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IntervuQ

Just got interview, what should I brush up on?

6 posts in this topic

Hey guys! I just got a phone interview with a cool games company for a programming position in about a week!

 

I'm gonna brush up on my 3-D math in the mean time, and it'll likely be very techincal.

 

I'd like to leave the best impression, what else should I cram?

 

My list so far:
Directx 9/11

Shaders

3D Math

Engine Architecture

 

Any specific graphics things that are easy to trip up on that big game companies commonly ask?

 

Thanks!

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Every company is different.  It's hard to give good abstract advice.

 

Is this a graphics engineering position?  Most game programmers never really touch graphics APIs or shaders and don't need to know much about them in detail.

 

I would recommend that you focus on software engineering in general - algorithms, data structures, hardware, etc.  Most companies want to hire strong developers rather than one-trick ponies.  A good overall understanding of game-specific topics can't hurt.

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You have to study up on the company.  Learn whatever you can about the games that they've made. Read the credits -- maybe you'll meet some people who worked on some of their games.  You need to be aware.

 

Be ready to answer the question: "What's your favorite game, and why?"  Hint: you have to have really good reasons (analytical, not just superlatives).

 

Have good questions to ask. Bad questions: "how many vacation days do I get? Do I get stock options?"  Good questions show that you know the company, are eager and curious about the work and the games that you'll work on.

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Also left unmentioned, but having done a few interviews....

Simple hygiene is sadly frequently overlooked. We'll be sitting face-to-face and three feet apart: Shower with soap, use deodorant, wash and brush your hair, brush your teeth, use mouthwash, wash your hands with soap again before entering the office, and suck on few breath mints before entering the office. Again in all caps: NEVER REJECT AN OFFER OF BREATH MINTS OR STRONG-SCENTED CHEWING GUM. It is not a secret hidden agenda to see if you prefer spearmint or peppermint. If I offer you some chewing gum or a breath mint during the interview, assume it is because your breath (or possibly some other part of you) stinks and I am giving you a polite way to fix it, or at least mask it. Take me up on that offer.

Simple appearance is sadly too frequently overlooked. We are a casual industry. Usually a CLEAN, UNWRINKLED, hole-free t-shirt, CLEAN shorts or pants that aren't threadbare or holey, CLEAN plain socks and REASONABLY CARED FOR casual shoes are okay. I've seen too many shirts and shorts that were covered in heaven-knows-what. Flip-flops may be okay when you've worked here a while, but not for an interview. Stinky shoes don't cut it, buy some odor eaters or a new pair prior to the interview. Also wear clothes that don't smell like you live in the gutter or smoke. Most offices are smoke-free environments, so just don't.

When I see smears of gray goo on a shirt, or a badly stained t-shirt that should have been thrown out last decade, or brown goo on a pant leg (or rump), or if you stink, or if I feel the need to wash my hands after shaking yours, sorry, you go to the 'no hire' pile no matter what your technical abilities were.

You are probably good on those, and I wish they were obvious to everyone, but that really happens. So don't do that.

 

At my last company we literally kept cans of floral-scented Lysol in the interview rooms. The industry is casual in that we don't wear business suits. It is still an office environment.

 


Beyond that, I don't feel like there is much to cram for when it comes to a technical interview. Good interviewers are perfectly able to ask you questions and dig down deeply until they hit the edge of your knowledge. Either you have the technical knowledge and abilities they want, or you don't. It is okay to say "I'd need to look that up, but I think it is such-and-such", but ultimately they will quickly discover if it is something you know, something you need a little refresher on, or something you are clueless about.

Hiring someone is a two-way street, you need to know a few things about the company just like they want to know about you. Do some research about the company, be prepared with a few questions and notes about the studio you may have. No need to cram and memorize them, you can ask questions read from a sheet of paper if you prefer; I'm totally fine with that since I'd hate for you to forget to ask something that you felt was important.

Just be yourself. That's all they want to see.

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Bad questions: "how many vacation days do I get? Do I get stock options?" Good questions show that you know the company, are eager and curious about the work and the games that you'll work on.

 

There is nothing wrong with understanding what benefits you will obtain with the position - while a hiring manager probably isn't the best person to ask, there's no reason why you cannot speak with an HR representative of the company that's looking to hire you about your benefits. As long as the questions regarding benefits is within the appropriate context, understanding your off-time, stock options, momentum for upward or lateral movement, continued education, etc. is well within the bounds of acceptable questions. This is often a very misunderstood portion of employee to employer relationships, however this relationship isn't a one-way street and for your work - you're entitled to a specific level of compensation defined by the hiring company.  Understanding what this compensation is, is not only important, it's ignorant of an individual to take a position and not understand it. Compensation goes well beyond the definitions of dollar amount pay.

Edited by DocBrown
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There is nothing wrong with understanding what benefits you will obtain with the position


No, but if you haven't been given an offer yet, asking such questions in the interview doesn't make you look like an eager contributor to the company. Ask those things when they make you an offer -- not in the interview.
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