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WillBrown

CS Student Looking for Industry Advice

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Hello friends,

 

Computer Science student here, working on completing his bachelors within the next year. I'm interested in game development, and this seems to be a great place to hang out and learn from you all. I'll spare you my life story, but coding games would be my dream job. I'd like to take the first steps toward breaking into the industry, but I'm unsure of the best way to do so. Any advice?

 

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A start would be to learn c++ and create a demo game.  Any game.  It has to be close to the metal and it has to run fast.  Show that you can write software in the language that is typically used in major games and that you can complete a project.

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2 minutes ago, ThorMalleuson said:

A start would be to learn c++ and create a demo game.  Any game.  It has to be close to the metal and it has to run fast.  Show that you can write software in the language that is typically used in major games and that you can complete a project.

Thanks for the advice. I'm familiar with C++. And what do you mean by "close to the metal"?

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For the entry level, build some simple games on your own.  Very small completed games are better than major projects that are incomplete.

Building your own games and posting them on your own web site shows potential employers that you have strong interest, and it shows that you can do the job. It isn't strictly necessary for programmers to build a portfolio, many people are hired without them. It allows you to explore the field on your own so you can verify yourself if you fit in the industry, and it lets employers see a few small projects that show what you can do as a beginner.

Feel free to use tools. Unreal and Unity are both free for this type of work, and they greatly simplify your work.

And finally, make sure you know C++.  Many schools have dropped it from their programs, but it remains the core language for systems-level work.

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6 minutes ago, frob said:

For the entry level, build some simple games on your own.  Very small completed games are better than major projects that are incomplete.

Building your own games and posting them on your own web site shows potential employers that you have strong interest, and it shows that you can do the job. It isn't strictly necessary for programmers to build a portfolio, many people are hired without them. It allows you to explore the field on your own so you can verify yourself if you fit in the industry, and it lets employers see a few small projects that show what you can do as a beginner.

I've entertained creating my own website, now I have ample reason to do so. Thanks for the advice.

I'll check out your book and site!

Edited by WillBrown

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3 hours ago, WillBrown said:

I'd like to take the first steps toward breaking into the industry, but I'm unsure of the best way to do so. Any advice?

I wrote this to answer this exact question. I call it "FAQ 3."

And here is FAQ 27.

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It is not an advertisement, I am really like these text tutorials: http://noobtuts.com/ You can find a lot of free tutorials in favorite programming language. I think that C# and Python are good languages for start. If you choose C# you can easy to switch to Unity.

Read this article: https://noobtuts.com/articles/make-small-games
 

Make small Games

Foreword

Time to create the first game. Let's make a big MMORPG right?

The Problem

Game developers are enthusiasts. Game developers have big ideas in their head. Now what usually happens is that for their first game they decide to jump right into their dream project.

Time goes by, code gets written and after half a year the project fails due to the overwhelming project size. People get disappointed, teams split up, toes are being stepped on. After taking a little break, they realize that they still love game development and jump right into the next project. This time it's no MMORPG, just a Skyrim clone.

The pattern repeats itself. After a few months people get overwhelmed again. But what is it? Is it the team? Is it the wrong game engine? Is it a lack of skill?

Working on a game project for half a year takes a whole lot of time and hard work. Failing it and knowing that the time was pretty much wasted is the most painful experience that beginners make. And sadly, they make it over and over again.

The Solution

The solution is incredibly simple: make small games. When starting the first game project, the most important thing is to keep it small. From all the ideas you have, pick the smallest one. Maybe make something of the size of pong with a few more special effects, but make it as polished as a game can be.

One month later, chances are high that you will have a finished game in your portfolio. It might be a small one, but it's fun, it's polished and finishing it will be a great ego boost for you. Who knows, maybe you can even make a few dollars with it.

Now the next game project starts. The goal should be a game that is just slightly bigger than the previous one. If the first one took one month to make it, try to make a two months game now. Finish it, polish it, release it and learn from it. That's the process that leads to finishing your dream project some day! And on a side note: looking at a list of 20 games that you finished successfully is a great feeling.

Summary

Starting small and getting confidence and experience is the single most important thing to learn about making games. There is not a single successful MMORPG out there that was created by people who made their first game. Even smaller multiplayer games like Minecraft are usually not someones first project. To be exact, the creator was making games for 20 years already, this should give you an idea about how important experience really is.

 

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WillBrown, you can get game coding tips in the For Beginners group (see Forums, up top). This forum is for career development advice.

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