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leovst

Portfolio feedback

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Recently I've been working on my portfolio, in order to contact game studios later this month.

I'm currently a student enrolled in a game development degree and my goal is to get an internship in a smaller game studio with at most 10 employees.

 

While I received some feedback from friends, I would like to know what people within the industry think of my portfolio.

 

http://www.leovst.com

 

Any feedback is appreciated.

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Since I'm only a web developer at the moment, my feedback will be limited to that. Hopefully you will still find it helpful.

 

Portfolio

- Cut the "Website still a work in progress". It implies you have unfinished work on your site. If you do, those should be partitioned off into blogs (e.g. "I learned X while working on Y")

- Cut the red box at the top of your main page. As a common practice, that is used for errors/emergency announcements/etc. What you're saying in that box should come across as readily apparent from the rest of your website.

- I would reorganize the left menu some. Put games and 3d as submenus under projects. I'd also include a link to a resume page where you have your resume rendered in HTML with the pdf link featured prominently on the page. Shift the left menu up some. 

- Homepage shows too many categories. I'd stick to just showing a games category. Also, I'm not sure how much utility you'd get from having a separate rendering section when your stated goal is a gameplay programmer. I would put your most recent effort or the project your most proud of prominently displayed on the homepage. 

- Rather than have your projects carousel on the bottom, maybe have them as a vertical right column (and shift to the bottom for smaller screen sizes)? I bring this us as an example, but the general feedback is that you don't seem to use your space well.

- It's good that "Leo" links back to your homepage in the left menu. I hate when sites don't have that. I'd recommend wrapping the link around your entire name, but that tidbit is not strictly necessary.

- As a last nitpicky thing, when you have an accordion expand content and that button has a "+" sign, you should make it into a "-" sign when it's expanded.

 

Resume

Your resume has some good content in it, but it is in need of some vast reorganization. To be blunt, your current skillset/work history does not justify going over a one page resume. Rather than give you a wall of text for how to rearrange it, I would rather first point you to Gayle McDowell's excellent page on resume advice. I'd be happy to provide further feedback on the next draft. http://www.careercup.com/resume

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Going over your resume first as it will be the first thing employers will look at when you send it in.

You have a few things on your resume that I am not sure its needed. I am not from europe so it could be different out there.

These things you dont need on your resume.

Nationality -
Date of birth 
Gender

Professional objective - Not needed as this is usually covered by your cover letter ( explains who you are and why you are applying and why you think you should be considered)

Getting rid of these will shorten it quite a bit. A lot of people do not like looking at more than 1 page resumes. 

Think of a resume as a feature sheet, what makes you awesome and qualified for the job.

You can save more detailed info for your website.

Under experience you just have game jams with names of games. Did you make the games alone? If not you should state what parts of the games you worked on.

Your skills section could be summed up a little better. Do you really need all the art programs on there if you are applying for a programming job?

Your section on education is also really hard to read. I would try a different formatting for it.



When looking through your games I notice there is no code samples. Since it's your portfolio Show some code, just seeing screenshots doesn't tell me anything about you as a coder. Are you a messy coder? Can I read the code and understand whats going on? All I see is that there was a game and you have a screenshot or video of it. Explain what kinda systems you implemented in the games and any difficulties + solutions you had to them.

 

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Here are a few things that come to mind (personally) when checking out your portfolio:

 

  • Stick to what you want: Your first line mentions gameplay programming. Alright, second line is prototyping; that's still related to programming, but a different aspect. When suddenly we got art related stuff.. While I get what you're going at, It's probably not that necessary to put stuff in your portfolio that you (as you mention yourself) are not really interested in. Instead, if you really want to mention it, add it to the specific project.
  • I'm pretty sure the people viewing your site will know what gameplay programming is. (or any of the other descriptions really), I would simply rephrase those lines and mention what you learned on that specific subject in the project.
  • Flesh our your projects a bit more and keep it consistent:
    • You're using "challenges", "coding challenges and "problems" for the same foldout. Stick to one thing unless it's really something different.
    • You have a couple of group projects in there, list what you contributed to that project. (pair it up with what you learned)
    • Back up any claims you are making: "In unity, listening to each key press is best done within the OnGui() method". Why?
    • Show meaningful code: You're mentioning that you are validating the key press in Not Fish, yet you don't show how. You're only showing me you can use an if statement in that particular snippit.
    • Show code! In your Fiery Core project you only mention 2 random generation types, explain what you did. Show code! (or in a case of blueprint, show your logic!)
    • Don't leave code out. In your Sir Lance Alot snippits you're using //Code... comments. I'm not sure if you're omitting code (which you shouldn't) or that you are placing comments that have no meaning at all.

That's all that came to mind quickly, the above mentioned stuff is also valid, so no need to state it twice. :)

 

Good luck! :)

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Ok, that's some great feedback already. Thanks guys!

 

Right now I'm already moving through some of the points fixing and editing according to your feedback.

I got the resume down to one page through much cutting and a more compact layout, I still have to create an html version.

After your feedback I'm also planning on rearranging my projects a bit, probably something similar to: recent projects, old projects and other projects. (Which somehow seems less descriptive than the current iteration)

 

Furthermore, my goal is getting into a smaller game studio, maybe indie, and as far as I understood a versatile skill set is required for those. In a smaller studio, I might be working closely with artists, knowing what they are talking about is important in such situations I assume. That's why I'm trying to highlight that on top of gameplay programming, I'm interested in and have a basic know-how of other parts in the game development process as well.

As to how I'm highlighting it, I'm still trying to figure that out. So far my best try was dividing my projects into the categories you see on the home page.

Any feedback on improving (or maybe cutting) this idea is welcome as well.

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Furthermore, my goal is getting into a smaller game studio, maybe indie, and as far as I understood a versatile skill set is required for those. In a smaller studio, I might be working closely with artists, knowing what they are talking about is important in such situations I assume. That's why I'm trying to highlight that on top of gameplay programming, I'm interested in and have a basic know-how of other parts in the game development process as well.
As to how I'm highlighting it, I'm still trying to figure that out. So far my best try was dividing my projects into the categories you see on the home page.
Any feedback on improving (or maybe cutting) this idea is welcome as well.

 

I get your point and I understand your reasoning. I also wouldn't say it's a bad thing to show you understand the (basic) principles of design and/or art, but (and I do note this is personal) I do think it's better suited to emphasis your programming skills on a project basis and add the minor (art/design) parts to it. Kind of the same way you already did for Sir Lance Alot. For things like art I would just create a single page with all the relevant stuff you want to show if you can't tie it in with an existing project.

 

Now I can't speak for every company, but most of them will surely focus their search (or list openings) for a specific role and everything you can bring to the team as an extra, is just that, a nice extra. Even small teams need to focus their efforts in the specifics. You can always bring up your extra skills at an interview and you can also always mention it in your motivation letter.

 

I did my internship at a company with 3 people and while they welcomed a diverse skill set, it was the programming that got me in (and the fact that I know how to program shaders) :)

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I get your point and I understand your reasoning. I also wouldn't say it's a bad thing to show you understand the (basic) principles of design and/or art, but (and I do note this is personal) I do think it's better suited to emphasis your programming skills on a project basis and add the minor (art/design) parts to it.


Yeah most companies don't even read resumes the first time round. They skim them for skills they are looking for which can usually be found on the job posting. Once they get the pile of resumes reduced decently then they start actually reviewing them. This is why you want the most important skills to pop out to employers not be buried within things they are not looking for.

The resume isn't going to get you a job what it will get you is an interview. Then you can let them know about all your other skills that make you more valuable.

I tend to change my resume a bit and especially the cover letter depending on the job I am applying for. Just changing the descriptions of things I worked on at previous jobs that cater more towards skills the employer is looking for.

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