or diploma which can be used for many different areas of computers (not just games) and don't do a game dev diploma which will limit your opportunities.

(BTW. In South Africa, where i live: Starting salary for a computer scientist with a degree can be up to 15 - 18k a month (South African Rand) But starting salary for Accountants are about 3 - 8k)

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Quote:
Original post by Degorath
I'm going to be cliché and say that you can be anything you want to be :>

I did VERY bad at maths and physics at school yet now, in my final year of studying for my computer science degree I have not found one thing I wanted to program (games included) that I could not achieve. I have done a few advanced calculus and algebra courses during my course and I didn't do too bad at all.

So all I'm saying is, don't limit your choices by what you believe you are not capable of. Rather make your decision by looking what you WANT.

As for chances to get into game development itself, it depends on what field of game dev you would like. Be it modeling, animation, programing, etc...Some fields are harder to get into than others but once you have a basic knowledge of all fields it will be much easier to get knowledge of another....to a certain extent. And the knowledge you HAVE obtained will also be useful in other areas.

So if you DO decide to try to get into game dev and you want to play it safe, do a computer science degree or diploma which can be used for many different areas of computers (not just games) and don't do a game dev diploma which will limit your opportunities.

(BTW. In South Africa, where i live: Starting salary for a computer scientist with a degree can be up to 15 - 18k a month (South African Rand) But starting salary for Accountants are about 3 - 8k)


Thanks for your advice. Right now I'm not thinking about money, I just want to have enough when I'm older to enjoy myself. A question that has come to mind is... if I finish high school without any courses which would aide me in game development, can I still start studying computer science in college/university?

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You know there's more to making games than "just" programming. From how you describe yourself, I'd say programming might not be the right thing for you (although without really knowing you, I might as well be completely off).
But maybe you'd make a great game designer, artist, sound effects guy, story author,... Figure out, which part of game development you enjoy the most and go for it.

Quote:
So in this last year of High school, is it still possible for me to persue a career that I would actually enjoy doing?


You can pursue a career that you enjoy at any age. If at 45 you realize that you no longer enjoy game development, do something different. It's never too late. It does get increasingly harder to switch careers the older you get, but at 16, you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

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As a senior in high school, you still have plenty of time to decide on a career and make the appropriate studies. I think most people don't figure out what they really want to do until well into their college years, if ever, so regardless of your past experience, at this point you're still ahead of the game. The only problem I see is that now is about the time you'll be scoping out potential colleges/universities to attend, and you're not sure yet whether you'll enjoy a game development career. Something you might consider is taking a year at a cheap community college before moving on to a university; take some programming and/or art classes and do some self-study of the subjects that interest you most. Then you can better decide whether you'd like to continue in the same direction or look for a career path elsewhere.

As for math/science, I disliked math during most of high school as well, but when I saw its immense practical value to something which interested me (game development), the subject came alive and became a pleasure to study. Also, as the previous poster said, if you have a passion for games but find that you dislike programming, there are many other options open to you within the industry.

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You might get away with not doing well in maths in highschool (with the idea that you'd do better if you can apply it to your profession) but I would think you should at least be interested in it if your planning on going into programming. If you want a better idea of maths applicability in gamedev (and whether you would enjoy that as opposed to doing algs in class), try your hand at some of the simpler graphics programming tuts on the web.

As far as getting into gamedev without touching it in highschool, that's a definite yes, noone expects you to have done anything in school. If your aim is a degree in comp science (as opposed to a more specific game degree) all I needed for mine was a B (sound pass) in maths and a decent (As,Bs and Cs) set of grades for my other subjects. I'd say most comp science degrees would be the same, though you may need higher grades overall for some of the more esteemed unis.

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(I am not an expert *at all*)

As some people have mentioned, maybe you should try aspects of game development other than programming. Download a free 3D modeling program and give it a shot. See if you enjoy using it. If so, look at becoming a modeler for games. Try sketching some game-related characters, settings, items, etc. on paper or computer. If you like that, maybe you could become a concept artist. Try texturing models, scripting a game you like, writing character dialog, or anything else related to games. Programming is not the only part of making games. The others are just as important.

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Indeed, even if you want to be a programmer, I would say that math and physics isn't really required. What math you do need to know, you'll pick up on the way. Although the "not liking math" concept is foreign to me, I've taught many people who were less than numerically inclined to be fine programmers.

And as an aside, accounting will certainly let you roll around in big piles of money - it will just be somebody else's. :)

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IMHO your best bet to get into the game industry would be to learn a technical skill and project management. If you're willing to go into accounting, project management arguably takes the same amount of math and patience with repetition.

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My 2 cents is that, for you becoming a programmer, its really a matter of whether or not you are willing and able to embrace math and improve at it. You didn't specify *which* math class it was that you did poorly in, but if it was high-school algebra you would definitely need to improve. In fact, if you were to apply to a University CS degree (and presuming that your math mark is indicative of your other math classes) they'd likely have you take some type of refresher math course, or even recommend you attend a community college to bring your math skills up and to apply again next year.

Math itself, and the thought process it requires, is of utmost importance to programming and computer science in general. In game development, 50% of programmers can probably get by with fairly basic, multi-variable algebra and a conceptual understanding of vectors and matrices. That said, the more math and math-based sciences (ie physics) you can take in High School the better prepared you will be.

During my high-school career I took 2 semesters of Basic Geometry, 4 semesters of Algebra & Advanced Geometry, 1 semester of calculus, 1 semester of Statistics, and two semesters of physics, most of which were honors or college-level classes for credit from the University of Minnesota.

In college I took another semester of advanced Algebra, 2 semesters of Calculus and Analytical Geometry, 1 semester of Linear Algebra and Geometry, and two more semesters of physics, in addition to my "pure" CS courses, which were heavily math-based (algorithm analysis, etc.)

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