Developing A Career In Games In The Uk

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ShoTown
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Developing A Career In Games In The Uk

Postby ShoTown » Tue Aug 10, 2004 12:26 am

Hi for some time ive been looking into getting into the games industry when im older but i cant find any information on what i will need to be able to do, where i will have to go to learn it and what i can get jobs doin and as alot of you out there will probably be wondering the same thing I thought i'd start this post for anyone who has any information on getting into or working up to a career in the games industry. I am 14 and until (starting at the end of the summer holz) GCSE's my school hasnt provided any IT lessons even though they are well within the means of doing so. I've also been looking into programming languages but i cant figure how to use any of them to do anything and i really cant affort massive £50 books on how to do it. I know that St. Helens College used to do a course in computer game development but now its been closed down. My uncle who now owns his own company doing something or other said i should look into UMIST in manchester as they do lots of courses in programming, hardware, AI etc. as he used to go there. if any1 has any information that could be any use at all please leave it as it would be greatly appreciated =O)
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Postby Jackmn » Tue Aug 10, 2004 5:00 am

School alone isn't enough; you will have to devote a large portion of your free-time to coding.

There are plenty of free tutorials on the net. Google them.
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Postby elDiablo » Tue Aug 10, 2004 8:14 am

The teach yourself c++ in 21 days is good. Free, just google for it. However, I too wish to get into games development. At the moment I'm going a MEng (Masters in Engineering) Computer Science Degree with a Masters in Interactive Entertainment Systems.

Also, there are many areas you can get into the games industry. Do you want to be a modeller? A 2D artist? An engine coder? A game designer? Sound engineering? It depends. You cant do all, so choose one. When you have, the best way to see what degree or whatever you need is to go to a game site (for example, bungie.org - i know they have a jobs section there) and look for what they are looking for in you. Most, if not all, will want a degree depending on which area you choose to go into. Most even say that you need 2 years industry experience, which is stupid, cos what about all the people who have just started? Anyway, just look on all your fav developers site. You'll also have to think about which ones you can get to. Some do summer placements for student, so its worth looking into them now. If you look into them NOW, you might get in for next summer ;)

Next, EVERYWHERE will want to see what you can do, a portfolio. This is a collection of works that you have done to show how good you are in the selected area. Therefore, if you want to code, learn to code. You cant do it just at school, cos most schools dont teach it. Do it in your own time. you have to. If you dont, you'll never get good at it. And my suggestion, learn now if you can. Even if it is just the basics (no need going over your head so you dont learn anything!), like a Hello World program, then advance on it. If you have an understand before going to uni, you'll do wonders.

Still, google for this information. There are a lot of places telling you how to get into the industry. And they are good advice. Dont just read one and give up though, keep at it.

Hope that helps :D
We dont stop playing cos we get old... We get old cos we stop playing.
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Postby NeoThermic » Tue Aug 10, 2004 10:33 am

elDiablo wrote: Most even say that you need 2 years industry experience, which is stupid, cos what about all the people who have just started?

Next, EVERYWHERE will want to see what you can do, a portfolio.



Small and helpfull tip. Portfolio can equal 2 years experence if you have a good enough one. As elDiablo mentioned, it does depend alot on where you want to enter into the games industry. If you want to code the engine, learning DirectX will help, as would OpenGL. Learning both would be one of the better ideas if you can handle it, as you can then have both DirectX and OpenGL samples you did in your portfolio; things like that show how flexible you are and most of the time is more valuable than the usual 2 years.

My suggestion would be this. Download the directX 9 SDK. Look at the examples. Read the code, and understand how it works. Play with their code. What happens if you change this to that? Do it, compile, see. After that, learn your core engine code, so if its directx, then have a look at some DirectX tutorials. If you feel like using OpenGL, you'll probibly find no better than http://nehe.gamedev.net/ - I'm being serious, 48 tutorials covering teh basic window setup to Bezier Patches to CG Vertex Shader examples. It doesn't get any better,a dn frankly DirectX sites can't equal the wealth of stuff there :)


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Postby ShoTown » Tue Aug 10, 2004 2:47 pm

Cool ill look em all up, ive been learning Vb + Vb.NET for ages but one of my m8z at school said its completely useless is that tru?
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Postby Stewsburntmonkey » Tue Aug 10, 2004 2:51 pm

Well VB has its uses and can be a good place to start, but no really serious game coding is done in VB. While you can code games in it the performance is generally such that C/C++ would be the better choice. Nearly all real game programming occurs in C/C++, so you will want to learn that (and learn it well) at some point. :)
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Postby ShoTown » Tue Aug 10, 2004 2:55 pm

=O( I looked into openGL but like so many coding websites its all done in VC++ 6.0 whereas i hav .NET which it never seems to work on! damn it
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Postby Stewsburntmonkey » Tue Aug 10, 2004 3:07 pm

I wouldn't start with OpenGL or anything like that. I would start by do console programs. That will get you experience with just the coding itself, without having to deal with the Windows API, Graphics Libraries, or anything like that. You really need a firm handle in the basics before you start doing the more advanced stuff. While you can take existing code and change and play around with it, you really need to understand what the basics are before you can do anything really new. Also to be a really designer you will likely need to understand linear algebra to a signifigant extent. Also you will need a solid grounding in algorithms and computational efficiency. Simply programming skills will likely not be enough. :)
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Ohh game designing huh?

Postby smartegg » Tue Aug 10, 2004 5:50 pm

I would advice you to start learning either Maya or 3d Studio Max or both. You should also know C++ when you can work em you can get a game engine like 3d game studio and export your graphics from 3d Studio Max or Maya or whattever is supported to the engine (need pluggins for that). There are better engines then 3d game studio like GMax which is made by the same company that made 3d Studio Max (discreet) get that if you can, it is way better then 3d game studio and way more professional :). You will need C++ knowledge to program the storyline and AI and stuff like that. :D
==========================================
I would advice you to get 3d Studio Max and G Max and then youre good to go. The products from discreet come with a bunch of tutorials so you can learn it easily. This ,however, is only modelling and programming. Sound effects and stuff is an all different chapter 8)
==========================================
Links included:
:arrow: 3d Game Studio A6/ Trial Version download
:arrow: g max 1.2 download
:arrow: discreet home page
==========================================
Fraction of the games made with gmax
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Postby da_zeg » Tue Aug 10, 2004 6:28 pm

This is all interesting to me, I would also like to become a coder of some description, games preferrably, but to look at any commercial product and say "I made that" even if you only coded like 1% of a new non-microsoft operating system. Is my ambition.

I was lucky (a bit) because my school did teach us *some* programming,
In Basic (Sadly only True) but they also turned a blind eye to a certain extent when I sat for hours off task trying various different things, and taught my self most of VB after discovering the limits of TB.

Now reading up on C (&C++) and about to sit Adv. Higher Computing before Uni.

Anyway, enough about me, it's just nice to know that there are people like me out there. Good Luck All.
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Postby da_zeg » Tue Aug 10, 2004 6:32 pm

ShoTown wrote:=O( I looked into openGL but like so many coding websites its all done in VC++ 6.0 whereas i hav .NET which it never seems to work on! damn it


I thought that there was a ANSI standard to allow you to use different compilers. Or is the problem caused by the way VC++ generates the objects for you. Iv'e written a few VERY basic C++ programs and the seem to work on V C++ as well as borland
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Postby Stewsburntmonkey » Tue Aug 10, 2004 6:51 pm

C\C++ both have standards, but with many more advanced features are proprietary or vary from compiler to compiler. The .NET compilers are especially bad at not being very kind to non-.NET code. :)
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ohh a n00b ehh

Postby smartegg » Tue Aug 10, 2004 7:06 pm

da_zeg (or whatever your handle is) I also started out with Basic. At my schools they teach you nothing about computers. It is all selfstudy as a hobby. I started off with QBASIC (yeah in DOS) then I got to Visual Basic (read on of those Visual Basic Proffesional Edition books by QueCorp) now I am doing C++ (Learn C++ in 10 minutes and another book). Good to know that I am not the only one who is trying to learn programming. Were in the same boat I guess good luck. For help check out programmers heaven for more info, tutorials and source code. It helps me alot. Good luck
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Postby chemman » Tue Aug 10, 2004 11:51 pm

Well my friend, you first have to know which branch of the industry intrests you. For to make a game, coding alone is not enough. Sure, that handy memory manager will be nice, logging will be implemented, maybe even the collisions of soft bodies will work. But heck, without the models for the people, no collisions will occur!

So, you may create graphics, sound or code. My proposition is like this:

Learn to code in C++. Actually, a book is almost necesary. I just find it more comfortable to read it and code without alt-tabbing. Beside, the lecture of a big book full of C++ isn't exactly fascinating. And reading it on a box often just disctracts you from your main goal. You must be really concentrated to understand what a <insert your most strange-sounding C++ term here> is.

Next, try to do some console games. Only console, perhaps some other fancy things like colors, but nothing more. In the meantime, use things like IOStreams for file I/O, use the STL library, learn those things, be comfortable with all those cool features you might encounter.

Then, if you are like me, you might start searching for a way to display any graphics. Well, I have found many ancient libraries to do that, and more. Which was a very bad choice, since a lot were garage-engineered pieces of poop, running on DOS in a fixed res with strange buffor allocation problems. Then, I just used OpenGL.

And that is what you should use. Although 3d, it is fairly easy to grasp, and surely (which is a fact) simpler that all those COM's in DirectY. DirecyZ is slower at times (and faster at other times), harder to use and learn, runs on W1Nd0Z3 only, and is evil in general.

Or if you want to stick to 2d, use something called SDL. Free, fast, simple, loads of tutorials, not more advanced than your simple hello world. Runs on every OS and machine, including cell phoners and alien brain implants.

Any way, you need a whole lot of self determination, because never ever will school teach you even the sinle, smallest and slightest thing.
Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.
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Postby Ascendant » Wed Aug 11, 2004 12:35 am

Lots of uni computing courses are starting to have a years work placement as standard, helps you get a foothold into the industry and hopefully some contacts, as well as possible jobs once you finish your course

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