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What should I expect from game industry?

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Hi at all! Today, a question came up in my mind.

 

Currently, I'm a university student at the first year. Everyday I try to balance study and work.

 

I mainly work as a freelance, but I don't really like to make websites and mobile apps (which are the most frequent requests from my customers). But I like working with Arduino and Raspberry (I think they are more funny to work with, than making the same website / e-commerce / mobile app over and over, and over... and over)

But... It's not what I want, despite being a decent source of earning...

 

In the free time, I'm putting all the effort I can into my small OpenGL engine.

When I will graduate, I'd like to have at least a fully functional OpenGL, featuring lighting, shadows, ocean simulation (I'm still struggling with it XD) and skeletal animation (and maybe an audio backend, at the end).

 

I succeded to implement deferred shading. I'm currently working on lighting. I think I will finish this project in time for my graduation thesis (I have almost three years of time XD).

 

But, the question is: how many chances I have to work in a game company?

AFAIK, OpenGL is getting kind of deprecated (I know, it will still be supported for a loooooong time).

I'd rather finish my project with OpenGL, than spending time learning Vulkan, which I found really hard, expecially because almost no book, nor tutorials were available.

You can't find the amount of OpenGL resources for Vulkan (I'm talking about the API itself, not about shading techniques).

 

So, another question, but not very important is: Does a game company spend on your education?

Considering that developers who learn DirectX or OpenGL, Vulkan or Metal, etc..., they do it because they are really interested into it.

Otherwise, I would stay here, without struggling, making the same Magento e-commerce, or the same ERP software over and over, and over LOL.

I don't expect small or indie game companies spending money to do it, but I think BIG companies should care about their employeers, and mantain them always updated about new technologies (Vulkan, for instance).

 

What do you think? What do you advise me?

Thanks in advance!

 

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1. how many chances I have to work in a game company?
2. Does a game company spend on your education?


1. It depends. Where do you live? Read these:
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson27.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson24.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m84.htm
http://gamedevmap.com/

2. No company is going to reimburse you for a four-year degree. But it's
not unusual for an employer to pay to send you to a short seminar.

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But, the question is: how many chances I have to work in a game company?

 

The same number as anybody else. When you graduate you'll be minimally competent (at best) and capable of competing with everybody else for the available entry level jobs. If you are good at what you do, if you put time into your education and your extracurricular work as a game developer, you'll probably have a good shot. If you just skated by, well, you'll have less of a shot.

 

I'd like to point out that, unfortunately, graphics programming is not really an entry-level position. The vast majority of game developers will be working somewhere above OpenGL, D3D and Vulkan in the level of abstraction, and while general knowledge of the graphics pipeline and hardware is a plus, specifics of particular APIs is not that big of a deal. They're just APIs, you'll be expected to pick up any you don't know relatively quickly.

 

Unfortunately that means your OpenGL rendering engine project is likely to be less impressive than you think. Not because it's OpenGL, per se, but simply because it demonstrates stuff that isn't as well-aligned with the actual work you'll be expected to do as an entry-level developer and also is fairly basic stuff for the domain that it fits into (graphics programming). I would encourage you to refocus your project somewhat so that you are producing something that looks like an actual game, not just some deferred-shaded 3D models running a basic skeletal mesh algorithm.

 

Does a game company spend on your education?

 

Usually not. Some companies might offer a perk that essentially amounts to an annual budget you can use on educational material, which may or may not include things like buying books or paying for conference passes, depending on the company. Some might offer you some flexibility in allowing you to attend a masters degree program or similar, but almost none will fund such a program in any significant fashion.

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Does a game company spend on your education?

 

I don't know of a company that reimburse you for a 2 or 4 year program, but there are some companies that pay or share the cost of Professional Development courses. I have had companies that wanted to explore something new pay for me to attend 2 day conferences and things.

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but I think BIG companies should care about their employeers, and mantain them always updated about new technologies (Vulkan, for instance)

That's called a job. Someone at a game company certainly got a task scheduled on the clock to implement DX10,11,12 features as they came along. However if you are not the person with that task, then no, they aren't going to pay you to learn those just because you want to.

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One interesting thing I see in your post is that everything is about graphics (and animation). Graphics are an important part of a game, but proportionally only a few professional game programmers will be doing graphical work, especially when talking about the low level OpenGL/DirectX/Vulkan code. I would say that your chances of getting a paid role in the industry are better served by mastering the other parts of game development instead of worrying about learning a new graphical API. (This is also why most companies won't be paying to train people in Vulkan skills; most of their employees will never need them.)

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Most have been already said above by others so I will just add my 5cents to it. The games industry is very fragile hence it's mostly always product oriented - it doesn't matter that much what technology you use as long as it takes you to the end of it and you succeed releasing finished games. The smaller studio, the more it comes to be a matter of life and death. It means that especially as a junior developer, you will be thrown to work on very different areas, not necessary ones which you like ( well, this happens also to lot more senior developers too but they've been long enough in the industry to know what to expect ).

 

First of all the OpenGL is nowhere near being deprecated or obsolete. Vulkan is still very immature and takes very experienced programmers to tackle it ( have you ever written a graphics driver? With Vulkan you're almost there ). You can learn it from the specification ( I did, however since my company is a part of Khronos Group I admit I had a little bit better start ). Vulkan API isn't a problem at all. It looks horrible in the beginning etc. but it actually does what it says it does. The problem is something else - all other advanced knowledge you should have when you use Vulkan ( or DX12 ). That's why for this role rather senior and principal developers would be assigned. My company isn't a game development one but we do support and work with studios which try to implement Vulkan in their games. We see advanced programmers making crucial mistakes ( mostly in regard to objects lifetime and synchronisation ).

 

Now let's talk about the game engines. For a couple of years, the market has been flooded with various, better and worse, game engines. Game studios don't have to invest much money in own technology mostly because they can take one that exists, if needed adjust it to their need and have a game released in the finite amount of time ( so they may avoid redundancies by the end of the year - yay! success! ). Of course, some of the studios still invest in proprietary tech but then, you being a junior without big portfolio won't be anywhere near that. Portfolio for you, as engine developer, means games built with your own engine. The engine itself backed up with the long list of cool features is not so impressive Today. However what may impress somebody are games powered by it. Games which were not a chore to develop ( you took care about the development pipeline, tools etc. ), pretty much bugless, stable and running with good performance. Metaphorically speaking, if you're on the side with Carmack, then find somebody to be your Romero ;)

 

One more interesting thing is that even as a junior you may actually be allowed to work on the low-level Vulkan stuff if only you show something that proves you have an experience. Believe me, showing the running game or even better - games written from scratch, which maintains nice framerate, stable memory usage, doesn't crash ( I repeat: DOESN'T CRASH ) and doesn't throw thousands of warnings with validation layers enabled - I would probably consider you as a fit for such work.

 

Edit: Just wanted to add one thing, because my last paragraph looks a little bit like contradicting what @Kylotan said:

 

"This is also why most companies won't be paying to train people in Vulkan skills; most of their employees will never need them.)"

 

He is absolutely right and what I meant is the circumstances when the company actually looking for somebody to be Vulkan or DX12 guru. This is the very rare case and as I said - we do a lot of such work for external companies, so it shows what @Kylotan means by that - rather that a company invest time and money into porting stuff from one tech to another they're more likely to hire thirdparty developer to do the job for them. But there's always chance to find company that wants to make things independently :)

Edited by j_uk_dev

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Does a game company spend on your education?

 

Well they aren't going to pay off your degree but, you may find that they have a company Safari books online account or a budget for office books.   If you are lucky they might pay for you to attend a conference.


But, the question is: how many chances I have to work in a game company?

Pretty much everybody who programs has messed around and made their own games engine at some point, even the web devs I sometimes work with.  Rather than concentrating on a single Graphics API focus on actually making a game.

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As for Does a game company spend on your education?, I meant If large companies sends you to some kind of seminars sometimes, not a 3-4 year full degree XD.
 
 

Rather than concentrating on a single Graphics API focus on actually making a game.


Yes, you are really right on this.

have you ever written a graphics driver? With Vulkan you're almost there

That's why I found it really difficult. I'd rather stick with OpenGL, and try to make somekind of game XD.

rather that a company invest time and money into porting stuff from one tech to another they're more likely to hire thirdparty developer to do the job for them

I didn't consider it.

Thanks for all the replies. This topic made things clearlier.

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