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Old 01-30-2008, 01:28 PM   #1
astonjay32
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Default Portfolio advice needed: 3D Engines

My question for developers currently in the industry:
If you're an employer looking to hire someone for an entry level job in the game development industry, would you be more impressed with a 3D demo featuring a completed, polished, great-looking game that used an existing 3D engine such as Torque OR a demo that lacks the "wow" factor, but features a 3D engine built entirely from scratch?

I'm a CS grad looking to break into the industry as a programmer. I know that I need a killer portfolio that will show a potential employer that I have adequate skills in C++, 3D math, physics, etc. I'd love to have many games in the portfolio (and there probably will be), but I've read in many places that a portfolio needs at least one really good demo. Something that will knock their socks off and separate me from the rest.

Now, it's worth mentioning that my goal isn't to just be a game developer. I want to be a great game developer. This will take many years and much hard work, however if I've learned anything in life, it's that your skills at any given thing will never reach that next, outstanding level unless you have a solid foundation to build on.

In a perfect world, I could create an engine from scratch and also build a more optimized and better featured game using an existing engine, but I'm not sure how much time I'll have to devote to this each week while at my current job and I'd like to be in the industry within the next year.

I understand that in the practical video game sense, building an engine from scratch is a silly waste of time, but for someone looking to break in, wouldn't this be invaluable education and proof to an employer that I truly know what I'm doing? Or would I be better off using an existing engine and focus on making the game as impressive as possible?

Thanks!

Last edited by astonjay32 : 01-30-2008 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 01-30-2008, 02:24 PM   #2
fullmetal84
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From all that I have heard, they say to make your demos and games using anything you can get your hands on, which will most likely be an engine already in existence. I don't think anyone is truly expected to create an engine, so if you were to accomplish that, I don't think you would have any trouble finding a job. In fact, I think Marc Mencher had answered a similar question before with the same mentality that if you create your own engine, a job is pretty much guaranteed.
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Old 01-30-2008, 04:49 PM   #3
yaustar
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Personally, I prefer the former (polished game using an existing engine(s)) as I like to see a finished product although this does depend on the role. Getting something finished and polished is very hard so it says immediately in a portfolio.

Most level entry positions will have you working with existing libraries and engines whether it be in-house or third party.
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Old 01-31-2008, 10:47 AM   #4
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We seem to be in the same situation. I'll be taking a nose dive into the industry, hopefully, by the end of the year.

My thoughts. Stay away from spending time creating an engine. In my past experiences, it just distracts from what you want to do; make killer games! You'll spend so much time debugging, fixing, optimizing, and revamping, that you'll basically turn full circle and have nothing to show. Sure, you'll learn some core mechanics, but is that really needed?

Grab a 3D Library (Orge3D, OpenGL, D3D, ...), a physics, sound, input, and whatever else you need. Then start making a demo. Tailor your work toward what you want to bust into the industry at. Write shaders. Work on AI topics. Whatever makes you tick.
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Old 07-03-2008, 01:25 AM   #5
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Well, in my opinion, if you REALLY want a brake, you should go for it.
Good things take time, but great things take a lot of time. But if you say that you don't have much free time, you should reconsider your future.
It would be such a waste building that engine from scratch, and some time after you start you'll have to stop it because of some other thing.

You know your situation better than anyone, so reconsider before listening to anyone, because only you know about the small things in your life.



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Old 07-03-2008, 07:33 AM   #6
Claxon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmcgraw View Post

My thoughts. Stay away from spending time creating an engine. In my past experiences, it just distracts from what you want to do; make killer games!

...<snip>...

Grab a 3D Library (Orge3D, OpenGL, D3D, ...), a physics, sound, input, and whatever else you need. Then start making a demo.
OpenGL & D3D are api's, so grabbing them & putting them together with physics sound and input handlers is technically 'creating a game engine'.

It's a tough one to answer really. Using torque could give you a good effect, but if all you did was create a standard FPS game, they may doubt your programming skills, since Torque comes with FPS starter packs and a huge number of code snippets and resources to mod the engine. Creating your own basic engine from scratch shows that you know the theory behind engine creation. A hand-built engine also often has another advantage (particularly over Torque, in that you generally write it in C++, where as the majority of Torque programming is done in TorqueScript. Whilst knowing scripting languages is good, proof of your C++ ability is usually desired more (it also means the programmer looking at your code is more likely to understand what is happening, without the need to know the scripting language).

My personal preference is a home made engine, but it can totally depend on the person.
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