How to get a job in the games industry?

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Mendel
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How to get a job in the games industry?

Post by Mendel » Mon May 13, 2019 11:26 am

Having worked 11 years in tech support, I finally burned myself out due to the job requirements changing to include (forced) sales talk during tech support calls, which is something I didn't like at all.

So now, having been on sick leave due to depression for 6 months I have finally found something (again) that is interesting to me. That is games, and games development. I applied to study at local school to finish my bachelor of engineering studies, which were halted when I got my previous job. The studies should take a year and a half. I need a plan for time after that... so... anyone got any ideas on how to get my shoe through a door of some game development company?
Is there a demand for junior programmers or is there a surplus of them? How should I approach them? Should I tell everything about me or should I try to hide failing at my previous job?

For the time being, I decided that one thing I could do is to make an indie game (and I did spend a few weeks making something that is simple and finishable and I did end up releasing something in the play store) but of course it is like a drip in the ocean that nobody will find... and as a my first game sort of thing it probably doesn't deserve to be found either. But yea I thought it would be nice to have something to show that yea I can plan, execute and finish a simple product all on my own. But how could I prove that I could be a good team player as well?

I honestly can't decide if this is an impossible dream and a waste of time or if it is something I should really pursue and put all my energy in.

Any ideas would be most welcome!

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Re: How to get a job in the games industry?

Post by Neok » Thu May 16, 2019 12:37 pm

Hi Mendel,

Thanks for sharing your story, perhaps more people have suggestions if you tell us what kind of company you would like to work for.

If you are looking for a small one it would be very possible there is some sort of game development company in a big city near you. Maybe they don't build games for the gaming market but for other markets like healthcare or industry. Would that also interest you? If they have a front door I would totally just go there to have a chat first and personally ask for job offers.

If anything bigger I would just already start looking for job offers. Maybe in other cities if you are prepared to move. Find game devs in your country and check their website for job openings (current and previous). When I was studying I'd check sites of the big devs where I would apply when I graduated, however then 'life' happened. Big companies arent afraid to hire people from other countries but you do kindoff need to move. A lot of them have support programs for that.

If none are near you and you are not prepared to move, then I would land a generic programmer job for little hours to get some basic income and use the free time to start a passion project yourself. I suppose if your new passion is making games then that might not entirely be the same as a passion for being programmer in a game dev company.

I would probably not hide the burnout to depression, I'm not sure if that is something that is healthy to hide. I mean its not all bad, basically it means you worked yourself halfway to death. So you are probably not lazy. I would focus on getting the right energy across, and having all the right answers to show what you've learned from it. From my non-medical personal opinion, I'm not convinced a depression can really ever be cured, but is a thing to cope with that gets a bit easier over time. So then it's part of you, if thats a good or bad thing depends on how you deal with it yourself.

I'm not sure if its possible to prove someone is a team player, you either have the necessary traits or not. It does help if you really like to work in a team and if you can specify what you can bring to the table. Just saying that should be enough however any work/school group effort could count as proof.

Dreams are always good to persue, but best turn it into a goal first. Could you land this job now? No? What actual steps should you take to change that?

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Re: How to get a job in the games industry?

Post by BlakeMW » Thu May 16, 2019 2:53 pm

Modding is a good way to get a foot in the door, but you obviously have to make a high quality and popular mod. Game companies often employ modders (i.e. for expansion packs) because the modders already know how to work with their systems and have proven skills.

I worked for Firaxis Games on Civilization 4 expansion packs after having gained their attention by making a popular mod. I never really planned to work for them I just enjoyed making the mod, one of their developers asked me if they could integrate stuff from my mod into the next expansion pack and I said "sure, but if it's good enough to be in the game you should employ me" and they did.

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Re: How to get a job in the games industry?

Post by factodev » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:53 am

My son was in a similar situation to yourself. This is what he did to get a foot in the door.

1. Learned Maya/UnrealEngine and did some basic games animation and texture artwork. You can even download free stock items and modify them.
2. Started his own Twitter account solely focused on following gaming accounts and influencers.
3. Commented, likes and retweeted everyday.
4. Posted his (basic) portfolio on his Twitter.
5. Setup Google email alerts for Junior gaming jobs in our local area.
6. Emailed every dev company in our area offering to work remotely for free. (I think he did online reviews etc).
7. After 2 months he got a job in Edinburgh as a games tester.

Dreams happen, he got his. Good luck!

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Re: How to get a job in the games industry?

Post by Micha DoH » Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:13 am

It depends on your expertise.

If you are a gamer you can be a web developer, app developer, or game developer.

You can also be part of the Marketing Team since you already know what your market what they want.

Being part of a gaming team is the best thing you can be although you have to practice every single day for at least 12 hours.

In the end, you just have to be who you wanted to be.

Here's an example of what I'm saying. https://www.growth-rocket.com/rocketeer ... -developer

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Re: How to get a job in the games industry?

Post by BlueTemplar » Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:15 pm

BlakeMW wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 2:53 pm
Modding is a good way to get a foot in the door, but you obviously have to make a high quality and popular mod. Game companies often employ modders (i.e. for expansion packs) because the modders already know how to work with their systems and have proven skills.

I worked for Firaxis Games on Civilization 4 expansion packs after having gained their attention by making a popular mod. I never really planned to work for them I just enjoyed making the mod, one of their developers asked me if they could integrate stuff from my mod into the next expansion pack and I said "sure, but if it's good enough to be in the game you should employ me" and they did.
Oh !
Exciting AI improvements.
A Better AI.

Wow, you're the guy that came up with the "Pollute to reduce your eco-damage" Sid Meier's Brian Reynold's Alpha Centauri strategy ?!
(My 2nd "best game ever", though Factorio is competing very hard these days...)

And launched the FreeAC => Stella Polaris project ?
Did it use Lua/Allegro/C++ like 0.16 Factorio ?
Scripting language (Tutorial, Using Lua with C++)

And also participated in the Civ4:AC mod development ?
https://apolyton.net/forum/other-games/ ... tem-design
I've tried it fairly recently, how much of your design is still there ?

We should vote on the Basic Oil Processing changes !

P.-S.: Sorry, kind of offtopic, still, might give an indication of what kind of path one might take in his personal projects ?

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Re: How to get a job in the games industry?

Post by BlakeMW » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:01 am

BlueTemplar wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:15 pm
Wow, you're the guy
Yup.
And launched the FreeAC => Stella Polaris project ?
Did it use Lua/Allegro/C++ like 0.16 Factorio ?
Alas it never happened. Partly because I fell into a deep pit of depression during that part of my life and dropped off of Apolyton, until re-emerging a few years later with the release of Civ4 when I started modding it using the SDK and got involved in the beta testing for the patches and expansions.

I'm sure it's purely coincidence but Stellaris is pretty much the Stella Polaris I imagined, except maybe the hyperlanes.
And also participated in the Civ4:AC mod development ?
I've tried it fairly recently, how much of your design is still there ?
Ultimately I didn't really put that much work into it, in fact I wasn't even aware the project continued as first of all becoming a paid developer meant I had no free time for modding, and then I entirely moved on from Civ 4 and Apolyton. In fact I haven't played a Civ game except a Civ 6 free weekend in like a decade.

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Re: How to get a job in the games industry?

Post by BlueTemplar » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:50 am

BlakeMW wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:01 am
I'm sure it's purely coincidence but Stellaris is pretty much the Stella Polaris I imagined, except maybe the hyperlanes.
At the risk of derailing the thread even further, maybe you had intended to take Stella Polaris in a very different direction, but IMHO Stellaris is pretty much the opposite of Alpha Centauri :

SMAC is an excellent 4X with a few very strongly developped characters/factions (SMACX a bit less...) and very good tactical combat,

while Stellaris is a pretty weak 4X : more of a "Space Empires RPG" with lots of procedurally generated (and therefore weakly characterised) factions, pretty much no tactical combat, and lacking basic 4X tools to boot ! (Have they added a proper "idle fleets" system with "order a fleet to sleep" yet ?)

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Re: How to get a job in the games industry?

Post by Koub » Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:50 am

BlueTemplar wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:50 am
At the risk of derailing the thread even further
Do you think so ? :roll:
Gentlemen and ladies, please consider getting back on topic with OP :)
Koub - Please consider English is not my native language.

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Re: How to get a job in the games industry?

Post by Oktokolo » Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:09 am

Mendel wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 11:26 am
So now, having been on sick leave due to depression for 6 months I have finally found something (again) that is interesting to me. That is games, and games development.
Just don't.

The games industry is on par with healthcare when it comes to overtime and burning through "human resources".
Do something else for money. Don't make all the fun turn into impossible deadlines and boring meetings while having to implement yet another monetization scheme instead of getting the actual game done. Most games companies out there are not Wube.
And no, you will not enjoy coding on anything in your spare time after having coded the whole day at work. And it is even more true for doing art.

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Re: How to get a job in the games industry?

Post by JCav » Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:24 am

Oktokolo wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:09 am
Mendel wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 11:26 am
So now, having been on sick leave due to depression for 6 months I have finally found something (again) that is interesting to me. That is games, and games development.
Just don't.

The games industry is on par with healthcare when it comes to overtime and burning through "human resources".
Do something else for money. Don't make all the fun turn into impossible deadlines and boring meetings while having to implement yet another monetization scheme instead of getting the actual game done. Most games companies out there are not Wube.
And no, you will not enjoy coding on anything in your spare time after having coded the whole day at work. And it is even more true for doing art.
Someone struggling with depression finds a light at the end of their tunnel which they enjoy, and your advice is to tell them 'no?'

Don't do that.

MDD and its associated anhedonia take enough happiness away from someone struggling through it. If he's found something which sparks happiness, leave it alone.

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Re: How to get a job in the games industry?

Post by Oktokolo » Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:39 am

JCav wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:24 am
Someone struggling with depression finds a light at the end of their tunnel which they enjoy, and your advice is to tell them 'no?'
Better, it hurts now a little than later a lot and someone really had to warn him.
Also it was only a No to making it his job. As a hobby it can actually be lots of fun.

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Re: How to get a job in the games industry?

Post by JCav » Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:55 am

Oktokolo wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:39 am
JCav wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:24 am
Someone struggling with depression finds a light at the end of their tunnel which they enjoy, and your advice is to tell them 'no?'
Better, it hurts now a little than later a lot and someone really had to warn him.
Also it was only a No to making it his job. As a hobby it can actually be lots of fun.
However you justify it, it is not your place to tell someone 'no' in regards to something they find happiness in doing. That goes double for someone struggling with MDD.

Save your dire warnings for your children. Let other adults pursue that which brings them joy.

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Re: How to get a job in the games industry?

Post by ske » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:06 am

There's tons of demand for people who are able to program. It's just not very visible and it's often not related to games. The day-to-day work is very similar, though. Being in the game industry can be very stressful and often you don't really work on the nice fun parts. You also often don't work on your ideas but you will be helping somebody else in realizing their idea. This is not so much different from industry work where you try to understand the problem, figure out a solution and implement it. In the old industry, however, the problems often are way smaller because nobody is able to program. Often you will find some kind-of-a-solution excel sheet that you can replace with something better, more reliable, more automatic and by doing so you will save the company thousands and thousands.

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