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Assassinbeast

Can i become a professional gamedeveloper learning at home?

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Hey folks.
I just want to know if it is kinda possible to become a professional gamedeveloper learning at home.

Im currently learning win32 in c++ from Michael Morrisons book "Beginning Game Programmng" and i aim to learn directx afterwards.
There are many good books out there that teaches directx.. so i kinda think its possible to become a professional without a school, but im not that sure.

The reason why i dont wanna choose to go learn game programming through the school (which is much more safe way), is because then i have to go to college first which takes 2 years. And in those 2 years i will get tortured with homework and have to learn all kinds of subjects which i dont even need(only math, but i can take single courses with it).


So after the college i can go to a university in computer science... but i dont even know if they are teaching c++ which i chose and im pretty happy with it. Also i dont know if they will teach directx because thats what i aimed for since im learning win32 at this moment, so it will be a giant waste of time if i find out in the university that they teach java or c#.

Right now im just learning at home and i have a job besides me, so im not doing anything than that. Im 20 years old by the way.

If i choose to learn it through the school... then i start in 2013 after summer. So i have like 8 months from now on to learn it at home (without any homework/school interruption) before i get tortured in the college in two years. (and if i find out in my future university that they teach c# or java... then... thats like losing $1 million in poker)

I live in Denmark, so there are not that many opportunities.

Hope you can help me out
Thanks [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

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[quote name='Assassinbeast' timestamp='1350295454' post='4990327']
I just want to know if it is kinda possible to become a professional gamedeveloper learning at home.
[/quote]
Yes, sure....

But the real question is, what is necessary to get a job in the game industry.

When you are a rookie you need some references and a degree is a good reference (demos too), so going to school, getting a degree will increase your chances a lot. Without a degree it is likely that many companies will stop reading at your missing degree, giving you never a chance to demonstrate your skills.

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Yes, you can become a professional after learning at home, getting your first job without a degree will be significantly harder than getting it with a degree though.

The hard part when applying for the first job is always to get to an interview (if you know what you're doing and manage to get to an interview it is fairly easy, most people suck even though they have a degree). Applying at smaller companies or getting connections in the industry will help you get past the initial screening (Which is where a degree matters most)

You shouldn't choose university based on what languages they are using, Few CS educations use C++ since it is a shitty language to use in education, most CS and SE concepts are far easier to teach (and learn) using other, more specialized languages, (Normally they don't teach languages at all, they might use a language to demonstrate concepts though), at my first year in uni we had to use Java(OOP), StandardML(functional programming), C(Systems programming) and Prolog(logic) and in some classes(Datastructures and algorithms for example) we could choose between Java, C and C++ for our assignments. (We never had a class that required C++ though), we were expected to pick new languages up as we went along. (For the systems programming class we got a 2 hour introduction to C and then it was all about pipes, processes, semaphores, etc and it was up to us to figure the language out)

Also, you shouldn't restrict yourself to a single language, you will become a far better programmer if you pick up a few different ones. (Personally i wouldn't hire a programmer who only knew C++ even if it was the only language we used in production) Edited by SimonForsman

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Hi, of course it's possible, I did it myself, (well I learned a bit of C++ at school, but it was anecdotic...).
Nowadays there are a lot of useful resources, books, internet ...

If I were you I would try to team up with a like-minded guy or two. Developing alone can become frustrating in the long run (I've done that).

Is there a specific branch you're more interested in ( rendering, sound, physic, gameplay ... ) ? The sad reality is, it's good to know a bit of everything, but at the same time if you want to be strong on a particular branch you'll have to focus on it.

Another advice: if you're aiming for rendering, I would STRONGLY suggest that you begin by studying ray-tracing (more precisely path-tracing), the rendering equation, BRDF and things like that. Keep in mind that actual DirectX / OpenGL games (rasterization) are mainly dirty hacks above dirty hacks, to approximate the "rendering equation".

Moreover I think path tracing is the (not so far) future, see raytracey blog ...

When that is done, it would not be useless to try to implement a small old-school software rasterizer, it will help you understand how 3D cards work internally.

Then and only then you should have a look at directX11, also, try to get familiar with CUDA/DirectCompute it's becoming very important.

Don't hesitate to ask me questions, I can also give you some advices on books and lectures.
( I strongly suggest you buy the "Game Engine Architecture" book by Jason Gregory )

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You can do anything you want with enough dedication and effort. Having that said it wont be easy, you need a lot of skills. Yes a degree counts but i am convinced if you teach yourself enough and publish a good solid game you are already one step ahead of someone without a degree. Both a degree and a finished project show off determination to finish your goals but a solid finished product will get a lot more attention and perhaps some money rolling in.

The problem is, you will need a lot of skills to get a solid product on the market. Graphics, programming, music, sound, design, marketing, etc should all be good enough to get that attention. If you lack one of these skills you have to invest money prior to getting anything out of it, and perhaps you wont get anything out of it. It takes a long time till you are ready to start a good project on your own and finishing such a project generally takes even more time. There is just a lot involved in a project of your own so if you want to be professional getting a degree is the fastest way, you can work on your personal skills and projects in your spare time while still learning and gaining experience at your job.

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Damn... still dunno what to do... so many pros and cons [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/unsure.png[/img]

But thanks everyone for your help!!! i Appreciate it!!! [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/laugh.png[/img]

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id like to start by saying i really have no or little knowledge in making games or programs. But at this point i personally feel a greater amount of respect for the " learn at home" people out there. i feel its saying hey i dont have the money to go to a collage but im going to stick with this and learn it any way i can. When i put my game or program out there for the world to see they will know that i have the knowledge and desire.They will also know the path wasnt laid out for me i chose every direction good or bad that has brought me to the completion of it.
my personal goal is to learn how to make a quality game and programs. Not to be able to go to work for someone, but for others to go to work for me. To help me bring my dreams and ideas to reality becouse they have the same ones or similar ones. I would hire no one who did not feel a immediate personal gratification from helping me bring them to life.
sure someone who is not interested in them can bring ideas but one who is will bring better ones. The better ones i beleave will bring more money in the long run for everyone. I want money dreams and ideas. Not robots.
just my thoughts

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[quote name='thoughts' timestamp='1350326181' post='4990468']
id like to start by saying i really have no or little knowledge in making games or programs. But at this point i personally feel a greater amount of respect for the " learn at home" people out there. i feel its saying hey i dont have the money to go to a collage but im going to stick with this and learn it any way i can. When i put my game or program out there for the world to see they will know that i have the knowledge and desire.They will also know the path wasnt laid out for me i chose every direction good or bad that has brought me to the completion of it.
my personal goal is to learn how to make a quality game and programs. Not to be able to go to work for someone, but for others to go to work for me. To help me bring my dreams and ideas to reality becouse they have the same ones or similar ones. I would hire no one who did not feel a immediate personal gratification from helping me bring them to life.
sure someone who is not interested in them can bring ideas but one who is will bring better ones. The better ones i beleave will bring more money in the long run for everyone. I want money dreams and ideas. Not robots.
just my thoughts
[/quote]

going to college/university is free(or payed by the taxpayers really) in a large part of the world though so for most people money isn't an excuse.

Edit: The OP lives in such a country, The danish government covers tuition for all EU/EEA/Swiz citizens(or people who have parents working in denmark or who hold a permanent residence permit) (The same goes for quite a few other EU countries if he thinks that danish universities are bad).

If he lives with his parents he also gets a 2800DKK/month grant to cover living expenses while he studies, if he lives alone the grant is 5600DKK (So danish people are basically getting paid to get a degree). Edited by SimonForsman

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[quote name='Assassinbeast' timestamp='1350303232' post='4990355']
Damn... still dunno what to do... so many pros and cons

But thanks everyone for your help!!! i Appreciate it!!!
[/quote]

Hi, [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]


No! No! No! [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img] Take another look! [u]Research[/u] is the [i]common denominator [/i]in this thread[i]! [/i] Make no mistake, you have chosen a path of extensive research, no matter the actual path. It is not a thread of pros and cons - all the information is useful! [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img] None of it is "cons" because your effective use of the information is always "pro" for you. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.png[/img]


Looking on the bright side, you are taking the time to consider one of the most important plans of your whole life. It is good that you did not make a hasty decision.

Let me make it simple to help you.


Given: Most of the professional game developers of the top computer and console cross-platform games have degrees in computer science or game development. They are the gross sales and technical leaders in the industry. Why am I using this example? Extending the perspective to the extreme is a good comparison technique, as in engineering or architecture. At this point, no student will know what they will and will not need specifically in 10 or 20 years, but you can be sure that [i]you will need many skills[/i].

Given: There are indy game developers who are successful. They should love what they do and work very hard to succeed, maintain, and progress.

Given: If you do not want to get extensive formal education in computer graphics, then you [u]must[/u] rely more heavily on [u]relationships[/u] and [u]trailblazing[/u].

Given: No matter what career course you plan, [u]you will learn many things in your research that you might never or seldom need[/u]. Thousands of hours of research are ahead of you in any case.


Conclusion: Take a long, hard look at yourself and your life. Do you enjoy playing games? Do you feel passionately to make quality games that people enjoy? Do you feel strong enough to endure whatever it takes to become a professional game developer? Are you prepared to learn things which you might never or at least seldom need? Can you face frequent criticism and correction by other people?

In light of the last several questions, you must decide if you want to create games with a strong enough desire to chart your course in this journey, likely making you work harder than anything else in your whole life. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png[/img]




Clinton

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[quote name='Assassinbeast' timestamp='1350295454' post='4990327']
1. I just want to know if it is kinda possible to become a professional gamedeveloper learning at home.
2. I live in Denmark, so there are not that many opportunities.
3. The reason why i dont wanna choose to go learn game programming through the school (which is much more safe way), is because then i have to go to college first which takes 2 years. And in those 2 years i will get tortured with homework and ... after the college i can go to a university in computer science... but i dont even know if they are teaching c++ ... Also i dont know if they will teach directx because thats what i aimed ... (and if i find out in my future university that they teach c# or java... then... thats like losing $1 million in poker)
[/quote]
1. Anything is possible. But are you talking about being an independent developer working by yourself at home professionally, or getting a job as a professional developer? Because it's "more possible" for the former than for the latter.
2. What are you talking about? gamedevmap lists 17 game companies in Denmark.
3. Self-teaching is going to take longer than all that, and does not come with guarantees that you won't miss something else that's like losing $1 million in poker.

I'm thinking maybe this thread belongs in Breaking In.

[quote name='Assassinbeast' timestamp='1350303232' post='4990355']
Damn... still dunno what to do... so many pros and cons [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/unsure.png[/img]
[/quote]

Right. That's what the Decision Grid is for. [url="http://sloperama.com/advice/m70.htm"]http://sloperama.com/advice/m70.htm[/url]

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I did both things.

First I learnt in my own about programming in C/C++, and later I discovered that I needed to go to the University for learning some important concepts.
Of course you can learn these concepts in Books, but you will spend less energy and time if you can go to the University.

On other way if you want to start in the game industry, now days it will be easier for you to start in the casual game industry ( social gaming, mobile games, etc ...), where programming languages as Java,C# will be more useful for you than C,C++.

I am agree with Bregma, in whatever company, you will need to work on things that you will not like or enjoy, and you will need to learn the aptitude ( which usually is very important to get a job, sometimes more important than to be a programming rock star ) to be able to handle it properly.

But in the end, this is only my point of view, I hope that my experience, it can be useful for you.

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[quote name='TheChubu' timestamp='1350307266' post='4990370']
The idea behind a guy who gets a degree is not that he knows the most used languages but that he knows what developing a piece of software is about. He knows about design, about structure, about how to tackle the problem. So when that dude sits in front of a computer and someone says to him "Code this and that, in C++ please" he, even if he doesn't knows the language perfectly, will write good quality code nevertheless.
[/quote]

nice speech but no, this isn't true in real life.
"Good quality code" is only achieved though experience and mistakes. Every new guy, with or without a degree, will write terrible code if he doesn't have the necessary coding experience.
I think the main difference is that, having a degree you show you have the potential to get better at what the company needs from you.. you are able to work on a schedule and learn what's needed. Without a degree you just show you haven't been able to commit to finish your studies, and that, is not a very good start.

I think, as a self learner, you'll never have the chance to be given time to learn on the job, you'll need to put yourself into the position of being productive from day 1... without leaving any doubts... it's doable, but it requires lots of time investments and has a lower possibility of success compared to the "normal" route through uni. Edited by kunos

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What isn't clear to me from my post is whether your intent is to become a lone-wolf dev (indie) that works from home and develops games for yourself or clients, or actually jumping straight into the industry afterwards.

I can fully appreciate your position. Having a job, life, etc, makes it hard to compromise a stable financial situation for this "dream" and one must learn to deal with the hand he's given. It all depends on your level of dedication (not what you say, but what you do). Personally, I'd go with that approach, self-teach myself, get what I need from others, if necessary, hop onto 1 or 2 classes rather than a full program, and put all of that good knowledge to good use and make stuff.

You can probably make a decent living of making games, even if that takes a while, and means you need to work two jobs (the current job you have, and the games you make from home). When you feel more comfortable around developing, and are certain you've developed your skills in such a way that they clearly compensate for a lack of degree, you can ask yourself whether you want to trade away your freedom as a lone-wolf developer (with its financial uncertainties) for the corporate environment of a game development studio (with its financial certainty).

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[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1350335588' post='4990521']
2. What are you talking about? gamedevmap lists 17 game companies in Denmark.
[/quote]

He can also quite easily get a job in pretty much any other EU nation, EU citizens don't need permits to work in other EU nations and if he lives in for example copenhagen he can work in Malmö/Sweden where Massive Entertainment have their office (and they're currently hiring) without having to relocate (trains go between the two cities every 30 minutes or so) and quite a few danish cities are very close to germany as well (Allthough i don't know if there is any big german studio close to the danish border)

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Okay, let's take a real world look at working from home. I know a guy who is the game developer with a game designer working with him. The game developer does all the coding and the game designer designs the game while managing the art team.

Surprise!! [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/ohmy.png[/img] Everybody working on this game is working from home! The game developer is indy with a degree, but the rest of the team are all indy working from home with no degree! Said game developer has had big contracts in the past in his own right.

The point is that working from home is no indicator of education or indy status. Some indies have a team and work from home. Some corporate people are working from home, too! There are indy game developers using the worksite of their regular job in their spare time to make games. We need to be careful to keep ourselves free from quick assumptions. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

Clinton Edited by 3Ddreamer

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I'm not a professional game developer by any means, but from what I have seen it is expected that you are learning at home whether you went to school or not. As other people have said the degree will get you past the interview filter that most companies have. There are plenty of companies that wont even consider applicants without one. After that it is all about what you have to offer them. My friend got his last job because he had made an add-on for a game he played using LUA. Sometimes that's all it takes. The best advice I can give is, whether you go for the degree or not, start working on things. Make things that one day you can show to someone that will give them a reason to chose you over someone else.

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[quote name='Assassinbeast' timestamp='1350295454' post='4990327']
I just want to know if it is kinda possible to become a professional gamedeveloper learning at home.

Im currently learning win32 in c++ from Michael Morrisons book "Beginning Game Programmng" and i aim to learn directx afterwards.
There are many good books out there that teaches directx.. so i kinda think its possible to become a professional without a school, but im not that sure.

[/quote]

Yes you can.

But do it like this: make the [i]smallest game[/i] you possibly can. Don't make an MMO, make a little platformer or strategy game, or recreate an arcade classic.

I strongly advise making a mobile game, because the distribution channels are already in place. If you make a game for Windows, you'll have a hard time getting on Steam or Origin, or even MS' new Windows 8 store, which will have low user numbers early on.

Use the following tools:

For STEAM: C++, Visual Studio, DirectX
For Android: Java, Eclipse, OpenGL
For iOS: Objective C, XCode, OpenGL

Make sprites with Gimp. Make 3D objects with Blender

Then publish it. You are now a games developer.

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I am a self taught programmer. I have not had any formal education in this field (however I do have a degree in another field). I have had little support in my two years of learning. At first, I was told that I would not succeed and I should just quit before I started. I was told I would fail and I almost listened.

Since then, I have gained many of the basic concepts of the C++ language and added in Opengl. I am a long way from where I would like to be, and would love to take a few classes in the field. I think they would be invaluable in teaching me concepts and ideas that I have not picked up myself. I am programming games as just a hobby and not for a career, so I do not worry to much about this. My games are very simple and made for a young child, but I am having fun.

Now that I have countless hours watching videos, tutorials, searching forums, reading book after book, and made a few games that actually work, I have more support. I even found a friend that programs in C# and likes to branch out into other languages. He has seen my code and has told me that he does not understand a lot of it, because he has never dealt with opengl.

The reason I give much of this back story is to show that yes you can do it alone, but having others behind you will be a huge benefit. It is a difficult thing to do alone. There is no one for me to bounce ideas off of. No one to look at my code and help figure out mistakes. Very few to even talk to about this, because they do not understand anything about the language. Its like I am speaking a foriegn language to them, and in a way I am. I can use forums and look up videos, but I would like to have others that know what I am looking at and talking about. Things are easier when you have a support system both in just saying you can do it, and in knowing what you are doing. It is always good to know people that can do the same thing you can do and are in the same boat as you are.

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