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Is it too late for me to enter the gaming industry? And how?

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Hi folks,

First off, Happy New Year to one and all! Hope you have a great one this year.

I'm in a place right now where I could use some really good advice on how to proceed with my dream. My interest in getting into the gaming industry is no different from that of a mechanic and cars (you love cars -> you study cars -> you work on cars)(I hope that analogy worked). I would like to think I do not have any pipe dreams about this, just a lack of proper knowledge and guidance.

I was (kinda still am) interested in a Game Design Master's course that is being offered by Full Sail University. But as anyone who has heard of that place would know, their reputation is shaky and their tuition fees are a little on the high end. I've heard that this is not a necessary step (i.e. getting a specialized degree in gaming), but if I'm still interested in learning the ropes through a course that is being offered somewhere, what/where would be a good option?

One of the advice I read was to get right into it; get a job in the industry (e.g. QA Tester) and slowly work your way up while learning the ropes. This way, you gain experience, knowledge, contacts, and basically start tailoring yourself for the position you are interested in. This sounds good (with the exception of geographical challenges for me; see below), and makes sense, but I would still like to hear some feedback on this. (Currently working on uploading my resume to GameJobs.com).

In the meantime, while I'm trying to get my head around all this, what should I be doing to prepare myself properly to enter the industry? What skill sets should I develop on or acquire?

Background information on me (hopefully to give you a better idea of where I'm coming from):
I did a bachelor's degree in information systems/technology, so I have most of the basics (programming, UI, project management, networking, etc.). I've tried my hand at developing a game once, using 3D Game Studio (it was an FPS). I've messed around with mods but never created one of my own.
I'm currently working at HP for a little over 4 years now. I've held a few roles here, with my current one focusing on data analysis, problem resolution, process optimization, and translation of business requirements. I'm located in Malaysia, but would very much love to move to the States.

Any advice/criticism is greatly appreciated.
Thanks for reading smile.png.
(Sorry for the length of the post)

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Full Disclaimer: I do not work for the game industry and have no experience with foreign business practices or domestic (U.S.) business practices in regards to hiring foreigners.

I would first recommend looking to your local area. It is my understanding that Malaysia and other such countries are starting to get into the game industry. You might be able to find a great position in a startup or even a smaller company.

I believe your chances of being hired as a foreigner in the U.S. are close to zero. If you really have your mind set on the U.S., I would pick a good city with a few game developers and move to the U.S. in that city or VERY close to it. Being local to them will be a big PLUS when trying to get hired.

You may also want to develop a few games on your own. Start small. Get a pong game up, super mario clone, worms clone, etc... just anything that is fully functional and plays well. Keep your code clean, commented, etc... and make sure you have related documentation (Game Design Document for example). Pay attention to details. Pretend this is a AAA title you have to release in great quality.

Make a 3D game as well, maybe a little more advanced in nature. Once again, keep any code/scripts well written and maintain proper documentation and planning. Use a preexisting game engine like UDK or Unity that is actually used in a production AAA title. This will show your ability to learn professional tool sets and develop products from start to finish with them.

You can include these projects as references on your applications.

This shows them you are more than just what is on paper. They can see first hand how well you plan, maintain the plan, and develop the product.

If you can write a cross platform game, even better. Try to write something that works on Mac, Windows, and possibly even Linux. Maybe try something for iPhone or Android as well.

Simply put, the more products you develop (even if they are not sold or distributed!) the better your chances.

Your current degree may be enough. If you wish to continue your education, I would attempt to complete a B.S. in Computer Science. Once again, I do not know how international degrees are viewed within the domestic (U.S.) business world. You may need to find an internationally recognized & accredited university or attend university in the U.S. directly to obtain this degree.

Finally, don't forget about the possibilities that unpaid internships can bring you. Try to get in on the ground level with an unpaid internship at a desired game company.

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1. Is it too late for me to enter the gaming industry?
2. And how?
3. if I'm still interested in learning the ropes through a course that is being offered somewhere, what/where would be a good option?
4. what should I be doing to prepare myself properly to enter the industry?
5. What skill sets should I develop on or acquire?
6. I'm located in Malaysia, but would very much love to move to the States.


1. No. Read FAQ 71. Go back out to the forum and look for the FAQs link in "Getting Started" at top right.
2. By building a portfolio. You already have a degree. You might need to move, but there is game development in Malaysia. Gamedevmap shows six companies. See map links in the FAQs.
3. A game school is okay, since you already have a degree. If you can afford it. Or just build games in your free time.
4. Building games.
5. That depends on your interests. You decide. Read the FAQs.
6. There's an FAQ on that, too.

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If you practise hard enough it's never to late for anything as long as you are dedicated enough for a long time.

That said, nowadays it's not hard at all to enter in the game industry. If you know your way around in a particular language, build a small (but fun) game and release it somewhere your pretty much in the game industry. Anyone can do it in less then a year of hard work.

To get into a major company as a programmer is different, you do need a degree or at the very least a solid port-folio.

Skills required are:
1. Dedication, games take a long time to make and work can be boring some times.
2. Problem solving, as a programmer you always encounter problems no matter how good you are.
3. Math, you can come a long way without solid math skills but it will surely help you.

You could start downloading MS visual studio for C# and learn the basics or at least expand your knowledge on what you learned at your IT study. Anyway it's free, and there are a lot more free tools out there to help you develop games. Start small, it's better to finish something small then have 20 unfinished projects sitting idle on your HD.

gl,

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