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“So You Want To Make Video Games…” Sponsored by the Career Development Center Press Start to Continue.

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Presentation on theme: "“So You Want To Make Video Games…” Sponsored by the Career Development Center Press Start to Continue."— Presentation transcript:

1 “So You Want To Make Video Games…” Sponsored by the Career Development Center Press Start to Continue

2 Special Thanks /4040 Jerri Dwyer Angela Williams J. Freer Chris Allen Also: Beckye Clark, Gassan Soukaev, and all those in the industry who answered my questions

3 Welcome Quentin Rezin B. A. in Computer Science Game Developer’s Conference ’04, ’06 Gamer since Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! Favorite games: Legacy of Kain, Jak II, Oni, Septerra Core /4039

4 What You Will Learn  How to get a job in the game industry  What a typical day in the industry is like  Where to go for a graduate degree  What you can do right now /4038

5 Major Locations  Los Angeles, CA  San Francisco, CA  Seattle, WA  Austin, TX /4037

6 Studio Structure  10~100 employees  Everyone works in teams  Generally a casual work environment  Sometimes a strict hierarchy, sometimes not /4036 Small Studio Large Studio

7 Publisher vs. Developer  Developer: a company that makes software under contract for a publisher. 1 st / 3 rd party  Producer: creates the physical products, handles marketing and customer service /4035 Initial idea Choose developer Create design document Budget & schedule Create prototypes Greenlight and production

8 Game Designer  Level designer, feature designer, AI scripter, interface designer, writer  Writes design documents  Skills and courses: written and oral communication, creative writing, art, history, sciences, literature, music /4034

9 Programmer  Engine programmer, tool programmer, AI programmer, technical artist  Writes code  Skills and courses: C, C++, Assembly, Java, trigonometry, calculus, physics /4033

10 Game Artist  Concept artist, character modeler or animator, texture or background artist  Creates art assets  Skills and courses: digital painting, sketching, graphic design, 3D modeling or animation  Maya, 3D Studio Max, Photoshop, Flash /4032

11 Sound Designer  Sound designer, sound engineer, composer  Creates sound and music assets  Generally work on multiple projects  Skills and courses: self – educated learn about MIDI, sampling / compression, Sound Forge, sequencers (i.e. Cakewalk), physics, math, formal logic, scripting /4031

12 Producer  HR director, production coordinator, associate producer, marketer  Creates schedules and milestones  Works closely with marketers  Skills and courses: written and oral communication, computer basics, mathematics, foreign languages /4030

13 Quality Assurance  QA Tester  Creates test plan, manages bug database  Looks for crashes, typos, and other bugs  Skills and courses: mad gaming skillz, written communication, computer basics, follow directions, remain focused  Compatibility testing, customer service /4029

14 Common Career Paths  QA Tester – Designer  Associate Producer – Designer  Technical artist – Graphic or concept artist  Tools programmer – Engine or AI programmer  Focus on one or two complementary skills /4028

15 Salaries  Game designers are generally paid less than programmers. The average salary of a male designer is $53k  Females comprise 9% of the design force. The average salary for female designers is $48k  No overtime – only testers get overtime /4027

16 Salaries (entry vs. lead) /4026 Designer Programmer Artist Animator Producer Tester* Thousands of dollars per year Game Developer’s 4 th Annual Salary Survey, 2005Based on 2,091 responses

17 A Typical Day  Each employee is assigned to a particular project and will have numerous tasks in support of that. A 9- or 10-hour day is not uncommon  Meetings are held as necessary, with one full- company meeting per month. A typical day is 8 hours and is flexible, as long as the employee is present during “core” hours /4025 Interview responses

18 Common Misconceptions  First and foremost it is a business  Only 1 in 20 games breaks even, so companies rarely take a chance  “It's hard and it's fun and it's rewarding and it's a pain…” -Feargus Urquhart  Some industry vets hardly have time for playing games outside of work /4024 Interview responses

19 Misconceptions  NOBODY just sits around and plays games all days – not even testers  Crunch periods can last anywhere from two to six months: 80~140 hour weeks 140 / 7 = 20 hours per day  Quality-of-life reforms /4023 Cap’n “Crunch” Interview responses

20 Misconceptions  It’s been estimated that 1/3 rd of entry-level developers burn out before they finish their first game  Companies collapse every year  Don’t let this scare you – just be sure you love making games if you want a career in this industry /4022 Interview responses

21 Getting In  The Catch-22  Overcoming the Catch-22 4-year degree or grad school Internships Preparation Persistence /4021

22 Graduate Programs /4020 The Guildhall at SMU iD Tech Camps International Academy of Design & Technology ITT Tech John Hopkins University Keiser College Miami International University of Art and Design Minnesota School of Business / Globe College Platt College Pratt Institute San Francisco State University Sanford-Brown College The School of Communication Arts University of Advancing Technology University of Southern California Vancouver Institute for Media Arts Westwood College Campus Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Academy of Art University Al Collins College Art Center College of Design The Art Institute of California The Art Institute of Phoenix The Art Institute Online Art Institutes International Brooks College Brown College California Institute of the Arts Carnegie Mellon Boston University Collins College DeVry University DigiPen Institute of Technology Digital Media Arts College Ex'pression College for Digital Arts Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy The Game Institute

23 “Game Design” Schools /4019 DigiPenFull Sail 2-year Associate 4-year Bachelor Macintosh/SNES Strict admission $ 26, year Associate 2-year Bachelor Windows/Linux Cutting-edge tech $32, /7 class structure

24 Selected Classes /4018 DigiPenFull Sail Geometry / Algebra Calculus 1-2 High-Level Programming Data Structures Operating Systems Computer Graphics Computer Networks Project 1-2 Physics and Math C++ Networks and OSs Digital Techniques Rules of the Game 3D Modeling Artificial Intelligence

25 Questions To Ask Schools  Who sponsors the program?  How long has the program existed?  Placement rate?  Hardware/software?  Languages? /4017

26 Internships  Microsoft, Redmond, WA / San Francisco, CA  Electronic Arts, Redwood City, CA / Orlando, FL / Chicago, IL  Buena Vista Games, Glendale, CA  Many smaller companies  Check websites /4016

27 Preparation  Play games.  Know your favorites and talk about them  Beta test or write reviews  Build levels in UnrealEd / Half-Life 2  Role-play, read, write, draw /4015

28 Preparation  Get a four-year degree  If you can afford a game degree, it can help  Create game assets on your own  Put successful experiments in your portfolio  Artists: find ways to use your skills to earn some money /4014

29 Conferences  Game Developers Conference (GDC), March  Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), May  Austin Game Conference, September   /4013

30 GDC Tips  Research  Prepare  Talk  Listen  Get names and take notes  Follow up /4012

31 Résumés  First thing: what job you’re applying for  Put the best stuff at the top  Make sure everything’s relevant to the job  Leave out negative experiences unless you overcame adversity  Write a NEW cover letter for each application  If you have samples, post them online /4011

32 Portfolios  ½ inch, 3-ring binder, sheet protectors  Put the most striking material up front  Just the best material (20 pages max)  Put the material online  Name, address, phone # on the cover  Make a booklet to leave with interviewers /40 10

33 Interviews  Dress appropriately  Prepare an introduction  Keep the job description in mind  Highlight your relevant skills  SHOW ENTHUSIASM  Have questions ready  Ask about responsibilities, vacation / sick days /4009

34 Advice From The Industry  Be willing to work super hard to prove your worth  Be willing to be on a team in any capacity  Remember that a lot of entry-level positions are not advertised, since there are a lot of people trying to get them  Before the interview, ask what appropriate dress is /4008 Interview responses

35 Advice From The Industry  You can't afford to relax and let your guard down once you get a job. You have to both excel at your job and practice new skills in your spare time to continue building your portfolio /4007

36  You can’t get a job via  If you’re sending a resume by mail, don’t include samples unless you’ve contacted the recipient in advance and asked first  Educate yourself about the company  First and foremost, everyone wants hard- working, capable communicators /4006

37 After the interview:  Send the thank-you letter within 24 hours of the interview. Show your follow-up skills  Write to an individual. If you met multiple individuals, get their business cards so you have proper spellings and job titles  Restate why you are a good candidate  Spell check it /4005

38  The IGDA is working to improve the quality of life  Works against government censorship / regulation  Developed a curriculum for game schools  Provides GDC scholarships to 25 college students  Special Interest Groups (SIGs) AI, casual games, preservation, indies, mobile, online, sex in games, student, women, writers  /4004

39 Useful Sites    – development and jobs  – game journalists  – advice  – public betas  – public betas /40 03

40 Questions /40 02

41 One Last Thing /40 01 May 5 th, 12-4pm UofA Game Development Club Annual Game Fair Ozark Hall, Room 215 (CAST Lab)

42 GAME OVER Thank you for playing! Winners don’t do drugs


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