on getting in the industry

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    • on getting in the industry

      So I have decided to get into game development. I currently do web development (Java Server Pages, DB/IS, and search optimization) and are under two years out of school. I have a degree that's a mix of Web Tech and Info Systems. I took classes in and a have a good understanding (but not practical knowledge or experience) in Data Structures, Java, DB/MySQL, and C++.

      Would you recommend taking time to learn more about Game Programming and make a small game/demo to get in. Or would I be better off getting my c++ skills up and start as programming intern?

      thanks. ps. the book has been excellent thus far.
    • I am SO not the best person to answer this...but going from Web tech and Info systems, and only a passing knowledge of Java and C++ as your most technical attributes, games is not something you are going to find to be easy.

      Games can not afford ANY of the conveinences you are used to having. My best suggestion is to learn C, and become real acquainted with it. Why C? Well, C has none of the Object Oriented overhead of C++, and in general, approaching any C++ project from the perspective of a C programmer will usually result in sleeker, less buggy code (since an expeirenced C programmer will have more intimate knowledge of pointers and the heap/ mem allocation. Think that's not important? Know this: Essentially all program crashes are pointer errors (except unhandled Exceptions, which are usually caused by pointer errors anyway). If you use pointers properly (including proper error checking), your program should never crash. Ever. It may not do what you want, but it won't crash). As for Java? It will teach you NOTHING about pointers.

      C++, and Java especially are geared more towards applications, and not games. The other stuff you know is even less for games. Games need speed, and they sacrifice almost all programming conveinences to get it.

      So my question is: are you sure real game development is for you?

      Oh, and I completely look forward to you other forum junkies to tear my argument apart. I'd write more, but I'm running late.
      -Larrik Jaerico

    • Maybe I should explain my programming knowledge a little bit more. I took several Java classes including Business Apps and Data Structures. I also took a couple of C++ classes so I understand the basics of C++ and have a firm grasp on Objects, Vectors, Pointers, etc. Through the school I tutored Undergrad and Graduate students in VB, ASP ,and Java. I also tutored the Intro C++ class for undergrads. So I feel that its my practical experience that is lacking. So thats why I was asking if a demo or intern would be better to get entry? Obviously doing either should get my technical skills to a point where an entry level programming job should be attainable. Thanks. (man how many times do i have to keep changing this to make sense....)

      The post was edited 3 times, last by madhm ().

    • Hmm...well, I'd say try to program as much as you can (game related, if possible), and get your foot in the door wherever you can. That's what I'm trying. I'm not a success story, so my advice beyond that is no good (if any of it is good at all)
      -Larrik Jaerico

    • Depends on what company and position you are going for.

      Larger companies from what I have seen are more concerned with you experience in a specialised field so if that's the job your going for then a game demo wouldn't be a valuable to them as a really good demo of that particlular aspect of programming that you are going for or experience in the field doing that sort of work.

      However in smaller companies they want their programmers to be multifaceted (...usually. Unless they are super organised). For this sort of job if you can show them a full game or good game demo it would speak far more for your abilities than a programming job. The reason being that there probably isn't a job where you can demonstate all the required skills that are necessary unless it's in game development.

      This is just stuff that I have read (from many sources), weather it is true I can't really say as I'm still in training and haven't tried getting a job in game dev just yet.
    • re: on getting in the industry

      Hi all, Mrs. Mike here, otherwise known as Robin McShaffry, founder of leading games recruiter Mary-Margaret.com .

      Gerry is right, it all depends.

      madhm, I suggest all of the above. If you are looking to break in to the games industry as a programmer, you have to show that you can write game code. Learn the appropriate code language (deep C++ for PC/Console dev, Java, J2ME, etc for Mobile gaming) and write as fully-functioning a game demo as you can. It may take you a long time, and that's the point. No game developer got into games by an easy way. Hiring managers want to see that you not only have the skills, but that you have the perseverance to complete a complicated and drawn-out project. That's also why a college degree has become more and more important in getting into games programming - having finished a CS or Math or EE (or any other) degree shows the ability to finish what you start.

      So, work on your demo. While you are doing that, look into entry level game industry jobs. Testing and customer service are the tried and true ways to break in. Large and medium sized game companies have these departments and hire for them fairly regularly. Web developer or IT positions come up but more rarely.

      The most important thing you can do is get to know the game developers and the companies in your town or area. Network, network, network. Attend local IGDA meetings, haunt the "vaults" and forums that you know local game developers haunt. Get to know people and get them to know you. That way, when the position that you want comes up, your artist or tester buddy at that company will drop you an email and tell you about it. :)

      Best of luck!
    • RE: on getting in the industry

      Originally posted by Robnit
      While you are doing that, look into entry level game industry jobs. Testing and customer service are the tried and true ways to break in.

      Would a testing position still leave time for learning games programming? I was under the impression that testers generally work just as long as the programmers so have little time for much else. I have heard plenty of stories about people going form testing to design, art or even sound positions but I'm am yet to hear of a transition to programming. If the position does generally leave time for study then what is the pay generally like? Enough to support myself in a rural part England... say about 2 hours north of London? :D

      I have asked these questions before but didn't get much of an answer, I don't think anybody thought I was serious, but I am.

      One last thing, have your ever done any recrutement with RareWare or do you just deal with companies in the US?
    • The answer is no. Be a programmer first. Then become a games programmer. Playing the game for long hours will do nothing for your credibility as a games programmer. In contrast, programming for a living for a couple of years on products that work will give you much more credit towards becoming a games programmer than being a tester in the gaming industry.
    • The professor at my college who teaches the game programming classes has never played a video game. He loves game programming, but he thinks actually playing the games is a waste of time. (I pointed him towards Zelda OoC and HalfLife as my suggested starters)
      -Larrik Jaerico

    • EDIT: Kain - After re-reading my post I think it comes off a dab condescending. 101% not intended to be that way!!! English was my worst subject, so that's probably the reason. So as your reading please compensate for that. :D

      and now back to the original post...

      Originally posted by Kain
      Playing the game for long hours will do nothing for your credibility as a games programmer. In contrast, programming for a living for a couple of years on products that work will give you much more credit towards becoming a games programmer than being a tester in the gaming industry.

      I couldn't agree more and thanks heaps for your answer. However, I wasn't really asking regarding credibility, I know testing won't say anything about my credibility as a programmer. I will let my work, skills, experience, references and accolades speak for my credibility.

      I was asking more would there actually be time to study along side a testing Job. As far as the testing job goes I was asking simply because that is something that I would LOVE to do while getting my game programming skills up to speed. I also see it (but on a much smaller scale) as a foot in the door of a company that is very difficult to get into.

      So now that I have explained myself and my intentions better would your answer still be "no" to the question of "Would a testing position still leave time for learning games programming?". Forgive me for questioning your answer, but it seems like it was based on a slight misunderstanding of my reason for asking, due to me not fully explaining myself.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Gerry ().