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twintwix

The life of a game developer. My future or not?

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I need some people who know whats it like in the game dev world to tell me. How you feel about the jobs, life as a game developer, programmer or other sections. Basicly as you might have guessed, my interest in gaming industry truely began developing since World of Warcraft released ^^ Even tho I haven't played games for 2 years now because I'm so bussy with life my interest in the gaming industry and it growing and the hugeness of it still catches my eye. The amount of people working on one game is interesting. In the gaming industry, specificly for myselfI think programming is best suited for my personal skills. They come natural to me. I'm patience, wise and analyitcal. Ok I'm currently doing 5th of the 6 years of pre-university education. I am headed to university in about 2 years. And I was thinking about following a course in Charles Sturt University (in Australia or "distance education" basicly by computer): "computer science (games technology)." They have this industry placement thing so you can begin to work as a programmer in the gaming industry right away after completing it. I always looked at programming as boring and computers as frustrating, but recently I began thinking maybe this IS what I want to do. Getting in the gaming industry. But I wonder how programming really feels like. And if it really stressfull and how much spare time do you game programmers have. Can you still have a life or do you have to be a workaholoic like in my current study... I basicly have very few sparetime left with my current school. I suspect that what I like so much in gamedevelopement is not at all the same as programming. I mean I thought programmers created graphics basicly, but infact the artists do that. I like the atmosphere in specific games, the artist makes those too. The music compositions, artists... Animation? Artists too? And then the programmers only do the technical stuff? Sounds really boring. You basicly sit behind a computer all day following the rules right? That is what I do in math currently. I hear that in university math requires creativity, but currently what I do with mathematics is follow the rules of the book. Following the rules of logic, is that what you do all day as a programmer too? Or do you actually create new stuff that you can be proud of when the game is finished, and you can say: Hey I made that. For example when I paint, you begin imagining before you actually paint, and then you see the picture slowly developing and becoming beautiful. same with music, its simply fun. What about computer programming? You have to solve abstract things that require no imagination? Or does it require imagination. And what kind of programming. What about physics engine developer, I hear they team up with a very creative partner that is the "level designer". I that true? They are the people I can really have good partner ships or relationships with. It would form a good team. Infact I remember when was very young, around the age of ~6 or something: My best friend was taking a piece of paper and drawing a level on it, with leaps, jumps, monsters, and very fun object with which you can interact in creative ways. It sounds so complex still we were 6 years or so and we made games on paper and we played on them with our fingers as characters. You know 2 fingers walking on paper, hehe. Anyway, my best friends have allways been those kind of level designer guys. And their best friends always those wise analytical guys. They do form a perfect team in everything in life. Even relationships between women and men! I gotta say I'm pretty good at logic and math. It comes natural to me. But I woulden't grow as a person when sitting behind a computer all day. Infact my psychology would get arrested or even reversed. Thats why I wonder what you programmers have to say about that. How do you feel when working as a programmer, do you become passive like me? Or atleast do you feel drained allot? I hear programmers have to do overwork allot and they really stress all day, and work without sleep sometimes. Or do you simply stay neutral, and then simply have enough spare time as a computer programmer. I was hoping 8 hours work, 8 hours free time for your self or play and 8 hours rest a day. So the perfect 8/8/8 day. But is that possible to have as a programmer? How is your day set. I would love to work as an artist, but I'm afraid that I will just drain my self of all the hard work it would require of me, because creativity doesn't come natural to me. I'm more of a logic guy. And then again the life of an artist in game dev world doesn't seem so bright either. I dunno. How fcked up peoples lifes are in the game dev world. Are there lots of unhappy people out there? Allways depressed or negative people? Do people have normal humor? Do they have good social skills in general? Not only nerd humor, if you know what I mean. Eventually I want a future life where I can stimulate creativity trough experience either in working environment or with enough spare time. And on the emotional side I demand of working environment to allow me to be assertive or courages or have enough sparetime so I can do it then. I mean as a computer programmer, all you have to do is sit in some isolated small office with airco inside while its a wonderful sunny day out there and follow some rules of logic behind a screen? Sounds overly negative, but I know jobs are not supose to be fun, but programming sounds REALLY boring. On the other side it may seem really easy, and fun if you have enough spare time to still have an enjoyable life and actually have time to grow as a person and have experiences in life with one laptop under your arm where you can sit on the beach and open that alienware super laptop and start working while having the waves crash on the beach as your background or something. How is it? I hear the future allows you to have "Distance work" just like "Distance education" Basicly do the whole bachelor of university on one laptop anywhere around the world. Virtual working environment and virtual connection with people. This also allow more spare time with less travel burdens, but is it something that is already been done? Cause I hear game developers all require to travel allot. This sounds good, but will it change? Cause living abroad and addepting to the abroad lands actually stimulates creativity and gives you experiences which is a good thing. On the other hand it requires allot of time of you, and if you have to travel allot you can't have very long term relationships. But how much travel really happens? Thanks for reading, your comments will be of matter of life of my future! and anyone else interesting in entering the gaming industry. I appreciate any comments ;) [Edited by - twintwix on October 26, 2009 6:03:05 AM]

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Original post by twintwix
They have this industry placement thing so you can begin to work as a programmer in the gaming industry right away after completing it.


Be sure that they are not promising you a job in the game industry after you complete your education. If they are, cut line and run. Any school that promises you will go to work right away after finishing your degree cannot be trusted. All they can do is try to set you up with some interviews with some companies that they have connections with, and even that is not promised; all they can do it try. It can sometimes take a graduate several months to get into their industry, and sometimes you will even have to take other, similar work, such as programming jobs outside of the game industry.

If you would not be happy having to settle for coding database front-ends for a telecommunications company for a couple of years while trying to get into the game industry, then maybe game programming is not for you. You have to not only enjoy the game side of things, but you have to enjoy programming, too. I suggest trying some programming out, and see how well you like it outside of a game environment.

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I didnt read the post, but I agree with jackolatern. I finished school in mid august and just started a job three weeks ago. Two months isnt bad, but unless you have good connections through family or something, its not as likely to have a job right out of school. Programming in general is all pretty similar, with logic, flow and that. Its more or less larger concepts that will change from if you're doing game programming to creating a text editor for instance. Games require all sorts of math, where making a notepad-like program would be centered around the GUI and file IO. I am generalizing of course, but nevertheless, try out some basic programming and see if it tickles your fancy.

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Two things:

Firstly the games tech degree you mentioned isn't offered through distance education as far as I know.

Secondly they do offer placement with a company for a year but there are a few catches to it... Sometimes it can be hard to find placement so you might have to work hard yourself just to get the placement, it is unpaid(mostly) though it still counts as schooling if your receiving money from the government, it in no way guarantees a job after the placement is finished and lastly a lot of the placements given are to mobile games companies. You might be fine with this but if you wanted to walk out of uni into a AAA game you'd have to be top of the class with some good demos and even then you'd be pushing your luck.

One last thing is that the CSU degree is programming heavy and from your post you come across as wanting to be an artist and not a programmer. My advice to you would be to follow what you love, programming can be draining if you don't enjoy it.

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Original post by twintwix
I was hoping 8 hours work, 8 hours free time for your self or play and 8 hours rest a day. So the perfect 8/8/8 day. But is that possible to have as a programmer? How is your day set.


I'll admit, I didn't really read most of your post, but as far as this portion of it goes, I'll go ahead and let you know this is not the reality of most programming positions, yet alone a game programmer. In my experience, with good management and good team members, you often get to have a normal 8-9hr day, but even if you ignore the fact that crunch time will happen at some point, as a programmer it's also your job to keep up with current technology and methodologies. If you're only practicing your craft when you're at work, you're likely not to go very far very rapidly. If you don't feel like spending time in front of your computer at work all day and then spending a little bit of time at night or on the weekends is for you, then you may be looking into the wrong industry. Hope that was at least a little helpful, good luck with your future decision.

[EDIT]
Also, if you post a more brief version of your question, I'm certain Mr. Sloper has a link for you ^^

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Original post by dudeman21
Quote:
Original post by twintwix
I was hoping 8 hours work, 8 hours free time for your self or play and 8 hours rest a day. So the perfect 8/8/8 day. But is that possible to have as a programmer? How is your day set.


I'll admit, I didn't really read most of your post, but as far as this portion of it goes, I'll go ahead and let you know this is not the reality of most programming positions, yet alone a game programmer.

It's not even reality for anyone with an 8-hour job.
When you get up in the morning, there are 1 or 2 hours of preparing and commuting. Then the 8-hour day is interrupted by a lunch break. Then after work there is the commute, and in the evening there is the evening meal and bedtime ablutions.
So even if you have 8 hours at work and 8 hours sleep every night, the "free time for yourself" -- after deducting morning, noon, and evening routines, comes to more like 3 to 4 hours.

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Well you still got a couple of years to figure it all it all out it seems but just from this part of your post it doesn't sound like going into programming would be good for you:
Or atleast do you feel drained allot?
At least all the programmers I've seen that have actually been working in it for years are like your math instructor that never seems to get tired of solving problems day after day and don't seem to get drained on it.
Either it means they actually like doing it day after day or they are just so good at it that even if they don't particularly like it, it doesn't drain them since they don't have to think too hard about it or worry about meeting deadlines since they don't find it challenging at all.

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Original post by Tom Sloper
I didn't read the post; too long. What's the question? Maybe I've already written the answer and can provide a link.


If I had to put the most important question in one sentence: What do programmers do (in the deep sense not the surface level) when they work. and what does that require of you besides getting in touch with the latest technology?

For example when I do physics, I have cheap stuff like, pencil, books, paper and calculator, Personal computer ofcourse. What I do is learn basics of physics and then trying to see that in the environment or experiment. When I solve a problem like speed, distance, forces of objects we have to imagine these in our head, so you can see them happening in your imagination like objects falling, seeing the forces that work on it while the event is happening. So it requires quite some creativity besides doing the math and solving the formula's. And the person who happen to be bad at maths might be a very good physician later on, just like Einstein who more of a right-brained creative person. I am more of a left brained logic oriented person and am also good a maths. Allthough all creativity require experience and that determines your succes allot in life. So if a programmer only does logic really it seems like a pretty pointless career. Genius basicly meens the perfect time management between left and right brain. Balance between education and experience. But it seems that programming only requires education and then applying that education with your left brain 100% and thats it?

[Edited by - twintwix on October 26, 2009 6:17:42 AM]

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Original post by daviangel
Well you still got a couple of years to figure it all it all out it seems but just from this part of your post it doesn't sound like going into programming would be good for you:
Or atleast do you feel drained allot?
At least all the programmers I've seen that have actually been working in it for years are like your math instructor that never seems to get tired of solving problems day after day and don't seem to get drained on it.
Either it means they actually like doing it day after day or they are just so good at it that even if they don't particularly like it, it doesn't drain them since they don't have to think too hard about it or worry about meeting deadlines since they don't find it challenging at all.


Well that is me, I can solve problem after problem, day after day. I once made math excercices all day long non stop. Like 12 hours, to meet a deadline like you said. Its no problem for me. I'm simply good at it. But what do I do as a programmer really? It seems all little details and unimportant stuff. I simply don't understand what programmers really make. instructions for computer? I was thinking about making beautiful graphics, or making robots or maybe even artificial intelligence. Do programmers create those or do they just program the ALLREADY created things into the computer?

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