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Donal Byrne

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

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Donal Byrne    150
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

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Donal Byrne    150
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

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ISDCaptain01    1496
[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

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Anri    971
I usually recommend Java these days, but if one means serious business...

1. Learn C++.
2. Learn to program with WinAPI, and write a small 2D game with it. Keep it simple.
3. Before rushing into a graphics API, write a Ray-Caster demo with the WinAPI first. Don't forget floors and ceilings!
4. Learn DirectX.

...as for education, try and sign up for courses in Maths and Software Development. For maths, you need to aim for at least Algebra - Calculus and Physics are very much recommended. For the computing side, you can teach yourself the language, but software development is not about the language but good habits, planning and implementation - this really comes down to experience, so it pays to be taught by an experienced person...

In conclusion, teach yourself with a strong foundation on C++, but seek to improve your CV with qualifications when the opportunity arises. And when the going gets tough, always stand strong and know that any problem can be broken down and solved.

Good luck! ^_^

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L. Spiro    25615
Firstly, this is not the appropriate place for this topic. This is: [url="http://www.gamedev.net/forum/101-breaking-into-the-games-industry/"]http://www.gamedev.n...games-industry/[/url]
If you were to go there, in the upper-right corner you would see inside under a green header this text: “Breaking In FAQs (please read before posting)”.
If you were to then click that link you would find all the answers to your question(s).
Especially [url="http://www.sloperama.com/advice/"]http://www.sloperama.com/advice/[/url]


To answer your first question, C++ is [i]obvious[/i].
To be blunt, this is something you could have easily answered yourself by going to the jobs section of whatever major studios interest you and checking on what they require.
For example, I randomly sampled the following:
Valve’s Software Engineer Listing: [b]Proficiency in one or more of the following programming languages: PHP, SQL, C/C++, (or equivalent)[/b]
Naughty Dog’s Graphics Programmer Listing: [b]Strong knowledge of C and C++ programming languages[/b]
Nintendo’s ???????????? Listing: [b]C/C++?????Perl?Ruby??????????????????[/b]

Even if you can’t read Japanese, the obvious common denominator is C/C++.
If for whatever reason you can’t find the site for any major studio you are considering, you can always use [url="http://www.gamedevmap.com/"]GameDev Map[/url].


To answer your second question, it would be a waste of time. If you already knew Flash it would be fine. But you should be focusing on C++ fairly heavily now, especially since you are at least 4 years behind the learning curve on it. By 18 you should already know C++ fairly well, along with C# and Java. It isn’t that those projects wouldn’t help to get a job (anything you can show would help), it’s that you don’t have time for something like that when you are playing catch-up with C++.
It would be more useful both to your own learning and to your job hunt to make games in C++ instead.


[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]
[b]Major[/b] strategy failure. Neither a Bachelor’s nor Master’s degree will help you in the least, and can in fact hurt you.
Not only are they non-impressive, many studios consider never to hire such people because they always ask for a huge salary while not being able to perform so well in the work place.
My first job’s CEO told me he almost always just throws away applications from the best university in that area for exactly that reason.
Just because you went through a lot of school does not mean you know what to do in the workplace.
I also interviewed a guy for a Japanese company who had a Master’s. I felt he had the skills and I gave him a pass, but then he ended up asking for too much of a salary and didn’t get the job. He was 6 years older than myself and unemployed, struggling to make ends meet, and being interviewed by someone 6 years younger than himself who had dropped out of high school.

At my current workplace another person started on the same day as myself, but he had a Bachelor’s.
My salary is double his because all the time he spent studying I spent working. He had to take a lesser position until he gains enough [i]actual workplace experience[/i] to graduate up to my position.


Ultimately you are just going to spend a lot of money on an education that has no meaning only to find that you are 28 (after a Master’s degree?) and living on a 21-year-old’s salary. Regardless of your education, you start with an entry-level salary, so you may as well actually [i]be[/i] 21 when you have such a salary.
To put it frankly, a 28-year-old with 7 years of work experience will 100% [i]always[/i] get the job before a 28-year-old with nothing but school on his or her belt.

If you want to get a Master’s, go be a doctor. This is not the industry for that. We care about results, not education.
I myself dropped out of high school in order to get an early start on actual workplace experience and as such I currently travel the world programming video games. [i]The janitor has a higher level of education than myself.[/i]
My salary and desirability are based on my actual performance, [i]not[/i] education.


L. Spiro Edited by L. Spiro

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superman3275    2061
[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.

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frob    44902
First, you need to get the CS degree.

A bachelors degree in computer science is the bar for entry level.

As for languages, learn whatever you want. Major studios use JavaScript. Major studios use Flash. Major studios use Java. Major studios use C#. Major studios use C++. Major studios use Python. Major studios use many other languages.

Whatever programming language you learn, you will be better for it.

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cardinal    908
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.

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Amadeus H    1180
[quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1351128996' post='4993621']
Major strategy failure. Neither a Bachelor’s nor Master’s degree will help you in the least, and can in fact hurt you.
[/quote]

I'm sorry, but [b]this is just plain lies[/b]. The OP wants to know how to get into a big developer studio. Most (all?) big developer studios hire HR to weed out recruits and HR ticks of at Bachelor education minimum. I would personally skip the master's though, like you explained - it's a waste of time for what the OP wants.

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Faelenor    396
[quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1351128996' post='4993621']
[b]Major[/b] strategy failure. Neither a Bachelor’s nor Master’s degree will help you in the least, and can in fact hurt you.
[/quote]

[b]Don't listen to this!!![/b] I don't know where L. Spiro is from, and maybe this tip is good for his/her isolated place on earth, but I know for sure that here in Montréal, where the gaming industry is big, they will never hire a programmer without a Bachelor degree. He's right for the master's degree though.

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L. Spiro    25615
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

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Faelenor    396
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.

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kuramayoko10    390
What L. Spiro tried to say is that if you spent 4+ years working and completing good projects, you will probably end up with a good portfolio that will make your resume' visible as well.

However I don't agree that a Bachelor degree is a waste of time because of that.
In college I acquired discipline to study and work hard in areas I didn't have any interest and that gave me great knowledge and experience to deal with problems.
In college I got to really work in groups and deal with different kind of people every day (this is a [b]must[/b]).
I also acquired many, many contacts (networking is a [b]must[/b]).

But note this: I had all this wonderful experience because I wanted to. The university doesn't deliver alone all this knowledge/experience to you. You have to work hard, to join groups, to organize and attend different events and have to make those 4+ years of your live fit in more than one line of your resume.

I have applied for a position at Microsoft (US) recently and in their model of resume they had:
- One line for you degree
- One line for your GPA
- A section for your Major School Projects
- A section for your Awards and Leadership
Those two sections will be filled pretty easily with your 4+ years of college experience.

A second note:
At Valve, for example, many [url="http://valvesoftware.com/jobs/job_postings.html"]job positions[/url] (e.g. Software Engineer, System Engineer) have a requirement "Bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology or equivalent" or "Bachelor's degree in computer engineering or applied mathematics (or equivalent)".
Positions like Web Designer and Level Designer do not require a BS.

Conclusion: you have to know what kinda of work you want in the job industry. If you want a artistic/designer role, maybe a BS in Computer Science is not the best option. But if you want to work in the systems and core engineering of companies/studios like Microsoft and Valve a BS may be a requirement Edited by kuramayoko10

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frob    44902
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.

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L. Spiro    25615
[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

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froop    642
[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 :)

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Tom Sloper    16040
[quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1351184044' post='4993848']
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.
[/quote]

L., I have a lot of respect for what you've accomplished, managing to get a game job in Japan, and without a degree. It's impressive.
But this is a rehash of a discussion I had here about a year ago (maybe more) with a guy in the UK. He swore up and down that nobody (but NOBODY) in the UK game industry cares about degrees. For all I know, he was right (but if so, why are there schools in the UK that teach computer science for games). For all I know, Japanese game hirers also doesn't care about degrees. For all I know, in Japan and the UK, people don't need degrees to break into the game industry as programmers. I can only speak for my own experience in the game industry (going back to 1982). Having interviewed and handled incoming resumes in this country, I can say definitively that someone without any game experience had better at least have a degree, if he wants to get hired here as an entry-level programmer. There may be those technical directors who'll be able to find an unschooled gem in a stack of twenty resumes, sure.

It's not doing anyone in the US a favor to say "you don't need no stinking degree." It's also not doing them a favor to say "you need an expensive for-profit school degree." There are many shades of gray in between.

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frob    44902
[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.

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froop    642
[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 :-)

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Anri    971
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.

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L. Spiro    25615
[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

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