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My introduction and also a question

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Hi guys,

My name is Andrew and I’d like to ask for some advice here.. :)

I recently joined a big gaming company as a Game Tester. My goal is to become a Gamplay programmer and I felt that starting from a lower position would give an insight of the company and on the process of games development without having a huge responsibility on my shoulders.

I’m fairly good with C++ , I know and work with concepts like classes, functions , pointers and so on. I’m an engineer so I understand how computer memory works and so on.

In this quest of becoming GP programmer I’ve bought 2 books, Game Programming Patterns and Game Coding Complete. I started reading the first one and I find it a good read for me because it explains the concepts of game programming on a very basic level.

My problem is that the time I have for learning is limited , around 1 hour during lunch break and around 2 - 3 hours when I get home from work (Weekends also).

My dilemma is the following:

What is the most efficient way to learn game programming, given the limited time I have?

Should I read these books, do the examples they have and then try to build a game of my own?
Or should i just start with some practical tutorials (like Lazy Foo has with SDL) without having any theory knowledge about Game programming.

The fact that I’m 32 puts another weight on my shoulders. Around January 2017 (that is a year from now) I’d like to apply for a “Junior” Gameplay Programmer position at the company I work for (yes, they have something like junior GP programmer for their staff).

Thanks a lot , in advance, for any answer!

Andrew

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Hello, Im just wondering what company are you working for?

 

As for the efficient way of learning for me is I read by chapter then give me self some time to code and explore things. If for somehow I could not understand simple concept Im gonna ask here or do some googling. But most of the stuff I got confuse a lot is more of math because I always wonder how things work on lower level. Since you are an engineer Im guessing math would not be much of a burden to you.

 

Read chapter ----> code -----> explore posibilities ---- > write it down if cant understand -------> then move on to next or solve those things that you cant understand. For me its like that.

 

And also congrats.

Edited by LetsDoThis

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What is the most efficient way to learn game programming, given the limited time I have?

 

 

Make games. It will be far more useful to you; you'll learn how to do the thing you want to do, and you'll have some games to show off when you try to get a job as a gameplay programmer somewhere.

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Hello, Im just wondering what company are you working for?

 

As for the efficient way of learning for me is I read by chapter then give me self some time to code and explore things. If for somehow I could not understand simple concept Im gonna ask here or do some googling. But most of the stuff I got confuse a lot is more of math because I always wonder how things work on lower level. Since you are an engineer Im guessing math would not be much of a burden to you.

 

Read chapter ----> code -----> explore posibilities ---- > write it down if cant understand -------> then move on to next or solve those things that you cant understand. For me its like that.

 

And also congrats.

 

Hi,

 

Thanks for this advice! I have all sort of NDA policies so I'm a little bit afraid to tell the name. Let's just it's one of the biggest publishers on the market right now.

I appreciate your advice because it's somehow my way of thinking.

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What is the most efficient way to learn game programming, given the limited time I have?

 

 

Make games. It will be far more useful to you; you'll learn how to do the thing you want to do, and you'll have some games to show off when you try to get a job as a gameplay programmer somewhere.

 

I was also thinking about this but there are some paradigms and design patterns that I'd like to know before I start the actual work. For example reading the Game Programming Patterns gave me some very useful examples on how to work with C++ and gaming (for example the flyweight or command pattern).

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Game Tesing aint gonna get you anywhere. However in one of my past jobs there was an internal program that tries to convert game tester to programmers(at some degree). So you could ask if you company has something similar. Otherwise learn during you spare time (or do anything that is agreeable with you budgets and lifestyle).

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Sloperama FAQ says testing is a good stepping stone towards some other jobs: http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson5.htm

 
 

 

 
It depends on the company. Everywhere I've ever worked, testing wasn't the best way to get into a programming job.
 
I was also thinking about this but there are some paradigms and design patterns that I'd like to know before I start the actual work. For example reading the Game Programming Patterns gave me some very useful examples on how to work with C++ and gaming (for example the flyweight or command pattern).

 

 
Yes, but that can also be a detriment to you if you're not careful.  Consider this recent thread. At the end of a year, having some games and practical experience to show off is going to mean far more for your job chances than knowing some facts about "patterns." If your time is limited, you want to maximize the value you get out of that time, and for that there's no better way to get good at making games than making games.

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Moving to the job advice section, since that's the part everyone's talking about and some of the job advice FAQs have already been linked to.

 

Since you say you already know C++, and you have a job as a tester...

 

First and foremost: CONTINUE TO DO THE JOB YOU WERE HIRED FOR.  They wanted you for that job, show them that you can do it.

 

When you have spare time and are discussing bug fixes, ask the programmers details about how they are fixing things.  As it comes up in conversations tell them that you are a programmer and are in QA, but don't push for a job while you've got a full year left.

 

Learn what you can from the programming team, and figure out if you've got the background for game programming.  If you do not, determine if you need a college degree, or if you only need to brush up on a few subjects.

 

In addition to making friends of the programming team, make friends of HR so you can hear about any junior programming positions, and make friends with the various team leads who do the hiring so they know you're interested and in the market.

 

Be prepared that you will probably be assessed through the regular new-hire assessments they do, but you'll probably have a slightly easier time of it that an unknown applicant because you've demonstrated you have a passion for making games and can work at the company. If they require a programming test you'll still be required to pass it.

 

Getting a job at any particular company requires a couple things.  First, luck with timing since you need to apply when they are looking for someone; since you're working there for a year if you set yourself up right you have met this one.  Second, you need to be selected for consideration for the job; for an unknown that means looking at the application and a series of interviews, but since you aren't applying that way you will need to be prepared to show your chops as a programmer at a moment's notice. Potentially you'll be called to a meeting and they'll say "We heard you are interested in a programming job, this is your interview. Go."  Third, once you're being reviewed you'll need to show you can do the job.  Often that means a degree in computer science and side projects that show an interest in games, or real work experience in programming showing you can do the job. That's where building your own portfolio of side projects can help.  

 

If all of those items work out in your favor, you'll likely have made the lateral transition.

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What is the most efficient way to learn game programming, given the limited time I have?

 

 

Make games. It will be far more useful to you; you'll learn how to do the thing you want to do, and you'll have some games to show off when you try to get a job as a gameplay programmer somewhere.

 

I was also thinking about this but there are some paradigms and design patterns that I'd like to know before I start the actual work. For example reading the Game Programming Patterns gave me some very useful examples on how to work with C++ and gaming (for example the flyweight or command pattern).

 

 

I second the "make games" suggestion.

 

As you go from developing simple games to more complex ones, you'll begin to see where various design patterns, paradigms, and algorithms are the solution that fits best. You do still need to know that these patterns exist to be able to ask yourself the question, "I wonder if what I actually need here is x?" and of course having done some experiments will get you further, faster. But, I think, the practical experience of making use of something outweighs going through theoretical exercises in a book.

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[quote name="FRex" post="5274325" timestamp="1454619293"][quote]
Game Tesing aint gonna get you anywhere.[/quote]Sloperama FAQ says testing is a good stepping stone towards some other jobs for some people: [url="http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson5.htm"]http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson5.htm[/url][/quote]
It's possible to get a programming job thru QA, but QA isn't the "best" way to get there. Most of the people who visited Sloperama back then (when I first wrote the article) wanted to become a game designer, didn't have any programming skills, and didn't have any art skills. They were also interested in producing (possibly through a misguided impression that thru design or production, they could boss everybody and tell them what games to make). I absolutely still stand by my advice that QA is a good entry pathway into the game industry for people who are not programmers or artists (or lawyers or financial types).

 

Also, when I saw this thread in For Beginners, I didn't move it here because the OP was primarily asking how to learn programming.

[quote name="kseh" post="5274341" timestamp="1454622598"]
I second the "make games" suggestion.[/quote]
I third it. And I second the advice frob gave above (it goes hand-in-hand with my article 85, "Upgrade to designer"
[url="http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m85.htm"]http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m85.htm[/url]
The principle applies equally to upgrading to programmer.

Edited by Tom Sloper

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when I saw this thread in For Beginners, I didn't move it here because the OP was primarily asking how to learn programming.

That was my initial thought as well, but then an hour later the replies tended toward job advice rather than typical For Beginners technical content, so I figured this was a better landing place. Easy enough for it to move back to For Beginners.  

 

Looking it over, it sounds like he might know enough to be a junior developer already. If not, he's got a year of weekends and evenings (plenty of time) to learn then make a lateral conversion.

 


I’m fairly good with C++. I know and work with concepts like classes, functions , pointers and so on. ... the time I have for learning is limited ... Should I read these books? ... try to build a game of my own? Or should i just start with some practical tutorials?  ... There are some paradigms and design patterns that I'd like to know before I start the actual work.

 

My career advice is still to go make friendly with the right co-workers. If what was written is accurate, then begingpps knows as much as many other junior developers plus works at a game studio. By spending time with the developers and getting exposure to the code and jargon, begingpps should be able to quickly discover which skills are weak and study those specific topics. 

 

So far I've met 3 people who made that transition. Not many, it isn't a common path, but it is certainly a viable option for where begingpps is today.

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My career advice is still to go make friendly with the right co-workers.

Absolutely. Working in QA gives you an opportunity to get to know people, and for them to get to know you and that you should be on their team. 

So far I've met 3 people who made that transition. Not many, it isn't a common path, but it is certainly a viable option for where begingpps is today.

Just sayin'!

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for how to learn fast, online tutorials was the first thing that popped into my head. 

 

but definitely build games.    don't read about patterns of code organization in game code - write game code! <g>

Edited by Norman Barrows

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Thanks everyone for your advice!

 

 

 


My career advice is still to go make friendly with the right co-workers. If what was written is accurate, then begingpps knows as much as many other junior developers plus works at a game studio. By spending time with the developers and getting exposure to the code and jargon, begingpps should be able to quickly discover which skills are weak and study those specific topics. 
 
So far I've met 3 people who made that transition. Not many, it isn't a common path, but it is certainly a viable option for where begingpps is today.

 

 


It's possible to get a programming job thru QA, but QA isn't the "best" way to get there. Most of the people who visited Sloperama back then (when I first wrote the article) wanted to become a game designer, didn't have any programming skills, and didn't have any art skills. They were also interested in producing (possibly through a misguided impression that thru design or production, they could boss everybody and tell them what games to make). I absolutely still stand by my advice that QA is a good entry pathway into the game industry for people who are not programmers or artists (or lawyers or financial types).
 
Also, when I saw this thread in For Beginners, I didn't move it here because the OP was primarily asking how to learn programming.
 

 

The QA path is the only one available for me at the moment + it gives me a good insight on the game development stages. You get used to terms and all sort of stuff from writing bugs and also I found a lot of interesting things when work with the game command console (where you can enter flymode and stuff like that) . 

 

When i first got into the QA thing, the first article I read was the one from Sloperama smile.png .

 

After reading carefully through the responses I think I'll use my lunch break to read the books I have and the time spent home to the actual programming (it's also quite wired to install Microsoft Visual or some libraries on the PC that i have the office).

 

 

On the other hand, what do you guys think of Lazy Foo Begin Game Programming 2.0 using SDL. Do you think it's a good start? I've checked it out and it seems pretty complex and interesting, covering many points.

 

Has anyone tried this 3dbuzz[dot]com/training/view/c-plus-plus-complete/spritebased-game ? I've seen some of their free videos but I'm not sure if the other are ok. You have to pay for them and I'm not sure I want to do that, if they don't add any value.

 

Thanks!

Edited by begingpps

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what do you guys think of Lazy Foo Begin Game Programming 2.0 using SDL. Do you think it's a good start? I've checked it out and it seems pretty complex and interesting, covering many points.
 
Has anyone tried this 3dbuzz[dot]com/training/view/c-plus-plus-complete/spritebased-game ?


Please ask questions like that one in the For Beginners forum, not Game Industry Job Advice. Or do you want this thread moved back there again?

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what do you guys think of Lazy Foo Begin Game Programming 2.0 using SDL. Do you think it's a good start? I've checked it out and it seems pretty complex and interesting, covering many points.
 
Has anyone tried this 3dbuzz[dot]com/training/view/c-plus-plus-complete/spritebased-game ?


Please ask questions like that one in the For Beginners forum, not Game Industry Job Advice. Or do you want this thread moved back there again?

 

I think I'll make another thread with the last two question because their are a little bit beyond the subject of this thread :)

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