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Old 10-29-2009, 11:46 AM   #1
jmk09
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Ok so basically i'm an electrical and computer engineer student, junior year. and we do get some programming classes i've already taken c++ and now data structure and algorithm and i am really enjoying those.
But till now I am not sure if i want to become a game programmer or work in console design ( since i'm taking electronic courses too and i'm enjoying those too)....unfortunately there is nothing on the entire web that even states who are the people who work on engineering consoles such as xbox 360 and ps3 and how the work is like. I need to know what's that like to know which field i am interested in so i can at least concentrate on some courses more than others.
thanks.
P.S : I know this doesn't have anything to do with programming ( kind of) but even on gamecareerguide i can't find a thread about designing game platforms.
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:25 PM   #2
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Definitely not my area but maybe something/somewhere like XGameStation may help.
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:26 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forums!!

I can honestly say I've never heard this question, interested to see if anyone knows anything about it. I've met a few developers who work on the initial SDK for machines but never the machines themselves.
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Old 10-29-2009, 06:34 PM   #4
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Hi Jmk,
I've answered this question before but I have no idea where. Oh wait, I found it on igda.org. I wrote the following on August 20 in response to "the_turtle" who asked essentially the same question...

"First, you have to have a hardware engineering degree.
Second, you have to live in the city where the game hardware is designed. For Nintendo and Sony, that's Japan - Kyoto and Tokyo, respectively. For Microsoft, that's the Seattle area.

Your goal (to get involved with the creation of the next-gen video game hardware) is a VERY narrow goal that nobody can tell you exactly how to pursue exactly. Example: I think it would be awesome to work on Jeopardy, designing the questions. But there's just a small team of folks doing that job, they're already in the job, they surely love what they do and will not be quitting anytime soon. How could I advise someone to get into that? Nobody can tell. But if that's the kind of thing someone wanted to do, he should be creating puzzles and submitting them to Will Shortz and Games magazine, and somehow get a job on the show or its website or something, get to know the folks doing that job, then submit ideas to them. The way to get a job is often to do the job. And be connected. And be lucky."

You probably don't "plan to study Japanese and move to Japan, thus designing hardware for Nintendo and Sony is not going to happen for you. You may find yourself able to work on game hardware for some other company entirely. Mobile companies are always developing new things -- new phones, new PDA's, new iThings. The way you get into those gigs is to work for those companies. Sometimes new companies get created to make some new game gizmo. The way you get those gigs is to have already been working in creating hardware tangentially related to games, and be connected to the folks making new game gear, and be lucky."

Note that it's possible that Sony and Nintendo might employ hardware engineers in their American offices.
Note also that it's entirely possible that other companies (besides the current 3) may decide to create new game hardware.
Basically, get that hardware engineering degree and find work anywhere you can, stay true to your quest, and look for your opening.
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:45 AM   #5
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Thank you everyone this has been really helpful! ALthough I am a bit scared now haha seeing how narrow this job is ( no not that much) but thanks again
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Old 11-18-2009, 05:57 PM   #6
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This is a great question. I'm sorta in the same boat as you as I have a degree in Computer Science & Engineering. Which is essentially a double major in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. This gives you two options when you get into the industry. You can go software rout or hardware rout. I currently went the hardware rout and have a job with hardware where I actually design PCB's (printed circuit boards) which are basically like a motherboard in your computer. This may be the rout you are looking for if you want to design consoles themselves. However like tsloper said, I don't know how easy it will be to actually get a job at the places who design the consoles since it is such a small market. But to keep your options open I would suggest you concentrate on learning more about digital design, FPGA's, VHDL, and hardware design classes.
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Old 11-23-2009, 01:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkurata View Post
I currently went the hardware rout and have a job with hardware where I actually design PCB's (printed circuit boards) which are basically like a motherboard in your computer. This may be the rout you are looking for if you want to design consoles themselves. However like tsloper said, I don't know how easy it will be to actually get a job at the places who design the consoles since it is such a small market. But to keep your options open I would suggest you concentrate on learning more about digital design, FPGA's, VHDL, and hardware design classes.
Thanks for the reply
well after I got those replies I kind of started to think about it . I am taking electronics circuits lab 1 right now which deals with semiconductors mosfets..., rectifier circuits... and basic stuff , I can't say I am not enjoying it but I already took digital system designs ( also a basic class i assume since I took it in the summer term of my first year) and next semester I'm taking computer architecture which has as a prerequisite the digital system design course.
However in that last one I took VHDL and let's just say I was pretty sure that I wasn't going for digital systems when i graduate...I guess I have to wait till my computer architecture class to make up my mind but thanks to your and others' posts I think I'm going for software more than hardware...thanks
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Old 11-28-2009, 03:37 AM   #8
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It seems like most of the actual design work these days is farmed out to other companies like IBM, ATI, and NVidia, with people at the console manufacturers figuring out how it will all work together and making requests for specialized changes to the hardware those companies design.

I don't know the specifics of how a console gets made from, for example, an IBM processor, an NVidia GPU, and a series of custom parts (HDD, optical drive, usb interfaces, etc). I imagine that it must be some people at the "Big 3" putting all of this together, but I imagine that they're all highly experienced.

So that leaves a couple career paths. One is to work at one of the companies putting out general purpose hardware like IBM or NVidia and hope that you end up working on a game machine. The other is getting a job at one of the big console manufacturers and working your way up the ladder.

I assume most of the hardware guys for Nintendo and Sony are in Japan, but I'm not sure. The Microsoft guys are almost certainly in the U.S., but I'm pretty sure they've headhunted really big names to put together their consoles (Michael Abrash comes to mind as well as others like Tian Lim and Bruce Dawson). These people are highly experienced and respected in their fields... there must be some grunt level underneath them but it's not clear how one would get involved except by taking a job at the company and getting promoted up.
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