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Imperio59

Good Projects to build up a Games Programmer Resume

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Hi, I'm going back to College next year to finish out getting my degree in computer Science (I'm french, so I am getting a french 5 year degree... Not exactly sure what that is equivalent to in the US...). I am strongly wanting to get a job in the US after I am done getting my degree. I have two more years to go, out of which 6 months will be devoted entirely to a personal project and internship (unfortunately has to be done locally... Not many good game studios around where I live.) I was looking around at job offers for the kind of jobs I would be interested in in 2 years and most of them ask for demos/samples of code/projects (duh!). I would really love to work in MMORPG programming. I already have very strong programming skills, I worked on several Half-Life/Half-Life 2 mods (unfortunately they all died before seeing the light of day despite my best efforts), I have done several various designing of programs in Java (most recently a 10,000-line software for scheduling/billing customers, custom-made for a local business I used to work at.) I currently work doing debugging for an e-learning company (I debug their 30+ flash e-learning games, their last programmer left...) My main question is what kind of projects/demos should you make that will show an employer your skills? Programming any sort of 3D game these days requires a) an engine and b) artwork. Should I program the engine myself or use an Open Source one? (I hate the fact usually that it takes a while to get the hang of a new API...) Would using free models found online be ok? How complex should a demo be? What language should it be done in? (I can do C/C++, Java, C#, Flash ActionScript...) How can I make a project that I can also use for College? (I don't necessarily have time to make 500 different programs. Plus, last time I was in College they frowned a bit on people who made their end-of-year projects be video games...) Also should I show off any networking/database access codes, etc??? Answers are appreciated, I'd really like to plan out my next 2 year's worth of programming so I can at least make some of it count towards having a strong resume once I'm done with College!

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You don't need art to show off game programming skills.

E.g. you could make a simple "game level" out of cubes/prisms, and the player (+ other characters) out of colored cylinders. Then you chould show off collision detection, path-finding/navigation etc by having the cylinders move about the world.

If you want to be a game programmer (rather than engine programmer) it would probably be best to use an existing engine, because not only will it make your job easier, but it shows that you can work with unfamiliar APIs ;)

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Ok that sounds fair.
With MMORPGs I suppose you could also be working as a Server-side programmer or as a scripter as well, although scripter sounds less challenging.

Would they hire you based on what they were looking for directly? (i.e: games programmer, engine programmer, server programmer, etc...) or would you move around? Would they specifically say it if it was an engine programmer position, in which case I shouldn't worry about learning D3D? (I HATE D3D :D)

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Quote:
Original post by Imperio59Would they hire you based on what they were looking for directly? (i.e: games programmer, engine programmer, server programmer, etc...) or would you move around? Would they specifically say it if it was an engine programmer position, in which case I shouldn't worry about learning D3D? (I HATE D3D :D)


The answer is, it depends. Some companies that know what they are looking for will tell you what you are doing and what role you expected to fill. Some companies will just say they need a programmer and possibly tell you what you will be working on. I wouldn't worry about DirectX/D3D much, unless you are doing engine work you most likely will never touch it. I would however learn the basics of 3d math and how it applies to programming, learning a 3d api such as D3D and OpenGL does help reinforce that knowledge quite a bit.

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I've worked a lot in HL2 with Vectors and angles and such and took 2 years of advanced algebra in college, so I should be set. I'm a bit rusty but that stuff comes back fast for me.

Ideally I suppose showing off something like an AI program in 3D with collision detection would be pretty good...

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Using a tool like SmartFox you can easily develop a simple multi-player app using AS3 and Java. You can demonstrate use of DB/SQL skills as well.

You can then host a server/client online and give them the URL, or set up a local version running on a laptop to take to interviews.

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