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abominableCodeman

I want to be a game developer what should I do?

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I feel this will be the best place to ask the sort of questions I have. I am new here, and this is my first post and I want it to be good <@:P

For a few years now (2015) I have wanted to become a game developer, it is really my dream to become one. I looked up everything I could on how to become one, and most the results I found said you will have to be good at math and programming. I was never good at math so I thought maybe if I worked hard enough I could get good at math. I worked really hard and aced every single math course (except calc3 which I got a B) and just graduated with an associates in math. I actually really love math, I also took all the programming courses I could (followed assist.org) that aligned with the UC Davis computer science program , and aced them all as well. I really love math and programming it is a new world to me and I want to know everything I can about it. I just got accepted to UCD computer science program to transfer as a junior which I will start this fall. Which brings me to my questions.

  1. Which courses should I focus on?  I have looked into their cs courses and found a lot of interesting ones. here is what I am considering: modern linear algebra is a low div requirement, but they have a more advanced course in linear algebra as an upper division course. I have 3 upper division 'electives' that I have to take but can be what ever I want - I was thinking of using 2 of those slots for math, one in the linear and one in a course called "math and computers" <- which looks really interesting.
  2. What should I do outside of school? I have made the Unity demos and deployed them on itch, but I am not sure if I should focus on Unity or something like sfml in c++, or some open source project. UCD has a game dev club should I join that or focus on my own projects? I feel comfortable in Unity, but UCD is heavily c++ focused so I have been spending my time mastering the concepts in "Effective c++" by Scott Meyers, and reading up my on physics book (physics is a requirement)
  3. What's the best way to build my resume? I have only the associates in math and some experience as a math tutor at the cc I attended. I led a group tutoring session so that is nice on my resume, but this industry wants one thing and one thing only: work experience. How can I get that sought after gem? Would my own projects count? Github projects? Should I try to get internships next summer - and would one in something such as general software engineering be valuable work experience in this industry?
  4. What other advice can you think of to give a student? Seriously, I have an open mind - if you can think of something that would be valuable to me that I haven't mentioned please do share.
  5. What new PC game that will be coming out are you excited for (not one that is out already)? Personally, I am excited for the new Metro. I just played Metro 33 redux and it was such an impressive game I am sure the new one will be spectacular.

Thank you for any help in advanced. That is all I can think of atm, but if I have more concerns arise I will add to this - also, I don't want the post to get too long.

I look forwards to your response!

               

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Holy moly, this is a long question :-D

I think the best thing you can do is keep making games.  You can take math classes until you're blue in the face; it's helpful to understand the math.  But you'll find that (1) academic/college math classes get into a lot of theory that you won't need to worry about (i.e., games apply the math, but games are at most in 3D -- your math classes will get into n dimensions, because.. theory); and (2) there simply is no substitute for experience making games.

So, keep working in Unity.  Try out Unreal Engine if you want to play in C++.  Join the Game Developers' Club; and/or don't, and make games on your own.  But make games.

When you have some games done, you'll instantly have things to put on your resume.  And then, hopefully, I'll be seeing your name in the credits for video games I play with my kids in the future (well, realistically, I probably won't, because I rarely actually finish games... But someone will see your name in the credits... :-D)

Edited by masskonfuzion

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2 hours ago, masskonfuzion said:

Holy moly, this is a long question :-D

I think the best thing you can do is keep making games.  You can take math classes until you're blue in the face; it's helpful to understand the math.  But you'll find that (1) academic/college math classes get into a lot of theory that you won't need to worry about (i.e., games apply the math, but games are at most in 3D -- your math classes will get into n dimensions, because.. theory); and (2) there simply is no substitute for experience making games.

So, keep working in Unity.  Try out Unreal Engine if you want to play in C++.  Join the Game Developers' Club; and/or don't, and make games on your own.  But make games.

When you have some games done, you'll instantly have things to put on your resume.  And then, hopefully, I'll be seeing your name in the credits for video games I play with my kids in the future (well, realistically, I probably won't, because I rarely actually finish games... But someone will see your name in the credits... :-D)

Thank you for reading that long post - I swear I tried to keep it short xD I just have a lot of questions and I'm serious about this field - I am willing to do what ever it takes. Five years ago I would laugh at the thought of me getting A's in college! I love math and I took every lower division math course - I am sad to see it go but I found out we will be using a physics with calculus book and I have really been enjoying that. I learned 3D math in calc 3 and am using it in physics. I know a bunch of 3D coordinate systems and how to integrate 3D shapes using them - pretty neat stuff! I love math so I am looking for an excuse to take any upperdivision math I can :P I am super excited to take upper division courses - I am not sure which computer science ones to take though, but I was thinking graphics and ai.

 

Thanks for commenting and giving advice! I am gonna get to it and make some games!

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7 hours ago, abominableCodeman said:

I just got accepted to UCD computer science program

Good.  Assuming that is a school you can afford, the CS degree will serve you well as you're looking to go into programming.

7 hours ago, abominableCodeman said:

Which courses should I focus on?

Follow your interests.  If they have specific courses that interest you, take those.

You mention your interest in math. You need trig and algebra. 3D worlds use linear algebra. Games use basic statistics and probabilities. Game developers can use calculus for direct solutions, although many rely on iterative methods rather than direct calculation. Most CS programs include these as mandatory.  

Communications courses, business writing courses, written English and logic-improving courses are useful. Humanities are useful. Real life experiences are useful, so be sure you live.  Some people equate college binge drinking as living; it is not.

7 hours ago, abominableCodeman said:

What should I do outside of school?

Remember to keep schoolwork first and foremost. Get assignments done, do your work.  The secret to success is hard work, but sadly many students don't learn this until after they enter the workforce. If you aren't getting A's in all your classes, work harder on your schoolwork.

After that, do what you need to survive. Unless you've got rich parents or scholarships that pay for everything, most people hold a job during school. If you can get a job doing computer programming work that's extra good, just make sure you finish your degree.

After that, make sure you do some living. Make friends and connections, gain experiences that will help you develop as a person.

Make games as you want for fun, but be careful to develop a well-rounded life.

7 hours ago, abominableCodeman said:

What's the best way to build my resume?

Do things.

Future employers know that when you graduate you are a beginner. The CS degree means you know enough that you can start to do the job without seriously harming the code base. So get the degree first, and list the projects you enjoyed on your resume.

A job is useful, and at graduation being able to show you can hold a job is valuable, even if the job isn't in the field. Knowing someone can hold a job for several years, be able to go to work each day and work the whole time, that is valuable. There are some entry level developers who have never worked a day in their life, and they have some difficult lessons to learn about what employment means. If you can learn those lessons early by holding a part-time job for a few years, that is extremely valuable on a resume.

Hobby projects are good, but you'll probably do several of those on your own. They show interest in the field. When you do the projects make sure you capture some videos and keep the source code, and put what you can up on your own website. You'll likely evolve the website to show off during your school years, so keep the source material so you can update them. Descriptions of the projects and links to the projects look good on your resume. 

7 hours ago, abominableCodeman said:

What other advice can you think of to give a student?

Experiment a little with other fields. Make sure you actually enjoy the act of making software, not just playing games.  Playing games and developing games are different, just like enjoying the symphony and playing violin are different, just like eating fine food and cooking as a professional chef are different, or watching thrilling movies and being a professional actor are different.  Explore some other interests you have thought about, because this may be the only time you have the time and opportunity to try them out.

 

 

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I got a full ride thanks to the blue and gold opportunity plan and federal pell grants. I also have straight A's coming into the program and want to keep that up. I actually got a B in calc3 and was very upset about that - it counts as Mat 21C and Mat21D at UCD so I got two B's from that one mishap. A lot was going on and I didn't do well on the final, even though I had an A all semester, I got a 87% in total. I don't want that to happen again so like you mentioned I will put my school work upfront - I love this stuff I didn't know if I would. I went for nursing a while back and was failing classes I had a 1.6 gpa.

I failed algebra the first time I took it then got a c. When I found out this would need math I just thought if I worked hard enough I could get good at math. Sure enough math is one of those things that the more you do the better you get and I worked my ass off. I fell in love with it in the process and even become a trig tutor. I also love the programming courses. I know this is for me and is what I want to do - even then if not the cs degree will open a lot of doors. I got a job opportunity that pays 25 an hour and that's just off my associates degree! I can even apply to space-x who knows. But I know I love games and always will I love making them too. I have done all the Unity tutorials, and deployed them on itch.io.

I am going to work on something new I'm not sure what. I just updated my space shooter game to add more asteroids and enemy ships that shoot at you. Also on building the well rounded life - I couldn't agree more, I also haven't heard that before so I am getting into doing more stuff with my girl. We have been playing poker lately, doing art, and watching the new GoT season. I have been giving her more empathy and I really enjoy things right now. I am very excited to take courses at UCD and beyond grateful for the opportunity. I will take this serious - more so then anything I have before and I will remember what you said "if you are not acing all of your courses you are not working hard enough." - I have been getting anxiety over if I could ace UC courses like I did CC courses, but I know if I work hard enough I can. Thanks for helping me believe in myself. And thanks for answering all my questions!

 

Can I post my website on here? I have a few games on itch that  Iwould like to share to better gauge where I am at. Maybe even give me ideas lol

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