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Old 05-19-2008, 10:20 AM   #21
yaustar
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This also got a lot of interesting feedback on Kotaku:
http://kotaku.com/5009579/breaking-i...-of-difficulty
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Old 05-19-2008, 11:16 AM   #22
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As someone who sits on the other end of the email, having to wade through this stuff, I can honestly say I'm sick of school churning out crap also. But an important thing to remember is that school, like anything else is an opportunity. A diploma is not a right to a job. What you get out is directly proportional to what you put in. I've seen some horrible and amazing portfolios come out of the same schools. It's not so much the school, as it is the student.

As for not getting rejection letters/emails/calls. I can only speak for myself. I never want to close a door I might want to open later. Candidates take other offers, people can be hard to get a hold of or people might want more money then a company can pay them. While its great to get closure and move on most places won't close those doors. A good rule of thumb is if you haven't heard in 1 week, reapply. 2 weeks send off a follow up email. 3 weeks re-bait your hook and cast your line again this fish isn't going to bite.

Lets be clear about something, it takes a great portfolio, dedication AND practice (not necessarily experience), to land a job. How you get to a great portfolio is up to you, if school is your vehicle then so be it.

Lets not fall into the trap of thinking that if you blow X amount of money on a piece of paper that it will some how make you a great artist. Even if that paper comes from an ivy league school, I'm not going to hire that person unless they have the portfolio and practice to back it up.

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Individuals with base skill sets and true passion are ready and waiting to be given a chance to shine.
I see nothing in your portfolio and the hundreds like it that I have looked at, that says you have true passion or base skills. I see a lazy portfolio full of first models. I see a portfolio of someone who thought they wanted a fun job, and when they found out it might require some hard work, slacked off instead of digging in.

You have to know that it will take a lot of trial, error before you can start to churn anything remotely portfolio worthy. It's the 5th, 6th, 15th attempts that are actually pretty good. If all you do is the class min, first attempt, then you seriously misunderstood the level of work it takes to create the things we do. Thinking the skills you have are "base" and worthy of a job when they clearly aren't give you very little room to complain.

No one is creating a wall to keep new talent out. Everyone in the industry had to start some where. What they are creating is a filter to make sure the people they hire can preform at the level they are expected to.

Think of it this way;
- Can you expect a toddler who took their first steps last week, to take gold in the Olympics? How do they get there? Do they show up at the time trials with a video of their first steps? Or do they practice, day in and day out and put on one hell of show?
- Can someone learning to draw be expected to land a job with their first scribble?
- So how is it that you expect fresh graduates to land jobs with their first attempts at modeling?

When you look at successful portfolios those are not their first attempts, those are the final product after dozens of attempts. Just about everyone I know in the industry has a "portfolio 1.0" story to tell. The difference is they figured out maybe with help what was wrong, and dug in and built it up better. Personally I don't think writing up a big whine is the way to go. I think sitting down and getting good at your chosen craft will be much more conducive to landing a job.

I'll agree that any school that lets people graduate thinking they are prepared when they clearly are not, should be closed down and tuition refunded in full. I'm all for dragging the school out into the cold light of day and exposing it for what it is. There are quality schools and teachers out there and those schools have high success rates and track records to prove it. But considering the large number of people in the industry who are self taught, you honestly don't need schooling to get in like other industries. Like I said it comes down to 3 things, a great portfolio, dedication, and practice, how you get there is really up to you. I really question all three of those things when I read your article.

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These talented and passionate people bring fresh new energy and commitment into an industry that seems to always be juggling profitability with volatility.
So why not inject more volatility?

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New ideas, new game mechanics, and new appeal could be created by those who just want to make a game they would like to play.
New ideas without the experience to pull them off, is going to lead to mistakes, wasted time errors and bugs. You not only need new ideas, you also need to pull them off.

Thats a big problem, everyone wants to be the idea guy. The person funding the project, they get to be the idea guys. Everyone already in the industry already has 2-3 ideas they are willing to share, and 1-2 super secret ideas they are holding onto for that one time when they might get to be the idea guy. With all those ideas floating around by people who might actually have an idea of how to technically pull them off, not getting made. What makes you think that adding more wide eyed ideas from people who haven't even started to think about how to pull them off, will improve things?

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Smaller, more tightly focused, and perhaps less expensive games could be the result if the industry allowed more inexperienced developers to work while growing their skill sets.
You want my job, fine, take it. But prove you can do it better, not cheaper. You only hurt everyone else trying to get a foot in the door when you accept a low ball offer. Smaller, more tightly focused, but it sounds like you want cure burn-out? Your suggestion is to increase it. If it takes 20 mistakes to get to perfection, I'd rather hire someone who's made 19 already, then hire someone who has yet to make it to 2.

"While growing their skill set." You can pull existing people off of projects to train someone, or you can hire someone who will add to your team and boost production. Which would you hire? I'm not saying people need shipped titles, I'm saying they need practice, and experience with the tools they are using. Since that can be achieved with zero shipped titles I see nothing standing in the way of someone wanting in.

The only real factor and lets not kid around here, is their ability to do the job.

Get some practice, get plugged into a good community, swallow your ego and take their advice. I did and it landed me a job. No one is trying to "keep new people out" they are just trying to make sure they don't add any more boat anchors around their necks. Be a life ring, not a boat anchor. Don't besiege an industry because they want to minimize risk and keep afloat. Be constant source of talent they can relay on, that doesn't offer as much risk.

I've been critiquing portfolios for about 3 years now, if you are serious about getting into the industry contact me, and I'll break down your portfolio piece by piece so you can build it up stronger then ever. vig at vigville dot com this goes for anyone seriously wanting in.

Last edited by Vig : 05-20-2008 at 06:24 AM. Reason: Spelling, incomplete sentances, and half finished logic, finished
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:39 PM   #23
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I might just take you up on that when I get a chance Vig, as I said in a previous post all I have is from school as well.

As for putting in and getting out the same, I'd tend to disagree with that. If I put in 120% I can still only get a maximum of 100% back from my school. However I will say that you definitely need to take the time and put into your portfolio after you complete school. My school portfolio was pretty awesome but was literally a ground work for future learning.

For instance, one of my projects close to the end of school is located here (http://youtube.com/watch?v=-C8Vu3iYxW4), and feel free to rip it to pieces. At the time I was so proud, but given the time limit I didn't bother with physics when I handed it in and got smoked when it came to marking. Ah well, but seriously, looking back at every single thing I did I can now do it so much more efficiently.

Although I'm done defending that guy, 1 hour to make a bar of soap with 26 polygons? Did he fall asleep? Anyway once I get my portfolio up and running I'll be looking for critique from you guys!

Tim Edwards

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Old 05-20-2008, 04:42 AM   #24
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Non related bump
*call to arms*
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Old 05-20-2008, 05:59 PM   #25
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I think the reason this is getting such attention is because everyone wants to make games, but few want to work for it. There is a difference between passion and obsession.

This article definately touches on some good points, but even portfolios differ so much between individuals it's hard to distinguish what's a good portfolio and what's a great portfolio (it's pretty easy to tell a bad one though).
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:42 AM   #26
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Totally off the subject...
My inbox is always open. I'd also suggest making the rounds on several sites with any portfolio before sending it out. I'm not sure how mods feel about me posting links to other sites? But they are pretty easy to find. A few times I've seen people avoid the portfolio v1.0 story all together with a few tweaks.

The type of animation and modeling it features does not fall in line with the kind of skills the industry is looking for. Its neat and pretty well done for someone new to doing things like that, but not a good example to show someone as it doesn’t contain the right types of modeling/animation skills. I have a feeling you already have a good idea of what to change to improve that particular animation. But I suggest you offer something entirely different more suited to the audience at hand if applying for a job in the industry.

Getting back to the discussion...
Being 100% self taught and a pretty driven guy, I have little sympathy for people who aren't willing to put in the work required. Regardless of the class requirements he should be looking at games that are being made and should have asked himself, can I do that? Can I actually create one of these screen shots I see all the time? Look at game art competitions and forums can I compete with these people and win? Because you are.

80-95% of those people working at the big studio, started some place smaller or got in on the ground floor and slept under their desk for years. People now need to work their way into a position that gives them a chance to jump over or go find a start up, there are TONS and chances are most won’t make it. So where does that leave a candidate? Knocking on a large number of doors that aren’t known to many people but have work to offer. There are people working on that right now. It’s a fantasy to think that having a sub-par portfolio chained to a diploma will allow you short circuit the best and brightest already working in the industry.

3 things get anyone a job in the industry regardless of experience, gender and race. Practice, Dedication and a Great Portfolio. School can help someone achieve those things but they aren't handed out like candy on Halloween. What you get out of school is a chance to practice and a chance to work on a portfolio, they will not (and shouldn’t have to) force feed dedication.

The industry is looking for those 3 things never forget that and always work with that in mind. Be it school, or self teaching that is always your goal.

School can help someone get those 3 things but they aren’t included with the diploma. It’s the reason that so many self taught people are in the industry already, and why the industry continues to hire people without degrees.

Self teaching also has another advantage. In an industry that is evolving changing and coming up with new ways to work, your training doesn't stop once you leave school and it doesn't stop once you land that first gig. It continues and often on your own time, with your own structure. Those people who adapt and fix problems and are able to explore and learn on their own are people who are most likely to move up and out of the trenches. Its a very handy skill to have.

His attempt to tie his article to the "women in games movement” is a deplorable attempt to make himself seam disenfranchised. BTW the “women in games movement” has very little grounding in reality, but a bunch of boots on the ground making noise, so why not tap into it huh?

No one is keeping women out of the industry. There is a huge lack of interest (which is starting to change) on the part of women to go into something highly technical. Why aren't more guys nanny's? Is it some huge conspiracy to keep men out of nurturing rolls? I don’t know lets all jump to conclusions and write an article instead of becoming nanny’s.

Large numbers of women don't work in the industry because large numbers of women don't apply (which is starting to change but takes time). Large numbers of people with horrible portfolios don't work in the industry because large numbers of people with good/great portfolios do apply. It's not discrimination it’s the selection of the best candidate that offers the least risk.

I totally agree, that the school should have been failing this guy and that their curriculum is horrible if what he has in his portfolio was passing material. But as to who’s fault it is for him not landing a job, that’s all his. Not the school they can only give someone the chance to work on 2 of the 3 things needed and they aren’t handed to the person when that person writes the tuition check. Not the industry, you can’t fault the industry for picking the best and brightest, especially when they are willing to over look education.

Last edited by Vig : 05-21-2008 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 05-22-2008, 01:19 AM   #27
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*bump to drop spam thread*
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Old 05-22-2008, 10:33 AM   #28
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I also agree. He blames the industry for not hiring him.

The school who patted him on the back while taking his bags of gold is the problem. I went to one such school. They are a waste of time and money. If you aren't talented, you won't get a job. Simple. Walmart does the same thing. Get over it and go ask your school why you aren't meeting the standards of the industry.
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Old 05-23-2008, 07:00 AM   #29
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I'm a little bit late stepping into this discussion and will admit that I did not read everyone's stance on this article. I did read the initial post and some of the ones that followed; I only wish I realized this thread existed earlier on so I could hae been more active in the discussion! Either way, here are my views.

Quote:
I attended a school that offered the promise that with hard work, the school would provide the education and support I needed to learn skills I had never learned before. I was told that over the course of my studies, a powerful portfolio would be created and my degree would confer confidence to game developers because the school was known and accredited.
He did not name the school he attended, and thank God he didn't. This entire article was outright embarrassing and I'm glad he didn't mention any ties to any school. I don't want to call out any school name either, but I do know of one in Arizona that "appears" to be focused completely around creating games. I also have seen commercials on t.v. advertising for this school.

If a school needs to do misleading tv commercials just to get people to apply, it is not somewhere you want to go.


Have you seen these commercials of the guys sitting in lazy-boy chairs with PS2 controllers in their hands saying: "look we are making games" "omg lets put this sound effect on level 3" etc. You don't use a PS2 controller to make games; you may use one to test certain things in the game, but I never heard of someone MAKING the game with a controller. This is misleading, if you fall for this, you don't deserve to get into this industry.

Yeah, making games is nothing like that. In my opinion the school's reputation will speak for itself. If it is a top notch school you won't have to watch tv to find out about it.


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I believe the industry needs to allow for outside and inexperienced people to reinvigorate the game development process. I believe that those who have a shipped title on their resumes, while talented and dedicated, perhaps are closer to burning out than an individual out to make his or her mark.
Yeah, let's look at an example of a Game Designer in the industry for decades. Will Wright, hmm is he burning out, no. Why, why, why, why, would any company hire someone with no experience over someone with experience. If both have decent portfolios but one has worked on a AAA game, which would you choose?
I don't think i need to elaborate any further. This argument is absurd and embarassing to read, how could you think this?


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New studios understandably don't want some inexperienced person with a mixed portfolio and no projects or titles. It's very risky. However, I believe that a new studio should take some risk to recruit hungry and fresh outsiders instead of just looking for people who may already be disaffected by their own careers.
I am not even going to get into the fact that this is a blatant contradiction. That alone destroys this argument, but I'll go further. I don't care how much drive and passion and motivation you have, if your portfolio sucks (or is mixed?), yeah, you are not getting a job. I would never hire someone without the skills to get the job done. Why would I take a risk and hire someone that, and this may be rude, but sucks? This is a creative industry, if you dont have the creative skills, and your portfolio is the biggest representation of these skills, you won't get into the industry. Let's use some logic?



Quote:
Individuals with base skill sets and true passion are ready and waiting to be given a chance to shine. These talented and passionate people bring fresh new energy and commitment into an industry that seems to always be juggling profitability with volatility.
NO. No, no, no, no.... Read my above argument. I don't care what base skills you have, if your stuff isn't brilliantly creative and technically proficient, you are worthless to me. I don't care what kind of energy you have. This is an industry that requires skill, you cannot argue that. Would a basketball, or any sports team for that matter, recruit someone that sucks, but has passion? I'm not going to answer this, I hope it is obvious.


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Game education is still new and somewhat untested. It's no wonder that just having an education or degree in game development will not automatically translate into a job in the industry. The industry needs to do something to bring in new talent and prevent scores of people from wasting money on schools that won't help them when they're done.
If you were dumb enough to think that a Game Development program worked as a "get into industry" card. I laugh at you. It is YOUR fault you wasted this money, not the industry's. I could go on here, but I think it's unnecessary at this point.



Quote:
The Guildhall at SMU may be the only demonstrably successful game education initiative, as it is primarily run by industry veterans. The same cannot be said for most competing non-university schools. There should be more pressure from the game industry to create Guildhall-style schools at major universities across the country.
I know you did not go here. You are blinded. You obviously have this terribly narrow view as to what it takes to get into the industry. I know this was stated before, but I'll reiterate. The word "game" does NOT need to be part of the major you are studying to get into the industry. You could take Computer Science for programming. Go to an art school for Computer Animation or Illustration if you want to be an artist. Hell, take Psychology, Philosophy, Sociology classes, and anything that you think will aid you in a game design education. I don't believe game design can be taught at a school. It is a compilation of so many skills, creativity, and a vast knowledge that makes for a great designer.
I have looked at Guildhall's portfolios, while some of the individual work was impressive, a lot of the art didn't compare to stuff that has come out of some art schools. I don't know why anyone would go to anything but an art school if you want to become an animator or modeler; that is just my opinion. I did not watch videos of all of the game projects, but the ones I saw, were lackluster, in some cases cluttered, and lacked creativity. Were they games, yes, were they innovative, not the ones I saw. This is just my opinion though, I'm sure many disagree with this. Guildhall is not the only school that provides education needed to get into the industry.


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Having more game education schools at more recognizable public universities would attract more people into the field and would go a long way toward getting more women involved in the industry. The reason I say this is because it must be very daunting for a young woman to attend a school where she knows she will be in the minority. Studies about women in the IT industry show that this trend is actually occurring: Some women who work in IT admitted they that during their education, they avoided courses in technology, where they knew they would encounter a male-dominated learning environment, and instead opted to study life sciences (for example, biology) purely because the gender make-up of the classroom was more likely to be balanced.

The game industry needs more women because it needs more games that appeal to women, thus allowing the market to grow further. The industry needs to move women away from casual games and create triple-A titles that feature narrative design that appeals to them. What such a game might entail is obviously something that can't be decided by me, as I am but a humble 24 year-old male.
...sigh. First off, anyone that is serious about making games, have the creativity and skills needed to make it into the industry, they know the right place to look. Why would you want to attract people with the mindset "i like games, i played one once, i guess ill make them". You are also being completely sexist by saying that only females can make games appealing to females. I'll move on, so much has already been said about this by others.


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Allowing those with the heart and mind to work with great commitment to make up for their inexperience can be a huge step toward stabilizing and expanding the industry and ensuring that fresh and creative talent is always on hand.
I said it before and I'll say it again. No. I don't need to reiterate what I hae already said but I'll say this. If you go into any job that requires skill, and you lack that skill, you won't get the job. Or if you are competing against someone with more experience than you,
you will most likely not get a job.

To conclude all of this. You are an embarrassment. Reading this was embarrassing and I hope you realize how skewed your views are. I don't want to be rude or demeaning, but look at the arguments you are presenting. Let's use some logic here, not blind optimism.

Additionally, I didn't get to read everyone's post so I'm sure I just reiterated what some of you have said, but I just had to say something.
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Old 05-23-2008, 12:43 PM   #30
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I just need to argue on some of your points here. Allow me to play Devil's Advocate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mheyman View Post


If a school needs to do misleading tv commercials just to get people to apply, it is not somewhere you want to go.

In my opinion the school's reputation will speak for itself. If it is a top notch school you won't have to watch tv to find out about it.
I must argue with you here. TV commercials are a form of advertising, and advertising is the way things get known, including schools. Even top schools like Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Yale, Cornell, UPenn etc advertise even though everyone knows about them and despite the whining the admissions offices do every year about how they have a billions applicants per slot. When I was in my college search, people still asked me what/where the University of Pennsylvania was. And that's an Ivy League school we're talking here, with a monstrous reputation. Maybe more people would find out about it if they had TV commercials.

Advertising does not make a bad school. Only false advertising does. And biased is not the equivalent to false. A college might give a commercial showing their kids playing games to get people to apply, but in truth that might happen in the course only once during the year. Does that mean their program is bad? No. Educators and Marketing are in completely different departments in most places.

To find out if a program is good, you have to question the admissions department, question the alumni, question the people who go there, possibly question people who hire graduates from there. Find out what you need, then find out if the school provides it. You can't tell a good school from a bad one by it's marketing strategy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mheyman View Post
Yeah, let's look at an example of a Game Designer in the industry for decades. Will Wright, hmm is he burning out, no. Why, why, why, why, would any company hire someone with no experience over someone with experience. If both have decent portfolios but one has worked on a AAA game, which would you choose?
I don't think i need to elaborate any further. This argument is absurd and embarassing to read, how could you think this?
There's a group on facebook for People Who've Had Their Souls Crushed by the Games Industry. Will Wright might still be going strong, but that doesn't mean burnout doesn't exist.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mheyman View Post
...sigh. First off, anyone that is serious about making games, have the creativity and skills needed to make it into the industry, they know the right place to look.
If that were true, sites like GameCareerGuide.com and Gamasutra wouldn't exist. And no doubt I'm not the only one who stumbled across these sites simply through a lucky google search, and not instinctual knowledge
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