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matt77hias

Game developper, graphics programmer

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Some update to a previous post:

I looked and applied for some internships but received not a lot of responses. Now, I am offered an internship as game developper which is close but not really the same as a game engine graphics programmer which is still my goal in the end.

Since the job is not compatible with my PhD (due to the differences in content, duration, funds, etc.), I would need to make a decision and select one of these two options. On the one hand, my PhD is not really going in the direction I want to. On the other hand, I am not sure the job of a game developper is the right intermediate (short or long term) step towards a job as game engine graphics programmer? This does not mean I am not interested in the specifics of game development, but it feels like a wrong motivation to start with (although in a perfect world, I would like to be partial game developer, partial game engine programmer and partial graphics programmer with the largest weight for the latter). Does this transition in the game industry actually occur a lot?

I am passionate about software design (I love software language designs, compiler and interpreter designs and algorithms, etc.), low level stuff and rendering in general, but I am not really sure I will find these in scripting a game (no offense meant to game developpers for making this too black and white). Furthermore, I know the specifics of rendering in theory and practice (still working on my D3D/HLSL skills from the ground up as opposed to all the ray tracing stuff) both recent and old stuff. The reality, however, does not offer lots of graphics internships but only full time jobs. So if I need to quit my PhD, there would now also be the third option of directly applying for the job as a game engine graphics programmer. But somehow requirements like "years of experience with AAA games" and "excellency in programming D3D and HLSL" seem way out of reach.

Any thoughts on this?

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I can't really comment on whether or not you should abandon your PhD or not, but I can comment on the graphics programming thing.

 

Graphics programming positions are generally not entry-level positions. If you want to get to that point, you'll have to establish some experience in the industry first. To that end, taking a position as any other kind of programmer in a game development company will likely move you to a better position to eventually move into a graphics programming role.

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To that end, taking a position as any other kind of programmer in a game development company will likely move you to a better position to eventually move into a graphics programming role.

 

And what about game development versus game engine programming? Because the requirements suddenly become easier to fullfill after dropping the specific domain of graphics (of course still a goal in the long term); for instance game engine or gameplay programmer (i.e. more directed to the game engine and abstracted from specific games).

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what about game development versus game engine programming?

 

They are functionally the same thing, simply with a different goal. It's not a wildly different career path. 

 

Because the requirements suddenly become easier to fullfill after dropping the specific domain of graphics

 

Yes, because again, the expectations of most "graphics programmer" roles are those that come with expectations of significant experience building games and related stuff, significant experience with the underlying hardware and systems. 

 

for instance game engine or gameplay programmer (i.e. more directed to the game engine and abstracted from specific games).

 

You might generally find it more difficult to get an entry level role as an "engine programmer," (maybe not as difficult as you will find it to be an entry-level "graphics programmer," simply because the available scope of the former is larger) because the engine layers of the code are upstream of other programmers and thus more experience is generally expected of programmers in those roles. Gameplay programmers are generally the leaf nodes of such a dependency chain, and thus usually the most readily-available to entry-level employees.

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