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Brandon M.





Wilk a computer programmijng degree allow me to help work on video games ?

I once saw a listing from Sony Computer Entertainment America asking for a Computer Programmer and I'm wondering what role one would play in game development. #software #programming #software-development

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Game development teams typically have designers, programmers, and testers on staff. The elite programmers in most game teams typically have skills in computer graphics, high-performance software, and maybe artificial intelligence. So, you can get a computer science degree with a concentration on computer graphics to prepare for a game dev job.

Also in gaming these days you'll find people working on the business side. Handling such things as "in-app payments" is part of gaming. So is handling web sites supporting the game.

When you see a job opening, read the fine print. You can usually tell what sort of work they want you to do from the skills they ask for.

But, please, BEWARE! Many people hope to break into the game dev field. From the point of view of the executives of game studios, this means the talent pool is very broad. Therefore, the internships are longer, the wages are typically lower, and the job security is inferior to that in other parts of software development. Make sure you acquire skills that are also useful outside the gaming field.

Last updated Nov 01 '16 at 12:27 AM

Ollie's advice is spot on, agree 100%

I want to particularly draw attention to his last paragraph. Everything in there is true too. You get paid less, have longer hours, much worse crunch time (deadlines), get laid off more often when games don't do well, etc etc. There are some reasons for this:

1) supply & demand (of talent). A lot of people like video games, a lot of people get into programming specifically because they like video games, and thus there's a LOT of people applying for jobs. This means the companies have more leverage.

2) publisher driven hell death march of doom. Call of Duty zombie killer 17 absolutely must come out before holiday season if it wants to make its sales numbers. This is driven by the publisher, not the people actually getting sh*t done in code (and art, graphics, testing). So when it gets closer to the deadline, that means increasingly longer and grueling hours.

3) publisher driven sales and impact. After that long driven death march to hit deadlines, if the game doesn't sell as well as expected, you can get laid off even if you did your job fine.

There are of course exceptions! Valve, for one, has a very different work ethos. The also are not at the whim of an external publisher (so you can imagine why it's not as big of a problem for them). So another better one is Riot.

Don't let all of this turn you off of computer science, or gaming. The rest of comp sci can be very rewarding. Also gaming if it is your passion can also be rewarding. Just know what you're getting into ahead of time.

Last updated Dec 07 '16 at 12:33 AM
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