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PsyChotic

Game Programmer's Portfolio

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Hi All

I just need a little enlightenment, I am about to start building my Game Programming Portfolio, what I want to know is, It should display some of your best work. Potential employers would want to see some finished games. So now, lets see, a 2D game in DirectX should not be two complicated, as your major building blocks could be sprites, collision, physics etc. But for a full 3D game it gets a bit more complicated and overwhelming. So would potential employers accept a full featured game created with one of the already for shot engines available, ie (Torque, C4, UDK). Most of these come with your basic building blocks for creating a 3D game, so what I am asking is that since most of these come basically with this functionality embedded, as long as we create something unique from start to finish, it wouldn't be a problem would it?

On the flip side as someone breaking in, it isn't expected that you create a full 3D engine them build your game from your own custom engine at this stage of breaking into the business right.

Any input would be helpful

Thanks Psy-Chotic

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What kind of position are you trying to land? What is appropriate for a gameplay logic programmer will be vastly different from what you want to show if you're into graphics engine design, or physics, or whatever. In general, your portfolio should show off the kinds of things you want to be doing, and indicate that you're good at doing them.

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Ok

So say for instance I want to go the graphics programming route, Would I create short demo's showcasing this, and as a added feature create a full blown playable demo with or without a custom made game engine both 2D and 3D.

The reason I ask is because you have a number of different disciplines in game programming, (Graphics, Networking, Physics, AI) and I thin some sub disciplines (UI, scripting, animation). Of the sub disciplines what category would they fall into.

I just want my portfolio to be as attractive as possible. In school we went over the creation of all aspects of game programming so I just want to be sure.

Thanks in Advance

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If you want to show yourself off as a graphics programmer you should make a nearly from-scratch graphics demo.
By “nearly from scratch” I mean you can use libraries to load image files and work with the FBX SDK to get model data for your display, but you must not use an existing game/graphics engine.
Obviously the point is to show how well you code graphics, and using an existing graphics or game engine defeats that purpose.


A simple demo that shows off various graphics techniques such as deferred rendering, God rays, etc., would be fine, if coded from scratch.

Nothing has to be playable. You can focus just on showing pretty images.


L. Spiro

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Hi!


So, when I started looking for a job in the game industry, I was about to graduate from my Game Development BS, so I didn't have any job experience in the industry.
I was looking for an entry level position, you know, a generalist programmer.
You can take a look at my portfolio:
http://www.miguelcas.../portfolio.html
I decided to put all my game projects, even though they were for University, so I could show that, even though I didn't have job experience, I had been making games for quite a while (from small, crappy 2D games, to bigger 3D games). Now I had the chance to add an actual Industry game to my portfolio.
Take a look at it, maybe you can get some ideas from it.

Hope it helps!

PS. If anyone else has any feedback on my portfolio, any comments are welcome, I know that there are always things to improve on it.

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You guys are great,

@godplusplus your portfolio looks good to me. One more question I need to ask, regarding portfolio's, I have looked at many game programmer portfolio's, so the question I have is if I should code a completely new web site from scratch, or use something like a wordpress template or any template for that matter. I am thinking use a template because designing a website takes the focus off my game programming, to code a website in HTML, CSS and those other languages, which would take more time.

Plus a template is more of a content management system plug it in and it is there.

What is your take on this.

Psy.

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You guys are great,

@godplusplus your portfolio looks good to me. One more question I need to ask, regarding portfolio's, I have looked at many game programmer portfolio's, so the question I have is if I should code a completely new web site from scratch, or use something like a wordpress template or any template for that matter. I am thinking use a template because designing a website takes the focus off my game programming, to code a website in HTML, CSS and those other languages, which would take more time.

Plus a template is more of a content management system plug it in and it is there.

What is your take on this.

Psy.


Glad I could help.
So, regarding making your website... If you want to show off your web coding skills and it will be useful to you, then go ahead.
If you are not planning on having a job related to coding HTML, php, etc. Then you're right, you shouldn't waste your time.
Now, about wordpress templates... I would suggest you buy a template. There are some pretty nice free templates, but unless you're willing to spend time customizing them A LOT, then the most likely scenario is that your potential employers have already seen that template before.
It happened to me before, I found a really cool (or so I thought) template, put it on my website... And people told me they had already seen it (eventually I also found other sites with that same template). Also, many free templates require you to leave a little line that says "created by (name)" or something.
Buying a template would probably be the best idea in the long run, especially considering that there are some really good templates specialized for portfolios.

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I can tell you what formed a failed portfolio! I made a mod for quake4/doom3 but we never finished and we didn't record any media or take many shots of it in action. All I had was some code. some tools I wrote to shore up the gaps in the map editor ( d3/q4's couldn't pick up a whole map and rotate the entities with the brushes.. sheesh).

If you want to be successful, tailor your portfolio to the position you are applying to. People do this with their resumes already.

Graphics: Make a demo from scratch. you do not need the kitchen sink of a general engine to support this. get the rendering up, get the scene decided.. find some music you can use for free.
Physics: More involved, make a physics demo playground. again doesn't need to be a whole engine.
Network: I would try to tie this in with a physics demo to show off deterministic engine simulation that is predicted/repeated properly through your network transport.
Tools: There are lots of these positions available, MAKE some tools like a particle fx editor and renderer.


Whatever you do. The most important thing of all: Have some FINISHED items. Even if you use programmer art, if you make a game and it's playable from start to finish and is "bugfree", it goes a LONG way farther than snippets of incomplete items.

http://www.ludumdare.com/ if you didn't already know, might be a place you can participate to try fastracking out some games to use for your portfolio. They don't have to be the next Portal or look like the coming BF3 to be good.

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You don't explicitly need complete games. They don't hurt, but several well-polished "demo"-sized examples of your work are good. They also have the benefit of being very focussed, without a lot of distracting code that's not related to the position they are hiring for. Also, since they are smaller in size, you can complete several demos in the time it would take to complete a full game. I would personally create demos that solve hard, interesting problems, and then make sure they are highly polished (eg, that they look nice, have a UI to tweak relevent parameters, that they behave well, and that they cover all the odd corner cases of the problem without blowing up)

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