• Advertisement
  • Popular Tags

  • Popular Now

  • Advertisement
  • Similar Content

    • By jhocking
      My bestselling and highly recommended Unity book has been fully revised! Unity in Action, Second Edition teaches you to write and deploy games with the Unity game development platform. You'll master the Unity toolset from the ground up, adding the skills you need to go from application coder to game developer.

      Foreword by Jesse Schell, author of The Art of Game Design

      Don't take my word for it being good, look at the sky-high ratings on GoodReads.

      You can order the ebook directly from the publisher's site, or order the book on Amazon to get both the physical book and a coupon to download the ebook!
    • By fleissi
      Hey guys!

      I'm new here and I recently started developing my own rendering engine. It's open source, based on OpenGL/DirectX and C++.
      The full source code is hosted on github:
      https://github.com/fleissna/flyEngine

      I would appreciate if people with experience in game development / engine desgin could take a look at my source code. I'm looking for honest, constructive criticism on how to improve the engine.
      I'm currently writing my master's thesis in computer science and in the recent year I've gone through all the basics about graphics programming, learned DirectX and OpenGL, read some articles on Nvidia GPU Gems, read books and integrated some of this stuff step by step into the engine.

      I know about the basics, but I feel like there is some missing link that I didn't get yet to merge all those little pieces together.

      Features I have so far:
      - Dynamic shader generation based on material properties
      - Dynamic sorting of meshes to be renderd based on shader and material
      - Rendering large amounts of static meshes
      - Hierarchical culling (detail + view frustum)
      - Limited support for dynamic (i.e. moving) meshes
      - Normal, Parallax and Relief Mapping implementations
      - Wind animations based on vertex displacement
      - A very basic integration of the Bullet physics engine
      - Procedural Grass generation
      - Some post processing effects (Depth of Field, Light Volumes, Screen Space Reflections, God Rays)
      - Caching mechanisms for textures, shaders, materials and meshes

      Features I would like to have:
      - Global illumination methods
      - Scalable physics
      - Occlusion culling
      - A nice procedural terrain generator
      - Scripting
      - Level Editing
      - Sound system
      - Optimization techniques

      Books I have so far:
      - Real-Time Rendering Third Edition
      - 3D Game Programming with DirectX 11
      - Vulkan Cookbook (not started yet)

      I hope you guys can take a look at my source code and if you're really motivated, feel free to contribute :-)
      There are some videos on youtube that demonstrate some of the features:
      Procedural grass on the GPU
      Procedural Terrain Engine
      Quadtree detail and view frustum culling

      The long term goal is to turn this into a commercial game engine. I'm aware that this is a very ambitious goal, but I'm sure it's possible if you work hard for it.

      Bye,

      Phil
    • By Alex Daughters
       

      Hi, I am currently a college student studying to become a Game Developer. I need to interview current game developers for a class I'm taking. if anyone seeing this could answer just the 5 questions that I have provided below as well as your name, current position, and how many years you've been in the game industry. I'd really appreciate any responses. 
       
      Name:
      Position:
      Year in the industry:
       
      What was the starting salary?
      How many hours do you work?
      What did you learn outside of school that was useful?
      How did you get your job and how hard was it to find it?
      how was this job different than you expected it to be?
       
      Thank you for your time.
      -Alex Daughters
    • By RyRyB
      I got into a conversation awhile ago with some fellow game artists and the prospect of signing bonuses got brought up. Out of the group, I was the only one who had negotiated any sort of sign on bonus or payment above and beyond base compensation. My goal with this article and possibly others is to inform and motivate other artists to work on this aspect of their “portfolio” and start treating their career as a business. 
      What is a Sign-On Bonus?
      Quite simply, a sign-on bonus is a sum of money offered to a prospective candidate in order to get them to join. It is quite common in other industries but rarely seen in the games unless it is at the executive level. Unfortunately, conversations centered around artist employment usually stops at base compensation, quite literally leaving money on the table.
      Why Ask for a Sign-On Bonus?
      There are many reasons to ask for a sign-on bonus. In my experience, it has been to compensate for some delta between how much I need vs. how much the company is offering.
      For example, a company has offered a candidate a position paying $50k/year. However, research indicates that the candidate requires $60k/year in order to keep in line with their personal financial requirements and long-term goals. Instead of turning down the offer wholesale, they may ask for a $10k sign on bonus with actionable terms to partially bridge the gap.
      Whatever the reason may be, the ask needs to be reasonable. Would you like a $100k sign-on bonus? Of course! Should you ask for it? Probably not. A sign-on bonus is a tool to reduce risk, not a tool to help you buy a shiny new sports car.
      Aspects to Consider
      Before one goes and asks for a huge sum of money, there are some aspects of sign-on bonus negotiations the candidate needs to keep in mind.
      - The more experience you have, the more leverage you have to negotiate
      - You must have confidence in your role as an employee.
      - You must have done your research. This includes knowing your personal financial goals and how the prospective offer changes, influences or diminishes those goals.
      To the first point, the more experience one has, the better. If the candidate is a junior employee (roughly defined as less than 3 years of industry experience) or looking for their first job in the industry, it is highly unlikely that a company will entertain a conversation about sign-on bonuses. Getting into the industry is highly competitive and there is likely very little motivation for a company to pay a sign-on bonus for one candidate when there a dozens (or hundreds in some cases) of other candidates that will jump at the first offer.
      Additionally, the candidate must have confidence in succeeding at the desired role in the company. They have to know that they can handle the day to day responsibilities as well as any extra demands that may come up during production. The company needs to be convinced of their ability to be a team player and, as a result, is willing to put a little extra money down to hire them. In other words, the candidate needs to reduce the company’s risk in hiring them enough that an extra payment or two is negligible.
      And finally, they must know where they sit financially and where they want to be in the short-, mid-, and long-term. Having this information at hand is essential to the negotiation process.
      The Role Risk Plays in Employment
      The interviewing process is a tricky one for all parties involved and it revolves around the idea of risk. Is this candidate low-risk or high-risk? The risk level depends on a number of factors: portfolio quality, experience, soft skills, etc. Were you late for the interview? Your risk to the company just went up. Did you bring additional portfolio materials that were not online? Your risk just went down and you became more hireable.
      If a candidate has an offer in hand, then the company sees enough potential to get a return on their investment with as little risk as possible. At this point, the company is confident in their ability as an employee (ie. low risk) and they are willing to give them money in return for that ability.
      Asking for the Sign-On Bonus
      So what now? The candidate has gone through the interview process, the company has offered them a position and base compensation. Unfortunately, the offer falls below expectations. Here is where the knowledge and research of the position and personal financial goals comes in. The candidate has to know what their thresholds and limits are. If they ask for $60k/year and the company is offering $50k, how do you ask for the bonus? Once again, it comes down to risk.
      Here is the point to remember: risk is not one-sided. The candidate takes on risk by changing companies as well. The candidate has to leverage the sign-on bonus as a way to reduce risk for both parties.
      Here is the important part:
      A sign-on bonus reduces the company’s risk because they are not commiting to an increased salary and bonus payouts can be staggered and have terms attached to them. The sign-on bonus reduces the candidate’s risk because it bridges the gap between the offered compensation and their personal financial requirements.
      If the sign-on bonus is reasonable and the company has the finances (explained further down below), it is a win-win for both parties and hopefully the beginning a profitable business relationship.
      A Bit about Finances
      First off, I am not a business accountant nor have I managed finances for a business. I am sure that it is much more complicated than my example below and there are a lot of considerations to take into account. In my experience, however, I do know that base compensation (ie. salary) will generally fall into a different line item category on the financial books than a bonus payout. When companies determine how many open spots they have, it is usually done by department with inter-departmental salary caps.
      For a simplified example, an environment department’s total salary cap is $500k/year. They have 9 artists being paid $50k/year, leaving $50k/year remaining for the 10th member of the team. Remember the example I gave earlier asking for $60k/year? The company cannot offer that salary because it breaks the departmental cap. However, since bonuses typically do not affect departmental caps, the company can pull from a different pool of money without increasing their risk by committing to a higher salary.
      Sweetening the Deal
      Coming right out of the gate and asking for an upfront payment might be too aggressive of a play (ie. high risk for the company). One way around this is to attach terms to the bonus. What does this mean? Take the situation above. A candidate has an offer for $50k/year but would like a bit more. If through the course of discussing compensation they get the sense that $10k is too high, they can offer to break up the payments based on terms. For example, a counterpoint to the initial base compensation offer could look like this:
      - $50k/year salary
      - $5k bonus payout #1 after 30 days of successful employment
      - $5k bonus payout #2 after 365 days (or any length of time) of successful employment
      In this example, the candidate is guaranteed $55k/year salary for 2 years. If they factor in a standard 3% cost of living raise, the first 3 years of employment looks like this:
      - Year 0-1 = $55,000 ($50,000 + $5,000 payout #1)
      - Year 1-2 = $56,500 (($50,000 x 1.03%) + $5,000 payout #2)
      - Year 2-3 = $53,045 ($51,500 x 1.03%)
      Now it might not be the $60k/year they had in mind but it is a great compromise to keep both parties comfortable.
      If the Company Says Yes
      Great news! The company said yes! What now? Personally, I always request at least a full 24 hours to crunch the final numbers. In the past, I’ve requested up to a week for full consideration. Even if you know you will say yes, doing due diligence with your finances one last time is always a good practice. Plug the numbers into a spreadsheet, look at your bills and expenses again, and review the whole offer (base compensation, bonus, time off/sick leave, medical/dental/vision, etc.). Discuss the offer with your significant other as well. You will see the offer in a different light when you wake up, so make sure you are not rushing into a situation you will regret.
      If the Company Say No
      If the company says no, then you have a difficult decision to make. Request time to review the offer and crunch the numbers. If it is a lateral move (same position, different company) then you have to ask if the switch is worth it. Only due diligence will offer that insight and you have to give yourself enough time to let those insights arrive. You might find yourself accepting the new position due to other non-financial reasons (which could be a whole separate article!).
      Conclusion/Final Thoughts 
      When it comes to negotiating during the interview process, it is very easy to take what you can get and run. You might fear that in asking for more, you will be disqualifying yourself from the position. Keep in mind that the offer has already been extended to you and a company will not rescind their offer simply because you came back with a counterpoint. Negotiations are expected at this stage and by putting forth a creative compromise, your first impression is that of someone who conducts themselves in a professional manner.
      Also keep in mind that negotiations do not always go well. There are countless factors that influence whether or not someone gets a sign-on bonus. Sometimes it all comes down to being there at the right time at the right place. Just make sure you do your due diligence and be ready when the opportunity presents itself.
      Hope this helps!
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement

Change of career choice - game programming

Recommended Posts

Hi,

A fairly big wall of text here, sorry.

I'm currently at the end of an internship to validate my Computer Science master
degree, specialized in High Performance Computing. After my internship I wanted
to leave France, to get a working experience somewhere in Europe. Unfortunately,
it seems I don't really like the daily routine of this field.

Now I'm wondering what to do with my future. I don't have any meaningful, game
related, portfolio material as I preferred to spend my free time focusing on
school project and some random Linux tinkering. After a quick look and some
reading, it seems working on graphics/physics engine seems like a really
interesting (also complicated) task.

I've gathered a list of recommended books to read and practice on: some C++
books, some game engine/design books, some physics/maths book applied to 2D/3D
computing, design pattern applied to game programming and other general game
making related books. Now I can't just not look for work and focus on self-study
for some years… and I doubt someone would hire with my current set of skills.
I'm still young, I could try to follow another course about game making. I'm
used to almost free university, so I'd prefer to not spend 10k in a private game
making school. But is getting another degree even a good idea?

I've always went from one course to the other, without putting too much thinking
into it. But now I'm kind of lost about what to do, and it's eating me inside :/

 

To give you a bit more background, here is what kind of skills I learned and
practiced during my degree and my internships, sorted by how much I know in the
field, somehow (a bit technical here):

- Shared memory (threads POSIX, OpenMP) and distributed memory (MPI) computing
- Inner mechanisms of past and modern Operating System: processes, threads,
  scheduling, memory management (address spaces, virtual memory, pagination,
  segmentation), study of classical synchronization problems
- Computer architecture and hardware (cache, TLB, pipeline, hardware
  multithreading, …)
- GPU Computing applied to HPC (CUDA, OpenMP, OpenACC, OpenCL)
- Low level optimization techniques (vectorization, intrinsics, cache use,
  profiling, assembly…)
- Non-blocking algorithm: use of hardware atomic primitives to synchronize
  threads without the use of locking mechanism
- Parallel algorithmic (N-body approximation, load-balancing)
- Some basic linear algebra (BLAS, dense and sparse LU facto)

I think most of what I know isn't really what game companies would need anyway.
I'm only really experienced with C but I know some others scripting languages.
Since recently, I'm also learning C++ on my own free time. I've also had some
general courses about software engineering.

 

Any advice, recommendation, question, anything?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement

Realistically, you have a Computer Science Masters you said, which most / many companies will take instead of relevant work experience, so it's likely that companies would consider you, I mean there are a lot of companies that hire Computer Science BSc grads, so having a masters does put you ahead of them.

In terms of schools / uni courses, the general suggested route is to do a Computer Science degree over a "game development" one, but you already have that ;o

I would suggest reading a few books on your own, maybe spend a couple months unemployed (hey, job search may take that long anyways) and power through some books / tutorials and work on getting some demos built.

You already have a decent qualification for getting hired, so working on a decent portfolio to back it up is really what I suggest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup, I don't think there's much to add to the above advice. You already have good C coding skills, and you're already educated in a relevant field, so you need to:

  • pivot that into C++ coding skills;
  • demonstrate that you can write game software.

I might suggest that you grab a copy of SFML and build some tiny 2D games with that. Or SDL, if you want to stick in C for your first prototype. Then you could maybe make a small game with Unreal Engine which again would show some C++ skill but allow you to do something more impressive-looking.

In conjunction with the books you have, you should be fine.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your insight. It helps.

Would you recommend to focus on building one finished game (menu, gameplay, scoring, levels, assets, sound…) or make one (or several) prototypes and focus more on trying to implement some physics (collisions, soft/rigid body dynamics, gravity and shit).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a new entrant to the industry it's more likely that you'll be getting an all-rounder general role, rather than a specialised physics role or anything equally specialised. So I would personally recommend a project that shows a full range of skills. A physics demo might be good for a 2nd portfolio piece, but bear in mind that most companies will be looking for competence with existing physics engines rather than implementing an entirely new one.

However, for even better guidance, you should look at some job listings online and see exactly what skills they are asking for in the roles and locations you're interested in. That can guide your portfolio work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you actively looking for work in the field? Because that's really a prerequisite here.

Building a portfolio of side projects is nice and gives some evidence about your interest and ability to an employer, but many employers are willing to hire even if you don't have a portfolio of games. 

 

If you are already applying to jobs, then I'd work on whatever it is you want to be doing in a job. Usually entry level programmers come in as general gameplay programmers. That often means scripting basic things like object spawners or generic game objects.

At the entry level the degree means you know enough that you won't break the code base too badly as you learn. The master's degree is roughly equivalent to a few months of work experience. Apply to a bunch of jobs, work with your social network, and you'll discover the portfolio of side projects is not all that important.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not an experienced game developer, so take my words with a grain of salt.

But if I were you, I'd start writing game companies, asking to be hired. What do you have to lose? Obviously, you shouldn't write to Senior level positions though.

While waiting for the responses, prepare to be interviewed. That's both creating a small games portfolio and making sure you know the tech details of the language you use, algorithms, etc.

Getting the first job in any industry takes time.

Edited by cbrwizard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Advertisement