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Old 05-29-2008, 01:10 PM   #21
Duckman
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Hello everyone, I have been surfing Gamasutra and GameCareerGuide for a couple months now and finally decided to check the forums! Anyways I am in a somewhat similar situation as Red XIII, looking to find out what it takes to get into the industry. I have always wanted to develop games since I younger and had no concept of researching things so I assumed that a computer science degree was the way to go. So I received that a year ago and am currently employed as a software developer. I am currently trying to mod with the Source engine and am also taking a course at the GameInstitute.com. Basically I am wondering, what do companies look for in terms of a portfolio? Does it have to be something fantastic? Are modifications a bad way to show you can program? Do they want just something simple? I am just looking for some sort of insight on the subject. I have the passion to create games, I just need some sort of direction. Thanks a bunch!
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Old 05-29-2008, 03:49 PM   #22
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1 word... Polish

Whatever you make should be nice and shiny with no sharp edges, and no specs of dirt. It helps to display something that you're applying for, AI routines if you want to be an AI programmer, shader usage if you're applying for Graphics programmer, or just a nice game in general if you're going for gameplay programmer. If you are not ecstatic about the quality of what you've done work on it more until you are.

Remember it's better to not send a demo and have them consider the possibility that you're a bad programmer, than to send one and prove out right that you're a bad programmer.
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:48 AM   #23
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How did you know I'm part Polish, i didn't know this was the industry standard! Bad Joke... Anyways, I totally get what you are saying, I just haven't figured out what specifically I want to do in terms of programming, I guess I need some sort of guidance on what is good for me. My job right now does alot of UI and calculations within the program, but I don't know how much that helps. Well, thanks a bunch!
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:52 AM   #24
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I think you're on the right track with emphasising polish. There is a lot of competition so you really need to work hard on your portfolio as well as your skills and knowledge. Focus on the role you want and develop material around that. If you are interested in becoming an AI programmer, then it makes sense to apply to an AI position and show a small polished AI-heavy game.

I wouldn't worry too much about artwork and looks, since you're not applying to an artistic position. By all means, if you have a friend who is very artistic then they can make your game look better, just make sure you give them credit where due and all the stuff you're responsible for under the hood is excellent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Claxon View Post
Remember it's better to not send a demo and have them consider the possibility that you're a bad programmer, than to send one and prove out right that you're a bad programmer.
I would disagree. Being rejected doesn't make you a bad programmer. It simply means you need to raise the bar a little and try again.
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Old 05-30-2008, 11:19 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrir View Post
I would disagree. Being rejected doesn't make you a bad programmer. It simply means you need to raise the bar a little and try again.
Maybe. I'm speaking from the experience of being the person who rejects candidates, because they sent some terrible demos after really quite a promising interview.
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:54 AM   #26
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Hey again ^^ Haven't posted in a while, been very busy lately with finishing this year of college. Just a quick question with something I'm encountering. Normally, the first thing you write in a language is the 'Hello World!' script which is all well and good, nice and easy. I've been reading through some books on programming and the main fault with a lot of them seems to be you don't actually SEE any improvement from what you've learned.

It's kinda hard to explain what I'm trying to say... Well, I play a MMORPG in which I use scripts written by other programmers to automate certain actions in the game. Now, when these programmers write a script they can try it out in the game to see if it works and if it has any bugs, find them, fix them etc. They see the code they've written in action. The things I've been reading don't really teach anything you can see working, it's all just simple maths so far.

Is there a way to learn programming by learning to write scripts that actually DO something? lol I was thinking of asking what language my game's scripts are written in and trying learn some of that language and maybe try a simple script of my own, something like making my character walk forward, nothing major.
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Old 06-20-2008, 04:25 PM   #27
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Well progressing from "hello world" (which mind you, I never do because I thing it's a silly thing to say) to even a basic game is still quite a step, but your predicament does seem familiar. I felt much the same way when I was teaching myself C++ through text books, which start with hello world, then cin, and then have 80 pages telling you how "Pointers are critical to game programming" but without actually saying why you should use them, or even how to escape console apps. If that is the case for you I'd suggest you find some better programming tutorials (http://www.gameinstitute.com/ has good ones, but a little expensive). If you just want to get in and start tweaking things to see results, try downloading the DirectX SDK and open their Sample tutorials, you get some rendering triangles and others rendering meshes. Just try playing with the code they give you to make the model move around the play area, and build on it from there.

The other option is using XNA with has games as starter kits to show you how to work it (and it's pretty easy to learn).
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Old 06-20-2008, 04:29 PM   #28
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Whenever you start learning a new language, most of the time, you be starting out printing stuff to the commandline. All scripts are doing something, just not all of them are very visual.

Since you haven't said what language you are using, I just assume it is a common scripting language.

Most books will have exercises at the end of each chapter that allow you to use what you have just read. After oyu have some of the basics, attempt to make small commandline games such as:

Guess the number - computer randomly chooses a number and you have to guess it. The computer will reply either 'higher', 'lower' or 'correct'. Add scores based on number of guesses, etc.

Hangman - computer randomly chooses a word from a list (e.g. External dictionary file) and you have to guess it.

Text based RPG - like MUD

The last one should enough to keep you going for a while.
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