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Need advice for making games

Nerdi MasterNerdi Master Registered User regular
edited March 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I really weant to make video games for a living, but I'm not sure where to start. I've considered going to school and getting a degree, but I also heard it's not really necessary. Do I need a degree to get into the business? I'm also trying to find a good program to design games. I downloaded the Unreal Development kit, but I'm a complete noob when it comes to game design that I have no idea where to start. Is that program too advanced for me?

Nerdi Master on

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    admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    You should start by learning how to program.

    Next you can start working on mini-games, mods, flash games, or something like that. Don't worry too much about this stage, as learning how to program will take years.

    Next you should get a computer science degree. Not a game design degree.

    Finally, you may get a job as a programmer, or start your own company, or decide the whole thing is garbage and go into web development or marine biology.

    How old are you?

    admanb on
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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    You probably don't want to make video games for a living any more than someone who likes ice cream wants to work in an ice cream factory, but whatever. You sound like you want to design games, which is a job that really doesn't exist except for like 10 people. Games are actually made by a bunch of computer programmers who work longer hours for less money than other computer programmers even though it's all just a bunch of code, and by a bunch of artists doing 3d models and stuff like that, and by a bunch of other people like the sound people and the writers/scripters and the QA people and the level designers (who are sometimes the writers/scripters) and so on.

    So first you want to figure out if any of those job descriptions sound good. If they do, we can come back and give you more specific advice, because becoming a game programmer is much different than becoming a 3d game artist. My best advice is to start looking in to jobs that aren't based around turning something you love into something you slave over for 12 hours each day in order to keep from getting fired, and then you get fired when your game (Barbie's Mermaid Horse Adventures Aquatic Utopia Palace Addon 5: Bubble Couches!) is released because studios work like that anyways.

    TychoCelchuuu on
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    Nerdi MasterNerdi Master Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I'm mostly interested in storytelling and art, not necessarily the programming part although it is an option if I need to, and video games have always been something I've been interested in so I want to do something that combines both. Some of my biggest influences are Ken Levine and Chris Metzen. I'm 29 years old so I definitely need to get my life together and do something real. Is there anything that I can do that fits that description?

    Nerdi Master on
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    KabitzyKabitzy find me in Monsbaiya Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    This might be up your alley: RPGmaker VX. I've used it for years because I enjoy storytelling. I think it would be a good platform to launch from because it gives you the tools needed to make a game straightaway. Once you learn the ropes with it, you can customize it how you want. Make your own sprites, code, etc.

    Plus it is totally nostalgic with its SNES like sprite graphics. :^:

    EDIT: official page is here. There is a free trial.
    EDIT2: It is probably mostly a hobbyist kind of tool, but people have gone on to profit/create actual full length games from it IE Deadly Sin and Eternal Eden (PC).

    Kabitzy on
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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I'm 29 years old so I definitely need to get my life together and do something real. Is there anything that I can do that fits that description?
    The good news is "yes," the bad (actually good?) news is that none of it has anything to do with making videogames. Almost any job utilizing the same sort of talents you'd need to make videogames is going to be better than using those talents to make videogames. That's a slight exaggeration but it's not over the top.

    In any case, because you idolize Ken Levine and Chris Metzen, you're definitely barking up the wrong tree. Nobody gets to be Ken Levine on Chris Metzen when they make videogames. You know what kind of games you'll work on? Facebook games, and cell phone games, and at night you'll sit in your bedroom and gaze at the starry sky and wish upon a comet that some day you'll get to make games for phones that use touch controls instead of the numbers that people use to dial.

    If you're "interested" in storytelling and art then you've got something in common with most members of the human race going back to when we were still fucking Neanderthals for shits and giggles, but if you legitimately have talent, drive, ambition, passion, vast reserves of good luck, rich parents, well-connected friends, more talent, and a great work ethic, you can turn that into a job doing all sorts of stuff (for no money), like being a comic book artist or doing storyboards for movies or doing concept art for (gasp) videogames. You could go get yourself a degree at an art school, and that can be helpful for teaching you stuff, but nobody will care about your degree when it comes to being hired: all that matters is your portfolio. If you can make a kickass portfolio (and one of the advantages of a degree is that a good school will teach you how to market yourself), then yes, you can start shopping that around and trying to get jobs or something, but, well... let's just say you don't strike me as someone who is already an accomplished artist with the world at his fingertips who only needs to figure out how to get into vidyagames.

    If I'm mistaken, though, and you've got some really nice stuff, let us know and we can help you figure out where to go from there.

    TychoCelchuuu on
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    starmanbrandstarmanbrand Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    While I'm not going to advise you on your current situation, I'd like to temper the thread a bit.

    This is a forum where, as you can imagine, there is a post like this at least once a month. Someone likes videogames and creating things and now they want to create videogames.

    The posters before and after me are not trying to be cruel or crush your dreams, only trying to express upon you the near impossibility of becoming a creative force in the game design world.

    starmanbrand on
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    Nerdi MasterNerdi Master Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    *Sigh* Maybe I am biting off more than I can chew... I've been writing for years for fun, so I do have a ton of ideas, and it wasn't until about 5 years ago that I finally decided I wanted to do something involving video games. I definitely don't have rich parents or connections or anything like that. I've gone through many different career thoughts, the previous one being a chef, but I reconsidered that one because I'm in a wheelchair and I know how cramped restaurant kitchens can be. I also wanted to be a doctor when I was much younger but never had the money for school. I'm really just trying to find a place in the world and not just sit around living on SSI and waiting to die unfulfilled. I know that sounds kinda defeatist and depressing but it's still how I feel. I feel like I have alot of potential but don't know where to go from here.

    Nerdi Master on
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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I actually am trying to crush your dreams, but only insofar as some dreams are nightmares that we don't even recognize as such. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato has a famous metaphor about a cave: he said that we are like people who have lived our lives chained up inside a cave, facing a wall. Behind us is a fire, and objects periodically move in front of the fire and cast shadows on the wall. We think these shadows are everything that there is, but one day someone is freed from the chains and wanders out of the cave. They are blinded by the sun for a while, but eventually they learn to perceive things. At first they notice shadows and other dark things, and then eventually they actually look at the real things themselves, and finally they are able to understand the sun.

    The relevant part of this is when the person relating the metaphor says that the person who had been freed from the chains, when they returned to the cave, would try to tell people about the world outside, but the people in the cave wouldn't understand or listen. They'd say that going outside had ruined that person's vision, because they could no longer perceive the shadows, and eventually they'd get pissed off and beat up the person. We're meant to feel sorry for the people in the cave because they don't understand how things really are, and would choose to stick to their untrue life of shadows in the cave rather than go outside. By demolishing dreams of being the next Chris Metzen, I would say we're helping you escape the cave. Yes, it's painful, but you don't want to live your life in a cave because bears live there and mushrooms might grow in your lungs. It's a thing.

    TychoCelchuuu on
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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Double post harr: If you like writing I would look into being a writer. It's a lot less work to write a book than it is to write a game script and then get a game company to spend millions of dollars making your game. Game writers are a dime a dozen because it's easy as fuck to write games compared to paying actors to read the written lines, let alone making the rest of the game. Shit, I wrote a game yesterday on accident when I was trying to make a sandwich. If you're legitimately a good writer, and you want to make a living doing that instead of something that you'll ever get paid to do, then start writing. There are no prerequisites for it like there are for making a giant fucking game.

    TychoCelchuuu on
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    admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Goddamn bears.
    *Sigh* Maybe I am biting off more than I can chew... I've been writing for years for fun, so I do have a ton of ideas, and it wasn't until about 5 years ago that I finally decided I wanted to do something involving video games. I definitely don't have rich parents or connections or anything like that. I've gone through many different career thoughts, the previous one being a chef, but I reconsidered that one because I'm in a wheelchair and I know how cramped restaurant kitchens can be. I also wanted to be a doctor when I was much younger but never had the money for school. I'm really just trying to find a place in the world and not just sit around living on SSI and waiting to die unfulfilled. I know that sounds kinda defeatist and depressing but it's still how I feel. I feel like I have alot of potential but don't know where to go from here.

    You need to think smaller. If you've been writing, try to get something published or at least noticed -- post it in writing forums or on a blog. Something like RPGMaker is also a good thing to tackle, because it will let you focus more on story and structure than the gritty details, and really good RPGMaker games totally get noticed.

    Your odds of success are, to put it bluntly, extremely low. But if you have the drive and willpower to put out dozens of stories and dozens of little games, you can increase those to merely "low." That's how the real world works: "a ton of ideas" will get you nowhere, hundreds of hours of hard work will get you everywhere.

    If you can live on SSI that's a huge benefit here, because you're gonna go a long time without making any money.

    admanb on
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    starmanbrandstarmanbrand Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Ever considered trying to find a career instead of your dream job? Take my situation. I'm in accounting. I like accounting, I'm pretty good at it, and its an easy way to pay the bills. But I'm really not "fufilling" myself or changing the world or anything. I do it because its easy for me and it makes money. With that money I make, I have funds for my hobbies which ARE fufilling to me.

    People spend too much time and effort trying to find a job that they'll love going to everyday. For most people, that doesn't exist. I could get paid to get lapdances and eat sammitches while curing cancer and there will still be days where I'd much rather stay home or go camping or any other number of things.

    starmanbrand on
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    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    My sister-in-law does actually write for games.

    Here's what I know she did:

    Got a creative writing degree.
    Self-published a few stories.
    Hung around on game developers' forums, e-mailed and messaged people and was persistent in her pursuits.
    Was Aurora
    A combination of all of the above landed her a internship, which turned into a full-time job in a studio's creating-writing department.
    Five years later has finally seen her name credited on a game.

    EDIT: h5 for accounting, I love doing it for a job too!

    Janson on
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    Nerdi MasterNerdi Master Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Janson, that sounds exactly like what I'm hoping for. I'm not chasing fame, but if it happens then great. I know not everyone actually gets credit for the things they do. In a perfect world everyone would, but I won't go into that. There is a saying, "It's amazing what can be accomplished if nobody cares who gets the credit", and really that's all I want. But of course deep down I'll know that I was a part of something I'm proud of because I pushed. I do have a back up plan of course, I'm going to try to get a regular job (And in this shitty economy that's not an easy task either.) and also work on my true goals. And hopefully eventually I'll be recognized for my accomplishments.

    Nerdi Master on
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    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Yeah, I didn't mean to sound too down. It certainly is possible.

    One of the first things you'd notice about my sister-in-law is how driven and ambitious she is. She is very good at getting her own way (I mean that in a nice way; she's not mean or horrid at all, just very focused). Yet it has still taken her a few years to get to her goal. The writing department is also one of the first places to be downsized in a gaming company. Just be aware you will be writing with perhaps 10-12 other people, and in times of an economic crisis (i.e. now) your job will also be one of the least secure.

    But, I know she really does love her job. So, good luck if you decide to go that route!

    Janson on
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    Nerdi MasterNerdi Master Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I appreciate everyone's input on this subject, and I'll look into finding a somewhat stable smaller job first, that needs to be my main priority before jumping into a more risky creative career. I'm not afraid to fail, but I'm not stupid enough to allow myself to fail without a backup plan.

    Nerdi Master on
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    Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited February 2011
    To reiterate what Tycho is saying:
    If working the video game industry has taught me anything, it's that being a 'game designer' is not a dream job by any stretch of the imagination, unless your dreams involve things like writing 40 page long documents about things like menu navigation, then having 6 hour long meetings about things like menu navigation, then rewriting 40 page long documents about things like menu navigation based on that input, and then getting really annoyed that all of the good ideas you had about menu navigation got thrown out the window because of features being added, features being cut, code reasons, publisher demands, and/or art interference, and then having to explain to everyone on the team, for the next 9 months, why the menu navigation doesn't seem to follow any rational pattern of design.

    Meanwhile, all the big decisions regarding the game's overall theme/gameplay/genre/story are hammered out between your company's CEO/lead producer/director and whoever is paying for the development costs during a 5 hour meeting before "development" even starts, which means you, Mr. Game Designer, aren't even there to pitch all your Big Great Ideas of What You Want To See In A Game.

    Put your auteur aspirations behind you if you're serious about game design- it's a tedious job involving tedious work. To be fair, all the designers I've known seem to enjoy their jobs, but it takes a particular mindset to enjoy spending 14 hours a day looking at a database and typing in stats for all billion items in your game, and trying to figure out what numbers make things fun, and what numbers make things not fun. At least on the art side, where there are a lot of similar issues, the work you put in is more visible and appreciable in an immediate sense.

    Angel_of_Bacon on
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    FantasmaFantasma Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Hi,

    Please, accept my apologies if the following information could seem out of base. I have seen this question posted before in places where real programmers talk about these subjects, you will find a lot of sarcasm and negativity, but if you can read between the lines, you can find the answer to your question:

    http://slashdot.org/story/01/05/01/1854217/How-Does-One-Become-a-Game-Designer

    http://ask.slashdot.org/story/10/10/06/0438203/Best-Education-Path-To-Learn-Video-Game-Programming

    http://ask.slashdot.org/story/06/11/17/1221207/A-Masters-In-CS-or-a-Masters-In-Game-Programming


    http://slashdot.org/story/99/08/20/143215/Feature-Why-Being-a-Computer-Game-Developer-Sucks

    Fantasma on
    Hear my warnings, unbelievers. We have raised altars in this land so that we may sacrifice you to our gods. There is no hope in opposing the inevitable. Put down your arms, unbelievers, and bow before the forces of Chaos!
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    NerdtendoNerdtendo Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I used to be in the same boat as you, took some time to look into game design and what the potential was for a story writer for a game, decided that it would require learning to design the games themselves, took a look at programming and graphic design, tried both out... Then gave up and got a job at a hospital.

    It's going to sound harsh, but if you've never even bothered with modding, you've got years of work and learning ahead of you before you can expect to be able to get into the business. It's a very long road, full of frustration and studying.

    You're much better off doing something else. If you want to write, fantastic! Write something! Start a story, a blog, get involved in a forum, whatever will give you time to practice your writing skills. Once you've got an idea, run with it. Even if you don't finish it, it's still content. Keep whatever you write. Date it. Get something published.

    There are countless other writers out there, they've already got a name for themselves, and the video game designers have tons of options. If they're looking for a writer, they're going to find the one they think is best for their purposes. If you really want to get into the field, you're going to want to make them want you. And if they're making a game like God of War... well, their programmers will be more than enough for the story they want anyways.

    Still, it's becoming more popular for developers to snag people from the modding community. That might be a place to look. See if a modder or and indie developer would like some help with their story telling. You won't get paid, but you might get a chance to get your name out there, and you might get the opportunity to see if this is something you really want to do in the first place.

    Nerdtendo on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    If you want to work in a creative field then there is literally nothing stopping you from doing that right now. Getting paid for it? Totally different story. Doing it? No excuses.

    Improvolone on
    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
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    RhalloTonnyRhalloTonny Of the BrownlandsRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I'd also like to second the advice about pursuing this as a hobby. All of the big title games are designed by hundreds of people, with design documents that restrict even some of the most basic leeway, all the while requiring a lot of technical experience. It may be kind of depressing to hear, but there are also a lot of other people all wanting to work in the same industry too, and you'd have to compete with them for the same jobs.

    Fortunately for you though, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from pursuing this as a hobby. There are plenty of tutorials and examples online covering ways to start making games- and some of the most memorable and enjoyable games I've played in recent years were just personal projects from individuals.

    (Honestly though, don't let a bunch of people on the internet tell you what you're not capable of. A lot of what's been said has been for your benefit, in that most are trying to give you a realistic metric of just how difficult it is to be successful in the game industry- but if you want to give it a shot, don't let us tell you to not even try. Just be prepared.)

    RhalloTonny on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Angry Birds? Minecraft? Wolrd of Goo? Crazy popular, small teams. They did it themselves.

    Improvolone on
    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
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    DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    This is going to come off as dickish, but it is intended as legitimate advice.

    You're 29 years old, and you haven't even bothered to research the careers of people in the field you say you aspire to, or to put any effort whatsoever into actually branching into that field, minus making a post in the H/A forums. You're not going to be a game designer, nor are you going to be a writer, unless you FIRST "get your life together" and "do something real" already.

    Making a big, though probably right, assumption from your descriptions, you haven't really settled into a career yet, have you? Do that first. Make some money, use that money to buy education in the fields you want. Take some light programming courses. Build up capital, and if it's still you're dream in a few years, use your money to hire an art guy, a coding guy and design the next big phone game. In the mean time, stop seriously considering the ultimate nerd job as an actual possibility in your near future.

    Darkewolfe on
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    CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Since you've got a lot of free time due to being unemployed... just do it. Make games. It's not difficult or magical. It doesn't require a degree or any training at all, just sweat and dedication. Get RPGmaker or Adventure Game Studio or Blitz Basic or whatever, and spend 8 hours a day making games. It'll probably never get you a career but who knows? It's better than sitting on your arse all day. Even better, use a real language like Flash or Java, and you might be able to get a real job out of it, although probably not in games.

    CelestialBadger on
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    Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Pursuing this as a hobby seems like the best way to go. It's the same with creative writing; you need to love writing (or at least, having written) enough that you can deal with not getting paid for it. Some day you might get noticed and start making money, but having that as your sole goal will crush your soul.

    Try making mods/scenarios for your favorite games (there are excellent tools available for some), participate in modding communities, and keep making stuff that you want to play. If you succeed at making something fun and popular, you might have taken the first step towards entering the industry. And keep your eyes open for opportunities: some time (years?) ago, Bioware was recruiting writers and they advertised it on these very forums. You were supposed to create a standalone NWN scenario, using their toolkit, and send it in as your application. I wouldn't hold my breath on that happening again, but something similar might.

    Bliss 101 on
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    ToefooToefoo Los Angeles, CARegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I'm actually going to go "against the grain" in regards to the other advice in this thread, and give you some positive reinforcement.

    As some have said, do not pursue a "Game Design" degree...you would be better off with a Computer Science or a Creative Writing/English/Literature degree, depending on which aspect of game development you want to tackle.

    Write, write, write. Write every single day, and then write some more. Either have this stuff self-published through your own web hosting or find other places to show your work. As a fellow writer, it is imperative that you make your work known, and you should constantly be pushing your creative works out into the public.

    This is a total cliché answer, but if you are able to swing it, try and pursue a QA job at either a publisher or developer. It's common for many to look down on QA jobs, but I can't even count on both hands the number of people I've known that have shot up through QA to become Producers, Designers, and (although rare) have founded their own company and made their own successful product in their off-time. QA is a great place to learn both the fundamentals as well as the ugly reality of game development.

    Networking is probably the other huge factor in this. Where do you live? If you aren't near any big developers/publishers or any trade events, then it may be even more difficult to break in. Networking is the second most important thing next to talent, and in some cases it is arguably more important. If you're anywhere near California or Texas, consider getting into the GDC events after building some personal work, and try to make contacts. While it seems like it's a big industry, in reality it is surprisingly small, and any contacts you make can go a long way towards getting your foot in the door.

    Toefoo on
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    SebbieSebbie Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Take a look at Game Maker. I haven't used it myself but I've seen a lot of cool games developed using GM. A lot of people will give it flak because most of the games that are released are nothing but noise BUT if you're passionate about it you can learn the ins and outs of the environment and make great games. (In fact there are a lot of game making applications out there for different genre. I think GM is more of a general one but RPGMaker is great for RPGs while AGS is great for point and click adventure games. Pick one that fits what you'd like to make)

    I frequent the tigsource.com community which is more of an indie games forum but one of their members (goes by the name of Cactus) is kind of a rock star around there (not just tigsource but the indie games community in general) and he uses Game Maker.

    I wanted to do nothing but make games when I was in high school so I got a degree in software engineering. Now if I wanted to make games for a living I could. However, along the way, I realized that working for big companies I'd just be a pawn* in the grand scheme of thing and it would take me forever to actually get to make the games I want to make. That's why I got into XNA development as a hobby and during the day I'm a web developer :P
    *I mean that in the sense that you don't really get to make your own game but instead make someone else's game. I don't want to knock down actual game programmers here :)

    Sebbie on
    "It's funny that pirates were always going around searching for treasure, and they never realized that the real treasure was the fond memories they were creating."
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    Nerdi MasterNerdi Master Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    This is all great advice, even from the more critical points of view. I live in Maryland so Bethesda is the closest company to me., not a bad company at all. As far as the QA job, I've considered it, but due to circumstances out of my control I can't pursue it right now.

    As far as my situation, I've actually been dealing with a bad wound for a few years that has been really hard to heal, so it's been keeping me from seriously looking for any jobs outside my home. I'm looking into plastic surgery to get it healed once and for all though. I actually contacted Bethesda about a QA job and they said it's all done in house. Makes sense considering they want to protect their IP from leaks. But as soon as I'm healed I'll check with them again to see if they have any job openings.

    I've actually even considered journalism as well, I may not actually be working on games, but if I go with the right companies, like G4 or IGN I'll be able to be closer to the developers and that would be awesome. So my options involving video games in some way aren't entirely limited in retrospect. In the meantime, I'll look into the simpler game development programs. UDK is WAY too complicated for a beginner obviously.

    Nerdi Master on
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    CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    As far as my situation, I've actually been dealing with a bad wound for a few years that has been really hard to heal, so it's been keeping me from seriously looking for any jobs outside my home. I'm looking into plastic surgery to get it healed once and for all though. I actually contacted Bethesda about a QA job and they said it's all done in house. Makes sense considering they want to protect their IP from leaks. But as soon as I'm healed I'll check with them again to see if they have any job openings.

    A lot of indie companies do beta testing of their games with a trusted group of people online. They don't pay a penny, but you can try it out to see if you like QA, and to get at least a little experience to put on a resume. If you like indie games you'll probably know the sort of company to contact (not Bethesda - little, little companies)

    CelestialBadger on
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    SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I had to work for basically free for two years to get into the industry I wanted.

    Helped me build an impressive portfolio though.

    So what I'm saying is - do what you love because you love to do it, not because you're going to be making a ton of money. Plenty of people work their jobs by day and develop games by night and perhaps one of my fondest memories of a game came from this, which was given away for free and was really entertaining:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8F1cOvZ3nS8

    SkyGheNe on
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    Nerdi MasterNerdi Master Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    So what I'm saying is - do what you love because you love to do it, not because you're going to be making a ton of money.

    Good point. I don't plan to become the next Bill Gates, I just want enough to take care of a family. I do feel that you need to love what you do, at least enough that you won't go to work every day with a bad mood. Generally the more a person loves their job, the better they do. It definitely beats working just because you feel obligated.

    Nerdi Master on
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    CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Good point. I don't plan to become the next Bill Gates, I just want enough to take care of a family. I do feel that you need to love what you do, at least enough that you won't go to work every day with a bad mood. Generally the more a person loves their job, the better they do. It definitely beats working just because you feel obligated.

    Working in the games industry is very different to playing games. It's long hours, high pressure, and constant layoffs. It often pays worse than equivalent jobs out of the industry. If you enjoy games you won't necessarily enjoy making them. The day to day tasks of making a game are not necessarily different to making an e-commerce site or a spreadsheet.

    If you want a good family life, other careers are better, especially if you ever plan to see your kids. That's why it's generally better to start before 29. A 22-year old can work 16 hour days without caring. A 29 year old is starting to want to see his kids/meet someone to make those kids with.

    CelestialBadger on
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    SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Good point. I don't plan to become the next Bill Gates, I just want enough to take care of a family. I do feel that you need to love what you do, at least enough that you won't go to work every day with a bad mood. Generally the more a person loves their job, the better they do. It definitely beats working just because you feel obligated.

    Working in the games industry is very different to playing games. It's long hours, high pressure, and constant layoffs. It often pays worse than equivalent jobs out of the industry. If you enjoy games you won't necessarily enjoy making them. The day to day tasks of making a game are not necessarily different to making an e-commerce site or a spreadsheet.

    If you want a good family life, other careers are better, especially if you ever plan to see your kids. That's why it's generally better to start before 29. A 22-year old can work 16 hour days without caring. A 29 year old is starting to want to see his kids/meet someone to make those kids with.

    Yes, prepare for shitty pay, poor job security, and long hours in the video game industry.

    It's really exploitative.

    Also - don't misunderstand what makes a work environment awesome. It is not a "good" job that will make you happy to go into work every day, it'll be the people you are working with and the company you are working for that will make you happy to go into work every day.

    You could be shoveling shit every day for a living at the local zoo, but if you're with a bunch of awesome co-workers and have a boss that is flexible, you'll love it.

    There's a ton of game companies that absolutely fucking suck to be employed by.

    SkyGheNe on
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    Charles KinboteCharles Kinbote Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Good point. I don't plan to become the next Bill Gates, I just want enough to take care of a family. I do feel that you need to love what you do, at least enough that you won't go to work every day with a bad mood. Generally the more a person loves their job, the better they do. It definitely beats working just because you feel obligated.

    Working in the games industry is very different to playing games. It's long hours, high pressure, and constant layoffs. It often pays worse than equivalent jobs out of the industry. If you enjoy games you won't necessarily enjoy making them. The day to day tasks of making a game are not necessarily different to making an e-commerce site or a spreadsheet.

    If you want a good family life, other careers are better, especially if you ever plan to see your kids. That's why it's generally better to start before 29. A 22-year old can work 16 hour days without caring. A 29 year old is starting to want to see his kids/meet someone to make those kids with.

    This is all right. First of all, "I like video games, therefore I should get a job making video games" is confused and way off-base. Not only are making video games absolutely nothing like playing them, but turning a hobby like that into a profession is almost a guarantee that you won't be able to enjoy them in the same way you do now. Maybe you'll have more appreciation for them, more respect for particular elements in games you play, but there is an upper limit to how much you can know about the process of something and still be able to be fully entertained and relaxed by it.

    Second of all, video game production is one of the classic "trash your body doing a shitty job for the hopes of getting a better job that you don't even really fully understand the responsibilities of" paths, and that's something young people can afford to waste time on. It's not impossible to get started on that path a few years later, of course, but you might want to really consider if you have the time to waste doing, frankly, miserable work trying to break into the field without prior experience or relevant education.

    Charles Kinbote on
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    Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Also - don't misunderstand what makes a work environment awesome. It is not a "good" job that will make you happy to go into work every day, it'll be the people you are working with and the company you are working for that will make you happy to go into work every day.

    At the risk of going into D&D territory, this is false. These things may be important for you, but that's not the case for everyone. The work can be its own reward. Depends a lot on what you do and how you relate to it.

    Bliss 101 on
    MSL59.jpg
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    SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Bliss 101 wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Also - don't misunderstand what makes a work environment awesome. It is not a "good" job that will make you happy to go into work every day, it'll be the people you are working with and the company you are working for that will make you happy to go into work every day.

    At the risk of going into D&D territory, this is false. These things may be important for you, but that's not the case for everyone. The work can be its own reward. Depends a lot on what you do and how you relate to it.

    I'd like to see you enjoy your work when everyone around you or the powers of authority make it their prerogative to inhibit your professional growth.

    Obviously do what you're interested in, but realize that those around you and your environment are going to have a huge impact as to whether you're going to be happy while pursuing what you're interested in.

    SkyGheNe on
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    Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Bliss 101 wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Also - don't misunderstand what makes a work environment awesome. It is not a "good" job that will make you happy to go into work every day, it'll be the people you are working with and the company you are working for that will make you happy to go into work every day.

    At the risk of going into D&D territory, this is false. These things may be important for you, but that's not the case for everyone. The work can be its own reward. Depends a lot on what you do and how you relate to it.

    I'd like to see you enjoy your work when everyone around you or the powers of authority make it their prerogative to inhibit your professional growth.

    The fact that horrible coworkers can make you miserable doesn't mean that you need awesome coworkers to make you happy at your job. In my opinion the important thing is that your coworkers are tolerable and don't get in your way. YMMV.

    Bliss 101 on
    MSL59.jpg
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    VoroVoro Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Good point. I don't plan to become the next Bill Gates, I just want enough to take care of a family. I do feel that you need to love what you do, at least enough that you won't go to work every day with a bad mood. Generally the more a person loves their job, the better they do. It definitely beats working just because you feel obligated.

    Working in the games industry is very different to playing games. It's long hours, high pressure, and constant layoffs. It often pays worse than equivalent jobs out of the industry. If you enjoy games you won't necessarily enjoy making them. The day to day tasks of making a game are not necessarily different to making an e-commerce site or a spreadsheet.

    If you want a good family life, other careers are better, especially if you ever plan to see your kids. That's why it's generally better to start before 29. A 22-year old can work 16 hour days without caring. A 29 year old is starting to want to see his kids/meet someone to make those kids with.

    This is all right. First of all, "I like video games, therefore I should get a job making video games" is confused and way off-base. Not only are making video games absolutely nothing like playing them, but turning a hobby like that into a profession is almost a guarantee that you won't be able to enjoy them in the same way you do now. Maybe you'll have more appreciation for them, more respect for particular elements in games you play, but there is an upper limit to how much you can know about the process of something and still be able to be fully entertained and relaxed by it.

    Second of all, video game production is one of the classic "trash your body doing a shitty job for the hopes of getting a better job that you don't even really fully understand the responsibilities of" paths, and that's something young people can afford to waste time on. It's not impossible to get started on that path a few years later, of course, but you might want to really consider if you have the time to waste doing, frankly, miserable work trying to break into the field without prior experience or relevant education.

    Just a heads up if you go the QA route: It will change your perspective on gaming. If you get good at your job, then you'll end up seeing bugs / issues without even looking. It's great when you're on the clock, but terrible when trying to relax at home. And if you play the games made by the company you work for, well, get used to not doing that. I still haven't gone through Dead Space, and Mirror's Edge is forever ruined for me. Spoilers, balance changes you may hate, story / flow changes, and replaying the game a dozen times in a week are just some of the many hazards you will face.

    Voro on
    XBL GamerTag: Comrade Nexus
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    acidlacedpenguinacidlacedpenguin Institutionalized Safe in jail.Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Might I suggest going to a college or university that has an IT/Network Administration program, preferably one that at least gets you started with programming. Get a job as a network administrator, possibly at a company that's at least tangentially-related to a gaming company. NA jobs tend to be very little work at all for most of the time but then lots of work when something goes down or changes to the network have to go through. Then, instead of simply reading all the news on the internet during your down time like many NAs do, work on your own independent games for fun and possibly a little tiny bit of profit.
    Then in a few years when your games start getting bigger and better in scope, and you think you definitely have a hit on your hands, quit your job and become Markus Persson, making like $10m in the first 6 months of your game's alpha release.

    now here's where the plan deviates from Notch's: take the money and run for the hills! He's got like 2 million whiney gamers pestering him to work 48 hour days, 9 days a week with no breaks ever.

    acidlacedpenguin on
    GT: Acidboogie PSNid: AcidLacedPenguiN
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