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Which would a game development company prefer, a developer with experience in UDK engine, or a developer with projects made entirely in c++ with a graphics engine like Ogre3D?

I think that a coder can demonstrate better his abilities with games made in c++, because it requires a knowledge deeper in many fields. However, currently there is a lot of companies that develop games with UDK. Now I don't know if it's better specialize in a game engine like UDK or not.

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10 Answers 10

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Depends on the job spec, if the company have set out the requirements for proficiency in C++, then you're gonna want to have some decent C++ projects in your portfolio that you can show off.

If they specifically ask for UnrealScript examples, then you'll want to have some UDK samples to show off.

It really depends on the games company, what they're after, what the role is, etc.

At the end of the day, it comes down to experience. Whilst it is very good for a programmer to be competent in many different technologies (and desirable in some cases), if you're looking at a specialist role I'd expect the potential candidate to focus more of their submitted portfolio to the specialism (for example, if you're applying for an AI role, I wouldn't really expect a whole portfolio full of awesome physics demos).

Hope that helps.


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Speaking as a programmer (to be more specific than 'developer') at a company that has used UE3 for multiple projects, I can emphatically say that we would consider C++ knowledge essential, and a candidate with experience in the UDK but no C++ coding knowledge would almost certainly not be considered for a programming position.

To expand on this a bit: while we were using the Unreal Engine for our titles, only a small fraction of the game was written in UnrealScript, for a plethora of reasons that I won't get into here. Meanwhile, the implicit consideration was that coders with solid C++ knowledge could pick up UnrealScript relatively straightforwardly (indeed, I don't think more than one or two people on the devteam had any experience with it before starting the project), whereas someone whose only skills were Unrealscript would likely have a harder time learning all the ins and outs of C++ and a larger codebase. Since programmers needed to be able to shift specific roles over the course of a project and slot in as needed (particularly during bug crunches), carrying UnrealScript-specific programmers would make next to no sense for us.

I don't know if the calculation of what can be more easily learned would be the same for other companies, but I do know that we weren't the only UE3 developer to almost completely forgo UnrealScript; and more to the point, there are far more developers out there who aren't using UE3 than who are (and any way you slice it, virtually all of the studios using UE3 are also using C++) - so if the question is 'what skill is more likely to make me employable as a programmer in the games industry?' then the answer is C++ hands-down.

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We ported as much code as possible from UnrealScript to native at my past job. Having solid C++ skills is definitely far more important, especially since it applies to non-UE3 houses. – A.A. Grapsas Mar 24 '11 at 21:30

A good coder is a good coder regardless of their specific background. It's really just a matter of how much time the company is willing to spend on training/learning for a new coder to become familiar with whatever tech they're working on.

Some companies hire to fill positions. In that case if you have experience in X and they're looking for somebody who can do X, you'll be bumped to closer to the top of the queue. Other companies look for targets of opportunity and realize that learning new software and languages is easy for any mid/senior programmer worth his salt and would fit in with the company for other reasons (i.e. culture). It depends.

That being said, not having any C++ experience can be a red flag companies doing at least some C++ work, as "getting pointers" is pretty fundamental.

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I'd say C++ as it is a more general skill. UDK is written in C++ as are many game engines. Code your own little engine in C++ and you'll learn skills that are relevant everywhere. And then learn how to use the UDK as well.

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What prefer a game developer company? A developer with experience in UDK engine ? or, a developer with projects made entirely in c++ with a graphics engine like Ogre3D?

Too hard to say. Both skills are good to have, whether or not a company will prefer one over the other depends on what position(s) and skill set(s) they are looking for currently.

I think that a coder can demonstrate better his abilities with games made in c++, because it requires a knowledge deeper in many fields.

I would challenge this assertion. A game made in C++ demonstrates the developers C++ skills more than a game made in some other fashion, but just because something was written in C++ does not mean it better demonstrates a developer's overall ability, nor does it necessarily demonstrate deeper knowledge about anything.

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Companies that use a game engine like UDK also have programmers that write c++ code (and/or other languages). So learning either one is equally valid and relevant to get into the game industry.

The important thing here is for you to find out what you really love doing and then do it.

When you work on something that you really enjoy doing, you will probably produce your best work, and this will give you the best chance of convincing the company that you are worth hiring, regardless of what technology you decided to learn and implement.

If you don't yet know what motivates you to make games, the best way to find out is to experiment.
Try a small project with UDK. See how you like UnreaScript and programming game logic.
Find some examples in c++ and try them out, maybe physics, or graphics or even a small tool that converts data from one format to another.
You don't even have to settle on one technology or one area of expertise, in fact the more skills you have the better, especially early on in your career.

There are many different programming roles in a game developer. They are all needed to make the game. Find out which one you want to be.

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I am a programmer at a game company and I would simply not consider someone who didn't have C++ experience; C++ programming is just too much of a pain to expect someone to totally pick it up on the job (and we don't even go that nuts using its more advanced features). However I would value someone with both C++ and UDK experience over someone with only C++ experience. So my advice would be to pursue your UDK interest if you have it, but don't neglect your baseline C/C++ skills.

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+1 for that last piece of advice, which I should've added to my own post. UDK on top of C++ may well be worth the knowing, and not just at UE3 shops, but because it demonstrates scripting knowledge. – Steven Stadnicki Mar 25 '11 at 17:16

It depends. But for developer should mostly present as much skills as possible. So yeah for c++ and UDK. But in my opinion, much better is have your own litle graphics engine in opengl or directx...

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UDK is not UE3. AAA games are made with UE3, casual games are made with UDK. So your first question should be: which is my target company type? Nothing is going to get big paying 25% of its revenue in licensing, there are no examples yet, and I very much doubt there will be outside the occasional lucky single-developper AppStore hit (do not confuse with the huge success list of UE3, which has a different licensing scheme, but will likely require much more C++ knowledge if you're hired to work with it).

C++ knwoledge is universal and can get you a job working on the F35, for a global company for consumer electronics, in a hospital... UDK is getting you nowhere at all, except where it excels, which is a niche however interesting it may be for you at this time in your life. Are you that sure you want that bad to work for a (likely small) game company forever, when the game industry has changed so much in so little time?

Finally, C++ has been around for a long time, is there to stay under different incarnations (you'll be a lot more efficient learning C# from C++ than from UDK script), whereas UDK script is very very good at one thing: language support for asynchronous events. Essential in some environments, but talk about a hard-to-sell skill!

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I disagree with almost everything you said. The UDK web page says: "What is it? UDK is Unreal Engine 3" – momboco Mar 23 '11 at 15:48
@momboco: UDK is very much like UE3 if you are an artist, designer, or designer-programmer. It is very unlike UE3 if you are a dedicated programmer. – user744 Mar 23 '11 at 16:20
-1 because the question is very specifically about which would a game development company prefer. It's true that good C++ skills will help you get jobs outside the games industry as well as inside, but it's also irrelevant to the question. – user744 Mar 23 '11 at 16:21

Companies want to hire technical artists these days, basically that means you must have skills both in art and programming in one. To serious people trying to break into the industry it's sad to report that the industry is simply not interested in the average Joe with some hands on game engine experience, its not dedication or even creating works of art that do wonder. It's all about time and money nothing else, 90% of your skills are wasted on what your art directors or coordinators want to see. You get passed concept work and you work to complete that and bring it into reality then you get messy and put the art into the technology that will be running it, that is practically all a game artist does in the industry. If you believe otherwise then you are sadly mistaken, try spending the 40 to 60 years in the industry you will see what its like creating art for a living on a shoe string budget.

UDK is not Unreal Engine 3 and vise versa they are contemporary engines which are a superset of the unreal technology, UDK is simply a lesser umbilical child of the Unreal Engine thus its state is in constant evolution. Whereas Unreal engine is the complete source code licensed under an NDA sort of agreement and unless you can pay millions chances are STFU. That is not to say UDK isn't powerful, however it is limiting in a number of ways which are both technical and license model based, what does make UDK interesting is that it employs a technology share type program. Where various technology partners have contributed to the needed success of UDK for example "Speedtree" without it our lives would be miserable. UDK is nothing but a cheap shot at the market because Epic has lost Epic revenue and court battles, so they decided to build a license model that targets the average market in the hopes of revitalizing their losses.

ID Software as much as I hate their direction and lack of aesthetics, were the first to open source their previous generation technology to the public. That is something no game development company has done thus far, UDK comes close but loses the stretch by a mile.

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