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    • 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!
    • By BenjaminBouchet
      Learning game development in Unreal Engine could be a daunting task for someone who don’t know where to start, and a cumbersome process if you don’t organize your progression correctly. One thing commonly known by experienced developers and by people unfamiliar with coding: mastering a development language is a long and difficult task.
      From blueprints to C++ in Unreal Engine
      If you want to learn fast, you need a good learning strategy. Unreal Engine contains a very powerful tool which you can use to learn C++ faster: its blueprint system. Blueprints are extremely easy to learn (and you may already have a good knowledge of them). Thus you can conveniently use them as a guide for writing code in C++. This is the reason why I am writing a tutorial series on how to make the transition from Unreal Engine blueprints to C++.
      Learn and practice C++
      Following this tutorial, you’ll acquire new concepts of C++ programming in every chapter. Then following chapters will give you reasons to reuse and practice those same concepts. There’s no better way to wire you brain.
      Link to the tutorial: [Tutorial] Learn C++ in Unreal Engine 4 by making a powerful camera
      Please do send me as much feedback as you want. I’ll be considering every constructive remarks and taking them into consideration. Your feedback will help me to improve and update the existing chapters and to make the next one better.

      View full story
    • By BenjaminBouchet
      Learning game development in Unreal Engine could be a daunting task for someone who don’t know where to start, and a cumbersome process if you don’t organize your progression correctly. One thing commonly known by experienced developers and by people unfamiliar with coding: mastering a development language is a long and difficult task.
      From blueprints to C++ in Unreal Engine
      If you want to learn fast, you need a good learning strategy. Unreal Engine contains a very powerful tool which you can use to learn C++ faster: its blueprint system. Blueprints are extremely easy to learn (and you may already have a good knowledge of them). Thus you can conveniently use them as a guide for writing code in C++. This is the reason why I am writing a tutorial series on how to make the transition from Unreal Engine blueprints to C++.
      Learn and practice C++
      Following this tutorial, you’ll acquire new concepts of C++ programming in every chapter. Then following chapters will give you reasons to reuse and practice those same concepts. There’s no better way to wire you brain.
      Link to the tutorial: [Tutorial] Learn C++ in Unreal Engine 4 by making a powerful camera
      Please do send me as much feedback as you want. I’ll be considering every constructive remarks and taking them into consideration. Your feedback will help me to improve and update the existing chapters and to make the next one better.
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Problem in finding resources for learning

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Hello,

First of all, Thank you for your support, Totally appreciated, I have started programming couple of months ago and at this moment I am using love2d framework for lua language but the problem is I cannot find sufficient resources to keep moving.

  • I have visited Amazon and Google Play Books in order to find books but unfortunately found roughly one or two books for beginners.
  • I searched in MOOC -open online courses- and found literally nothing
  • I googled "love2d examples" and found source code for attractive games in addition to Github but It was difficult for me to read the whole script.
  • I googled "love2d tutorials" and after striving I found one useful webpage on Github which I am currently using but looks like It is an exception of the rule of not finding.
  • I googled a simple common mechanic like collision "How to code collision in love2d" but the results required someone who is experienced to make any sense of them.

I won't give up on my dream but I need someone to guide me towards the right path, I have thought of switching to another framework or engine like unity in regard to its huge community but C# was quite advanced So I determined that unity will be my next step after mastering friendly beginner language like lua or python.

Thank you

Edited by Touny

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I don't know about Love2D, but you should not have any problems finding learning resources for Unity. I haven't used Lua or Python, but I think C# is very easy, especially in Unity as a scripting language.

Edited by newtechnology

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2 minutes ago, newtechnology said:

I don't know about Love2D, but you should not have any problems finding learning resources for Unity. I haven't used Lua or Python, but I think C# is very easy, especially in Unity as a scripting language.

could you suggest some resources -especially for a programmer- ?

Edited by Touny

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Love2D is nice, but it's kind of a niche library and not in high demand, which reduces the resources you can look for. You have the wiki, the forums, and sparse tutorials over the web, and that's pretty much everything. Also, it doesn't have a fully feature editor like many engines (Unity, for example), neither built-in things like component systems or OOP, so you have to do many things by hand.

If you're new to programming and want to learn Lua/Love2D, I recommend getting Programming in Lua 4ed, which will teach you a lot about the language. From there, you should be able to read and understand lua code much better.

If you want to switch, C# and Unity are a good combination, but it seems like your problem is that you don't have programming experience, so you should look after this first. Without understanding general programming concepts, any game programming tool will be much more harder.

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Try taking a different approach.  Find beginner LUA resources (which you should have no problem finding), learn the language, and then go back and read/learn the "Love2D" API through the documentation.

 

Here are some links to get you started:

https://www.tutorialspoint.com/lua/ 

https://love2d.org/wiki/love

 

Good luck.

Edited by ByteTroll

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43 minutes ago, TerraSkilll said:

Love2D is nice, but it's kind of a niche library and not in high demand, which reduces the resources you can look for. You have the wiki, the forums, and sparse tutorials over the web, and that's pretty much everything. Also, it doesn't have a fully feature editor like many engines (Unity, for example), neither built-in things like component systems or OOP, so you have to do many things by hand.

If you're new to programming and want to learn Lua/Love2D, I recommend getting Programming in Lua 4ed, which will teach you a lot about the language. From there, you should be able to read and understand lua code much better.

If you want to switch, C# and Unity are a good combination, but it seems like your problem is that you don't have programming experience, so you should look after this first. Without understanding general programming concepts, any game programming tool will be much more harder.

 

16 minutes ago, ByteTroll said:

Try taking a different approach.  Find beginner LUA resources (which you should have no problem finding), learn the language, and then go back and read/learn the "Love2D" API through the documentation.

 

Here are some links to get you started:

https://www.tutorialspoint.com/lua/ 

https://love2d.org/wiki/love

 

Good luck.

Well, I conclude that I begin with Lua language first then go back to Love2D, Thank you any way and I will take this into my account, But my note that coding games is different from coding other apps, so, I will miss a lot of gaming development concepts which will hinder my ability to read source code of Love2D examples or even when I try to code on my own.

Edited by Touny

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22 minutes ago, Touny said:

 

Well, I conclude that I begin with Lua language first then go back to Love2D, Thank you any way and I will take this into my account, But my note that coding games is different from coding other apps, so, I will miss a lot of gaming development concepts which will hinder my ability to read source code of Love2D examples or even when I try to code on my own.

Coding is coding, no matter what your coding (TM).  While certain (theoretical) concepts and practices might change between programming a game and an app (a game is really just an app), the language is not going to change.  You learn to read and understand the source code by learning the language and reading/writing lots of code.  Besides, you'd be surprised at what information can be carried over and applied to other areas.  Just because a technique or practice falls under 'app programming,' does not mean that it can't be turned around and used in 'game programming.'

 

Take it one step at a time.  Read and write lots of code.  Learn the language.  You'll be fine!

Edited by ByteTroll

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