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HagNasty 11-02-2007 11:31 PM

Programming Portfolio
 
I have been getting a lot of messages lately asking about my experiences and some help in terms of direction and what is needed to get a job. As a programmer it is simple. know how to code, have good practices and present it.

That last part is what most people do not do. If we get an application for a programmer we won't even look at them if they don't have anything to show other then a diploma. Even programmers need portfolios. So, if you want to get a job create a game even if it's only a simple demo. You don't need to be an artist just have it work solid.

What one person I know did was he created a simple 3D drag racer game in DirectX. Very short and used the XBox controller. He got splash screens from the internet and edited them for his controller and had some students he know texture some simple props. He got the car models free from a website (www.turbosquid.com) and thats about all the art out of the way.

After that he used a physics engine to move the cars and used weights based on the factory statistics. He calculated torque, velocity,momentum,friction, wind resistance, normal forces and so on. All these are simple equations found in a 1st year physics class and the game was done. He just added some polish with anti-alias and lighting to make it more pleasing to the eye and now he works a pseudo interactive.

So now I am offering to help people put together a portfolio project. We can choose either to work on it as a group over the internet (though more difficult it will have a better outcome) or we can have people create their own where in this thread we can offer suggestions, critiques and help with problems.

So for everyone who made it through that block of text, what do you want to do? Ill be checking back here once or twice a week so feel free to talk amongst yourselves in the mean time.

Gshonk 11-03-2007 06:45 AM

O man this is sweet. Let me think about it then I'll check after class today.

chrono1699 11-03-2007 09:16 AM

That's actually not a bad idea...though, having to be open to your intellectual property is sometimes difficult for some people, I wouldn't mind having to create a portfolio/demo game made up of a team from this forum. Sounds fun...who suggests making a 2d or 3d game? 2d games can be a little easier. There's also a website for 3d using OpenGL ( http://nehe.gamedev.net/ ). I don't have a doubt that directX has a dedicated website to learning the API. Here's a few facts contrasting between the 2 http://www.gamedev.net/reference/art...rticle1775.asp ....I'm not an expert in using c++ but I can be of assistance...anyone else want to do this?

Adrir 11-03-2007 05:58 PM

Sounds like fun! I'm up for it :D

I've only been programming a year and a half, since I started my degree really, and I'm totally addicted! Although you'll have to point me to some good directX/openGL books if we're going to attempt some 3D stuff (Or I can just use that website). My primary language is Java however I've been learning C++ and C# in my free time, along with writing several elaborations on Tetris, Zork and Missile Command!

chrono1699 11-03-2007 07:49 PM

I took a class for game/software development...There's many cases that teams didn't complete their project due to lack of motivation. We can accomplish this project if we have a team leader that can motivate us, a few coders that can work on modules and modellers that can create characters and probably even assume duty on texture making...I've had experience in modelling and it's pretty simple...I used milkshape and it was fairly simple to use...here's an incompleted female model
If anyone would like to learn, I would be happy to help.

Also, to make development faster...we can also use torque game engine or irrlicht game engine so that having to make our engine is already done. Just some scripting will be needed. Just in case no one knows torque is a commercial engine where upon purchasing will allow the owners to modify internal code. Irrlicht however is open source and free. I used both and have no preference over the two. Here are some websites to look into for torque and irrlicht.
www.garagegames.com for torque and
http://irrlicht.sourceforge.net/ for irrlicht and
http://chumbalum.swissquake.ch/ for milkshape modeller

chrono1699 11-03-2007 08:28 PM

second attempt...
I took a class on software/game development. There were many cases that teams were hindered because lack of motivation. Leaders are really over-rated, and I believe in team organization where leaders are only needed when they are really needed. Anyways, I also believe in experience...so I appoint HagNasty as the leader since he's had experience in the industry. We're also going to need some background (experience on programming, modelling/art) on everyone who wants to do this project so that we can determine their strengths and weakness. And with that given, we can assign the duty to each person. I'll start it off, I've had some experience using milkshape...here's a sample of an incomplete female model
http://img161.imageshack.us/my.php?image=toarceokf2.jpg
As stated above my previous post, I mainly use c++ for programming but open to using others. Other subtopics under programming are structured/procedural programming, so having to design a game from concept to a "semi-working" state is no problem for me. Object oriented design/programming is also no problem for me.

Another suggestion I want to throw is game engines. We can complete this demo in a matter of years if we develop from scratch...or we can complete this in a matter of months if we use a game engine...I suggest irrlicht or torque...I have no preference over the 2. Anyhow, if we can make this into a real working project it'd be great to have an established way of contacting one another. I can be contacted on aol instant messenger and my screen name is the same as my screen name on this forum. I look forward in working with everyone!

Gshonk 11-03-2007 09:06 PM

I'm in but I have to be honest I don't know how much time I can devote. I go to school 40+ hrs a week not including homework/projects/studying so I'm not sure how much time I'll have. Also starting in February I start final project which is pretty much this, making a full game with 4 other guys. So I'll really only be useful for a while and not a lot of work.

I've been coding with C++ for about 16months. I'm pretty secure in my skills in OOP and design patterns and everything else you would expect from someone about to graduate with a CS bachelors(at least I hope. if not more). Also I'm really good and scheduling tasks running groups and working on a schedules.

But if I can find time and this will only take a few months I'm in for a group project. Or we could just do the individual thing while helping each other. Whatever is fine by me.

ronnoc10 11-03-2007 10:34 PM

Whether or not I'll be of much help on this, but I am still rather excited. It sounds like an excellent opportunity to lean a lot of stuff.
I only know Java, and not too much of it. I do know quite a bit about programing theory, and am looking forward to seeing it in action.
As for what is going down, I'm pretty sure most people here will like the idea of a team project. I think that HagNasty should expand on what he looks for in a portfolio, or even give an explain what project he would consider the ultimate portfolio. Coupled with a consideration of our abilities, it would probably simplify things for us.

Adrir 11-04-2007 08:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chrono1699 (Post 1526)
I took a class on software/game development. There were many cases that teams were hindered because lack of motivation.

Yeah, it's like that all the time in Uni. I always get stuck with at least one person who has absolutely no motivation and refuses to contribute anything worthwhile.

Although I would assume most people here have hardcore aspirations, so motivation wouldn't be the worst problems; coordination and time management could be.

Quote:

Originally Posted by chrono1699 (Post 1526)
Leaders are really over-rated, and I believe in team organization where leaders are only needed when they are really needed. Anyways, I also believe in experience...so I appoint HagNasty as the leader since he's had experience in the industry.

If HagNasty wants to coordinate the project, then sure.

Quote:

Originally Posted by chrono1699 (Post 1526)
We're also going to need some background (experience on programming, modelling/art) on everyone who wants to do this project so that we can determine their strengths and weakness.

Education: Computer Science (2nd Year)
Language: Java, a little C++, a little C#.
API: Java 2.0, Java 2D, XNA Framework

I've not attempted any 3D work at all for DirectX or OpenGL besides the "Load a 3D Model" tutorial in XNA. However, I am a fast learner. I've written a couple of algorithms from scratch including basic quad-tree-partition circle-circle collision detection, text parsing, 2D animation, etc. Mostly for applet based 2D arcade games.

Quote:

Originally Posted by chrono1699 (Post 1526)
Another suggestion I want to throw is game engines. We can complete this demo in a matter of years if we develop from scratch...or we can complete this in a matter of months if we use a game engine...I suggest irrlicht or torque...I have no preference over the 2.

What about the Microsoft XNA framework for 360/PC?

Quote:

Originally Posted by chrono1699 (Post 1526)
Anyhow, if we can make this into a real working project it'd be great to have an established way of contacting one another. I can be contacted on aol instant messenger and my screen name is the same as my screen name on this forum. I look forward in working with everyone!

I use MSN: adrirdarklance@hotmail.com

An IRC channel or bulletin board might be useful, depending on where we all live (I'm UK).

HagNasty 11-06-2007 07:33 AM

It's good to see that so many people would be interested in working on a group project. You bring up a number of good points and things we should consider.

To begin with there are a few things that we need to understand before we get started.

1) We are a small team working over the internet with no in person contact. With this in mind we need to keep our ambitions low. Not so low that it's not to be noticed but low enough that we can achieve our goals. With this in mind we should try to create a very polished small game instead of an innovative large scale game. It should take no more then a few months to create a great looking game if we have talented people looking to make it happen and I hope thats what is going on here.

2) As mentioned in the previous posts motivation is a major factor that comes into play with online projects. This is why we need to stay in contact as much as possible and post screen shots and preliminary things done as soon as possible. This includes assets and a GDD if possible.

3) Because of the nature of an online project we need to cover our basis. This means that we will try to have 2 people to every job. Hopefully people can work together but if not have each person develop their own asset ( either models, graphics or code )

4) For the coders! This is going to be the hard part for you. You need to have everything you create be 100% modular. If your creating a sound engine make it modular. (I have one of these already so it's not a big deal if I can find it and give you an example of the coding practices I would expect) Basically your job is to make the classes you create work independent of anything else. A good way to do this is to create your classes and take another 30mins to setup a test environment and put it in place. It's so that you can create each class and plug it into any game we want to create. As outlined in a sample I will provide 'engine' classes will be singletons and every function and asset will be commented. If a variable is not used get rid of it as it can mess up calculations by offsetting memory values.

5) Artists, Of course we will need artists and modelers. If we decide to do a 2D game over a 3d one I would still suggest doing 3d models for any sprites required. This will create a kind of pseudo 3D game. The main thing that will be done on the creative side is done by you guys. We will need concept sketches done asap. You will be the motivation of the team because everyone loves visuals. The more you post the better.

6) When it comes to IP protection, if people would like I can put the IP of whatever we create under my companies name and if it does go to publish you will have credits on a shipped title. Though if anyone does not like this we can find something else, possibly everyone keeps their own IP's but you will have to copyright it yourself. (I suggest mailing it to yourself and not opening it. The post stamp acts as a copyright. this is the easiest and cheapest way of doing it and it also holds up at court. as long as the judge opens the letter.) If thats also not in your liking we can keep the entire project free ware and open source. This way the project is open to 'theft' per say but passes on all the legal issues. The final option is that the project is under my companies name and every asset is retained by it's owner however after it is submitted it can not be retracted. This is only to prevent one angry person from derailing the project by taking back all their assets.

Ok, as for now lets decide what we want to do. Lets start with a genre, and brief description. I would suggest a puzzle game as they are easy to make and only take about 4 months from scratch. As for engines the XNA framework is great but it's not finished. I would suggest Torque Game builder for 2D games and Torque Engine for 3D games. I have a license for the Torque Game builder as well so I would be able to help anyone with code relating to it though it's almost all scripts. For 360 the XNA framework is one thing but it's not a engine itself. I have not used it myself but the guys at garage games created another version of torque called Torque X for the 360. It looks great and tends to fill in the holes where XNA left off.

A few other lower level things would be OGRE, SDL, or even direct into DirectX and OpenGL but I don't know why you would want to do these other two options. I personally would rather hire someone able to work with a industry engine.

I can help out in a number of different ways. I have no problem being project manager but I would like one of you guys to be the creative director. I don't need a portfolio project but you guys do so let it be your game. Ill try to organize things as best as I can and help out with technical problems and decisions. We should decide if we want to create a game that would be made for market or a game that we just want to show off. These are very different things. I would suggest the latter since it is a portfolio piece and it reduces the restrictions (as well as makes it less likely for someone to steal the project)

So, lets have it. Anyone who wants to be creative director post their ideas for games. Here is a quick copy and paste form to fill out.

Working Title: The name of your game
Is it a 3d Game?: yes/no
Engine: your engine of preference
Genre: casual/puzzle/shooter ect...
One Liner: the catch phrase of your game, EG. An outrageously good time that will blow your mind
Description: Describe your game, what players will do and what features are included. include what makes the game unique and try not to go beyond 3 unique points or the audience will find it "too different" and be turned off.


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