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Hi all guys, there is a HUGE question in my mind. And I need you help to find the answer! I'm developing my own, small engine...written in C++ and built with a platform indipendent mind. The purposes of this engine are two: learning all possible about writing a graphic engine and make a demo. The final objective is to enter the game industry...and the question is: how to make a demo and a small engine that can help me make this dream come true? I'm very confused, developing a full game is a mess and requires long time...but how a demo can be rated as "good"? What a developer want to see to understand your skills? Thanks in advice! Gabriel Sassone

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Well, unless you are really experienced in coding, making an "engine" might be a wrong direction. From what I got you are not very experienced, and you should better start off with writing some game that you want to make.

Basically demo is a working game, just without some features/content. So if you want to attract publisher attention, you should make it as best as you can. Showing everything you can do in it is your best bet.

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Quote:

Well, unless you are really experienced in coding, making an "engine" might be a wrong direction. From what I got you are not very experienced, and you should better start off with writing some game that you want to make.

I agree.

You need goals and direction if you want to learn something useful and have a useful or interesting demo at the end. Thinking in terms of an engine tends to make you think in directions that are directly the opposite; instead, think of a simple game or technology you want to explore, and focus on that.

Quote:

how to make a demo and a small engine that can help me make this dream come true?

Stop trying to make an engine, immediately. You're taking the path that is perhaps the most sub-optimal in terms of reaching this goal -- you're writing something as a learning experience and expecting it to also serve as a good demo. These are, in general, mutually exclusive things. What you show off to potential employers should be your best work.

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Thank you guys...the article you linked was very useful, and your words too!

I began writing a story, a setting and a possible level...then I began studying for the creation of the engine.

Well, maybe I have to change the story (I think that work alone on an adventure/action game like Resident Evil is quite hard!), maybe I can think about something more simple...but definetly I have to think of the game, and then I will develop the engine!

Thanks again!

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Joren wrote:
>how to make a demo and a small engine that can help me [enter the game industry]?

You got some excellent advice above. Don't try to reinvent the wheel, then the steam engine, then the combustion engine, then the rocket, then the quantum improbability drive. Just make a small game that does something cool.

>developing a full game is a mess and requires long time...

Yes, and more than one person. Look in the credits for any of your favorite games.

>how a demo can be rated as "good"? What a developer want to see to understand your
skills?

You obviously want to break in through programming (else you wouldn't be starting with an engine). Employers want to see a nice little demo that does something cool, with clean efficient code and clearly commented code. And a reasonable resume too (a 4-year university degree, at least some work experience so they know you understand what a job is about).

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Thanks for your advices, I'm a Software Engineer and I work from 1 year and a half, coding mainly in C and C++...so this can be a good basis for them!

Adding a nice demo...will make the dream come true!
Is a problem that I am italian and I do live in Rome??? (For me is not a problem going in other countries...)


Thanks to all!

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Original post by JorenJoestar
Well, maybe I have to change the story (I think that work alone on an adventure/action game like Resident Evil is quite hard!)

You bet it is! [lol]

In fact, any (any) story-driven game is quite hard to do with one person. I would highly recommend avoiding story for your demo (unless you want to be a writer). It takes alot of content to make a good story, and your target audience probably isn't going to even care.

Quote:
I'm very confused, developing a full game is a mess and requires long time...but how a demo can be rated as "good"?

#1 most important thing: don't forget that you're making a demo. It doesn't have to be 40 hours long... it doesn't have to be 4 hours long... in fact, most people probably won't play your demo for more than 5-15 minutes. So spend all your time making that first 5 minutes as good as possible. Make something short, creative, and exceptionally fun and don't worry whether or not it's long enough to compete with Baldurs Gate. If it's good enough, people will replay it (hey, it worked for Pac-Man! [grin])

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Original post by JorenJoestar
Is a problem that I am italian and I do live in Rome??? (For me is not a problem going in other countries...)

Location, location, location. It's no problem at all if you can find game studios with programmer positions available in Rome. It's less of a problem if you can find game studios with programmer positions available in some other part of Italy (then you'll have to move). I don't know anything about how easy or hard it is to get hired in other European countries, as a European.

The fact that you have work experience is a plus. I assume you have a university degree. You need to research game companies in Italy first, Europe second. Then if the companies are outside Italy you have to research visas, immigration, etc.
Good luck!

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1. What the others said. Most programmers in the games industry don't ever work on engine code, many are employed specialising on gameplay and AI code, others work in other specialist areas (e.g. physics, graphics, audio).

Your demo doesn't need to be a complete game. Showing a small number of very good things is much better than showing a large number of reasonable things. Showing a finished demo is worlds better than showing an incomplete demo.

If you want to apply for a gameplay/AI programming job then your demo doesn't need good graphics, but it does need to show that you have a good understanding of gameplay/AI techniques. If you want to apply for a graphics programming job then your demo doesn't have to show any gameplay but does need to show that you have a good understanding of realtime graphics techiques.

Games programmers don't write the stories used in games so you don't need to worry about coming up with a story for any game in your demo. Game programmers don't make the artwork used in game so while your demo should be presented well, it doesn't need to have professional quality graphics. What a demo needs to show the most is knowledge of all the required and desirable skills mentioned in the job description for the role you're applying for.


2) "Is a problem that I am italian and I do live in Rome??? No problem at all. There are more available vacancies in countries outside of Italy so being flexible about relocating to another country if necessary will increase the number of jobs available to you. There are even a few game development studios in Italy (independent and foreign owned): http://www.gamedevmap.com/index.php?query=italy

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On the topic of demos:

The demo needs to show off what you want people to see. If you're interested in physics, then maybe you should do a demo of some character you can mess around with (ragdoll?), or an environment where almost everything reacts to physics (i.e. just a small area. Doesn't have to look good). If you're interested in rendering then maybe show some interesting lighting technique, or some cool shaders. If you're interested in AI then do something where you can show off lots of interesting interactions between your AI entities.

Nailing the area of interest is key. Show them that you can accomplish the goal you set for yourself, not that you can make a whole bunch of stuff half-work.

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I don't work in the games industry so dont take this advice as gospel ;)

but, the way I see it, if you want to get in the games industry as a programmer then try to create the best example, perhaps a 'tech' demo or a set of small 'tech' demos of what YOU can do, also your going to have to show you have a very good understanding of 3D mathematics.

Make sure your code looks absolutely 'beautiful' when someone looks at your work - nothing worse than having a complete mess, with plenty of comments and 'meaningful' names for methods, variables etc...

again, some people may disagree with this, but in your demos try to re-create a different emotion in each one, such as fear, happiness etc... to show them your understanding of what makes a good gaming experience etc...

perhaps learning a scripting language like Lua (many companies use this with their games, such as Warhammer Online, Crysis and S.T.A.L.K.E.R) will give you even more points to get in the industry.

as I say, I don't work in the industry so hopefully someone will provide first hand advice!

good luck!

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Quote:
Original post by tsloper
Quote:
Original post by JorenJoestar
Is a problem that I am italian and I do live in Rome??? (For me is not a problem going in other countries...)


The fact that you have work experience is a plus. I assume you have a university degree. You need to research game companies in Italy first, Europe second. Then if the companies are outside Italy you have to research visas, immigration, etc.
Good luck!


A citizen of an EU country requires no visa or work permit to work in any other EU country. In theory this makes getting a job in another EU country almost as easy as in your home country (assuming you speak the language).

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Thanks again guys...I'm doing my game, thinking of it and not to the engine,
and it begin to take shape!
Step by step I'm introducing stuffs that let me create what I have in mind...
Being a rookie 3d modeler with 3D studio I've done an importer from the 3D studio format to my engine, so I can build my meshes with it...but now is all clear: the engine serves the game.
After some games (as you suggested) I will see the common functionalities that can be extracted and that are more general.

It's an hard work, but gives me great satisfaction, having some textured meshes going around and be handled by me...hope to post some screenshot soon!

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