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Making a portfolio

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Hey all! I'm currently on a games development course at university in my second year. I know that getting a degree alone isn't going to get me a job straight away in game development, I realise that I will also need a good portfolio to back up my grades and show what I can actually do, but what sort of things would an employer be looking for in a good portfolio? I'd appreciate any advise anyone can give on this, because I think I should really start working on getting a portfolio together of my work.

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Portfolio for what?

Artists need artwork and possibly a demo reel.
Animators need a demo reel or two or three.
Programmers should be able to show source code and executables, but it is much less of a requirement than it is for artists since they can write code in person during an interview.


As far as the purpose, there are two questions any employer wants answered:

* Can you do the job well?
* Will you fit in?

Your demo should answer both of these questions.

Note also that every position is different. Art that would land you a job as a concept artist could get you rejected for a technical artist. A demo that what may fit the culture in with one company could be appalling to another.

Keep in mind the two questions and you should be fine.

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General Suggestions:

1. Some programs you created yourself.

2. Titles you've worked on, and your role in the development.

3. General resumé.

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My advice would be that while a completed game or few would look very good, don't spend all your time just making full games. Besides a game or two, pick a discipline about programming you like (AI, Graphics, Networking, etc) and create little focused demos of various techniques in use by games today. Make sure you keep it simple too - so don't have 3D characters running around a 3D world for an AI demo, just use 2D with lines and shapes, that's all you need to demonstrate the technique. One of the trends in the industry is the breakdown of fields into specific roles, so don't try to learn everything there is in making a game - that's way too much stuff these days.

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While having lots of demo's is good, I strongly believe that also having a fully completed game is a big advantage as well as it shows you are able to take a project from start to finish.

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Quote:
Original post by Gaiiden
My advice would be that while a completed game or few would look very good, don't spend all your time just making full games. Besides a game or two, pick a discipline about programming you like (AI, Graphics, Networking, etc) and create little focused demos of various techniques in use by games today. Make sure you keep it simple too - so don't have 3D characters running around a 3D world for an AI demo, just use 2D with lines and shapes, that's all you need to demonstrate the technique. One of the trends in the industry is the breakdown of fields into specific roles, so don't try to learn everything there is in making a game - that's way too much stuff these days.


Ah. Thanks for your post man. I'm currently working on a demo and I'm trying to learn everything there is about game development. Guess I should follow your advice to stick to a specific subject....or two.....or three.

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Thanks for all the responses, some very useful information here, should help with building my Portfolio, thanks :D

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The good thing about learning a little of everything is once your bored of one thing you can hop to the next (cyclic) but I suppose getting a specialty is a good idea

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