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Murata

Game Programming Career Questions.

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Hello, After a few long months thinking, I've decided that game programming is the career I want to do. I was strongly debating with myself if I should choose development or a career in music, and I've chosen programming. What I'd really like from those of you who are developing, is some constructive advice, I've read some blogs and articles and what not, but I feel like some advice from real developers that haven't planned to write it would be beneficial. What I'm really looking for, are video diary's of development over a few weeks or months, I've searched on YouTube multiple times but I still can't find one. I've watched all of the Adventures In Game Development series, and that was pretty inspiring, if you have links that would be nice. But here are my questions; 1). What is a game development environment like, would I be working in cubabcles, or a nice open office? If someone could supply pics, that would be awesome. 2). What kind of hours would I have to work, 9 - 5, or would it be better to practically live at the office? 3). Is it enjoyable? I have this idea of working the "dev life", where I'd be hunched over at my computer early in the morning with fellow work mates working on a next-gen MMO drinking energy drinks and listening to a loop of crappy music, is this a reality or this just a common stereotype? 4). Is it possible for most people to work on big games, or am I most likely to be making mobile phone games for the rest of my life? Thanks, in advance.

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Original post by Murata
1). What is a game development environment like, would I be working in cubabcles, or a nice open office? If someone could supply pics, that would be awesome.

2). What kind of hours would I have to work, 9 - 5, or would it be better to practically live at the office?

3). Is it enjoyable? I have this idea of working the "dev life", where I'd be hunched over at my computer early in the morning with fellow work mates working on a next-gen MMO drinking energy drinks and listening to a loop of crappy music, is this a reality or this just a common stereotype?

4). Is it possible for most people to work on big games, or am I most likely to be making mobile phone games for the rest of my life?

Thanks, in advance.


I just graduated from Teesside University with a Games Programming degree, i took a placement after my second year which involved working for a local established company. It wasn't a typical office cubicle, it looked more like a LAN party lol

The work however was boring and tedious, but then again i was a placement student, they weren't gonna ask me to work on the renderer or something important, i got stuck with scripting cars which i found as dull as filing. The company was working on a racing game which is also a genre i dislike. Not every experience will be like this but theres a high possiblity as a student you will get the bottom of the barrel work when you start at a new company. The average grind was 9-6, my friend at another company had 9-5 with the optional 10-6 shift, i think it depends on the company.

When i graduated i knew that wasn't an environment i wanted to work in so me and 4 other students formed our own company. The works been so much fun, the concepts have that half assed student vibe which is good because were only making mobile games at current as its quick turnover and we don't have 3 years of time to invest in a good 3D game. Were eventually going to move to XBLA and/or PSN so a lot of our work won't go un-noticed. That stereotype you mentioned lends itself to our company at present haha but we all have that passion of building something new thats our own, i didn't see that on placement, everyone was pressured for deadlines or p****d with what they'd been assigned.

As long as you enjoy programming you should feel like you're not working at all, getting payed for something you love feels invigorating, but finding the right work environment for you is the key.



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Original post by Murata
After a few long months thinking, I've decided that game programming is the career I want to do. I was strongly debating with myself if I should choose development or a career in music, and I've chosen programming.
If you don't mind my asking, what aspect of the music industry were you considering? I only ask because composition/performance is a hell of a lot more creative than code monkey, on an average day.
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1). What is a game development environment like, would I be working in cubabcles, or a nice open office? If someone could supply pics, that would be awesome.
Depends on the size and affluence of the company, and the work environment they are trying to foster. Either one is equally likely.
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2). What kind of hours would I have to work, 9 - 5, or would it be better to practically live at the office?
Both - good management will minimise on the 80-hour weeks, but they are pretty much guaranteed to happen close to release dates.
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3). Is it enjoyable? I have this idea of working the "dev life", where I'd be hunched over at my computer early in the morning with fellow work mates working on a next-gen MMO drinking energy drinks and listening to a loop of crappy music, is this a reality or this just a common stereotype?
I think a better question would be: do you enjoy programming/development? Because if the answer to that isn't a resounding yes, then a good work environment isn't going to help all that much.
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4). Is it possible for most people to work on big games, or am I most likely to be making mobile phone games for the rest of my life?
Depends on your skills, ability to get noticed, and a fair amount of luck. You could also end up washing out and writing business apps for the rest of your career...

Overall, these seem pretty trivial concerns to be basing a career decision on (though I may be misunderstanding the thrust of your post). I think the most important thing is to ensure that you enjoy the the field (programming?) that you are choosing - sure, after some time, aspects of it will start to feel like work, and the excitement will wear off, but you need to have that excitement in the first place.

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What I'm really looking for, are video diary's of development over a few weeks or months, I've searched on YouTube multiple times but I still can't find one.

It is unlikely that you will from the bigger companies due to the sensitivity of data that is involved. Lionhead have some video diaries which you may find interesting.

My answers to the questions are the same as swiftcoder's.

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After a few long months thinking, I've decided that game programming is the career I want to do. I was strongly debating with myself if I should choose development or a career in music, and I've chosen programming.


so why not be an audio programmer, theres never enough of those (good ones anyway) to go around

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What I'd really like from those of you who are developing, is some constructive advice, I've read some blogs and articles and what not, but I feel like some advice from real developers that haven't planned to write it would be beneficial. What I'm really looking for, are video diary's of development over a few weeks or months, I've searched on YouTube multiple times but I still can't find one. I've watched all of the Adventures In Game Development series, and that was pretty inspiring, if you have links that would be nice.


before we get to the quesitons, a few pieces of reality.
you are more than likely not going to end up as a professional game developer, especially at the moment.
the number of companies is shrinking, the number of experienced people floating around unemployed is rather high. its a bad time to be a grad right now. this is why we (the collective we) recommend that people do actual CS degrees rather than game ones. because getting in to the industry can be a royal PITA. and even when you have experience the financial situation at the moment is proving to be rather shite.

thats not to say that you cant, or wont ever. but itll be tough, you will either need a demo that ships with its own pair of precautionary spare pants, or know people, or both.

ok, onto the quesitons.

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But here are my questions;

1). What is a game development environment like, would I be working in cubabcles, or a nice open office? If someone could supply pics, that would be awesome.


depends entirely on the place you work. could be either. this really isnt that much of a problem surely???

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2). What kind of hours would I have to work, 9 - 5, or would it be better to practically live at the office?


depends on the company, some companies work normalish hours, others crunch like hell. you will be expected to put in a bit extra around deadlines and ship times, even if the management is mature enough to keep hours sane the rest of the time. Gamemdevelopment isnt for those who are afraid of extra effort, or want a cushy job.

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3). Is it enjoyable? I have this idea of working the "dev life", where I'd be hunched over at my computer early in the morning with fellow work mates working on a next-gen MMO drinking energy drinks and listening to a loop of crappy music, is this a reality or this just a common stereotype?


?

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4). Is it possible for most people to work on big games, or am I most likely to be making mobile phone games for the rest of my life?


that depends entirely on you, whether you wish to relocate, how good you are, and how much you are willing to put yourself out there.

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