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obizues

Resume/CV/Project List for Programmers

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Hello:

Throughout reading the site I seem to have missed a few things along the way when it comes to programmers presenting themselves in the industry and what they should show as a "portfolio" or "project."

It seems that I understand how animators, level designers, and art leads project themselves and it makes sense. I also understand how people that write for games, and develop overall make a "portfolio" or body of work.

For programmers, are we pretty much just sticking to source code on a website with video and executables?

What are they looking for when looking at my code? Just that I understand the concepts of OOP and can code well, clean, and logically?

Am I actually ever going to reference my work on "pong" or a top down hack and slash RPG I'm making in 2D with XNA? Or is it pointless since i'll just want to show my work on 3D once I get that far?

Any input would be appreciated.

If this belongs in the "breaking into the industry" section of the forum I apologize, I was not sure.

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For programmers, are we pretty much just sticking to source code on a website with video and executables?

What are they looking for when looking at my code? Just that I understand the concepts of OOP and can code well, clean, and logically?

Am I actually ever going to reference my work on "pong" or a top down hack and slash RPG I'm making in 2D with XNA? Or is it pointless since i'll just want to show my work on 3D once I get that far?


Yes. Code, video, and executable are a great combonation.

A games portfolio is not strictly necessary for programmers; I know plenty of people who didn't have them, and I've interviewed (and hired) people who didn't have them. A games portfolio just adds evidence that you can do the job well. With or without a portfolio you will be asked to write code and provide code samples at an entry level.

Employers have two basic questions when hiring: Will you do the job well? Will you fit in? Everything else they care about hangs on those questions.

When I look at code, it becomes obvious fairly quickly what skill level and experience level the programmer is at. Beginners have code with hard-coded everything; experts build systems that couple together with data. There are many major steps in between the two.

I've seen people who when pressed to write code simply cannot do it in person. Maybe it is the (relatively light) pressure of an interview, maybe they were faking it and stole code from online. Whatever the case, beginners are generally asked to write code to solve some very basic CS problems.


Deciding what to show off in your portfolio (since you have one) is a personal decision. Generally you want source code that you wrote, a video of gameplay, and an executable so they can (hopefully) run the game on their own machine. You may decide to include your pong clone, you may not. That is up to you.

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obizues, this is the third thread you've written in a row. They're all pretty much about the same thing (the same question). Before I noticed that it was you again, I was going to say "read the two threads started by obizues, there are a lot of answers you seem to be looking for in those).
But, since it's you, never mind.

Shall I close your previous two threads, since you seem to be done with them?

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Mr. Sloper,

This was used to be more programmer specific since I felt my other questions were too broad did not adequately describe the nature of what I was trying to ask.

Yes, feel free to close the others if you feel they are all the same question.

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A games portfolio is not strictly necessary for programmers; I know plenty of people who didn't have them, and I've interviewed (and hired) people who didn't have them. A games portfolio just adds evidence that you can do the job well.


So in your opinion does it benefit me to make a website and build a portfoilio and make games? I was under the impression that breaking into the industry is extremely hard, and it anything I can do above and beyond is something that I should be doing. Is there something else you could suggest I do instead of making a portfolio?



When I look at code, it becomes obvious fairly quickly what skill level and experience level the programmer is at. Beginners have code with hard-coded everything; experts build systems that couple together with data. There are many major steps in between the two.


Could you elaborate on "systems?" Do you just mean that you can tell the difference between someone who just is using spaghetti code and someone who is actually using OOP practice in an intelligent manner?



Whatever the case, beginners are generally asked to write code to solve some very basic CS problems.


Could you give me an example or two of a basic CS problem that you would ask a potential programmer to solve or write code for in an interview you would conduct?



Deciding what to show off in your portfolio (since you have one) is a personal decision.


I guess my mindset is the following:

Programming a game like "Pong" and using collision detection is a way for me to complete a project within a small timeframe while still showing I can complete a project, come up with good programming methods and practices, write clean and understandable code, and show that I understand the game model.

Obviously if I made a 3D game using Linear Algebra for collision detection with C++ and DirectX11 that would be a lot greater of an achievement, but it also would probably be unrealistic to finish a "full game" unless I literally made that my job for a year or years. I guess that is where the question of including "Pong" comes in.

So I guess what I'm asking is, where does that middle ground fall?

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More of a marketing question directed at everyone:


I live in the Midwest - Milwaukee, Wisconsin specifically. Mr. Sloper has referenced multiple times on his site how important it is to move to where the industry is. To not get too off topic, there is no foreseeable way for me to move out to an area without a job offer in hand.

I live in the Milwaukee area right between Madison and Chicago. I honestly don't know how big of a market, if any, there is in Chicago and I'm fully aware California is the place to be.

That being said there is a studio in the Madison area called "Raven Software." The law of averages suggests trying to become employed at a single studio is incredibly more difficult than applying to multiple studios. However, this WOULD be a dream job at a company near me doing EXACTLY what I would like to be doing in the gaming industry.

I've read and talked to people on this site about marketing yourself, but it has always been more generalized.

Questions:

1) How do I go about marketing myself to a SPECIFIC company like that?

2) There is a consultant on LinkedIn that I'm connected to that graduated from UW-Milwaukee (My University) and worked for Raven Software out of college. How do you suggest I ask for advice or how he made that transition without setting myself up to simply be dismissed? Is it something I should not even ask since he doesn't currently work for them anymore and I'm not sure because of what terms or reasoning?

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[quote name='frob' timestamp='1346025910' post='4973616']
A games portfolio is not strictly necessary for programmers; I know plenty of people who didn't have them, and I've interviewed (and hired) people who didn't have them. A games portfolio just adds evidence that you can do the job well.


So in your opinion does it benefit me to make a website and build a portfoilio and make games? I was under the impression that breaking into the industry is extremely hard, and it anything I can do above and beyond is something that I should be doing. Is there something else you could suggest I do instead of making a portfolio?
[/quote]
The difficult part is that there are few entry-level jobs created.

There are more mid-level jobs available, and having a solid portfolio will open those jobs to you. Instead of an entry level programmer-1 job, you may be qualified for a somewhat experienced programmer-2 job.

I recommend building and showing a portfolio if you have one. But on the other hand, not having a portfolio is better than having a bad one.



When I look at code, it becomes obvious fairly quickly what skill level and experience level the programmer is at. Beginners have code with hard-coded everything; experts build systems that couple together with data. There are many major steps in between the two.


Could you elaborate on "systems?" Do you just mean that you can tell the difference between someone who just is using spaghetti code and someone who is actually using OOP practice in an intelligent manner?
[/quote]
Exactly what I wrote.

The beginner thinks of nothing more than the immediate. The more advanced programmer thinks long term.

For example, they may hard code two players as the assumption, and assume specific keys for specific functions. An advanced programmer will assume an unbounded number of players, will assume that players may have remapped their keys in an options screen, and so on. They will then build systems that handle an unbounded number of players instead of expecting two players; they will build a binding system that binds physical keyp resses to logical key presses. Etc.


Whatever the case, beginners are generally asked to write code to solve some very basic CS problems.


Could you give me an example or two of a basic CS problem that you would ask a potential programmer to solve or write code for in an interview you would conduct?
[/quote]

Clicky.



Deciding what to show off in your portfolio (since you have one) is a personal decision.


I guess my mindset is the following:

Programming a game like "Pong" and using collision detection is a way for me to complete a project within a small timeframe while still showing I can complete a project, come up with good programming methods and practices, write clean and understandable code, and show that I understand the game model.

Obviously if I made a 3D game using Linear Algebra for collision detection with C++ and DirectX11 that would be a lot greater of an achievement, but it also would probably be unrealistic to finish a "full game" unless I literally made that my job for a year or years. I guess that is where the question of including "Pong" comes in.

So I guess what I'm asking is, where does that middle ground fall?
[/quote]

Prove that you can do the job of a game programmer.

If you think your best proof is your pong clone, then include it.
If you think your best proof is the 3D game, then include it.

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The difficult part is that there are few entry-level jobs created.
There are more mid-level jobs available, and having a solid portfolio will open those jobs to you. Instead of an entry level programmer-1 job, you may be qualified for a somewhat experienced programmer-2 job.


So would you say that it's possible, or even probable to work as a software engineer in some other capactity before being offered a job in the games industry? Is it kind of "programming is programming" mentality, or do they want people that are in the field?


For example, they may hard code two players as the assumption, and assume specific keys for specific functions. An advanced programmer will assume an unbounded number of players, will assume that players may have remapped their keys in an options screen, and so on. They will then build systems that handle an unbounded number of players instead of expecting two players; they will build a binding system that binds physical keyp resses to logical key presses. Etc.


That makes perfect sense, I'm guessing I should probably stop coding in specific keys for functions and rather setting up an input object to handle setting and getting variables for the inputs?


Prove that you can do the job of a game programmer.


Would you say that when applying for a job that uses C++ their own engine and DirectX11 for example, that you should have experience doing just that rather than say using a premade engine like Unreal or using Unity?

Or is it seen as once again "programming is programming?"

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