A buddy from work and myself are wanting to get into the indie scene for game development. I've done a few tech demos demonstrating different ideas and approaches for various problems. Now, I feel it's time for us to commit to a project in order to develop a portfolio for later down the road.
I've been struggling greatly with how to begin an actual project, more specifically to create an engine or use an OTS package, or use one then create one, or create one then use one.. etc.
Which looks better to potential employers? A smaller portfolio of games that includes your engine or a (possibly) larger one that was built using something OTS?
I am a programmer. I'm not an artist. I will be performing most of the programming for this project. My buddy is also a developer, but he is also proficient with graphical tools (thus, he becomes the art guy).
At work, we are both .NET developers (C#). I know, I know "Well then use XNA" some will yell at me. The demos I've completed thus far have been in XNA. But I have some concerns with building an XNA portfolio. While it is nice to abstract DirectX, I worry that I may not build the necessary knowledge base to extend beyond XNA easily. The counter to that argument is probably "you can more easily move on to DirectX after XNA", but since I will move careers from Business Development to Game Development, is it even worth while to focus on XNA currently? Or will potential employers giggle when I say XNA?
Should I embrace the experience of XNA knowing the concepts and lessons learned will mostly transfer? Or spend my most valuable resource (time) else where?
Looking for some advice from any industry vets out there.