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RapidCrash

Issues breaking into the industry?

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I'm going to put a little background here so that people might better understand where I am.

I'm not currently attending any college or university, and I probably won't for a while due to financial issues (I have one parent who's barely making enough to get by for the moment).
I've been programming in c# for approximately 6 years now, and have also been programming C++ for approximately 3 years. I measure them in the time that I have been creating larger applications rather than since I started learning the language.
I have played around with things such as custom mapping in games such as Halo, Halo 2, Steam games, etc... before moving on into game design with an open engine. After that, I experimented with several engines such as Ogre, Irrlicht, Unity, and several others. I got quite a good idea at the game development work flow, and I even started to make improvements in areas, as well as integrating audio libraries and physics in several small "projects" that I made.
I have been attempting to create a game of my own for the past 8 or so months, initially with a team of 3 (one programmer, one graphics designer, and someone who did both), but the other two teammates have since lost interest and dropped the idea. Being that I am not particularly great at graphics design, as I am only good with more mechanical design, I have since gave up at this project. I would say it was good for what I had so far, had some of the gameplay mechanics working, physics working, a decent menu, and powered by the Ogre engine.

I am not sure how to progress from here on is my issue. I find that not having any sort of college education might be hurting my chances significantly. I have quite a passion for just creating new games and ideas, but my initial idea to create a full game in hopes this will lead to bigger possibilities has been shot down.
Should I attempt to find a job for some game company, or do you think I won't have enough experience? Should I attempt to actually complete the game I've been working on, even without any decent graphics or sound for the sake of completing it? What advice can you give me on how to progress from here?

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My advice? Go to college and get a degree. The vast majority of companies simply will not look at you if you don't have a degree.

I'm not sure what you having a single parent who doesn't make a lot money has to do with you going to college. A lot of people put themselves through college without parental assistance, myself included.

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My advise would be go to college. If you can't, that is fine but you need to make something really good to show that you are capable(note you should do this even if you do go to college). As far as what to build make sure it is complete, focus on one area(graphics, physics, whatever your area of interest is ) and make sure that that area is well known so that they know to overlook the poor lighting effects in an AI demo. If you work on a team for the project make sure it is well known what part you worked on and what part you didn't.

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I realize those things for a college, but it is mostly funding that is my issue. I would have to take out a load for pretty much everything: tuition, housing, food, etc... Which is a very undesirable thing unless I absolutely have to.

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Quote:
Original post by RapidCrash
I realize those things for a college, but it is mostly funding that is my issue. I would have to take out a load for pretty much everything: tuition, housing, food, etc... Which is a very undesirable thing unless I absolutely have to.


Pick the better life situation:

1) No debt and no income
2) Debt and pretty good income.

I understand debt phobia. However, college loans are such a low interest rate and not having a degree these days is pretty much career suicide.

Very few of my graduating classmates had less than $80,000 in debt from college 10 years ago. All of them are pretty successful now.

-me

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There are absolute piles of grants and various scholarships available for seemingly random associations/reasons. If you've got computer skills, there's a number of jobs around most schools or with the school's network support group at the worst.

Pretty much everyone takes out piles of loans. Most places you'll make $5-10k a year more as soon as you're hired with the degree. And it only gets worse from there (since future salary is based on current salary). And as you're finding out, that ignores all of the downtime you get just trying to get a job without a degree.


Your education will directly impact your earning power for about 40 years. It's the most important investment you're ever likely to make. Quit skimping.

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* Find a cheaper college (state run). There are a lot of good colleges out there that don't charge a fortune.
* Get scholarships. The best ones come from good High School grades, but there are plenty of other ones out there if you are willing to put in the effort.
* School loans may be crappy, but they are better than regular loans. They tend to be zero interest or low interest. The start payment and start interest date often comes after you are out of school. You can sometimes even defer them further than that.
* There are jobs you can take while going to school.
* There are high paying internships for CS students if you look for them.

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Compile a demo showcasing all the things you do accomplish through your coding,
and have the company look at that. If it's impressive enough, they may hire you for just that.

Otherwise, as mentioned, it could take a degree and/or work experience to convince them....

-Best of luck!

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Quote:
Original post by RapidCrash
Should I attempt to find a job for some game company, or do you think I won't have enough experience? Should I attempt to actually complete the game I've been working on, even without any decent graphics or sound for the sake of completing it?


Yes.

Not sure where you are, but there is likely a community college within driving range that has a deal with the closest state university, where you can take most of your general classes on the cheap which will transfer in full when you do. If you're income situation is as you claim, you should qualify for a hefty dose of grants, and could probably cover the rest with work-study through the university, and certainly subsidized loans (where interest doesn't accrue until you graduate or leave school) for anything not covered. Good luck!

P.S. If you mostly complete your game with placeholder graphics, you shouldn't have much difficulty getting an artist on board.

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Well, as stated in the book "Game Coding Complete, third edition", the author encountered a guy who made game demo that was far more advanced than "Ultima VIII" at that time. The management hired him at once even though he had no formal education of any kind. He was 100% self taught. More often than not the best people in the game development team will be self-learned.

Moral of the story: It is your portfolio, your actual work that really speaks, not a bunch of words on a CV.

-Fakhir
byteRender Games
http://www.byterender.com

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Quote:
Original post by fakhirsh: The management hired him at once even though he had no formal education of any kind. He was 100% self taught. More often than not the best people in the game development team will be self-learned.

This is an example of drawing the wrong conclusion from a single instance.
I met a guy who won the lotto and got rich. More often than not, people who play the lotto get rich.
See how that logic don't fly?

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Quote:
Original post by RapidCrash
I realize those things for a college, but it is mostly funding that is my issue. I would have to take out a load for pretty much everything: tuition, housing, food, etc... Which is a very undesirable thing unless I absolutely have to.


I went to college with zero assistance from my parents (aside from being able to live at home the first two years). A combination of academic scholarships, frugal living, loans, and good old fashioned jobs while studying got me through just fine. And I still had some time leftover to meet people, go to parties, etc.

The happy ending to the story is that 4 years out of college I am now debt free and working in the games industry. And I had some $25k US in loans when I was done, even with working all through college. So it's definitely doable. Good luck!

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Quote:
Original post by kuroioranda
I went to college with zero assistance from my parents (aside from being able to live at home the first two years). A combination of academic scholarships, frugal living, loans, and good old fashioned jobs while studying got me through just fine. And I still had some time leftover to meet people, go to parties, etc.

The happy ending to the story is that 4 years out of college I am now debt free and working in the games industry. And I had some $25k US in loans when I was done, even with working all through college. So it's definitely doable. Good luck!

I love that story! Hope to meet you at GDC or E3 or something, kuroi oranda...

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