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Old 05-16-2008, 08:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by yaustar View Post
Note: This is from the UK's industry point of view.
Ok, you've got me there... I'm in the North American Market, yet I wonder... are they that different?

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Originally Posted by yaustar View Post
If that is true then I would argue that it be impossible to such as a guide which is so clear cut. Given the various backgrounds and circumstances of people who have broke into the industry and ones that are still trying, I really think writing such a guide is impossible.
I'm not looking for a guide... so much as a path. I completed a 3D Animation degree and even though it might have been game creation oriented... we never worked with polygon limits or anything like that, it was all about making the end animation awesome. I can make awesome cutscenes, but if someone told me I was over by 4000 polygons I'd ask them "Well what does that matter?" Perhaps I should jump on a mod team. It's just at university you can take classes to become a programmer, writer, psychologist... but if you want into the games industry you can go be a programmer, but in computer science we never made games or things like games. It was science. Also, the best thing is writer, but even still... writing for a screenplay and writing for interactive media seems pretty different. Again, not looking for a guide, looking for a class or series of classes that grant me excellent insight into making games. Also, not all of us have the money to go to Full Sail or Digipen. I sadly was in that "Not poor enough, but too poor" bracket to be discluded from pretty much every scholarship and student loan. I ended up with $8000.

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Originally Posted by yaustar View Post
I don't think this is true. A portfolio should showcase your best work and arguably your best work isn't produced prior to University or even prior to your third year at University.
As true as I will agree this is, you just don't have the free time, well... I didn't. As I can only really speak on my behalf for this instance, working more than full time leaves me with very little chance to work on a portfolio, and sadly, surviving rates highly up there but above game design.

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Originally Posted by yaustar View Post
I find looking at portfolios of others who have got jobs in the industry does help, here is an example of a Level Designer's portfolio: http://www.essell.org/portfolio/
Don't forget that getting the interview is half the job, you need to be able to impress them during the interview as well.
The interview isn't the hardest part for me, getting it is 100% harder (or at least in my experience). I can ace an interview, I'm not full of myself but from all my previous employers they have told me I have leadership qualities emanating from me from the start. I don't think I have an aura of awesomeness, but I only know what they've told me. Naturally, I think I'm calmly nervous in interviews. Also, I suppose I should Google some portfolios, but generally ones that are on the internet of people not in the industry (not 100% true, but once they get in the industry, how many actually update?) also I want to see some portfolios from people who actually got the job and at the time they got the job. I suppose I might just be picky!

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The industry does have a 'chain of command'. That is why there are various roles such as Graduate/Junior, Senior and Lead in each major discipline. You start as a Junior and work your way up to a Lead position and beyond if you want to. I started as a Junior Level Scripter and then moved on to the next step of the chain as a Junior Gameplay programmer when I showed I could do the work that was expected of me.
Only one question, do a lot of companies post junior jobs on their website? I'm starting to wonder if the company I want to work for even offers those positions as I've never seen them on their website. *Sigh* Oh no.

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Now this is the part that confuses me completely. I have no idea where you got this from as I have never seen this advice being given. As long as you are willing to relocate for the role, your current location should have no bearing on whether or not get an interview or the role.
It does, especially for Junior positions, I applied at a company who shall remain nameless and they actually said on the phone that they didn't enjoy giving phone interviews for their junior positions (this was when I called up for a status check). Perhaps it was just that one company, I don't know, but I haven't recieved a call back from any of the other companies I applied to as well and haven't been able to contact anyone responsible for hiring for those other positions. Again, perhaps I am unlucky.

Also, this post is in frustration and I know it will sound like that, but I did want to thank you Yaustar for all of your help in these forums. I'm not sure if anyone has thanked you personally yet, but you are seemingly always on and always willing to lend a hand or response. So, no matter how frustrated the post, or how misinformed I might be (I only know what I've experienced, what I read in books and read on the internet... and the internet is RARELY 100%true) I will say that I appreciate comments from you as you are a seemingly bottomless pit of knowledge. Thanks Yaustar!

Sincerely,
Tim Edwards

Last edited by TimEdwards : 05-16-2008 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 05-17-2008, 07:01 AM   #12
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It's just at university you can take classes to become a programmer, writer, psychologist... but if you want into the games industry you can go be a programmer, but in computer science we never made games or things like games. It was science.
It should teach you how to develop software and games are software. This is something a lot of people forget, the practises in place for programmers are games companies are no different to ones at software houses.

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Again, not looking for a guide, looking for a class or series of classes that grant me excellent insight into making games.
You got me there, while I know some Universities do do this (in the UK), many don't or not to the level/detail that some would expect. The only thing I can recommend is to try for an internship.

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As true as I will agree this is, you just don't have the free time, well... I didn't. As I can only really speak on my behalf for this instance, working more than full time leaves me with very little chance to work on a portfolio, and sadly, surviving rates highly up there but above game design.
Don't you have anything from University that you can put into your portfolio or improve on?

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I want to see some portfolios from people who actually got the job and at the time they got the job. I suppose I might just be picky!
Note that these are from programmers but the Other Graduates page in my portfolio has links to people who have jobs in the industry.

Quote:
Only one question, do a lot of companies post junior jobs on their website? I'm starting to wonder if the company I want to work for even offers those positions as I've never seen them on their website. *Sigh* Oh no.
Some do, some don't. The fact is that so many apply (cold call) that you find they don't need to advertise it at all on the site.

Look at the last two posts on this thread: http://www.gp32x.com/board/index.php...ic=41956&st=15

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It does, especially for Junior positions, I applied at a company who shall remain nameless and they actually said on the phone that they didn't enjoy giving phone interviews for their junior positions (this was when I called up for a status check). Perhaps it was just that one company, I don't know, but I haven't recieved a call back from any of the other companies I applied to as well and haven't been able to contact anyone responsible for hiring for those other positions. Again, perhaps I am unlucky.
I hope that is only from one company since it is ridiculous to expect someone to move prior to even an interview.
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Old 05-17-2008, 07:58 AM   #13
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Odd that they wouldn't extend a phone interview. I've never heard of a company doing phone interview > hire, if that was their problem. It's usually phone interview > in person interview > hire. The phone interview tends to be given to people who don't live near the studio before they waste the resources to fly said person in to interview.

Most companies field this cost. The company you're interested in (I'm going to assume it's Bioware?) does. Last I heard they also pay relocation reimbursement to a certain allotment. There are some people who feel very very strongly that if you don't live in a game industry hub you need to move there to get a job, but I've seen plenty of people get jobs through other routes. That said, those people tended to be rather outstanding.

Tim - I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way, but are you sure you don't have any free time to devote to your portfolio? I do feel your pain. I have a full-time job and full-time school and have recently taken on another part-time job to pay for GDC and other industry travel-related expenses. But I volunteer 10 hours of my time each week a piece to two different teams (one a mod group, one an indie team). Now, take all that with a grain of salt - I've had a stress headache for... months and months. And I have absolutely no social life. Each person is different. What I'm trying to say is, is there something you could sacrifice to get a bit more time to work on your portfolio?

And yeah, I'm really not sure Bioware hires junior designers, but that doesn't mean you can't get a job there and work your way into design. Bioware Austin is in dire need of writers currently and likely will be for some time. Because it's an MMO, in all likelihood you'll get a chance to flex your design muscles by doing some content creation. Once you're in you have a much better chance of bending some ears and getting to Edmonton on their buck.

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Old 05-17-2008, 04:37 PM   #14
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I think I found where the advice of "moving first then applying" came from: http://www.igda.org/columns/gamesgam...game_Apr03.php

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3. You say you live in an area where there are no game companies. As a recent graduate, you're going to find it difficult to get a company to hire you long-distance. First, since you would have to move, a company would experience a delay after hiring you until you could begin work. Secondly, nobody wants to pay relocation expenses for an untried rookie artist. You need to move to an area where there are several companies. Do the research, pick an area, and move.
In the UK, I haven't heard of people being rejected on the basis on where they live.
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Old 05-17-2008, 05:25 PM   #15
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Tom knows his stuff for sure, and I know he believes quite strongly in that specific point, but I have to respectfully disagree with that advice, at least on a selective basis. You'll have to go the extra mile in performance to get a company to take the chance on spending additional resources to bring you on board, but then I hope you weren't planning to just coast by anyway!

This comes from my observation, of course. Like I said, I've seen quite a few 'industry newbies' hired from across the country. My team lead at RDS was hired at Obsidian a few months ago. They paid for the travel costs for the interview and also for his relocation from Austin to OC.
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Old 05-18-2008, 08:33 AM   #16
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Exclamation I attended with him...

I went to school with him... and was his roommate.

I must say that like all education, it is what you take out of it. With the need for a kick ass portfolio, it should never include in-class work. Those are just assignments to teach you the skills to make something better.

I can't tell you how many of my peers still show chess sets in there modeling reels... It is the first assignment from a beginning 3DSMAX class.

As far as jobs in the industry, he did not mention that he did not want to leave the area he is at. That area has only 6 studios, non of which are hiring anything but concept artists and programmers. As he is neither, it does not apply to him.

A few other companies he applied at were for writing, which arguably he is better at than other tasks, but not what his education was for. Possibly he should of switched long ago...

He has a sour attitude towards his education here since he arrived, sabotaging himself with his game focused education.

As for Guild Hall, he was not accepted and never went. That is a Masters program and he is referring to a Undergraduate program in contrast.

Lastly with all the other comments he made on the industry and such, I must add -
He is a novice, he never did any study into women in the industry, education in the industry, or anything else he talks about.

This is a self taught industry even to this day. It takes drive and focus. What more it takes a understand that you need to improve, and that you need to work as hard and harder as the next guy to make a effort.

I attend every GDC that I can just to build connections for when I ask for a job. I spend months making games, because I enjoy it. If my stuff sucks, I redo it. This is a tenancy that he never found.

I myself might be to blame, a large portion of the time I had arguments with the other roommates that wanted to see him model, not his strong suite. The whole time he should of been focusing on writing.
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Old 05-18-2008, 08:45 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by CKeene View Post
Something can be said for not being found in the search query "Does [school] suck".

There is a frighteningly large amount of negative press circulating about trade schools that people are absorbing and using in their vehement need to discredit x school. Yes, there are a lot of bogus programs out there. No, you certainly don't need to attend a games-specific program to get in the industry.
Like I said on another post, I attend the same school and was his roommate. It is not a trade school like he says, it is fully accredited and supports many disciplines.

The school was not bad, he merely sabotaged himself, and did not put any effort into the work.

When working on a group, he left early every night so he could sleep, or so he would not miss his TV shows, which were reruns.

He did not put the effort forth to enable his own portfolio. They teach never to use what you made in class, that the classes are a teaching tool. To many don't listen and put the 3DSMax 101 Chess set into there portfolio still.

You are suppose to work on a completed game project before graduation, he waited to the last semester.

He did not want to leave AZ so he did not look past this state when applying.

He hurt himself, and is a poor reflection of what the school is. While he did not finish with a kick ass portfolio, he meet the bar minimum standards that the school can not withhold his degree, he did pay for it right.

But a degree has little to no bearing on a job in this industry.

His mistake is in thinking a degree will get him a job when he does not have the talent himself.
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Old 05-18-2008, 07:09 PM   #18
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Instead of bashing the guy, lets look at the validity of some of his statements.

Perhaps his portfolio isn't good, or it's officially cookie cutter due to him only using his school work. Even I am still impressed when I look back at my Chess Set and how well it turned out. Companies are not impressed understandably as it is literally a first month assignment. But it's the best looking one you produce early on and that is why many people will include it. Just like we buy retro game tshirts. Nostalgia.

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Tim - I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way, but are you sure you don't have any free time to devote to your portfolio? I do feel your pain. I have a full-time job and full-time school and have recently taken on another part-time job to pay for GDC and other industry travel-related expenses. But I volunteer 10 hours of my time each week a piece to two different teams (one a mod group, one an indie team). Now, take all that with a grain of salt - I've had a stress headache for... months and months. And I have absolutely no social life. Each person is different. What I'm trying to say is, is there something you could sacrifice to get a bit more time to work on your portfolio?
I understand your worry, I spend a lot of my spare time at the moment planning my move and making sure I don't forget anyone in the goodbye process. I don't know if I mentioned it but I finished my animation diploma as of December 19th of last year. I got engaged that September, and my wife actually planned majority of the wedding for February of this year. I did have to do things there, and (I realize these are all just excuses and this is such a SOB story, but it's been a little busy) it was December for me as a Retail Manager. I went up to 6 days a week (48+ hours) and did my shopping in my spare time. Then after Christmas I spent time cleaning up the debris of my store, planned the remainder of the details of the wedding, had the wedding in February, and then suddenly it was March. I started moving our stuff out of our apartment and then into the inlaws' (where I currently reside). Suddenly it's April (Review time for my company) and I start planning the details for my move to Edmonton. May comes and I have to get as many full store counts done as I can because next month is our inventory. I suppose I could stop going in so often (I only get paid forty hours a week, good old salary) but I take pride in my store and what I do. I want the inventory to go perfectly, even though I am leaving.

And then suddenly it will be June and I will be in Edmonton sans portfolio. I make time to do the challenges on here because they are quick enough that I can read it, and take it with me to work and think about it all day and write stuff down on my break. I have three weeks left before I am in Edmonton, and only then will everything sink in that I completed a degree, quit my job, got married, relocated and haven't slept more than five hours a night for the past seven months. I definately could cut out sleep, it really is just five hours of laying there and doing nothing productive, but my doctor says it's "eight hours minimum required". Man, I think I'm just fine. *Twitch*

But seriously, the closer it gets to my leaving date the less I'm home and if I am I'm juggling a millon things. My next bit of free time will come once I've moved to Edmonton. But I'm sure if I planned out my days time management wise, I'd probably gather a couple extra hours here and there.

I definately wish that Bioware had suggestions of where to go if you'd like to work for them. I think that is the big difference. A lot of us "newbies" come from university or college and expect it to be the same as our retail or fast food jobs. You apply, you get hired, you get trained. Even though we have already paid for our training essentially, I know for a fact that every company works differently and will still train you on in house tools and methods. Anyway thanks again for all the help, advice and this discussion. I think despite the article's shortcomings what we've discussed in here makes up for it easily.

Thanks again!
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Old 05-19-2008, 05:08 AM   #19
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The challenges are definitely a good start, though. Along with that, keep a design journal. Those Mead Composition Notebooks work well for this, or if you want to get high-tech, I quite like MS OneNote. The benefit of a notebook, however, is that you can take it anywhere. When you get a chance, type up the good ones, and then get to work on making a very short (15-30 mins max) demo in the engine of your choice - even RPG Maker. Or you can go non-digital and make a board or card game. Of course this means finding time, which you quite understandably are severely short on.

In regards to the article, I don't think anyone is intentionally trying to attack the OP, which is good. Many op-eds devolve into a chest-beating ego fest, and this one has remained civil. I think the important thing to take from this is that there are a lot of people in the OP's situation, and we need to do something to rectify that. The industry, the educational system, and sites like these need to make it pointedly clear to every student that just doing their schoolwork is not going to net them a job in the industry. They will need to go above and beyond to get what they want.
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Old 05-19-2008, 05:42 AM   #20
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Here is the article author's portfolio for reference: http://bndesign.t83.net/
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