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What does "keeping your skills current" mean?

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Sorry if this isn't in the right forums. I feel like this question is most relevant to those looking to get into the industry, so I'm posting here.

The recent Gamasutra feature recommended that those looking to get a job need to keep their skills "current". Perhaps this is a stupid question, but I don't really know what that means. For a tech consultant (my current job), keeping your skills current probably means picking up the latest hot technologies, keeping abreast of programming "movements", contributing to Stack Overflow, etc. For a game programmer, however, I would think most of the game is still coded in C or C++ -- someone entering the industry 10 years ago would have to know the same coding techniques and optimizations as you would today. The obvious exception would be the specifics of coding for a new platform, or working with the latest engine -- but that seems like an unrealistic expectation for employers to have (unless XNA/Xbox Indie counts). Can someone enlighten me?

Thanks

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Average C++ coding practices from 1990, 2000 and 2010 are probably quite different within game studios.

Platform has a large impact on language and optimisaion. For example, one of the specifics of current platforms is that it's extremely easy to stall the CPU due to memory delays (CPUs have gotten faster, RAM hasn't). Addressing that concern requires very different usage of C++ and a completely different take on optimisation.

In different game-programmer speciality roles - AI approaches are changing all the time, Graphics techniques are constantly evolving, there's a new range of input devices to consider these days, and scripting languages like Lua are being used more and more over C++ for non low-level-system parts of the code-base.

Employers expecting experience on current platforms isn't being unrealistic; it's almost a necessity for non junior roles.

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Thanks for the response. I'm really looking at more gameplay or tools programming, so I don't think current AI papers would be that useful. Graphics is a point taken. I feel like that's pretty difficult to start out with, but I'm sure there's a wealth of information out there.

I agree that platform has a huge impact, but its also been banged into my head not to prematurely optimize; without working on those platforms directly, its much more difficult to know what works and what doesn't. My focus thus far has been on coding PC games, but would doing the C#/XNA route on the 360 give better exposure to those issues? If not, where could I look? Would producing something with Unreal Development Kit or Unity be a better use of time?

Great point on the Lua though. That is a language I've been working with specifically for that reason.

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