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Jenkis

Developing for the NDS - worth the effort?

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Jenkis    122
I've started looking towards developing games for the NDS, mainly because of my passion for portable games and the interesting combination of stylus + dual screen (an excellent platform for developing "new" game ideas etc). The problem i'm facing is that when i'm looking for game-development-positions at companies they are mainly hireing specialsts, like 3d-programmer with extensive experience using <insert random buzzword>. To my question: With an ambition to at some point be a part of the industry (as some kind of devloper), should i try to join bigger projects and specialize in smaller areas of game developing, or try to focus more on 1-2 man teams doing smaller (but more) projects? Obviously my time is limited otherwise i'd do both :p What are your thoughts on the matter?

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Evil Steve    2017
Quote:
Original post by Jenkis
I've started looking towards developing games for the NDS, mainly because of my passion for portable games and the interesting combination of stylus + dual screen (an excellent platform for developing "new" game ideas etc).

The problem i'm facing is that when i'm looking for game-development-positions at companies they are mainly hireing specialsts, like 3d-programmer with extensive experience using <insert random buzzword>.

To my question: With an ambition to at some point be a part of the industry (as some kind of devloper), should i try to join bigger projects and specialize in smaller areas of game developing, or try to focus more on 1-2 man teams doing smaller (but more) projects? Obviously my time is limited otherwise i'd do both :p

What are your thoughts on the matter?
You're best off learning C++ and learning various APIs; unless you're applying for a more senior position, you won't be touching the DS-level code and you'll be using the game engine instead.

Also, from what I've seen, the homebrew SDK is pretty different from the official SDK - to the extent that even if you become an expert with the homebrew SDK, you'll still have a bit of readjusting to use the official SDK (Again, if you ever touch that layer of code).

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DensitY    192
Ok, ASSUMING your already fluent in C/C++.

Homebrew DS SDK's are pretty tiny. Unless you use PAlib (which is generally only adviced for very simple games or if you don't care about learning the architecture of the DS), you end up using a very thin library called libnds, and doing alot of low level communication with the DS hardware yourself. This includes Managing Video Memory, video Bank settings, Background control registers, sprite OAM etc. and if you start dealing with sound you'll end up using the IPC bus for arm7 to arm9 (and back) communication unless you use a 3rd party sound library, same goes with wifi (go libwifi).

The offical SDK pretty much hides the arm7 from the developer and manages most things for you that homebrew coders have todo themselfs. but yeah it is very different in layout from my understanding, and there would be a learning curve if you joined a offical DS dev house.

Saying that DS hardware knowledge and ARM assembly knowledge is still useful on its own.

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viperman1271    157
The NDS can be a very powerful platform to work with and produce games, but it can also be very annoying and troublesome at times. I know the SDK provided by Nintendo and even with a full engine, there will be a good chance (depending on the game) that you will at one time or another have to write code to interface directly with the device to ensure that it will do what you want it to. If you want to challenge yourself as a programmer to do a great game, then the NDS is probably a good choice. If you want to do a great game and have tons of headaches, I can't say that using the DS would be a good choice.

As for breaking into the industry, the biggest thing is that they want to know that you can actually do the job. Of course it is much harder to get an interview if you don't know anyone personally, but if do get an interview you'll most likely be required to write a knowledge test that will prove that you know what you say you do.

Learning APIs is great, but the base knowledge of programming, design, and development is the most important. For size of project, whatever will allow you to learn the most will be the best choice. A small project will allow you to have greater influence over the design of the entire game, while a bigger project will teach you how to coordinate your efforts with several other people (which is a necessary skill in the game industry).

Its important to be able to do the job, because thats all that employers really want. Generalist Programmers are great tools for a company as well (because they can be assigned to a variety of tasks), and just because a company doesn't specifically post a job that you are qualified for, or want, doesn't mean there isn't a position available for you somewhere in the company.

Good luck

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Jenkis    122
Thanks alot for the insightful answears. I could add that im currently working professionally as developer / tester with c++/java and have been for a couple of years. While it's in another domain (finance) i still get the team-working and project processes knowledge from there...

I have been doing some research on swedish game companies (i live in Sweden atm) but the application forms they post are not very specific. My personal goal is not to program games specifically for the NDS, I just want to get into the industry on a 5-10 year horizon.

I think ill go for the nds for a while and see how it turns out, from what i have heard there is also important to have a game portfolio to show up to even get an interview. Is that your experince as well?

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Evil Steve    2017
Quote:
Original post by Jenkis
Thanks alot for the insightful answears. I could add that im currently working professionally as developer / tester with c++/java and have been for a couple of years. While it's in another domain (finance) i still get the team-working and project processes knowledge from there...

I have been doing some research on swedish game companies (i live in Sweden atm) but the application forms they post are not very specific. My personal goal is not to program games specifically for the NDS, I just want to get into the industry on a 5-10 year horizon.

I think ill go for the nds for a while and see how it turns out, from what i have heard there is also important to have a game portfolio to show up to even get an interview. Is that your experince as well?
Yes, a portfolio is extremely useful. Most companies will decide whether or not to invite you for an interview based solely on your portfolio.

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