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54

"System programming" (or "systems programming") tends to mean programming done at a lower level of abstraction than (for example) gameplay programming. Gameplay programming is usually about building the actual game mechanics and front-facing features that a user might see, whereas systems programming is more about building the frameworks upon which gameplay ...


44

I've been a programmer in the console game industry for almost fourteen years, and have often been involved in hiring decisions. So speaking as one of those potential employers, when evaluating a possible employee there are three things I look for in a new hire, and I look for them in this order. Will this person fit into my team? (social, hygiene, etc) ...


30

This of course is dependent on the individual developer and what goals they want to accomplish. But I think the only real measure is the development of games! In my opinion, the path of a game developer closely follows the development of their first game. But then what are the milestones for a game? There are simple enough games that they could be created in ...


30

You've hit on a real problem in the games industry. We don't know how to judge game-making expertise. Training someone up to be productive on a new game project can take weeks on its own, so we're very skittish about making that investment. Our best guess is to look at games someone has already made, which leads to a catch-22 situation where you need to be ...


28

Speaking very broadly, there are two sorts of skills: "I can make this thing shiny by clicking that button." This is Unity-domain knowledge; it's something you've learned about how to use Unity, and probably won't help you much when learning another system's interface. (While that other system is likely to have some way to make an object shiny, it will ...


22

Josh's answer is really good but I figured I'd throw down some bullet points about the Systems team where I work. I don't work on Systems but I work with them a lot. The responsibilities of a Systems team varies a lot from company to company. Our Systems team is in charge of a lot of stuff: Math Library STD Replacement Library Core Game Framework Core ...


17

You should notice that game design is nothing that is necessarily related to programming. It also applies to board games, card games and every type of game, computer games being one of these. It's a different field and being a good programmer doesn't mean you're a good game designer. However being a programmer already can help you becoming a good game ...


14

Here is an analogy that may fit your situation: I'm a very good story teller. But my audience are Spanish speakers and I only have very basic Spanish speaking skills. That's the situation you're in. You are very good at one of the core concepts required for graphics/physics/AI programming. But you don't know the language (programming). If you don't know ...


14

This is mostly an unanswerable question, but I'll go through some of the things you mention. You don't have any useful skills to bring to the table - sorry to be blunt - so you basically have to bankroll the enterprise if you want anybody to take you seriously. Your main cost is the people you need to employ. Unless you know what sort of game you're going ...


12

One thing others haven't mentioned yet is that it's important to finish your projects. Having a portfolio with a bunch of unfinished things isn't nearly as impressive as a portfolio with one finished, well-polished thing. Also, if you base your work on someone elses' existing work (such as some open source engine, or freely available art assets), make sure ...


12

Do people hire people based on their math knowledge alone? Math is very useful to game developers (programmers developing physics algorithms, designers analyzing stats, etc.) but game companies don't hire mathematicians.


11

The Win32 API is not a must. Professional games can be developed in anything from AGS to Flash to XNA to low-level C++. The Win32 API is only used for some Windows games, and not at all on non-Windows systems. I will note, however, that a skilled general-purpose game developer would be able to pick up the Win32 API and learn how to use it if it was the best ...


11

If you meant by developer is programmer, I'd really like to correct that. Developer means any person that has a role in the development of the game. Consists of roles: Producer, Programmer, Artist, and Sound are the most basic high-level position in video game development. "A game developer is anyone who has any involvement with the creation of the game at ...


10

They have those Entry Requirements for programmers (typos included): Object-orientated programming skills, preferably C++ Experience working with Windows, Mac OS or Linux API's Degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics or related discipline is desired but not essential. we'd like to see a real time demo and the its source code You ...


10

By no means I am experienced with big game development, but I like the game team roles description as given by Jason Gregory in the Game Engine Architecture, because it is broad enough to hold true most of the time: Engineers (from runtime to tools) Artists (from concept, throught 3D and writing all the way to sound) Designers (gameplay, interface/...


8

The best article I have found on the subject is How do I make games? A Path to Game Development. You really should read the whole article, but let me sum it up: When I talk to people looking to get into game development some of the first things I often hear fall along the lines of, "How do I make games?" or "I want to make a game like Quake/Everquest/...


7

Definitely. The reason? Because the more research you do of techniques used by those at the leading edge of your field, the better and more creative a [insert name of your profession here] you will become. On a weekly basis, I read or at least skim over research papers on real-time raytracing, global illumination models, up-and-coming AI techniques, ...


7

If you work in a big company, there will probably be few 3D artists for specific tasks. One of them might be soft body modeller that will do characters and animals, etc. You can be level designer, make some fences, houses, rocks, perhaps lightining artist which is really crazy if you are good one. You can type in your portfolio that you are level designer ...


7

Yes. Learning algorithms is learning algorithms. Implementations may change, but you'll still understand the overall strategy. However, it's also true that you'll be learning at a high level of abstraction. That means that moving around to other engines, or no engine, may require you to learn the finer details of the algorithm and the gritty details of the ...


6

Quitting your job and starting to develop your own game while living on your savings is a big financial risk. You never know if your game will sell (especially when it's your first), and when it doesn't, the move could ruin you. It's also easy to underestimate the time you will need to finish your game. Your savings might run out before you have a ...


6

The best way to increase your chances of being employed as a game developer is to get your hands dirty and actually work on the development of some small games. You say that you are "interested in programming games", which makes me believe that you haven't developed any games, yet. I advice you to stop thinking and start doing. However, the first order of ...


5

The experience of making a game will be beneficial to your education. However, the class itself isn't necessary to get this experience and will not likely factor much into your hiring potential upon graduation. Since you've never made a game before, this can be a great learning process, but you don't actually need the classroom context to do it unless you ...


5

The most important thing that you have to do is to be able to show something. You need to build up a really strong portfolio, and this is gonna take a long time. There are a lot of people out there who would like the same job and they usually come from a moddeler/animation background so they will usually outclass you in any tool (they'vebeen using it for ...


5

It's possible. Perhaps less feasible. Many artists focus purely on modelling machines or architecture, for instance. Or characters. But for game designers, it's a bit different. You tend to need to be less of a brilliant artist and more of a generalist in order to cover different design topics. It does depend though on the types of games you want to be ...


5

As a current college student (2nd year) that is currently on paid co-op with a studio, my biggest piece of advice would be personal projects. Start playing with C# and Unity and constantly be messing around and doing quick prototypes of ideas that you have. All. The. Time. A great way to build up real game dev experience is with game jams. They are ...


4

It seems to me that the answer depends on what kind of game programming you want to do. If your goal is to be an engine coder or graphics coder, you'd benefit from going under the hood and learning how engines work. This doesn't mean you can't use XNA or another off-the-shelf engine, framework, etc. Gaining familiarity with the innards of a high-quality ...


4

finding a company that would want to relocate a game designer is extremely difficult. Not really - if you're good enough, and the company is fairly large, and there aren't any glaring immigration issues, they'll usually find a way. Assuming you can relocate, if you're having trouble proving that you are good enough, then you do probably need to work on ...


4

The vast majority of game devs I've worked with have had only a passing knowledge of Win32 at best. Only a teeny tiny fraction of a game's codebase is going to use any platform-specific APIs in general, and unless you're the engine dev who's writing the abstraction layers for those, you can get away without knowing anything about Win32. Most indie games ...


4

I'm going to attempt to answer what I'm perceiving to be the question behind your question (which is, I think, "how should I present the breakdown of roles on my social network site dedicated to having developers meet up for projects?") and not your direct question regarding what major roles I think you're missing from your list. I think you've already got ...


4

nearly every game artist job, no matter how large or small the studio is, requires at least two years experience in the field before most will even consider looking at your portfolio. The first part of this is a reasonable assertion. The second part is a potentially very false assumption on your part. What "experience" means, how it's measured, how many ...


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