I currently study computer engineering and I want to lead my career towards game industry which I always want to be a part of.
But I am not sure where to start.
I applied some of the companies in the industry for internship and so but most of them wants experience and some work in game developing. Many asks whether I developed a simple game or something similar which I haven't done so far. I am proficient at C, C++, Java, JS, HTML etc.
Any tips from people experienced in the industry on where to start ?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi, welcome to the site. GDSE is a Q&A site for directed questions with specific, objective answers, and your question is more discussion-oriented and subjective than is appropriate here. You are better off asking this kind of question on a forum like GameDev.Net or in our own Game Development Chat. \$\endgroup\$ – user1430 Feb 25 '13 at 17:34

As a person who just got hired in a major game company as my first real job, I'll tell you a little part of my story.

I didn't graduate from DigiPen or any other game-specialized university. I have a B.S. and M.S. both in general Computer Science. But just before I started applying for a job, I thought that lots of people would be applying for game industry jobs, since, well, I know a crapton of people who want to make games. So I just had to make sure I had something to stand out in between everybody else. So I thought I'd make a game.

Sure, I had been wanting to make games for a long time, and had made lots of prototypes for games, as well as other applications. Checking my source code folder from the past 5 years, I counted 500000 lines of code. But so far, I hadn't made a single complete game product (or any finished product for all that's worth).

When I say complete, I mean that not only the program must be in final version, but also must come with a manual, and an installer, all in a CD with a nice design. Also I needed a webpage.

So instead of trying to challenge my technical skills by making a game with overly complicated gameplay, AI and 3D effects, I thought I'd make a small project, but one I could make sure I could take from beginning to end. Since I'd be also making the graphics and music (I'm not so great at these), the project should be as simple as possible.

Eventually, I decided I'd make a tetris clone. You should be able to play tetris yourself to get a huge score, play with somebody else, or play against the computer. It should have menus, and the resolution, the sound and music volumes and the controls should be customizable. I'd make that game in 2D, as even though I have made lots of 3D programs, my 3D modeling experience is null. So I'd make everything in pixel art.

And after 3 hours, I had a prototype. I was playing games of tetris with an XBox controller, and it felt really nice. I was almost over...

Or that's what I thought. The entire project took 2 more weeks after that until I reached a beta version (feature complete), which I took to the first interview at a company (the one that eventually hired me) the very same day I considered my game to be a beta.

So why did it take so long? There are so many details in making a game! if the main menu fades out so the game fades in, how long should that fadeout take? 0.5s? 0.2s? what about the fade in of the game? 0.7s? What about the repeat rate for menu items when you keep the controller button pressed? should it be the same for the keyboard? How are two people going to play on the same keyboard at the same time? What about sounds? I bought an sfx pack with hundreds of sounds. Which one feels most like a turn, and which one feels more like a drop? They also have to sound like the same family of sounds! What happens when you clear a line? does the line disappear immediately? or should it be animated? should the other blocks fall immediately? or should this be animated as well?

Well, that is what Edison meant when he said genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspriation.

If you take such a simple project and show (and tell) to a prospective employer that you were able to do all that and consider all those tiny details, I am convinced you will impress anybody. Not only you're showing you care about all that, but you're also showing that you can manage your project from beginning to end, and overall that you're a great hire.

So try something like that. Make a game from start to end, and not only you'll have a great thing to show at an interview, you'll also have a taste of what making games is about, and therefore have a chance to meditate whether or not this is the industry you want to join.

Good luck!

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you so much for your helpful answer. It is very inspiring and encouraging. And it answered most of my questions very well. \$\endgroup\$ – Oralet Feb 6 '11 at 11:50

If you're sure that's the direction you want to take your career, I wonder why you haven't done a simple game or demo.

As a developer, I had been making simple games, demos and experiments since I was 5 until I was 22 and finally started my company. When hiring people, not having anything to show was a red flag for me.

Please don't take this the wrong way, I'm not picking on you - on the contrary, I'm trying to help you. How/why do you know this is really what you want to do, if you don't have enough passion to do it just for fun?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have the passion and I want to start developing something. Question was how to start develop something meaning which sdk or languages are best and is there a tutorial or a website and stuff. I guess I didn't asked the question clearly, sorry about that \$\endgroup\$ – Oralet Feb 4 '11 at 11:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ I understand that. What "worries" me is that you're doing it as an "assignment", my question is why you haven't done it yet, long before someone asked you to do it. In any case, if you know deep inside you really want to do games, go ahead and best of luck :) \$\endgroup\$ – ggambett Feb 4 '11 at 13:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, the education in my university is very hard and does not leave much time to engage in my interests. And my childhood basically spent playing video games and admiring them :) I wanted to start doing some serious job when I got in a job in this industry but they want people who ALREADY did this kinda stuff. So I need to start right now :) \$\endgroup\$ – Oralet Feb 4 '11 at 13:39

Do what they want you to do. Create a game or demo (walk through landscape etc.). Don't be disappointed with that they did not want you to intership now. Great is they even responsed. And interships are the best what you can do in paralel with school. Also it is what will makes you unique in eyes of employers after school.

For example, when i get my intership i had created this:

  • 1 released indie 3d game,
  • 1 interactive demo, using gpu, shaders and some advanced algorithms
  • computer graphics related Bsc. thesis with prototype
  • 2 raytracers (this propably did not help :))

You have to show that you are really interested in what you want to do. Enthusiasm is what helps most.

This site is full of where to start questions with tons of great answers, just use search ;)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks so much! The thing is there is nothing parallel what I learn in schoold and what game developing requires :) So it is kinda hard for me to start developing something right now because of school projects, homeworks, assignments, summer interns etc. But I am really eager about this and your answer is really helpful to understand where to start. Thanks again \$\endgroup\$ – Oralet Feb 4 '11 at 11:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ No problem. I'm glad you like it. Just some more suggestions. Dont use engine if you want to become pro. For learning i recommend xna (it is helpful because it can has classes for the scary 3D math ... good for beginner to not to freak out:)) and after you will be fine with it. Go deeper and learn DX, or opengl. In my opinion there is not big difference between them. They do same thing with different instructions. So once you undestand how graphis works, you can switch APIs with no problems. \$\endgroup\$ – Notabene Feb 4 '11 at 11:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, I am a very good programmer as far as algorithms and hard math methods are concerned. But I haven't tried any graphic interface or opengl and so on. I checked other threads and XNA seems to be a good start :) \$\endgroup\$ – Oralet Feb 4 '11 at 12:48

I'd suggest doing what they say: start developing simple game.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is helpful answer? Eh maybe i'm just jealous because your answer has more points than mine answer:]. But he asked where to start, already knows what to do (create a game). \$\endgroup\$ – Notabene Feb 4 '11 at 11:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @notabene Exactly! :)) \$\endgroup\$ – Oralet Feb 4 '11 at 11:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ I honestly think I answered the question asked, and it seems at least two people think the same :P. If the header been "how should I start developing a simple game?" I would have answered differently. But notabene's answer already answers that. \$\endgroup\$ – egarcia Feb 4 '11 at 12:14

Hang around in the right places. Make your name known in the relevant sites (gamasutra, gamedev, tigsource etc) and build some online presence so your demos are seen.


I totally agree with all the answers that ppl have put up here. But the best thing that you could do right now is to just think of a game idea you want to implement. Start with something simple. Next pick a language. If you want to make a good performance game, and ur ready to put hours of work into it, then go for C++. If you're interested in developing web oriented games, use html,js and css. Once decided upon all things mentioned above, it's time to start with some reading. Pick up some good ebooks online or check out source codes posted by various ppl. And then start building ur game. It's not only the game companies want to see, rather how much effort and interest you took in building. They want to hire ppl who have experienced those clueless moments and eureka's which all sums up to experience, while building a game. So don't think too much about getting hired in companies and stuff for now. Just focus on making games and enjoying the process.


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