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Old 12-21-2008, 08:51 AM   #11
Duckman
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I have the passion for games as well as the ability to work in teams and excellent communication skills. The only thing keeping me out is my lack of programming skills for these jobs. School and my current job really don't reflect the skills that are needed for game development. Silly C console programming and VB.NET! If only programming skills weren't required for a programming job (), I'd be set!
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Old 12-21-2008, 11:48 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ronnoc10 View Post
Personally, I think it is unfair to people who want to get into the industry (that would be us, although the forum has a number of people already in) to hire people who are simply looking for a programing job.
That's not generally a problem though. If you weigh up the defferences between a game programming role and an applications programming role, you tend to find that Apps programmers get a better deal (better pay, standard working hours, additional benefits). If someone is just looking for a programming job and don't care what for, they will most likely find that more appealing.
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Old 12-31-2008, 09:19 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Zooch View Post
@ nef, Do you speak/write like that within your company? I'd hate to think what would happen if I exchanged adjectives with curse words in my e-mails. Also - isn't this a forum where kids and parents frequently visit to ask questions and get advice? I dunno - just doesn't seem like a good move to me.
Speak, mostly yes. Write? Nah. It all depends. I work in a very informal environment and I like that. Most of my colleagues are of the same "style" of speech Although, I did learn that a good deal of people don't like the language and we keep it at bay when necessary. Obviously, I don't talk to my boss(s) like that.

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Originally Posted by Zooch View Post
I know programmers have a much different perspective on game design than, say, anyone else within the company, but I have to disagree with anyone that says this line ("A passion for games") isn't valid. Designers, artists, audio teams and animators have to have a passion for games because they will be expected to have loved playing games since they were young.
Why? Does a passion for games = a skill at making quality audio? Do you need a passion for games to draw a picture? Like I mentioned earlier, a passion for games I think is important for designers. It's the designers feeling out and developing the game. The programmers, audio guys, artists, they are all working towards the designers vision, not their own.

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Originally Posted by Zooch View Post
A passionate developer is one who enjoys going to work rather than showing up for his paycheck. He also enjoys playing games as well.
I am a passionate developer. I enjoy playing games. I DON'T enjoy casual bar games. Now, I don't think it's my "passion for games" that makes me a good coder (assuming i am). It's my passion for my JOB. My job is to write good, clean and efficient code. My job is to meet the requirements of marketing and design. My job is NOT to design the actual game. My job is NOT to make the game "fun". With this in mind, I'd rather higher someone who strives to write the best code, than someone who strives to create the best game. If his passion is for making an amazing game, he should be a designer I think.

Don't get me wrong though. It's not bad at all to be passionate about games if you are a coder, I just think it's unnecessary.

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Originally Posted by Zooch View Post
The more games he plays, the more educated he is on the competition as well as the potential for new ideas. I would never hire a person that says "games are okay...." or "sure I like games...dont really play much though". They tend to produce mediocre work. I know of too many times where I've talked to a programmer working on specific elements of a game and said I wanted it to work similar to 'Game X'. Actually, I was speaking to a flash programmer about HUD elements yesterday and did this very same thing.
Hmm, I don't think you've made any relevant points here.

First, you say they tend to produce mediocre work. What do you mean? What I would say is mediocre work, is someone who dosn't put any effort into designing a system that can handle design changes, among other things. It would be his code I'd condem as mediocre. I get the feeling you are expecting more than code from your engineers, which is great, but lets be on the same page.

To tell a programmer, you want a feature similar to feature X is, and maybe my opinion will change w/ more experience in the future, a total failure on the designers part assuming it wasn't made clear that the programmer will also fulfill creative tasks.

You sound very similar to my designer actually. They expect the same from us, they have this "broad" idea of what they want and they ask us to implement it. Now, this whole way of designing could be a separate thread in itself. I actually enjoy the creative process to an extent and take pride in my suggestions that get implemented, but I don't expect it to be my job.

Bottom line, I don't give a shit how fun the game is, If i have to spend a day doing something that should have taken a couple minutes because of "mediocre" work, I get upset This is what I mean when i say passion for games shouldn't be a requirement for the games industry coders. Just like I haven't seen many job postings asking for a passion for bank software.

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Originally Posted by Zooch View Post
Someone that is passionate about what they do would want to go above and beyond the company goals. I'd rather hire the person staying late to finish an amazing intro trailer that wasn't even part of his job duties (which is what happened with World of Warcraft's WotLK trailer).
I agree. What i do is code. Whether it's for a game or a bank application, coding is what I do. I've stayed late to get a feature in, or to refactor something I wasn't very proud of. You're right, passion about what you DO is important.

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Originally Posted by Zooch View Post
Now this isn't to say that companies don't exploit that passion until the employee is sucked dry of every other aspect of his life, but it's up to you to be smart enough to understand when you need to remove yourself from a negative environment. I don't know what you programmers like to call it, but "A passion for games" is definately a requirement for a development team.
Hmm, I think it's a little obvious your a designer, or an artists now

It's hard to get my point across to someone who dosn't work w/ code, but here is my best example translated to something I assume an artist could run into:

Say there is a problem w/ some previously released game and you need to fix the color of some characters shirt, which is baked into the graphic. Now, you open up the raw folder containing the previous artist's work only to find that he had raw images for every frame saved seperatly. You open the image for the first frame and find that it's one flat image. No layers. You need to color the shirt pixel by pixel, for every single frame. This is simply how the previous artist did it. So instead of just applying a fill to the "shirt layer" and re-rendering the scene as a 2D animation, you need to go through every hard frame and fix each one. God forbid you ever have to stick another frame in the middle for some reason.

Now, I don't know all the problems artists run into, and it seems to me they don't run into something like this at all, bad artist or good. But this situation is essentially what happens when you work w/ bad code. You may have wondered why some features that seem so simple compared to how the way things already work take so much longer to impliment than you would think. This is because the little tale i described of the artist above is an every day thing more or less.

The idea behind "good" code is that you do things to save time for changes in the future like, "using layers" or having a timeline animated character that can simply be re-rendered when a change needs to happen. The problem is we don't have the tools to do this, we have code. The ability to stream line changes like those in our world are implimented by us, through design. When we neglect to design in implimentation for layers, which effectivly has no difference on the overall product, to save time to get the game done, you loose when you need to make changes. If there is one thing i've learned working on games, there are ALWAYS changes. Making time to employ coding techniques that help you make quick changes may seem like a waste of time upfront, but that solid foundation gives you much more freedom in the future.

So my point again is, the most passionate person for games who does code, may not even realize what I've just written, but someone who is seirous about their job, as an engineer, does. THIS is why I think it's stupid to require a passion for games, or if you do, you better put a pasison for robust design and clean code too.

There is a middle ground though. It seems to me you work in this middle ground area, I know I do. When I was being interviewed, I was told upfront that I would have an impact on game design. We are a small team, and I was totally cool w/ that. I don't care THAT much for our games, but I've worked on enough that I do have input from time to time and I respect that it gets heard. But If your going to hire someone for a specific job, primarily, and request a passion that falls out of the realm of their primary duties, it seems retarded.

I hope you get my point w/ this. Again, I'm not an artist and maybe my example is totally impractical to happen, but I know it's possible and I think it shows the issues we run into as programmers

Last edited by nef : 12-31-2008 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 12-31-2008, 09:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Claxon View Post
That's not generally a problem though. If you weigh up the defferences between a game programming role and an applications programming role, you tend to find that Apps programmers get a better deal (better pay, standard working hours, additional benefits). If someone is just looking for a programming job and don't care what for, they will most likely find that more appealing.
100% true

I've told myself a countless times now that I've finally landed a job, I will ONLY take a job working on a project I can care about

Once you get in man, you have that security, to pick and choose
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Old 12-31-2008, 09:37 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Duckman View Post
I have the passion for games as well as the ability to work in teams and excellent communication skills. The only thing keeping me out is my lack of programming skills for these jobs. School and my current job really don't reflect the skills that are needed for game development. Silly C console programming and VB.NET! If only programming skills weren't required for a programming job (), I'd be set!
Silly C console programming? Man, you have no idea!

I have a sort of magically respect for the senior systems guys where I work. That "silly C" coding they do is fucking mind blowing sometimes!

Crash dumps have always amazed me. I understand how they work now, but I've seen some ridiculous things. I started a wiki on my job's page titled, "Magic code" just to document some of the tricky shit these old school guys have done. They can print the last X number of functions called when a segmentation fault happens. You can stamp every memory allocation and even secretly allocate a few more bytes that you would fill in w/ say "FENC". At runtime, you can check the last four bytes of any allocation and if it's not equal to "FENC" you know that memory address has overflowed.

Tricky shit I call it C is beautiful. C++ seems like someone came in and started stamping a million more options on top of C

C is very powerful and while many people lump C/C++ together, they are not the same. I wouldn't dare put C on my resume (or C/C++). I'll put C++, that's what I know. The little differences between the two add up so much that it's a huge effort for me to write compliant C code. Reading it is easy enough, but I don't even know all the little "features" i've grown accustomed to that don't apply in C.
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:20 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by TG1 View Post
I would have to agree with Zooch, as someone who is not in the games industry yet but have been a programmer for more then 10 years in the IT industry I must say that relating to the product you're programming affects your work alot. I love programming, but when I understood and loved the product that I was creating I was much more satisfied with my work and did it with alot more passion and had more ideas as to new features and designs for the product. When I'm working on a product that I don't relate to or don't find interesting - I still enjoy the programming but somthing is missing, I show less initiative in creating new features and usually just do the features I'm asked.
I look at programming as much more then just writing code, it's also about design and systems analysis, so you really have to understand what is the product you're creating, and if it's something you're passionate about it's that much better.
And maybe I'm just naive, admitatdly, I don't have even half the professional experience you do

But you must know where I'm coming from. Working on a code base that's been built upon hacks and even more hacks makes your job, and enjoyment, that much less. It does for me at least. When I work, I'll admit, my number one goal is not that the customers enjoy the product. Maybe this is a bad thing, I don't know yet, but my number one goal is that the developer that replaces me doesn't secretly curse me

As a programmer, my pride comes from what I produce. If the game is shit, they can't say it wasn't written well. This may be disheartining to some, but to me a person w/ that attitude takes their job seriously. I can't give two shits about someone who loves the product they are working on if they can't also display that same love about their duties.

I won't argue that if you are passionate about the product you are working on you will help improve it. That's not the point I'm trying to make. The point I'm trying to make is that your number on responsibility as an engineer is to create solid code. I value that more than I value an individuals passion towards the product. Thus, I would never make a passion for games a requirement. Fuck that passion I say, let me see your passion for what you do, not what you do it for.

I'm probably irritated by legacy code, but I have no disrespect for passion. I am passionate for games, it's why I take the paycuts to do what I do, even if I work on things I don't care much about. But in the end, If my code sucks, I suck. I've failed at what I do, and to me, that's more important than any secondary passion.

I'll say it again, I do think a passion for games is important for a designers. A designer's responsibility is to create a game. A coders responsibility is to implement the game. Folly happens when the designers requests an implementation that is difficult to implement. (To an extent)

It's the responsibility of the engineer to meet the requirements of design. It's the responsibility of design to make a fun game. This is the ladder as I see it, and I would rather work w/ someone who takes his job more seriously than his project. I honestly don't think I can ever change my view that "a passion for games" is more important than "a passion for programming". But I appreciate all the different views
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:48 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Claxon View Post
Very true, if you weren't passionate about them you'd settle for a better paid application engineering job with benefits and civil working hours.

The requirement I hate is "A flexible approach to working hours". Yes we all know that games usually require overtime, but including that in the job spec makes it sound like it's the rule, rather than an exceptional event.
IHahaha. I agree. The fact that engineers should expect overtime in the game industry more so than any other, tells me someone has failed hard.

Secretly, I've started to believe that it's because non technical people are predominantly designers. To be honest, w/ the game i am truly passionate about, I would glady debate design and have full confidence I could out do most. I must be biased, I'll argue from a logical background, but I have some creativity in me, but artists are assumed to have full dominance over creative design in my experience and I see tons of problems w/ it. i see problems w/ full out programmers dominating that field too.

This I think has become because of how the industry works. You have, for the most part, artists and "creative" people ruling the design world. It makes sense, to some degree. But I think a designers should have equal arts and logical skills.

Technically, if you gave a list of requirements to a team of coders and never changed it, you wouldn't have deadline issues. But because the deisngers arn't perfect (no fault to them huh?) it's the engineers that make up for it. We have elaborate techniques in place to help deal w/ changes and modifications. Unfourtnently something so simple as adding a ranged weapon to a character requires nothing more than creating the weapon in question for artists, but so much more is required of the coders.

I think a fundamental lack of understanding of how computers works is largly at fault w/ everyone. The software engineers are the ones at battle w/ how the computer works. It's up to them to handle the changes that happen w/ humans so we've developed ways to help ease the pain of drastic change. But we can only go so far.

I can't blame the developers either. No one is perfect, and a game requires a great deal of thought. Even then, you play test it and find more faults/ideas. The only real answer is time. Unfourtunently the engineers suffer the blunt of it, because as easy as it is for a developer to change his mind a write a document that could translate into anywhere from 1 - 100x more work for an engineer. So we suffer the blunt of it.

This is why it's important to hire engineers who take pride in what they do, because they will have the most formidable skillet for fighting this shit. The funny thing is, any folly or lack of judgment on the designing level trickles down and always hits engineering hardest. We are the ones who have to put up w/ change more so than anyone else.

It sucks to list overtime as a requirement, but it's a reality. Just know, that had your designers been more competent it wouldn't be neccisary. Engineers always seem to be developing solutions and methods to overcome the incompetence of bad designers (prototypes?) You can argue that no designer knows the outcome of his idea truly, and I'll tell you you're a shitty designer.

Granted, I'll also tell you that designing is probably the most difficult job to have and I have great respect for good designers. As an engineer you have to have a lot of knowledge, sure, but you rarely make decisions. A designer is all about decisions, and his decisions cost the company as a whole. Unfourtunently, I don't think many designers realize how much of an impact their failure has on those working at the lowest level and because everyone else can compensate quickly enough, engineering needs to stay late

I like to consider myself as someone passionate about games. Of all games, RPG's and mostly, MMORPG's. I've seen a ton of them and the only designers I've ever had respect for is Ralph Koster. I don't even know who the lead designer of WoW is. The game is great I'll admit, but not innovative at all. And blizzard is known for having 0 deadlines. It must be great to work for blizzard, they have that realistic realization about game development. But I bet they would do better w/ Ralph Koster than SoE ever did.
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Old 01-02-2009, 02:43 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by nef View Post
As an engineer you have to have a lot of knowledge, sure, but you rarely make decisions.
You make decisions just as much as a designer does. The programmers are often directly responsible for the quality of the final product. If a game feels unpolished and unfinished, it might be because the programmers made the wrong decision when deciding how to budget their time, or made the wrong decision when choosing how to implement major aspects of a game's design.

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I like to consider myself as someone passionate about games. Of all games, RPG's and mostly, MMORPG's. I've seen a ton of them and the only designers I've ever had respect for is Ralph Koster.
You're not that passionate about games then. I have respect for anyone that makes a game I enjoying playing. One of the main reasons for the high level of quality found in a GotY caliber game is due to the passion of the people who worked on it and the extra hours those people put in making everything as perfect as it can be. You mentioned that your job as a programmer is not to make a game more "fun," but it absolutely is. If you have a passion for games, then I think you are more likely to go beyond the barebones checklist of features to implement and put yourself in the player's shoes. You're more likely to view the game in the mind of someone playing it and figure out what works and what doesn't in the little details of implementation.
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Old 01-02-2009, 06:27 PM   #19
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I'm going to be honest. I read the posts that had my name in them, but that was it.

I'm really starting to think we're just arguing over semantics. You're correct in that I'm predominately a designer, but it's my job to know every aspect of the game design process, including code. I've had to learn my way around Python, C++ and lua.

I didn't master any of them (of course), but I learned enough to understand what to ask of the programmers (and how to ask it). I assume that when a programming position says "passion for games", they mean that the candidate should love what he does. I think putting the code together to implement a new feature is part of building a game, which is what they're telling you to be passionate about.

A lot of design positions will ask that you have a passion for games, but will also ask that you are always up-to-date on the latest games and competition. They might sound redundant but they're two different things.
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:34 PM   #20
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You make decisions just as much as a designer does. The programmers are often directly responsible for the quality of the final product. If a game feels unpolished and unfinished, it might be because the programmers made the wrong decision when deciding how to budget their time, or made the wrong decision when choosing how to implement major aspects of a game's design.
You are correct, I shouldn't have said programmers don't make decisions. If a game feels unpolished or unfinished, I wouldn't dump that on the fault of the programmers though, not entirely anyway. Maybe an artist wasn't able to function w/in the technology given to them and compensations had to be made? Maybe QA simply didn't catch something through play testing. Maybe the way a feature was designed just wasn't good. I think all roles usually play a part in a bad release.

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You're not that passionate about games then. I have respect for anyone that makes a game I enjoying playing. One of the main reasons for the high level of quality found in a GotY caliber game is due to the passion of the people who worked on it and the extra hours those people put in making everything as perfect as it can be. You mentioned that your job as a programmer is not to make a game more "fun," but it absolutely is. If you have a passion for games, then I think you are more likely to go beyond the barebones checklist of features to implement and put yourself in the player's shoes. You're more likely to view the game in the mind of someone playing it and figure out what works and what doesn't in the little details of implementation.
Well, what do you do as a programmer when you personally feel a feature or design decision "isn't fun". You bring it up w/ the designer. I still feel a programmers soul responsibility is creating something that can meet all the respected requirements and allow for change in the future.

I am passionate for games You can't tell me you haven't played a game you didn't enjoy, or even a genre you don't care for. By your logic, the majority of the population isn't passionate for games. Just because I don't particularly care for 3 minute puzzle games doesn't mean I'm not passionate for games in general.

If my job is "absolutely" to make the game fun, why have designers? Hell, just let the programmers create a fun game :P It's NOT my job to make the game fun. Period. I can offer my opinions/suggestions along the way, but remember there is an entire position dedicated to making a game fun. My job is a technical one, not creative. (Obviously you can argue that you need to be creative when coding, I agree, but this is not what I'm talking about)

You say a coder that is passionate for games is likley to go beyond what is expected. I don't care if you finished your task and took on another because your passionate about games. I care you did your job dilligantly.

The argument I'm trying to make here is a coder passionate about his craft is 100x more valuable than a coder passionate about the project he is working on. Everyone at my company has been "passionate about games" yet I've seem some ugly shit and I would rather them have been more proactive in doing a better JOB than hacking in feature after to feature because they thought it helped the game. In the end, you don't see the hack job code, you see the product. To expand on said product creates trouble for developers later if you just threw together code that "worked".
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