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How do you get into the industry?


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16 replies to this topic

#1
Osvir

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Yes, the title says it all pretty much.

I'm curious, I've started my first few steps towards the education of it (Bond University in Australia, and some other).

But I'll say like I said in Grad school: "If I know that I can get the best grades, then why should I study at all?".

I've got horrible grades, seriously (private **** during my upbringing causing all sorts of harm to my educational grades), if you saw my English scores you'd be surprised how well my English is. Math too, never had much of a problem with it, yet my score is utterly horrible. Years later, my grades are haunting me in whatever I do. And today my grades haunt me so bad that whatever I do I have to spend an extra year or two (worst case 3) of my life to even be able to start studying Game Development;

Is there any other way to get into the industry?

Developing games is my dream, and one way or another I'm going to get there nonetheless.

Anyone with tips and thoughts that I could benefit from?

Also lots of hugs, just because :D <3

#2
Tale

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Make connections, go to conventions, talk to people. Get in on independent or mod projects. Even spending time on your own to play with toolsets and find bug workarounds can help out on a cover letter for a QA job.
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#3
Humanoid

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Not the advice you want I'm sure (and it does feel kind of weird posting it on a game developer's forums, but I'm talking local context), it may be your dream but do some research on whether those dreams you may have match the reality of the industry, particularly in Australia. There was a big thing relatively recently about the working conditions and subsequent implosion at the studio that developed LA Noire, and talking with friends about it (yeah, usual friend of a friend type information), that kind of situation is closer to being the norm than it is to being an exception. My impression is that it's a bloody meat-grinder out there.

Edited by Humanoid, 15 October 2012 - 03:18 PM.


#4
Morality Games

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Yes, the title says it all pretty much.

I'm curious, I've started my first few steps towards the education of it (Bond University in Australia, and some other).

But I'll say like I said in Grad school: "If I know that I can get the best grades, then why should I study at all?".

I've got horrible grades, seriously (private **** during my upbringing causing all sorts of harm to my educational grades), if you saw my English scores you'd be surprised how well my English is. Math too, never had much of a problem with it, yet my score is utterly horrible. Years later, my grades are haunting me in whatever I do. And today my grades haunt me so bad that whatever I do I have to spend an extra year or two (worst case 3) of my life to even be able to start studying Game Development;

Is there any other way to get into the industry?

Developing games is my dream, and one way or another I'm going to get there nonetheless.

Anyone with tips and thoughts that I could benefit from?

Also lots of hugs, just because :D <3


What sort of role in development are you pursuing? Writer? Concept artist? Designer? These are generally more difficult to achieve than say, programmer.

#5
Roby Atadero

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The best way to get into the industry of making games is to...make games. Sure, a handful of developers here have degrees from a game development or art school but, there are a good amount of us that went to non-game development specific schools (myself included). Often times people in the industry actually start from QA and, eventually rise up into a specific discipline (Design, Animation, Production, etc.).

But to get back to the first sentence, the main way you are going to prove to a game development studio that you are worth hiring is to show them you have worked on projects where you gave quality work into it. These can be school projects, projects during your free time, ones you have done from scratch, mods to existing games, solo projects, team projects, internships, whatever. Just as long as these projects show that you have what it takes to be a professional team.

And don't expect to make a masterpiece on your first go at it. With each project you will learn more and grow and eventually start to have a portfolio of projects that will begin making studios take note of your resume. And if you want an example, I worked on probably 3-4 little PC projects in my free time during college, 1 game demo for a class, another side project right out of college, and an Xbox360/PC indie game during my free time after work. And it wasn't until the last project I had done where I finally had enough experience and knowledge to make it as a junior programmer here.

But again, you don't need professional schooling, you need to just put your passion into it. Buy game-dev books on Amazon, read up on web articles, work on projects(PC, Mobile, XNA, Mods). If you put the time in, eventually good things will come out of it and you'll see where your true strengths are.
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#6
melkathi

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Not in the gaming industry myself. But adding two cents anyway.
The good thing is that grades only are of interest once. If you do university, then school grades become irrelevant once you started studying. If you get a job after uni, then university grades pretty much become irrelevant.
Your english grades sound like my grades in greek. One of my language teachers in 8th grade said that a kid like me should never have made it past 6th grade... *shrug* When I published my first children's book my publisher and I had a good chuckle about that.

I think the most important thing is the willingness to work hard and to work well in a team. And that includes being humble enough to learn from others.

#7
Teuthida

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The best way to get into the industry of making games is to...make games.


I can't second this strongly enough. This is the absolute most important thing for any aspiring dev to do.

#8
AGX-17

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Josh Sawyer put it best on formspring: do wheelies around the office and say you know a lot about D&D.

Edited by AGX-17, 16 October 2012 - 04:30 PM.

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#9
Osvir

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What sort of role in development are you pursuing? Writer? Concept artist? Designer? These are generally more difficult to achieve than say, programmer.


Writer, assistant writer, concept/idea writer (game reviewer is another one but it isn't so much part of development, in the same sense I am looking for). That's all I've got really (if that's anything). That's really my passion and dream, not necessarily to write my own story but help write a story. I've tried my way with programming (and thought it was super fun), just got to dedicate myself to it. Lots of self-discipline needed and difficult to do on your own (I hit a wall where I needed someone to explain some variables and functions).

Just hanging out on these forums, as an example, I now have a thought out concept and idea of P:E and could probably write tons of item descriptions, PC's, NPC's and so on and so forth. Lore, story, quests etc. etc. solutions in gameplay~ I've always had a knack for coming up with interesting ideas (it might sound selfish to say, but I believe that confidence in your own work is good to have).

Thanks, this thread helps with lots of my own questions :)

#10
melkathi

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(it might sound selfish to say, but I believe that confidence in your own work is good to have).


"Selfish" is the wrong word. "Overconfident" would be the right word ;) But I agree with you. If you do not believe in your own work, why should anybody else.



Do you remember some years ago when Bioware was hiring writers (I guess it ended up being for SWTOR)? They asked people to do a small mod with their Neverwinter Nights mod tool and make a quest or something which would include their writing sample.
So I guess it can't hurt to make story mods for any game you play that is easily moddable.
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#11
Osvir

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(it might sound selfish to say, but I believe that confidence in your own work is good to have).


"Selfish" is the wrong word. "Overconfident" would be the right word ;) But I agree with you. If you do not believe in your own work, why should anybody else.



Do you remember some years ago when Bioware was hiring writers (I guess it ended up being for SWTOR)? They asked people to do a small mod with their Neverwinter Nights mod tool and make a quest or something which would include their writing sample.
So I guess it can't hurt to make story mods for any game you play that is easily moddable.


Yes, I did a module, worked on it for quite some time (never finished it as I saw the job was gone). But yeah, was actually thinking about that couple of hours ago :) thanks for reminding me though, can't be a coincidence.

Overconfident is a bit of a stretch, I know my limits and I'm pretty self-aware of what's good and what's not good. I've done horrible writings too that I'm not confident about at all, comes with the creativity (I'm a singer/songwriter too, so I know all about it too). Recently unlocked some hidden potential, singing that is, when I decided to say "F- it, I'm going to do this goed" and I did. Just requires a certain mindset, engagement, passion and trial-and-error type of thing. "Don't give up" springs to mind.

Working on some Baldur's Gate mod concepts currently with NearInfinity/DLTCEP, one involving the Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity and a little bit of a too curious Male Half-Orc xD

#12
alanschu

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Confidence without ego is important as an aspiring writer.

Believe in the work that you do, but recognize that there will be feedback on it and it won't always be flattering.
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#13
melkathi

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Confidence without ego is important as an aspiring writer.

Believe in the work that you do, but recognize that there will be feedback on it and it won't always be flattering.


I send out my first manuscript and it got repeatedly rejected. In retrospect it did have a lot of problems. I would probably reject it as well.
Worked on something else and got a lot of initial praise from people who read the draft. Got put in touch with another (experienced) author to give me some feedback and he told me pretty much "Keep the day job". Decided he was one of those people I would not listen to ;)

#14
Nightshape

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Writing jobs in the games industry are few and far between. I wish you luck but past saying keep writing, get a job as QA on a game that has a lot of writing, it's very hard to really advise you.

I got into the industry by working hard, getting a degree and making games. As a programmer, its highly competitive, and an ever changing environment.

#15
SophosTheWise

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I live in Switzerland where you can actually study game design, which is a generalist class, so I think you don't really learn something. I'm thinking about gathering some people I know and just start on my own. I'm a writer/journalist with a lot of knowledge in storytelling and I know a lot of people. Writers, illustrators and so on. The only thing I need is a programmer. Or 200. Well, well.

#16
Zeyelth

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Unfortunately, there aren't a whole lot of game developers who focus on story, and of those that do, few studios employ more than a handful of writers (you can get a good idea by checking the credits list of published games). And not to dash your hopes or anything, but there isn't really a lack of ideas in the games industry. Nearly everyone in the industry has at least one good idea, game concept or story which they would like to develop, given enough resources. What makes a game great is not the idea, or concept, but the implementation and execution.

That said, if you really want to get into the industry, don't give up. There's plenty of studios out there, both indie and AAA (with quite a few located in Stockholm, Sweden), and there's always the option of starting your own.

As for grades, well... If you study at university level, your focus should be knowledge, not just grades. Also, use some of your spare time to practice your skills. If you're a writer, then write. If you're an artist, draw lots of art. If you're a programmer, code away. Quality over quantity, though quantity tends to result in higher quality over time... While grades may be important for some employers, game companies are usually less interested in grades, and more interested in what you can do. Being able to show off previous works—even if it's just hobby projects—is worth a lot more than grades, although having a university degree is still a plus.

When applying for a job, programmers are generally asked to show some sample code, together with the usual interview questions/tests. Artists and writers would typically need to build a portfolio. It helps if you can show off something which is relevant to the company you are applying for. If a company makes action games, show that you can write action scenarios. If a company makes RPGs, then maybe a short story with interesting characters is more appropriate.

Whether you should go for a gamedev focused education or not depends. In most cases, all things being equal it's often better to go for a more general education. For programmers, a M.Sc. degree in Computer Science is often better than a 2-3 year gamedev programming degree. It may not always matter to the employer, but if you fail to find a job in the industry, or if you decide that you want to do something else, then a gamedev degree is going to be of limited use, while a M.Sc. or equivalent is still a huge plus... If you do go for a gamedev education, make sure that the institution is endorsed or has connections to the industry, otherwise you may end up with some useless, quasi-academic fluff.

Other than that, contacts is probably the best way to get a foot in the door. I got most of mine from my university studies. In retrospect, I think they were more valuable than my actual education...

Finally, the best way to build a relevant portfolio is to develop games, preferably in a team, as that is exactly what you will be doing at a company. If you need motivation, there are plenty of gamedev competitions you can join, from just-for-fun amateur level, to more serious indie competitions, where the winners often end up forming successful indie companies.

Edited by Zeyelth, 12 November 2012 - 03:52 PM.

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#17
Solonik

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1. Know people. (and have the requirements, your college degree might even mean something in this case!)
2. Make successful independent games.
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