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Work in the video game industry.

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UnrealAlex

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2005
Location
Los Angeles, California
Do you guys think its possible to get a good job in the video game industry without any programming knowledge?
I'm just curious is all. I love games and sometimes I feel like modern games are created by people who don't play games...the lack of good games lately really has me wondering what kind of people really are behind these mediocre releases.
The notion of creating games and working on concepts, ideas, scripts has always interested me but such positions probably exist for people who started out in the programming/design stages, am I right?
 

shadin

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2006
Well, most games have the following basic parts of development:

Concept
Story/Plot
Engine
3D Modeling
2D Texturing
Animation
Sound Effects
Music

A little over-simplified but I think a good general overview.

Of course programming is going to greatly help you get a job doing any of those, but there are plenty of artists/writers/etc who work on games that don't really know how to code.
 

pejsaboy

Member
Joined
May 1, 2005
Location
nor-cal
Coding is only one part of the development, albeit probably the most important part. no code = models, ideas, sounds, etc. that do nothing. The code tells everything else what to do, and when.

As shadin said, coding/programming would make you more versatile, but you don't have to know any of it to mold storylines, concepts, and even elements of gameplay. Let's just say theoretically that you happen to have genius ideas for refining and improving gameplay and environmental interaction. If you're THAT GOOD, somebody is going to pay you to tell the coder how you want it to work. Then it's the coder's job to bring your vision to life. That said, I would think it's highly possible that you'd get overlooked for a job if you have no resume experience that relates to video game development. Sadly that's how a lot of the business world does things.
 

Sorin

Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2004
Location
Phoenix, since 03/2014
Sadly that's how a lot of the business world does things.

Yup. It's annoying as all hell. You can't get experience unless you have a job (since personal experience doesn't count for crap anymore), and you can't get a job unless you have experience. It's a catch 22, everyone knows it, and no one gives a damn. Even if you have the requisite knowledge, if you don't have experience then no one can be bothered to hire you and darn sure can't be bothered to train you. The non-manual-labor job world is getting worse and worse. It's bs. You basically have to know someone in an industry you want to get into if you don't have experience (depite that you have the knowledge/schooling).

But yeah, you don't have to code. Art (2d/3d), music, story, producing, etc. I gather coding is the easiest way in though (assuming...I dont actually know), since the others seem more intrinsic/natural talent based.
 

Kampfzerstorer

Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2005
Location
Los Angeles
Its not just as easy as coming up with good game ideas and then making the game...

What actually happens is that the game is designed in such a manner as to sell as many copies as possible (you're forced to do this by the people who's job it is to make the investors that bankrolled the entire thing as much money as possible). In order to do this you use whats known as lowest common denominator design - you try to make it appeal to the greatest number of people possible. Well we've all seen what lowest common denominator design/marketing has done to the music industry.

Not every single company works like this but its any big business's MO. Its always an odd struggle between creative forces and greed... with the eventual triumph of greed over creativity.
 

Leviathan41

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2003
Location
@Home, Folding
From what I've seen/heard in the past, a good way to get into the industry is to work on a mod team. If you think you have some good ideas, try to get together a team to make it a reality. If the mod is successful, you may get noticed by a game developer. It's happened with several successful mods/indie game teams. Just recently the guys who made the Desert Combat mod released a retail game Frontlines.
 

technoViking

Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Location
San Jose, CA
I would say its possible but wow it would be hard to get in.

Its hard as hell to get in as it is unless your a programmer with game programming experience.

Or just a programmer and start small. Example, my friend from MIT is working at a small gaming company who do contracting work with game company's, some big, some small. He go the job with no real game programming experience, he didn't know Open GL or direct x, all he knew was how to program.

But he got a job, he also interned for EA while at school. He offered me a job there but I'm going to pass, as fun as game programming sounds, its long hours, and I couldn't see myself still loving gaming if my job was to program games all day.

He does a lot of programming in unreal script which is like Java.

So if you really want to get into the gaming industry maybe teach yourself programming so you can help get in or work on a mod, because mod programming is easier compared to doing somthing like direct x programming from scratch.
 
OP
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UnrealAlex

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2005
Location
Los Angeles, California
Its not just as easy as coming up with good game ideas and then making the game...
Yea, reality sucks :bang head
What actually happens is that the game is designed in such a manner as to sell as many copies as possible (you're forced to do this by the people who's job it is to make the investors that bankrolled the entire thing as much money as possible). In order to do this you use whats known as lowest common denominator design - you try to make it appeal to the greatest number of people possible. Well we've all seen what lowest common denominator design/marketing has done to the music industry.
Not every single company works like this but its any big business's MO. Its always an odd struggle between creative forces and greed... with the eventual triumph of greed over creativity.
But there are also games like Sins of the Solar Empire or whatever, who cater to a specific group of people and do pretty well.
 

SteveLord

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2005
I would recommend doing the mod thing...or apply for internal testing. I just saw an ad on craigslist here wanting beta testers for $10.50 an hour. Not bad if you're not into restaurants.

There's also a growing number of institutes out there offering Game Design courses.
 

Tyranos

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2001
Location
OR
Just be very skilled and put out your resume. Create a great portfolio no matter what your talent is. If you're good, they'll come to you, degree or not. Create a web presence. I think back in the day, I had Neversoft and a few others simply contact me out of the blue asking to see my stuff.
 

ratbuddy

Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2007
Yup. It's annoying as all hell. You can't get experience unless you have a job (since personal experience doesn't count for crap anymore), and you can't get a job unless you have experience. It's a catch 22, everyone knows it, and no one gives a damn. Even if you have the requisite knowledge, if you don't have experience then no one can be bothered to hire you and darn sure can't be bothered to train you. The non-manual-labor job world is getting worse and worse. It's bs. You basically have to know someone in an industry you want to get into if you don't have experience (depite that you have the knowledge/schooling).

That's a pretty sad attitude. You might want to look into some sales books or even training. You are a brand, like it or not. It could be you are the greatest engineer or artist in the world, if you can't sell yourself, noone is going to buy.

My issue is I can't take a break - every time I try to stop working for a while, something falls into my lap and I've got to give it a try. Most recently I had a phone call out of the blue looking for a showroom manager and marketing director, neither of which I'd ever done before. It's working out great.

If you are making a good name for yourself as someone who can get things done, the opportunities will be there.

If you are constantly crying about how you can't catch a break, you aren't going to have time to just get out there and make one for yourself. It holds true in just about any field. Luck is the result of hard work.
 

brucekp

Disabled
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
It's just like any creative industry--you have to bust your hump networking and accepting inferior positions that don't pay enough to work your way up and get your eventual shot.

It is not about having good ideas. It is about approaching it as a career and being willing to move to where the action is happening and then pay your dues and show that you can be an exciting team player.

I wish you the best in your pursuit!
 

YellowDart

Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2003
Location
Mesa, AZ
If it's what you want to do, keep at it. It'll happen if you keep working for it. To give yourself an edge, though, definitely look into where the demand is in your field. You say you want to get into game design. Well, your best odds of getting in are through a few paths...

Programming
3d Modeling/Animation
Illustration
Advertising/Sales/Marketing (maybe to a lesser degree)

If you're serious about it, then maybe take a look and see where you see yourself excelling (and sticking with it long term). From there, you just need to keep your head down and work your *** off to get there. You need to learn the skills of your chosen field, obviously, but you also need to work hard at building relationships. Remember: It's not what you know, it's who you know. Making good contacts inside the industry will make it a whole hell of a lot easier. ;)