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Flybye

Wanting to Switch Careers

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Hi all. My apologies for bringing up a topic that I'm sure has been brought up a few hundred dozen times. :)

Here is my little bio:
C++ programming: awfully weak. The best I have ever programmed is a little windows program that calculated your car's speed based on your transmission gear ratio, rear end ratio, and tire size. I'm a car guy and you can't blame me for doing it. :D I don't know any other programming languages.

Photoshop: I can tweak a thing or to. Most fun I've had was making bump maps, but I really don't have the talent atm to make anything artistic from scratch.
3DS Max: Entry level. I can certainly make funky shapes out of anything and have even played with basic animation.
I was a mechanical engineering student so I have my decent share of physics up to Physics 2 and have gone as far as Calc 3.

Modding experience:
Helped mod maps for Unreal Tournament 2004.
Made a few maps from scratch for Unreal Tournament III.
Created ships and stations in a mod for a space game called X3: Reunion. This one I went as far as doing a lot from scratch including importing textures and creating bump maps for them making space ships look pretty damn good in the game. I got pretty in depth with this mod doing custom engine trails, docking units, etc.

I've been thinking about learning the simple things. Maybe make a few cheesy smart phone games to get started and moving upward to more complicated smartphone games. Yeah, I know. Few and far make money off of smart phone games, but I figured I'd start somewhere and eventually evolve from there.

So I'm at a crossroad here because I don't mind the coding and I don't mind the artistic part of things. Does one or the other have front row seats? Or do engines exist where you can create some neat simple games for smartphones and perhaps I should concentrate on the coding later? I was thinking maybe concentrating on coding first to at least be able to do simple games, but as you can tell above, I certainly don't mind swimming around a nice game engine. My ultimate goal is to be able to have my own gaming company. Yeah its far off, but we all need goals, right? :)

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1. So I'm at a crossroad here because I don't mind the coding and I don't mind the artistic part of things. Does one or the other have front row seats?
2. Or do engines exist where you can create some neat simple games for smartphones
3. and perhaps I should concentrate on the coding later?
4. My ultimate goal is to be able to have my own gaming company.

1. It depends. If you want a job in games, you should pick one. But if you want to do-it-yourself, then doing both could be valuable.
2. Yes, but the Breaking In FAQs won't contain that info -- you should ask in the For Beginners forum instead. (You're asking a technical question, not a switching careers question)
3. Do it however you want. In this life, you need to follow your passions. Read FAQ 40 (Breaking In FAQ 40 - the FAQs are above).
4. OK, but in between, you want to get a game job? If so, you should read this forum's FAQs.
0. Your subject line said you want to switch careers. That's FAQ 41. FAQs link is above.

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I think that Tom gave you the best suggestion.
I simply wanted to add that in order to reuse your skill, since you studied mechanic, maybe you could reuse CAD skills in 3d Modeling, so you could be more advanced in that section.

Anyway if you find more fun at coding. Do like Tom said in point 3

Do it however you want. In this life, you need to follow your passions. Read FAQ 40 (Breaking In FAQ 40 - the FAQs are above).[/quote]

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Yeah last night I was going through the FAQ site. Wow what a reference!

Well, since it really doesn't matter how I should proceed, then first thing I'll think I do is try to find open source engines to make goodies for smartphones and maybe even tablets. I have tons of friends and family with kids to test things out with.

I have a decent amount of management under my belt, but I did also read all the benefits of getting a job or 2 in gaming before doing my own company. Get to know the industry, etc. I'm going to see how it pans out. I have a decent job right now with great benefits that I'm happy with, but I know I'll be even more happier doing what I really enjoy. I'm going to little by little explore all options during my free time. Some say to never kill your hobby by making a job out of it, but I've also seen people make great strides by making their hobby their life.

I am a hard core first person shooter type of guy, but I certainly understand the economics of catering to the masses. My business plan includes having games for the mass G rated crowed and then eventually evolve to also include hard core first person shooters.

One of the things that is really bugging me about the industry are bad console ports making their way to PCs. The laziness and time constraints put on to certain projects completely kills the PC end user experience. I'd like to build an empire that will have the resources to build properly made PC games that are also properly developed for a console and not kill the PC user experience at the same time. I'd like to put a dent in how the gaming industry is by being profitable and not forgetting who your loyal fans are.

Thanks for the replies! Still diving in all the FAQs here. :D

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but I know I'll be even more happier doing what I really enjoy.


I hope you don't mind me picking out just this line.

This is something that comes along on forums and elsewhere quite a lot. I might generalize a bit while I rant on this subject.
It's also covered in many FAQs, but I feel it's worth mentioning it.

I may be off with a bad assumption here, but from what I've gathered you've only just began dipping your toes into various distinct fields within game development.
Basically, you barely just got a taste of what a job in the industry actually consists of.
Game development is quite different from gaming (I know this sounds obvious, bear with me :)).
It's a great thing you're exploring your opportunities here, but until you've done so you can't really tell yet if it's something you'd enjoy.

Many have gone onto this path, only to be left disappointed. Often on the assumption it would be something they'd enjoy.
They set the expectations so high for themselves they were left with no choice but to be disappointed.
Jobs within game development (especially game design) have been greatly over glorified by many and almost considered a holy grail among jobs.
Unfortunately, it's just a job. It's not a bad job, nor a boring job, but a job non the less.

It's also a stressful job. Many studios will expect you to work overtime during crunchtime.
And it's a thankless job where you either hide in anonymity or grow a thick skin.
It's not all glory, many players will hate your guts for things you didn't even do. The internet is full of 'experts' who can't wait to tell you how bad you are at your job.
And finally, it's a difficult job. You're never done learning, it's a race to keep up with the market and technology changes.

Now, don't let any of that scare you. I personally wouldn't trade it for any other job.
But don't raise your expectations too high. Consider it something you might enjoy, but just as well might hate.
Enjoying games and enjoying game development are quite far apart.

And for some final thought: it will change how you perceive and enjoy games.
Some find it easy to switch off and just enjoy a game like they used to.
Others completely changed their taste in games and appreciate completely different things than they used to.

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Azgur, very good points. Setting mile high expectations has never been a strong point for me. Heck I usually expect the worst of things in order to prepare as much as possible! Nothing hurts as much as having your bubble popped and it helps to be as realistic as possible.


With the tiny bit of game designing I have done, I can tell you nothing made me itch more than to see my grown fruits in live play. I can definitely see how it can turn some one off from actual gaming, but you know what? I am that type that can just turn off and play. Heck I can even let someone tell me how a movie finishes. When I'm actually watching the movie I get so I involved that everything I was told goes out the window.

When I played the maps I made for Unreal Tournament, I was got a sense of satisfaction. Everyone I'd look around I'd be like daum this looks good.

Same thing with X3. After I built a space station and got it into the game, it just looks like a whole different animal to me. It's no longer a bunch of polygons covered in textures dazzled by shaders. It suddenly turned into a work of art for me. Something that l loved to see and that others also loved to see.

I think it will be fun to do and like anything you enjoy, frustration moments will come out. But only because either you expect perfection or some one else expects perfection and that perfection is expecte now.

Hey I won't lie. I know nothing about how a gaming studio is. All I know is I have a passion, I have the patience, I love technology, I have had a taste of modding, I'm willing to learn and put time, and I gots me sOme gaming ideas!

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Then you probably have the right frame of mind for the field.

Azgur's post is valid but maybe presented too harshly. From my point of view, I have never worked a day in my life (except that one day at Morgan Stanley (yes, one day), ugh).

I started the same way. Getting excited at seeing my creations coming to life and having people interact with them. My first game was an mIRC battle script that worked basically like Pokemon, allowing people to enter moves privately via PM and watch the resulting attack in the main channel. So low-end, but so fun to make and to watch people play it.

Knowing whether or not you are suitable for the industry boils down to that. Is it more fun to see others playing your game than it is to actually play a game? At least they should be of similar levels.

I enjoy programming more than playing. To me that does not mean my passion for playing has gone down, it just means [s]all games today are crap[/s] I enjoy making games just that much more.
Playing games feels like a waste of time compared to how it feels to make games. Making games means working towards a rewarding end product, not just killing time.


Some people end up in a horrible trap working long hours, being under-appreciated, etc., as mentioned before.
But you also need to know that some of us get the exact opposite. Game programming has taken me around the world (I worked in America, Thailand, France, and now Japan, with business trips to many other countries), paid for everything I could want, finally taken me to my dream city (Tokyo), and all the while I have lived a fairly care-free life, sometimes feeling over-appreciated. I feel the only day I have ever worked in my life was that one day in Morgan Stanley, and I put a quick end to that.


Obviously, some luck is involved here. Don't expect to have game programming give you the easy life traveling the world.
But at the same time don't be so afraid of pursuing it. If it is your passion, I doubt it will feel like work.


L. Spiro

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L. Spiro, you haven't felt like you truly worked at all? Wow, you must have had some really good references even back when you were looking for your very first job biggrin.gif Most people get their first job in their high school or junior high years, and at that age they can't really be too picky about their jobs and just grab the first dull entry-level retail job that comes along.

I'm almost as the same boat as the OP, I enjoy programming more than playing the games. Just as appealing to me is able to talk shop with the co-workers on stuff I really like.



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Most people get their first job in their high school or junior high years

To clarify, I believe Chris is Just saying that most people get A job (not necessarily a GAME job) before graduating high school. Only the rare individual gets a game job at that age.

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