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I'm currently a software architect using the Microsoft stack of enterprise app development tools (.NET, C#, SQL Server, etc.). I've been thinking about transitioning over to game dev.

  • What paradigms exist in gaming that don't in enterprise development that
  • I'd need to learn? I'm deeply versed in DB design, design patterns, theory etc. Will this help me?
  • Overall, will it be like I'm starting over from scratch in changing careers?
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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Irrespective of your background, you need to bring something good to the table when looking for a job. Maybe you're a wizard at server load balancing and optimizing database queries for example, which would be pretty valuable for an MMO development project. Or maybe you're really good at project management or user interface design.

Overall though, it's pretty amazing what backgrounds people come from in the game industry. If you want to see what I mean, go to http://valvesoftware.com/company/people.html and read the backgrounds some of the people at Valve have.

I'd personally start out by keeping the day job and making a few indie games on the side. It would be a great learning experience, plus it gives you a way to develop a portfolio. You might also look into modding a popular game like Half-Life 2. Being able to demonstrate a well made mod or game gives you credibility and shows you can do something. It's also getting you doing development that is essentially identical to that at a game company, minus the resources, larger team, etc.

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+1 for the awesome link to the Valve bios! It's great to see what real developers went through on their way to their current positions. –  jcurrie33 Dec 16 '10 at 20:38
    
My favorites are the former janitor and the former patent lawyer with a degree in chemistry :D –  Tim Holt Dec 16 '10 at 22:30
    
This is also dependant on what you want to do at a games company, Gameplay Programmer, Engine (physics, sound, network..), Tools, etc. I would go for using a high level engine, such as UDK, it's free, and you can show skills that will be useful in a real life studio. C++ is a must, even for my end of year internship it was difficult getting anywhere without any 'real' C++ experience. You can also learn a lot from XNA, which should be homely for you in C#, this could be good for making demos to show off your current skills that not everyone will have. –  Jonathan Connell Jun 8 '11 at 14:39
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This seems like a pretty close dupe to this question, so my answer would be almost identical:

Game architecture for someone with a background in LOB Apps

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I do my best to search for questions that would possibly qualify as dupes before posting. Some folks have differing ideas on how their verbiage should be for certain questions, making it difficult to find the dupes sometimes. {-o) –  Boydski Dec 17 '10 at 15:52
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Assuming you want to work for a big established company, note that there is a lot of overlap between enterprise applications and games on the back-end. On the front-end they are very different domains, but on the back-end of a large MMO they have pretty much the same concerns going on with the database architecture, user data security, etc.

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