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Tips for those getting into games development


Every now and then people post on this forum who are interested in games development. Well I'm about to provide 2 very important rules if you want to get into the commercial industry.

RULE 1: Network, this is very important for any industry you want to get into. You absolutely must network as these days especially it isn't what you know but who you know that can land you a job. I network isn't necessarily making friends with people, it is more making acquaintances and occasionally (like once every few months) contacting them to catch up see what they are up too and so on. Last year for example I attended GCAP which is an Australian equivalent (though much smaller) GDC (Game developers conference) and it was a great chance to meet people in the industry (some people I met are the CEO and co-founder of epic megagames, they guys from Unity, some people from Bioware and a whole much of Australian developers).

Tip: When attending things like this it doesn't matter what you skill level is (although for GDC you need to be already in the industry to attend, but there are other local game dev conferences everywhere that you should look up). If you interested in game development still attend even if your only in school.

Tip: While at these places make sure you approach people and talk to them and get yourself known to them and them to you (collecting business cards is a fun game, winner at the end of the conference is who has the most and the others in your group should buy them a drink). Don't worry about if your still a student they love talking to the next generation of game developers to discuss what you want to do. (if your shy then I suggest joining a toastmasters club to improve your public speaking.

RULE 2: Portfolio, this is perhaps the most important rule. You NEED a portfolio in the game development industry, you will be very lucky to find a job without one and it is expected you have developed (or co-developed) something even if your only just graduated from uni. So start developing projects now using whatever you have at your disposal (Unity and the UDK are good places to start).

Tip: Tutorials for developing exist everywhere online and make sure you START SMALL, don't developed this fantastic game you've had in your head for ages, start with something like pong, space invaders or other games from that era as they are very simple these days and will help you learn a lot. All these things you develop can go in your portfolio (which is a part of your resume, sometimes with links to where you can download them or you can provide a CD/DVD with your resume).

Tip: Learn to work in a team with some of your projects. Not only will the game get done a lot quicker you will also learn valuable skills as development of something big is never a 1 person job (Ignore Derek Smart and his battlecruiser300AD, that was an insane undertaking and it cost him millions and his wife and many friends to develop, which is why latter games he recruited more people.. interesting games though, I quite enjoy them).

Tip: Learn to stick with it and be self motivated. Things may get boring, particularly in the design phase (something the original whoremaster didn't have) of a project. The design phase is where you think and plan out every aspect of the game before you even start to code, there are articles online you can learn some design methodologies. Although things may get boring you need to keep pushing yourself to continue.

Update 1:

Tip: Do not start with iOS (iPhone/iPad) development. For that you need to learn a language called objective C which while isn't hard it is a royal pain in the behind, it has some nice ideas but gets annoying very quickly. Also do not start with Android, although it is a bit better for indie groups to get into the market than iOS. Windows is by far the easiest platform for indie developers to start with as you will find getting product exposure easier. The mobile development market is nasty for new indies since existing mobile developers have already made a big name for themselves so new indies will find it difficult to get their product noticed (this is actual research data from somewhere not just my personal musings).

Well thats all for now, I'll update this post as I think of more tips. Here are some sites you should subscribe to and read their articles and posts (you don't have to understand everything, if you have trouble understanding to code then just read the descriptions and you'll still learn something).          (this is a good blog which some big developers post too)             (many sections containing many articles for all levels)               (great place for beginers, has a beginers forum as well)

Though you can use the UDK to deploy games to iOS devices. I don't think any knowledge in Objective C is required for that and iOS apps can usually be more compact than a full PC game, thus you don't fall to the trap of biting more than you can chew.


--- Quote from: Shilo on February 08, 2012, 04:47:44 PM ---Though you can use the UDK to deploy games to iOS devices. I don't think any knowledge in Objective C is required for that and iOS apps can usually be more compact than a full PC game, thus you don't fall to the trap of biting more than you can chew.

--- End quote ---

All true, Unity and the UDK can compile for iOS and Unity can do android (UDK will be able to soon). My point with not starting with mobile development is if you are planning on selling it is a much more difficult first platform to be successful on than PC, there are several articles online detailing the why and how to avoid the pitfalls but if your planning on selling better to start with a PC release (can always port latter to mobile).


Someone just asked me:
"[size=78%]Just out of curiosity, what did you use to create whore master?[/size]Did the game get you any connections at game industries?[size=78%]I am getting into game development and I'd just like to know. Thanks."[/size]

So I replied with the following, it is from a programmer/designer point of view but can be applied to any job in the game development industry. Especially the game jam part if your an artist or sound guru, jammers and indie devs are always looking for skilled artists in these areas. I'm posting here in case it helps anyone else:

I used C++ as the coding language and I can't remember the graphics API. It did get me a connection and kinda of a job but that company didn't know what they were doing so I left pretty quick (and 4 years latter they still haven't done anything). I also have a degree in computer science with a major in games development, I've made plenty of connections. I have a job but it is for a startup company and they can't pay me. Finding work is pretty hard in Australia at present particularly in game development so I'm looking for work anywhere I can.

Here are some tips to help:

- It is important to make and maintain though regular communication, a network of connections to people you know in the industry or trying to get into the industy, the best way to make connections is to attend Game Jams and join game dev clubs in your local area. Global Game Jam is a good jam to get involved with and you can meet with people. If you can attend game development conferences in your local country it is really good. In Australia I attended one and met with the CEO of Epic along with plenty of other cool people.

- Gamejams are also perfect for skill building and it doesn't really matter what your skill level is. Here is an entry I did for 2013 for Generally at a game jam you go alone, find people who need a team member and then just work with people you only just met. Great for skill building and networking.

- To go with the above it really helps to be able to speak to people. I'm generally pretty shy but things always go better when I push myself to go up to strangers at events and just talk, ask questions and advice. People in the game development industry for the most part love to talk about their work and are always happy to give advice on how to get into the industry.

- The hardest part to get a job in the industry is that you won't get hired if you haven't developed anything meaning you need to have experience developing preferably in a team on at least 1 but preferably 2 or more titles. They don't have to be commercial products or large projects just something you can release online and show to people. These become your portfolio which you show to prospective employers. I don't use Whoremaster on my portfolio since most companies probably wouldn't like it (porn game industry is generally frowned upon), but if I was going for a job at a porn game company then I would use it in my portfolio.

- Always try to have a side project. This is a game your working on in your free time (after work and such). You don't have to finish the game just work on it, you need to keep in mind that a single person working on a project isn't likely to ever finish. Which is why people generally don't work on something big like a RPG on their own. The important thing with side projects isn't finishing though, it is improving your skills as a designer/programmer (though it is nice when you finish something).

- Something I have yet to do but which I know helps is to start a blog where you just talk about what your working on. It can be weekly/daily or whatever. It gives you something to show your future employers and you can put the link on your resume and if anyone reads and follows your blog will sometimes give useful feedback. Also subscribe to other peoples blogs, anyone who is a developer and read their stuff. Blogs written by people still learning a lot and writing about what they learn are often popular with people in the same situation making it a good opportunity to meet new contacts and perhaps building an indie team (though remotely has a lot of difficulties in any creative industry).

- Create a profile on linkedin. It is like facebook but used for professional use, so you don't "friend" your friends on linked in, you "friend" your network connections. You also treat your linked in profile like a resume and put your projects you've worked on and anything else on there. Employers will occasionally seek staff though linked in, I myself have had a few short term contract job offers though linked in. There are also groups and clubs on linkedin that you can


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