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Kamo16

OpenGL DirectX or XNA portfolio piece?

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I'm a student interested in game development as a career. Lately I've been working on learning DirectX for a portfolio piece this Summer and it's going well. However, a group of friends of mine at school want to start a team for next years Dream.Build.Play competition and Imagine Cup, which sounds like a lot of fun but both of those would require the use of XNA. So what's the problem? I talked to a game development graduate school technical director and he advised me to steer away from XNA/C# portfolio pieces and go with C++ using DX/OpenGL as it is more industry standard. I feel like I'm in a position where I have to choose to work on a year long project with my friends in XNA or a solo DirectX piece to have a more practical project to showcase. I'd really appreciate some other insight and advice on the subject. Thanks for your time.

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[quote name='Kamo16' timestamp='1306554863' post='4816664']
I'm a student interested in game development as a career. Lately I've been working on learning DirectX for a portfolio piece this Summer and it's going well. However, a group of friends of mine at school want to start a team for next years Dream.Build.Play competition and Imagine Cup, which sounds like a lot of fun but both of those would require the use of XNA. So what's the problem? I talked to a game development graduate school technical director and he advised me to steer away from XNA/C# portfolio pieces and go with C++ using DX/OpenGL as it is more industry standard. I feel like I'm in a position where I have to choose to work on a year long project with my friends in XNA or a solo DirectX piece to have a more practical project to showcase. I'd really appreciate some other insight and advice on the subject. Thanks for your time.
[/quote]

Most companies are going to have a code base that resembles an engine, and or use an engine to develop games. It's a good chance you won't have to ever delve into in DX/OGL specific code. What really matters is learning how to code, and how to solve problems related to coding. If you guys are serious about entering that competition, I would highly suggest you get as comfortable with C# / XNA as you can, if those are required. You'll learn so much from from working on a project. Also working as a team is a huge attraction to possible hiries.

Even if in the future you get a job, that requires you use C++ instead, trust me it won't be too hard to migrate from C#. Sure there are some major differences but it isn't like going from VB to C.

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Thanks a lot for the insight. The trouble with that is I'm interested in Graphics/Engine programming, I've spent about a year now studying it outside of my coursework. I don't have any experience with XNA but I know that it involves shader programming as well. Would that information change anything?

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Graphics and engine programming are two different things... There are the artist that program shaders, and there are the engine developers that make it possible to use the shaders. Stick to the basics for now, you can further refine your self over time.

And no XNA doesnt require shaders, you can use the default shader to get everything done. Also note that XNA will make things that much easier to get you or your team up and starting. It abstracts so much of DirectX, that you won't have to worry about alot of the initialization. and the fact that it and C# are managed languages, you don't have to worry about alot of the management.

I've only messed with XNA a little bit, but what took me two months to get up and running with C++ / DX, I had up an running in an hour. But like I said, learning how to use tools, and code actual game logic is far more important that learning how to code an engine.

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Graphics programming can be a sub-set of engine programming or game programming.

As a graphics programmer on a game team, I wrote shader code, and wrote rendering systems ([i]e.g. game-specific effects[/i]) using the engine's API (not D3D directly).
As a graphics programmer on an engine team, I wrote shader code, and make rendering APIs that wrap up D3D/etc ([i]for the game-level graphics programmers to use[/i]).

For the former, you'd need to know HLSL and any game programming language, for the latter you'd need to know HLSL and C++. Both of them require theoretical knowledge of rendering pipelines.

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