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Everything posted by S1CA

  1. As above, there is no OpenGL implementation for the PS4...   Direct3D 9 gets you WinXP+. Direct3D 11 gets you WinVista+. Direct3D 11.1 gets you Win8+. OpenGL 2.x/3.x/4.x gets you Linux/Mac/Windows. GNM gets you PS4. GCM and/or PSGL gets you PS3. GXM gets you PSVita. DirectX 11.x gets you Xbone. DirectX 9.x gets you Xbox360. GLES 1.x/2.x gets you Android/iOS. WebGL gets you HTML5. GX gets you Wii. GX2 gets you WiiU.   If you want a cross platform graphics API, you've got to make your own wrapper around most of the above... or you can use an existing game engine that's already done this work    And Mantle gets you AMD. Yep. On PC. Similarly (only slightly tongue in cheek) Glide gets you 3Dfx. PVR SGL gets you PowerVR PCX. On PC ;)
  2.   I haven't made any games of my own, but I have been thinking of some ideas. ... Yeah I guess I need to make more games of my own. Definitely! Most ideas sound good. Most look good on paper too. In reality most have major flaws. Whenever I tell people (outside the industry) that I make games they tell me their 'great' games ideas (that are usually "it's just like XYZ but birds instead of planes") or how the film script they have in their head would make a great game. Sometimes (rarely) people even have ideas about actual gameplay mechanics. Everyone who plays games has some ideas and things they'd do differently. Talk is cheap, ideas are cheaper - but how do you know an idea is going to work or be fun to play? Turning those ideas into a reality by actually making something is how you prove your designs work. It's ok if your ideas fail - it's actually good if they fail - that's good experience, and if you get used to failing early it saves you time (and money once it's a job). An incredibly important skill for a games designer is to work within constraints (time, hardware power, etc). You only fully realise the constraints inherent in your ideas by putting them into practice. You might do some of that stuff on a degree course, but it's really not enough - your peers are coming in with completed games, mods for existing games and lots of little side prototypes that they've done across multiple genres simply because they love doing it not because they were required to do that as part of a course. This isn't an industry that does apprenticeships - you have to do that part on your own! BTW to prove things like core gameplay mechanics ideas shouldn't need too much technical or art skill. 2D prototypes or simple boxy 3D are sufficient to prove most. On a related note, when something's actually playable, that itself generates new ideas and improvements.     Yep, I work at Reflections The universities we work with change from year to year, and the level of connection varies and involve more than just placements (e.g. guest lectures), so "all of the local ones" is the most accurate answer.
  3. I agree with what Tom and ambershee said.    At the studio I work at: We DO take on a very small number of interns each year. NOTE this is for university placement years, not for short term school "work experience". It's done in partnership with universities close to our office. The best N students are chosen from CS or games courses. AFAIK we don't take on design interns, only programming and art. The most successful candidates have a real passion about games and making games; they do a lot of stuff in their own time. As Tom says, expect to apply to a lot of companies to get an internship (all of them if you have the time!:)). Expect to apply to even more to get a placement as a designer - there is no shortage of good ideas (and more people queuing up with good ideas) in the games industry - what is needed is people who can make those ideas a reality - that's why people who get the pure design jobs tend to have experience. You may find intern roles as a "level builder", but quite often that's considered a branch of environment art so unless you have a qualification in say architecture or town planning, or are good at art, that might be out.   The competition for intern and entry level games positions is fierce - think about it, everyone in the world currently doing a games course at university or college wants those positions, so do a large number of the people on this board and similar. So as well as a lot of luck, you need to stand out from the 1000s of people you're in competition with.   How many games have you made yourself? Do you enter competitions like Ludum Dare? (etc etc) How many mods/levels have you made for existing games? Have you learnt to do any programming and/or art? Have you showcased your games (and other creations) much on forums such as this one? Have you covered a broad range of game genres in the stuff you've made (when it's a real 'job' you have to produce good work even for genres and IPs you hate)?   The people who are getting those intern roles are doing all of those things and more, if you aren't you should be! Those things are also major points in your favour for when you apply for non-intern entry level roles.   If you have stuff to show, then include links when you're contacting companies. Local games industry networking events can be a mixed bag - they're a good place to meet student, indie and hobbyist developers who you can collaborate with on more games. They can be a good place to get advice of people in the industry. If you have a good portfolio of games (and related things) you've made, it can be a good place to show people (to get feedback, and to ask if companies have any intern places available).   Game development conferences are good for similar reasons if you can afford to go and have a higher proportion of companies and professional developers.   As a group, the company I work for now also has a graduate scheme that might be of interest to you: https://www.ubisoftgroup.com/en-us/careers/graduateprogram/
  4. Dreamcast 'supports' DirectX too :) http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms834190.aspx   Thing is, because console hardware is fixed, some of the abstractions in the Direct3D you find on PC are unnecessary, so even on the Xboxen (and Dreamcast) there's D3D and another API that lets you get at some of the lower level aspects of the hardware directly - people tend to use a mixture of both.   Regarding PS4, this article: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-how-the-crew-was-ported-to-playstation-4 covers a talk I co-presented at the Develop conference last year and has the few details that Sony allowed us to talk about publicly - as frob says, everything else is still covered by NDAs so isn't open for discussion.
  5. S1CA

    How is the Game Development field?

    Regarding the job availability question - most of of the available games jobs are not entry level and require some amount of industry experience in a real production environment (ideally with shipped product).   However, there are still some junior positions out there, particularly at indie studios who don't have the budget to pay for senior people. That's one way to get some industry experience (on top of your degree and portfolio of personal projects mentioned above).   The other common route into the entry level jobs is internships, usually at the larger companies but sometimes at smaller ones too (budget reasons as above and external funding is sometimes available to studios for taking on interns). The best performing interns are often offered permanent junior jobs. As an extension of the traditional intern intake, the company I work for has also started a graduate programme which may be of interest to you in a few years: https://www.ubisoftgroup.com/en-us/careers/graduateprogram/index.aspx
  6. S1CA

    How is the Game Development field?

    I've been reviewing a lot of CVs and interviewing people recently (for senior engine programming posts) but if I were reviewing for entry level jobs my order of preference would also be 100% with what Hodgman said. 
  7. S1CA

    Anybody left from the 2003 crowd?

    "hello world"   /relurk
  8. Premature optimisation of CODE is bad, but optimisation of code is only a small part of achieving good performance. Ideally:   0. At the start: Ensure the scope of the design fits with the reality of the hardware. 1. Very early on: Ensure the architecture of the engine + game will give the expected level of performance. Comes from understanding of the hardware and experience. 2. Early on: Set some rough budgets. "We're aiming for 60Hz so that's 16ms of GPU time to play with, world rendering must happen in around 8ms, post process in 2ms, etc". Same for CPU and memory. Have in-engine profiling for each system that shows how well each system is doing. 3. Throughout: Design and implement systems with performance in mind ("Cool, so algorithmically this O(blah) but what effect is that having on the cache?") 4. Throughout: Profile systems and check how close they are to the budgets you set. Adjust budgets if necessary. Analyse any systems that are wildly over to see why.  5. Later (alpha-ish onward): Profile systems against the budgets. Analyse all that are over. Optimise the ones that are over or borrow budget from a different system if you can't optimise any further.   Mindset is hugely important. Performance is a whole team thing not just a programmer thing, that's important to get across to everyone - have budgets for design ("you can have N cars on screen"), art ("main character models must fit within X MB, use no more than Y textures and have no more than Z bones"), audio ("must fit within N MB and use no more than M DSP effects at any one time"), etc.   [That's from my experience of shipping console, PC and handheld games, including a few that ran at 60Hz]
  9. S1CA

    If you could hire only one....

    1) What frob and Tom said : work out your requirements first! You need to do some proper project planning... 2) From your planning you should realise that most projects naturally break into phases (e.g. concept, pre-production, production, marketing, debug, ship, post-launch). 3) You'll probably need both artists, but not for the entire project - so work out what phases you need each for and contract accordingly. It's likely you'll need each multiple times - for example the concept artist can help prepare your marketing materials. 4) If you have a genuine tie-break situation (e.g. two 3D artists who are equally as strong on paper and at interview), go for the one who's personality will best fit with the personality of the team (the whole team - even a team of remote workers),
  10. S1CA

    How soon to start being proactive?

    I agree with Tom about networking and when to start applying. There are a couple of other things to bear in mind:   1) Internships are in sync with semesters, permanent jobs are not. Games companies may offer promising interns permanent positions but generally they hire all year round based on project demands. If you have a particular company in mind, keep an eye on what they're up to for clues: if they've just shipped a game it's likely a new project will start ramping up a month or two after. If they've just announced a game, there's a chance they're moving from pre-production into production which can need new staff.   2) Most universities have a computing or games course. Even discounting the people who didn't take it seriously, that's a hell of a lot of new graduates for very few junior jobs and on paper at least most of them look the same - no real job experience and a bunch of education grades. You need to stand out from the crowd - develop some polished portfolio demos that show off your programming abilities - it also makes the interview process a lot easier for both you and for the interviewer because they can ask you questions about technical choices you made and you get to talk about something you know (and get to prove you've not just rote learnt the very basics).
  11. S1CA


    you woulda loved copperlists :-) (video hardware programs with a wait for scanline instruction and a register poke instruction, and due to the timing you could set a video hardware register to different value multiple times across one scanline - palette register poking, bitmap start position poking, and even blitter transfers running asynchronously to the cpu - with the CPU left to do fun things like re-write the copperlist on the fly. Jay Miner deserves a sainthood for services to the demo scene! </nostalgia>
  12. S1CA

    Digital Test Cards For Games

    - "safe area" markers. The area which text or important icons will be safely readable on a CRT TV. Useful for console game development. - Make sure the colour/gamma space of the file is made clear. sRGB?, Gamma 2.2?, linear? - Colours & greyscale gradients in each of the above colour spaces (useful for determining where gamma and de-gamma bugs are in your engine/pipeline as well as demonstrating the difference between linear and perceptual luminance). - Maybe take a leaf out of the MPEG test card book and make part of it useful for testing the quality of different DXT/BC compressors.
  13. S1CA

    Still here :-)

    Congrats on the re-award Jack (and you Eyal!) - funnily enough: me too [smile]
  14. S1CA


    Quote:Original post by Driv3MeFar On the off chance you get to a computer and check this while on vacation, and are in Seattle by the 10th, there's a GDNet Seattle gathering. Doh, shame, I get in on the evening of the 11th. Jack & Superpig may be there by then though (along with lots of other MVPs - look out for an increas in Microsoft branded clothing everywhere in downtown Seattle that week).
  15. S1CA


    I'll probably see you on Sunday evening too! If not, Monday :o) Is the mobile # you posted in .ukie the one you're taking? Mine's the same (also the same as the one in Reading). Land @ SEATAC @ 16:50, hopefully with my luggage this time.
  16. S1CA

    Driver bugs?

    I remember fixing a compatibility bug on an nVidia Quadro 4 where we had (I think - hazy memory) a texCUBE sampling an envmap but the sampler was being set to NULL in our code for that stage, the result was a kind of rainbow pattern as if the tex coords were being used directly as the colour or some sort of default 'debug' map was being used. The colours of your contours look a little bit rainbowish to me...
  17. S1CA


    I was at the Sheraton for the first summit I attended - it's really close to the conf. centre and still a good hotel (they all are of course, as usual). I'm sure you won't be the only DirectX MVP who didn't get into the first choice hotel... ...I for example haven't booked any flight or hotel yet - but that's because I'm probably going to have to leave both until the very last minute this time since I might not be able to attend due to clashes with work stuff [rolleyes][depressed] Hopefully I'll know whether it's doable by mid-January (crosses fingers, toes, etc) - not least because I can tack a small break elsewhere in the US onto the end (such as St. Paddy's day in NYC...).
  18. S1CA

    24 hours in a day just aint enough

    <me too>Yup, know that feeling well. I recently got made "Technical Lead" (a.k.a. Lead Programmer) on a project - woo, yay... more meetings, more paperwork, more [key] decision making, more responsibility (a.k.a. saviour vs scapegoat) - on top of the stuff I was already doing of course. Strangely enough I'm already getting used to being the last one out of the office every night [wink] <awaits annual pay review season...>. You'll be back on form as #1 DirectX MVP contributor soon enough Jack [smile] - new town, new company, new role - they all take more "spare cycles" than usual until you've completely settled in.
  19. S1CA

    A link and a complaint

    Quote:Original post by jollyjeffers Quote:Original post by Muhammad Haggag Chasing on what, you turd. It's a clear win--you've posted like, what, 500000000000000 posts this year?[lol] Well it's only 2,050 posts in the DirectX forum.... Whilst I haven't had renewal confirmed they haven't said that I wouldn't be... [grin] Cheers, Jack Just got back last night from a long weekend of fun [in the sun] in Amsterdam - I recieved a renewal email on Saturday. [smile] Haven't yet had a chance to sign the eNDA etc. If you were at risk of not being renewed, you would have recieved an email a while ago warning you that you might not be renewed. You've been a million times more active than I have in the DirectX community this past year - you shouldn't have any problem with not being renewed IMO. Eric handles the renewals for us lot - if the MVPGA renewal email didn't get through to you, I'm sure he can put your mind at rest/sort it out. [smile]
  20. S1CA

    Fastest company in the west

    Steve, welcome to stability of the games industry at the moment... [depressed] A few snippets of advice (been there, done that, got the...) in case things don't quite work out as expected/promised: 1) Fill out an RP1 form from the Insolvency Service (http://www.insolvency.gov.uk/pdfs/rp1april2003.pdf). IIRC the administrators should send you an RP1, but in case they don't (or 'proper' administrators/liquidators aren't appointed) see above. A jobcentre should also be able to sort you out with a paper copy of the RP1. With the RP1, you can claim back any wages owing to you as well as any holiday pay you were entitled to for days you hadn't yet taken. The amount you get from an RP1 claim is capped, but since you were in a junior role, you'll likely get much of what you were owed. The money you claim using the RP1 comes from a fund that the Redundancy Payment Service has for companies that go bust without being able to pay their employees (usually ones who don't have enough assets to liquidate to pay all the creditors). The money for that fund comes from everyone's National Insurance contributions - it's stuff like that which NI was designed for. 2) If your former employer (or the administrator) doesn't sort out your P45 pronto, then you're technically still employed, just working for nothing! When this happens, the employer is in breach of contract - write them a formal **letter** telling them this. Things like the Redundancy Payment Service and the dole will only pay out for the time you are /really/ unemployed. 3) If your former employer is talking about setting up a new company, and any length of time has elapsed, be wary of signing *any* paperwork with the letters TUPE on. A TUPE agreement is a [usually fine, sometimes sneaky] way of transferring all the employees of one company to another company, and can cancel your rights to claim redundancy, dole, etc in any interim period. 4) "We're saved" phoenix companies rising from the ashes of a newly bust company can feel great - but beware of "out of the frying pan into the fire" situations - sometimes they work; sometimes they're last ditch attempts to salvage an already sunk ship and you'd have been better off (stress wise, hopes wise, work wise, career wise etc) moving on when you had the chance. 5) If there's any downtime between the old company and any 'phoenix' companies or new job, claim any and all the benefits you can (on top of the RP1) - don't feel you're sponging (it amazes me how many newly redundant people I've met do) - you've paid tax and national insurance while you were working for a reason, it's your *right* (very different to the people who really are sponging). Simon.
  21. S1CA


    - employment agencies make 20-30% of a placed candidates first year salary as a commission. Some are desperate to place candidates (read commission), some will mislead candidates, some will mislead employers. Employment agency adverts (in any industry) can paint a misleading picture of the job market in that industry. - there are definitely some staff shortages in the games industry; but mostly they tend to be either for very specific roles, or at less popular geographic locations and/or less popular companies (high staff turnover due to big internal problems...). - in other areas of the country there's a job shortage - it really does vary a hell of a lot based on location at the moment. If you're not in/near a current hotspot, expect to relocate; be prepared to relocate again if/when that area crashes... - most medium to large (>100 people) games studios in the UK *do* take on people without prior industry experience (assuming good degree and a knowledge/enthusiasm from hobby involvement). - the reason for jobs asking for people with *specific* prior experience is simply because the vacancy is usually to fill a gap on an existing team where they want someone to slot in and become productive from day one. - unfortunately some games studios do hire junior staff in the deliberate knowledge that they're cheaper than experienced staff and much more easily "expendable". - a very large number of games jobs are filled through word of mouth long before you see any adverts. - if you want to be in the industry that much, and you're good at what you do, it's not that difficult to get into. But caveat emptor, while the high points are really high (relaxed industry, doing something you enjoy, working on/with "cool" stuff, etc), the downpoints are equally low (instability, serious unpaid overtime, management practices/incompetencies that make you despair).
  22. S1CA

    The MVP Global Summit

    AP: There aren't any DX10 GPUs available yet - though it's entirely possible some IHVs already have stuff in silicon for internal testing. With D3D you can however test new features & develop code before you have the available hardware by using the reference rasterizer, e.g. my first pixel shader 1.1 program was tested using the REF device. As for particle systems - you don't need DX10 features for a particle system, but geometry shaders can be handy for generating quads from particles, amongst many many other cool things. Jack: I think the jetlag is drastically reduced if you manage to get some sleep while travelling, which I noticed you did [smile] - I can't sleep on planes so for me ~28 hours on the go and jetlag left my body in a seriously disorientated state on Monday night - or maybe it's just an old age thing [wink]
  23. S1CA

    The MVP Global Summit

    http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/mvpfaqs How do you become an MVP? Simple: help others out in online forums, newsgroups, user groups, etc, and maybe write some articles and tutorials, all without expecting any reward other than the personal satisfaction of helping others. Seriously, none of the MVPs "tried" to become MVPs - it just happens; a number of MS staff regularly visit (and even post at) boards such as GameDev.net, they and existing MVPs do take notice of the most helpful people out there...
  24. S1CA

    Right then

    The national famous beers are pissweak... ...but the local microbrews aren't [grin] - collectively, the MVPs from GD.NET who were there* must have had at least a few gallons of them all (Old Seattle, Pyramid, and Alaskan Amber being my personal favourites). [* disclaimer: the ones over 21 and drinking, [wink]] And jetlag with a hangover and a cold is "interesting", bah!
  25. S1CA

    take 2

    Idea: 1. RGB -> HSL 2. Quantize S, Quantize L or set to constant values 3. Quantize H or lookup in a 1D "hue remap" texture 4. HSL -> RGB [smile]
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