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Orymus

Breaking into Game Design

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Most people don't seem to figure it out anymore, I might have lacked a lot of english immersion lately... I am canadian (french speaking) and work for the local ubisoft branch there, where, should I say, my english appears to be way over average. This does not seem to affect negatively my carreer attempts here, but as you state, it may become more of an issue as I attempt to move around. I try to compensate through constant practice, but it is hard in this area. Luckily enough, I have spanish to cope. And well, latin, if it *should* resort to that (for whatever strange reason? I suppose it would allow me some form of communication with languages using the same kind of grammar, such as German).

Also, I did NOT finish my university degree in history, and this, despite the very fact I was accepted-on-word for a masters degree. That was back when I didn't see the point in pursuing a program that didn't provide tangible job opportunities. "How wrong you were" I can hear you think, and I have to agree in restrospective, but I can no longer support this endaevour financially.

Yes, yes, now that you mention it, I'm starting to struggle with english, though I used to be a bit better. Normally, however, in official documents, I get a chance to revise long enough to make sense out of it, I suppose I haven't put quite the same effort in the structure of my sentences on forums, though I try to avoid typos as much as possible as it causes plain confusion to the reader.

Thanks for the links, once again, as you might have guessed, I'm an avid learner (it took me about 2-3 hours to read through your lessons) and though I can do good research, I'm always a bit iffy about the actual credibility of the articles I stumble upon. I have found several articles with fitting titles that turned out to be written by charlatans, frustrated people that had failed, etc, so I appreciate the guidance you have provided thus far, and I don't think you should mistake me insisting for lazyness as much as a search for credible answers (answers are easy to come by, good ones seem to be harder to find, and someone in my position is hardly able to judge of the worthiness of one such answer).

Thanks again, I'll read through these links!

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Ory wrote:
>Most people don't seem to figure it out anymore

Figure what out? I'm confused.

>I am canadian (french speaking) and work for the local ubisoft branch

You might know Benoit Lelièvre?
He too is French-Canadian, and recently asked a question about writing for games. http://www.igda.org/forum/seeking-feedback-work-job-hunting-purpose

>I did NOT finish my university degree in history

Ah. That was not clear from your previous posts. Well, you haven't stated a new question, so I have nothing more to add just now.

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In the light of what I have just read,
is 4 X 1 year diploma better than 1 X 4 years diploma?
I have heard a game designer claim (creators of emotions' ubisoft website) that it was better for a game designer to present a dozen minors than a major. Is it true? To what extent?
I am a bit unsure about this...
On one end, it feels like taking 4 small projects instead a big one (which is a nice way to start in the actual industry) but it also seems like displaying the inability to go deeper into one project (which obviously makes one fail).

Edit:
Interlude, a brief geography pointless pause.
I do not know a Benoit Lelievre, but from reading his post, I understand he resides in Montreal, which is a 3 hours drive. If I were to broaden my horizons in the near future (as it could happen quite naturally) there is a chance I might actually get to meet him: Montreal, by most locals, is considered (at fault?) the center of the universe when it comes to making games. I think they are mostly happy that a canadian city has earned so much importance in the market. It feels like a really great place to improve networking, especially with the recent events it seems to bring about.

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Original post by Orymus
Basically, let's just say I have found knowledge through an alternate path. ...

But how is it perceived by people from the industry when they are presented with such a curriculum?

Many companies (not all) require a degree - especially larger companies who get a large number of applicants and use it as a way to filter out applicants. No degree will mean your application goes in the trash can on the first pass. Not having a degree will limit your employment possibilities and when applying for companies that don't require a degree you may still lose out to those applicants who do have a degree.

The problem with your self-learned knowledge is that you have no way to prove it to an employer. A degree is a qualification issued by a competent, registered authority attesting your successful completion of a course programme. A employer will take that as an indication that you have done the necessary work. If you don't have a degree then you don't have a way to prove to an employer that you have this knowledge (you can't just sit in the interview and recite everything you ever learned).

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Then again, I've sat at my history classes, and I'm a big nerd, I was scoring high, one of the best out of 200. I haven't completed the degree because I failed to see the use for my carreer, but the truth is my competence in that field was at least over average. I can still safely assume I know more about history than 175 students of that wave. I've seen people just "pass by" with mediocre scores, but they will get a degree. I find it odd that they should be hired and not me, but then again, I don't suppose they would get passed the interview with their lack of seriousness, and if I was lucky enough to get an interview, I would have more chances.
I understand that a degree is some regularised document that allows someone to make a quick judgement call, but it sadly fails to define competence.
I do understand why they work that way though, biz can't really take the time to delve into each and everyone and I see the reason for "passes".

So they wouldn't hire me based on that fact.
Assuming I can't compensate with self-leaning, what can compensate from this dire flaw in my curriculum according to you? Aka, how can I be hired despite not having the diploma, how can I prove I have all that knowledge and have put more dedication to the task than the average?

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Quote:
Original post by Orymus
1. I have heard a game designer claim (creators of emotions' ubisoft website) that it was better for a game designer to present a dozen minors than a major. Is it true?
2. On one end, it feels like taking 4 small projects instead a big one

1. Everybody has their opinions. I don't know how many years it would take to get twelve minors. I don't understand this guy's point, and you might be quoting it out of context.
2. Do not go through life based on your "feelings." When you don't have sufficient facts, you have to do your research. Read what I wrote in http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m70.htm about how to make decisions.

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Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
Quote:
Ory wrote:
>I did NOT finish my university degree in history

Ah. That was not clear from your previous posts.

Actually, Ory, in your first post you said,
"My background is that of a university degree in history"
which was clearly an attempt to make us think you DID have the degree. Truthfulness is very important.
Quote:
how can I be hired despite not having the diploma, how can I prove I have all that knowledge and have put more dedication to the task than the average?

With a spectacular portfolio.

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Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
Quote:
Original post by Orymus
1. I have heard a game designer claim (creators of emotions' ubisoft website) that it was better for a game designer to present a dozen minors than a major. Is it true?
2. On one end, it feels like taking 4 small projects instead a big one

1. Everybody has their opinions. I don't know how many years it would take to get twelve minors. I don't understand this guy's point, and you might be quoting it out of context.
2. Do not go through life based on your "feelings." When you don't have sufficient facts, you have to do your research. Read what I wrote in http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m70.htm about how to make decisions.


I re-checked. I am positive (and this is french, so I can't be mistaking about the wording) that he claimed they were looking for people with as many minors as possible instead of a major. He examplified someone who'd have a minor in cooking, history, etc. The context was answering the question what is most desirable as a background to get hired as a game designer, I suppose it doesn't get any clearer than this. From what you wrote, I am guessing you are in disagreement.

You stated that a spectacular portfolio would balance the fact of not having a university degree, but isn't a spectacular portfolio ALWAYS necessary, even with a degree?

Also I did not intend to be misleading with the information I undisclosed about myself. My background is indeed that of a history degree that I did not complete, but it doesn't change the fact that I have attended to these classes, and thus, it is my background, the knowledge that I have earned. I might have erred on the meaning of the word "degree" and I suppose it was a mistranslation on my end, which would come back to the fact I am not a native speaker of the english language, which in turn is a different barrier I need to overcome.

As a last question, since I have already managed to "get my foot into the door", is an university degree still (as) relevant? Should I rather capitalise on continuing to broaden my portfolio while adopting a professionnal attitude at work instead?

I'm only trying to make the most out of my chances with what I've been given, knowing there is no hope for me to go back and finish that degree. Hopefully it is doable.

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Very nice! I like your answers. :)
I can say without doubt that the way you're going is right. (Actually, I can't wait to play a game that you have designed)
I'd suggest finding a programmer (or doing most of it yourself) and making some simple but good games for the portfolio. I think that one big game + many small games would be more than enough, if all of them are very good.

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Quote:
Original post by Orymus
I haven't completed the degree because I failed to see the use for my carreer, but the truth is my competence in that field was at least over average. I can still safely assume I know more about history than 175 students of that wave. I've seen people just "pass by" with mediocre scores, but they will get a degree. I find it odd that they should be hired and not me,...

Because they are not as dumb as you seem to think - they realised that a degree is useful for their career - a fact which you could have researched BEFORE you dropped out. Some of them probably also realised that it is good for life, not just for your career.

Quote:
So they wouldn't hire me based on that fact.
Assuming I can't compensate with self-leaning, what can compensate from this dire flaw in my curriculum according to you? Aka, how can I be hired despite not having the diploma,

A bunch of doors are now closed to you because you didn't get a degree. You cant undo that except by going back to school to get that degree. If you can't do that then the best you can do is to try to maximise your chances with those employers that don't require a degree. As Tom says, that means you need a really top notch portfolio, plus you need to be good at interviews, have a really well laid out resume and have some luck.

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