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jumpingrock

Getting into the game industry for a business developer

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So my situation is not unique. I've read many articles on getting into the industry already. However, I still have a question or two :-) First: I have a Bsc in Computing Science. Second: I've been developing business software for 2+ years in C# and .NET Third: I have created a game using the XNA framework (it's in alpha now) I'm looking to get into the gaming industry and I'm not sure the right way to proceed. I have the option of returning to school and doing a Master's in Artificial Intelligence. Taking the Game & Simulation Program at DeVry University, not terribly interested. Or to just use my demo to try and land a job with one of the local companies here. Any suggestions on which course of action would be the most likely to get me into the industry?

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Well applying for a job is the only one that will get you a job, so I vote for that one. Mostly work on the polish of your demo and go for it.

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Original post by jumpingrock
Any suggestions on which course of action would be the most likely to get me into the industry?
Others might disagree with me here, but I'd learn C++ if you don't already know it. It's quite unlikely that you'll get a job in the industry as anything other than a tools programmer (I'm assuming you're going for a programmer position) without knowing C++. Particularly if you intend to do any form of console development.

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Or to just use my demo to try and land a job with one of the local companies here.

You have one demo? How about making another one? Sounds to me like you don't have enough practice at making games yet.

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Ya, you almost certainly need C++. There are only a handful of companies (usually smaller ones) that are using langauges other than C++ as their primary development language.

I actually entered the game industry from web software. A perhaps similar transition to the one you're trying to make. This was my path

First year
1) keep working at my web job
2) start developing a game/engine in your spare time (avg. 3 hours per day for the whole year)
3) also get involved in a hobby project in some capacity

Once my engine was in a good place - i.e. it'd be impressive to someone looking at it:

1) quit my web job
2) move to LA & live off savings and random contract work
3) spend fulltime working on my engine
4) constantly apply to companies in the area / meet people already in the industry (through IGDA meetings, friends and such)
5) eventually get job

You can probably skip the "quit your job & panic" stage of the process. For me that was just the only way I would have actually been motivated enough to land an interview.

-me

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Original post by Tom Sloper
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Original post by jumpingrock
Or to just use my demo to try and land a job with one of the local companies here.

You have one demo? How about making another one? Sounds to me like you don't have enough practice at making games yet.


Thanks for the comments everybody.

It's a pretty involved demo with lots of potential for additions to it. I read your site, I think FAQ 2 or 3? Anyway, I'm going with the DIY method for this idea. I'm pretty psyched. That said, I haven't decided whether or not to continue working on this one or to move onto my next ideas (2 or 3 in the pipeline in my head), so that's definitely a given. Just a question of when. There is never going to be another point in my life where I will not have a game on the go, I enjoy it too much.

As far as the C++ goes, while I don't know it right now. I know PERL, Java and C# and have worked with both C and C++ in the past. Therefore, pickup time would be minimal. So the question would be, next game in C++/directX?

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Yes, I'll agree with both statements so far. C# is becoming more and more accepted, especially on the tools side, but it will be some time before we see AAA titles written in C# on Microsoft's platforms and we'll likely never see them on the others.

C++ is a necessity if you desire to work on mainstream commercial games. I'm sure you're already familiar with C++, but work to develop your skill and comfort with it, including the C++ standard library (containers and algorithms).

Also, make sure you've boned up on your math skills. Linear Algebra (Matrices and vectors and such) and calculus are the big ones. Discreet math is also very important in many aspects of programming. Learn specific principles that apply to game programming such as Quaternions.

Pick up a 3D API and/or become exceedingly familiar with the workings behind the scenes. Being familiar with the workings of the 3D pipeline is all the more important now that the fixed-function pipe is going away (both in hardware and in newer/upcoming versions of Direct3D and OpenGL.) and everything is moving to shaders. Become familiar with a prevalent shader language.

Pick up a scripting language such as Lua, which is very popular in the games industry. In every interview I've been on, I've always been asked if I was familiar with any scripting languages. 80% of the time they are using Lua, the other 20% has been lisp variants.

Definitely put a high degree of polish on your game if you intend to shop it around as a portfolio piece. A small, highly polished game is often more impressive than a larger unpolished one. It demonstrates attention to detail and commitment, as well as serving as an excellent conversation point containing sufficient complexity while having a limited scope.

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Original post by jumpingrock
Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
Quote:
Original post by jumpingrock
Or to just use my demo to try and land a job with one of the local companies here.

You have one demo? How about making another one? Sounds to me like you don't have enough practice at making games yet.


Thanks for the comments everybody.

It's a pretty involved demo with lots of potential for additions to it. I read your site, I think FAQ 2 or 3? Anyway, I'm going with the DIY method for this idea. I'm pretty psyched. That said, I haven't decided whether or not to continue working on this one or to move onto my next ideas (2 or 3 in the pipeline in my head), so that's definitely a given. Just a question of when. There is never going to be another point in my life where I will not have a game on the go, I enjoy it too much.

As far as the C++ goes, while I don't know it right now. I know PERL, Java and C# and have worked with both C and C++ in the past. Therefore, pickup time would be minimal. So the question would be, next game in C++/directX?


Yea, sure, although definitely grab a few good C++ books and read them through. I've had a few interviews recently and they all tested a thorough understanding of C++ beyond stuff that I might've considered as an indie developer.

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As far as the learn c++ thing goes, if you are looking for a more traditional games job then yeah that is where it is at. If you want a web game job they tend to use java or flash.

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Original post by jumpingrock
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Original post by Tom Sloper
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Original post by jumpingrock
Or to just use my demo to try and land a job with one of the local companies here.

You have one demo? How about making another one? Sounds to me like you don't have enough practice at making games yet.

I'm going with the DIY method for this idea.

Oh. Then you've decided not to "try and land a job."

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