If all you want is a foot in the door, it''s actually relatively simple.
Put together a good-looking demonstration of your skill in one of these areas: programming, artwork, or level design. Brush up your resume to backup the demo with a description of your actual experience. There are numerous free sources to help you create a good-looking resume. Then contact any game development company or publisher that strikes your fancy and submit your information.
If you''re over 18 and have even just a year or two of post-high-school education, you can probably land an entry level gig at some place that provides entry-level gigs or is getting desperate for *anybody* to fill a particular position. Under 18 and your chances are much slimmer, but you can still try.
The thing to realize, though, is that a "foot in the door" is just that. It''s a low-level position doing pretty much only what you''re told. You''ll have about zero input into the making of the game, the direction of the team, or any other part of the process that might be considered even remotely "cool." It''s a job just like any other. And in some cases, it''s a worse job than any other because game development companies are notoriously short-lived, and the working hours usually mean that your job is life instead of supporting your life.
If, however, you want to actually develop skills that will make you valuable at any company, on any team, then I suggest skipping the "foot in the door" and get a relevant college degree (computer science, commercial art, etc.) and go to work for a place with decent benefits that let''s you work 8 to 5, provides good benefits, pays for your training in things like "Advanced Visual C++" or "AfterFX (sp?)", provides mentors you can learn from, and leaves your evenings free to pursue your own interests. After about 2 years at a place like that, and you will have a *real* skills to put on a *real* resume to show people.
Decide what it is you want to do, and take steps to do that, and don''t be distracted trying to get a "foot in the door". Don''t sell yourself short.
To wander into a show business analogy...sure the "key grip" can say he''s "in show business", but wouldn''t you rather do something a bit more exciting, like being the eye behind the camera, in charge of the costumes, or even screenwriting or directing?
DavidRM Samu Games
I have to disagree that a computer degree "isn''t that big a deal."
I can''t count how many times I''ve had "programmers" ask me what a linked list is, or how to sort that list, or what the difference between Double and Float is, etc.
A computer degree gives you base-level knowledge that you don''t get from tutorials. For instance, there are no tutorials (that I know of) here that show the five or six ways to structure linked lists. There are no tutorials that explain when to hash, over when to tree, sort, or use a B-tree, or simply put stuff in an array.
With all the stuff from CS class in the back of your head, these decisions are usually easy. Without it, you get "programmers" asking how to do it.
And I only have a BS in CS (that sounds funny). One of my co-workers has a Master in CS and you should SEE some of the stuff he pulls out of his butt!
When I ask where it came from, he says "from class".