• Announcements

    • khawk

      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Donal Byrne

Want to program for big developer. what should i be learning?

27 posts in this topic

Ok so im 18, Ive been into game development for a bout a year now. Ive learnt javaScript and C#. Ive been primarily been using Unity. Recently I've been wondering if I'm going down the right path. Like would it be more beneficial in the long run to use something like UDK?

Also I really want to start working on some of my ideas and start making good games and possibly submit to websites like kongregate/newgrounds etc. But since I'm doing this solo would it be better to use something like flash? it seems like a lot of successful web games are made with that.

Kinda of a two part question, any advice would be really appreciated
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cool thanks :) also, when I graduate this year I'm planning to get my bachelors degree in computer science and then go on to do a masters. So by then I should have the programming knowledge. I just wana start designing/developing games now so Ill have some experience when i start job hunting
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='kunos' timestamp='1351085839' post='4993423']
just never forget that school and colleges will never teach you how to program and optimize. that's YOUR job, and it's essential you do that by yourself.
[/quote]

This is so true. Especially if the professor is utter crap. Best advice: dont wait for school, get started already. School is just a formality
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Donal Byrne' timestamp='1351085664' post='4993421']
cool thanks [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img] also, when I graduate this year I'm planning to get my bachelors degree in computer science and then go on to do a masters. So by then I should have the programming knowledge. I just wana start designing/developing games now so Ill have some experience when i start job hunting
[/quote]
[quote]Computer Science isn't programming, it's doing science with computers.[/quote]
Getting a degree in Computer Science won't help you a bit. In this industry, it's you that has to take the initiative and start learning. Just because you have a computer science degree won't help you one bit. You need to have solid code samples and games. Think about this: If you were hiring someone, would you pick the person with a Masters Degree in Computer Science, no code samples, and who only can use Unity, or would you pick someone without a degree, with a published game and solid code samples, who has programmed everything himself. 99.9% of employers will pick the latter, because in Video Game Design getting a degree isn't experience. The only way to get hired is too actually have a game out or actually have a strong portfolio of art.

Unity or UDK aren't helpful. Anyone who only had these tools on their resume won't get hired. They won't even get glanced at. If I was hiring someone, I'd look for strong code samples from a programming language, and it's a huge plus if they also can script nicely.

However, a college degree has some advantages. It shows you can spend 4+ years working on and completing projects. It shows that you have dedication and won't give up halfway through something. But if you haven't taken the initiative, those qualifications will go to waste.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah, I'd also recommend a bachelor's CS degree as well, a Master's might be overkill, but I've never seen anyone rejected for a job for having one (I work with tons of engineers with CS or software eng degrees, a few have masters degrees, the odd person has no post-secondary education, and a couple even have PhDs).

While you don't need a degree to work in the industry, chances are if you were good enough to get in without one, you wouldn't have to ask about whether you need one or not.

If you do choose the post-secondary education route, it's worth noting that you only get out what you put in to your education, and you will have to supplement your learning outside of your courses, especially if your main interest is games.

If you want to work for a major developer, learn C++, and learn how to make games. If any particular area of games piques your interest in particular (i.e. rendering, animation, AI), etc., learn about it.

Choose your electives based on your interest. While most universities don't focus on these areas in undergraduate programs, there are usually select courses on AI, graphics, which may be more academic than practical, but understanding these things are important.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
L. Spiro is from…Earth. If you want useful advice and you also come from Earth, listen up.

My friend DragonRift also comes from Earth, and in fact he comes from Canada’s Montreal.
And he can testify that without a degree he was able to get a game-making job there.
It is utterly stupid to say that any city on Earth will not hire someone under such-and-such conditions.

[i]It’s an entire city.[/i]
At most only a few companies hire Bachelor’s-only recruits.
The other 99% hire only non-Bachelor’s candidates, and the rest just don’t care as long as you can perform.

This is the universal truth, regardless of what a few friends told you.

Even if you did get a job with a high salary due to your Master’s, the only result is that you alienate yourself from your peers. And yes those people 10 years younger than you are your peers, and most of them are also more skilled than you.
Hence the alienation.

You aren’t doing anyone a favor by getting a Bachelor’s or a Master’s.


L. Spiro
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ok, let me clarify. He was talking about "big developer", I assumed that means major publishers, like for example, Ubisoft, Eidos, Warner or EA (all in Montréal). You are right that you may be able to get a programmer job without a bachelor's, but it's really exceptional and you need a lot of experience. In 10 years, I've only worked with one guy without a bachelor's. I can assure you that in all these companies, in Montréal, at least 95% of all programmers have a bachelor's. It's also always asked for in job descriptions.

Without a bachelor's, you can probably get a job in a smaller mobile game studio, but even there, they usually ask for it.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The key is that you are not competing in a vacuum.

When there are 50 entry-level applicants to chose from, a degree is one quick and easy filter.

From talking with friends in HR, there are some great stories about non-degree people who are frankly delusional about their prospects of getting a job as a programmer. (Of course maybe their creativity could be applied to a designer position...) At the three major companies I've worked with, lack of a degree is an automatic barrier through HR at the entry level.


A CS degree is the minimum bar to breaking in. There are very rare exceptions to the rule; but that is because they must be exceptional in some other way, either through demonstrated experience, or through the right social connections, or through sheer dumb luck.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1351179898' post='4993821']
Usually the things L. says is gold, but her advice against degrees is iron pyrite. L., just because you and some people you know have managed to get jobs without degrees doesn't mean that's the way everybody should go.
[/quote]
I have nothing but personal experience to back myself up, but that experience has recurred many times. I already mentioned 3 experiences with people who pursued education over practice and the results were obvious.

So why do I advise against degrees?
Part of it is due to my own lack there-of. I didn’t need one, so why should anyone else?

The other part is because I have had to interview people and I usually pass those with degrees. And then they usually request too much and the CEO’s don’t accept. The CEO of my first job said the same thing.

There is always some chance anywhere at getting a job.
My personal experiences don’t always represent the norm., but I feel they might represent the majority and you should pay attention.


L. Spiro
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1351179898' post='4993821']
her
[/quote]

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think "she" is a he. The avatar is one of his drawings I think.

On topic: I don't have a degree (studying isn't my thing), but I've met my current boss at the university (he got his degree), but he knew about my skills so he urgently wanted to hire me, so I wouldn't say it was a waste of time :)
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='froop' timestamp='1351190967' post='4993887']
I don't have a degree (studying isn't my thing), but I've met my current boss at the university (he got his degree), but he knew about my skills so he urgently wanted to hire me, so I wouldn't say it was a waste of time
[/quote]
Also, salary and life-long earnings potential.

When you are in a position to see salary information, you'll discover an obvious set of tiers for those few people without a degree, for the majority of people with a bachelors degree, and for the remainder with a masters degree. Not having a degree puts you in the lower tier financially which is very difficult to get out of.

There was an unscrupulous game studio nearby who recently went bankrupt and their owner thrown in jail for tax evasion and other crimes --- they had a habit of hiring out of college and encouraging their programmers to not finish school. They also had a reputation for paying less and being more of a slave-labor camp. Their former employees struggled to find jobs because they didn't hold degrees and only had slip-shod development experience.
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='frob' timestamp='1351196187' post='4993909']
[quote name='froop' timestamp='1351190967' post='4993887']
I don't have a degree (studying isn't my thing), but I've met my current boss at the university (he got his degree), but he knew about my skills so he urgently wanted to hire me, so I wouldn't say it was a waste of time
[/quote]
Also, salary and life-long earnings potential.

When you are in a position to see salary information, you'll discover an obvious set of tiers for those few people without a degree, for the majority of people with a bachelors degree, and for the remainder with a masters degree. Not having a degree puts you in the lower tier financially which is very difficult to get out of.

There was an unscrupulous game studio nearby who recently went bankrupt and their owner thrown in jail for tax evasion and other crimes --- they had a habit of hiring out of college and encouraging their programmers to not finish school. They also had a reputation for paying less and being more of a slave-labor camp. Their former employees struggled to find jobs because they didn't hold degrees and only had slip-shod development experience.
[/quote]

I'm sorry, I should have mentioned that I'm not working in the game industry, I wanted to point out that you can meet interesting and important people at educational institutions. We're doing web development, and we're doing fine :-)
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The reason I completed my Degree(just a "pass" degree without honours, mind you) is because most people I met that said "a degree is a waste of time and won't help you get a job" actually had a Degree(even those who claimed they had no education at all!) and they also had a job. So not being far off a Degree after completing a Diploma in Computing I decided I might as well finish the job. The honours part I can do another time when I have more time and money...most likely modules in software engineering and AI.

I'm in the process of writing some demos and will rely on them alone to get me into my first programming position. As far as the degree is concerned, it cuts a long story short if my education ever comes into question. However, one learns the most from personal projects because its like being thrown out on to the streets to fend for yourself. Can you really cope on your own or do you need to rely on someone else's spoon-fed instructions and code all of the time?

For instance, one person might just say "I use cosine here...because...um...it says so here in the book!" whilst another might ask "but why do I use cosine here? And what the dickens is cosine anyway?". The first person carries on like a sheep, whilst the second finds out about SohCahToa and useful stuff about right-angled-triangles and begin to see the possibilities that lie ahead...

So yes, education has some value, but don't forget that programming needs to be a lifestyle outside of the class room as well. Where education introduces you to topics and their basics, teaching yourself allows you to break off and explore them in greater detail and even putting them to use.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1351196096' post='4993908']
For all I know, in Japan and the UK, people don't need degrees to break into the game industry as programmers.
[/quote]
For Japan, education is a lot more important than in any other part of the world (at least for Japanese people—for foreigners they are somewhat understanding about different cultures and educations which is why I could get a job).
I [i]thought[/i] I was taking this into account when I suggested not to go so hard on the educational route. If he was Japanese, I would definitely say “go education”.


I [i]thought[/i] I was thinking about American culture when I gave my suggestion, but you may be entirely right that I simply don’t know American culture. It’s been a long time since I have experienced it, things may have changed, and I may have skewed views from my somewhat uncommon experiences in life.


My first set of advice applies here.
I was only looking for programming languages when I looked at job openings, but if some of them say you need a Bachelor’s or equivalent and you don’t have the “equivalent” part, then you probably need a Bachelor’s.
Whatever you need to know about getting a job you can find by job listings for the company(-y+ies) that interest you. They are the definitive sources of information on what you need.

But I still feel it would be better to go the “equivalent” route by starting at smaller studios and working up. Think of it this way:
Either way you will be in a major studio after 4 years. But:[list]
[*]With a Bachelor’s degree you will be 25 and have a 20-year-old’s salary and be in debt for the next 6 years.
[*]With work experience you will be 25 and have a 25-year-old’s salary and have savings in your bank account.
[/list]
I may still be playing Devil’s advocate, but people seeking advice [i]should[/i] be presented with alternative options. Due to the ease in getting jobs at smaller studios, I feel mathematically this is the least-risky way to go while maximizing the end results financially. In my experience, [i]you will get whatever you want no matter what as long as you just keep aiming for it.[/i] [i]Hence you will be working at a major studio no matter what in the end.[/i]

That is just one option among the many. The original poster is free to make his or her final decision.


L. Spiro
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0