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rbsupercool

How to prepare myself to get a job in a AAA game company?

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Hello everyone, thanks a lot for taking the time to read my topic. I want to be an awesome game developer and make it to AAA game studios. Though I know few languages and game API s but I wanna be an expert in this field and I want to prepare myself fully from now. I want you all to advise me how to proceed from very low to an expert level and to be in a position so that I can be interviewed by AAA game studios. 

 

Currently I know C++, java, python and some other languages . I used pygame, Unity, SDL but never made something serious. Please advise me how to proceed with languages, libraries, engines and books.  

 

Thanks a lot everyone.. :)

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Make demos that are polished and proves a point, aka. portfolio.

 

For reference I googled for art portfolio, and found someone I think could get a job in game industry:

http://daniellieske.deviantart.com/

 

More relevant for computer engineers, someone with a website with demos and code examples:

http://www.iquilezles.org/www/index.htm

 

Which reminds me.. I tried sooooooo hard to make this, and I failed in the end:

http://www.iquilezles.org/www/articles/voronoise/voronoise.htm

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Please advise me how to proceed with languages, libraries, engines and books.

 

Get to know the industry you want to work in. Asking here is of course a good start, but being able to search for the answers yourself is a good thing (and in a way also sort of a requirement as you will need to be able to do you research). Check out job opening positions at current AAA companies and see what they're looking for. Most companies will ask for C++ experience when it comes to languages (though not always the case) though.

 

While having a proper understanding of the required language is always something they're looking for, it doesn't mean it is the main focus point as some languages are easy to catch up on if you have sufficient knowledge about another. (In my case for example. I had a good amount of C++ knowledge and about a years worth of C# which I needed for a job position, I still got the job because I was able to use my C++ knowledge to relate with C# problems).

 

It doesn't really matter what engine and/or library you are using, what matters is that you can work with the available ones. Chances are you will be working with an engine developed in-house and that you are able to work with it without a huge amount of effort. Though once again, I also have seen plenty of job openings that list using engine X as a plus.

 

When you finally are ready to get your hands dirty, do as Kaptein already mentioned: Show what you're made of! :)

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Write code. Write a lot of code. Read more code.

During this process, if at all possible, make some games. They needn't be hugely advanced or flashy, just fun. If you can write a fun game, you're 99% of the way there.

Find a focus as well; figure out what parts of the game programming process you enjoy the most, and concentrate on strengthening your skills in those areas.

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Some misc thoughts on the matter:

* Know C++ really, really well. Not just the usage of the language, but a lot of the design internals of the language, how code generation behaves, etc. We can go back and forth all day about the value of other languages in development, but ultimately it's the C++ experts who get the jobs first. 

* Have ONE demo that is GOOD and polished. I've had mixed results on whether studios actually want to see the demo, or see just the code, or ignore it entirely. But simply having it matters, and the more you can show the better. Alternately, have a demo that demonstrates some very sophisticated technical work that you did. This is useful if you're applying for a specialist job (graphics, physics, etc), not so much for a generalist game programmer job.

* Have a broad base of knowledge. Multiple graphics APIs, multiple languages, multiple engines, multiple everything.

* Be willing to work hard. Candidly, game development is not a 40 hour a week job and there's a lot of people willing to put the hours in out there. Some companies might pay lip service to "work life balance" but we all know it's not true.

Edited by Promit

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Candidly, game development is not a 40 hour a week job and there's a lot of people willing to put the hours in out there. Some companies might pay lip service to "work life balance" but we all know it's not true.

I would say that more studios are figuring out that overtime is harmful to a project. When I worked at a 400 staff developer, we never did overtime (38 hours a week, every week). Recently at a <50 staff developer, when the management asked people to start doing 50hr weeks instead of 38hrs, the lead programmer resigned on the spot, followed by a lot of other senior staff in the following weeks. The backlash almost killed the studio.
When working for larger companies, you really do have a choice as to whether you'll put up with that sort of abuse or not. Just say no, kids!

However, yeah, as a beginner trying to get their foot in the door, you have no leverage at all and aren't in demand, so you'll probably want to choose to put up with these kinds of companies just to get the experience...

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When working for larger companies, you really do have a choice as to whether you'll put up with that sort of abuse or not. Just say no, kids!

However, yeah, as a beginner trying to get their foot in the door, you have no leverage at all and aren't in demand, so you'll probably want to choose to put up with these kinds of companies just to get the experience...

Just to be clear - I'm saying that you should be prepared to work periodic 50-60 hour weeks at most and the occasional crunch time. (Which is not to say that things should be that way.) This particular habit of the industry is borderline (or grey area legally), but not unusual in creative industries. There are actually abusive companies out there, however, who will demand 60+ hour weeks throughout an entire project with even worse crunch times. That goes too far. Don't put up with actual abuse.

Edited by Promit

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