Question About Game Development

GameDevMich

Honored Hero
Greetings everyone. I started a thread like this on the old IA forums and really enjoyed answering inquiries about game development. For those of you who do not know me, I am a professional game developer. I work at GarageGames, which should be a recognizable name for those who know the history of Legions.

Anyway, feel free to post your questions about game development here. I will do my best to come up with useful information. The more specific the question, the faster the reply. A question like "How do you break into the game industry" will take a bit more time to answer since there is no one way.

Annnnnnnnnnnd GO!
 

SeymourGore

Flatulent Cherub
What about 'crunch times'? I've read articles describing spouses being upset with companies expecting around the clock hours. Is that pretty commonplace with game development or is it moreso the larger companies trying to rush/push something out for the holidays?

Also, nice to see the revival of this thread, always an interesting read!
 

Dacil

Member
this will probably help me so much! cause I'm taking an intro to game development class...starts in a week! so hopefully I'll have questions
 

moronval

Private Tester
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice about the knowledge you now have about game development, what would you say?
 

GameDevMich

Honored Hero
Are you allowed to wear clothes in game development? I've heard that it's almost a requirement to like being topless. ;)

Looking forward to the thread, the last one was really nice. Thanks for taking the time!

Haha. Clothing is mandatory, but dress code is specific to each business. For example, at GG we can wear whatever we like. During the Vegas summers, I'm typically in flip flops. If it's winter, I'll wear my GG hoodie pretty much every day. The only time we try to dress a little nicer is for conferences. If we have a company shirt, I will wear that. If I am a part of a business meeting, I will dress up to be more professional (think producer level).
 

GameDevMich

Honored Hero
What about 'crunch times'? I've read articles describing spouses being upset with companies expecting around the clock hours. Is that pretty commonplace with game development or is it moreso the larger companies trying to rush/push something out for the holidays?

Also, nice to see the revival of this thread, always an interesting read!

Thankfully, I've never been forced into crunch modes equivalent to what some of you may have read through famous articles like "EA Spouse." Now, have I pulled a lot of extra hours? Absolutely, but it's almost always considered a choice. No one at GG has ever asked me to work weekends or past core working hours (9am - 5pm), but I will if I am either really enjoying what I'm currently working on or feel the need to beat a deadline.

Ideally, a team never has to go into crunch mode. This usually means a perfect schedule, no slips, and no unrealistic expectations from the higher-ups. That kind of situation pretty much doesn't exist. I have friends in other companies that do get forced into crunch mode and others who willingly participate like I do. It's unavoidable...but it's still the best work I could think of doing. Our CEO came up with a phrase everyone at GG must subscribe to: Work Hard. Play hard. If you work hard, you get to play hard. If you don't work hard, you end up playing Lord of the Rings Online after your company gets shut down (Yeah, I did that after IA shutdown for a month).

As for Holidays, each company I have worked at so far has had decent policies. When I was a programmer for a Department of Defense sim company, I got every bank holiday off. However, I never got time off during Thanksgiving or my birthday because that was just before the I/ITSEC conference.

At GG, we get a very fair holiday and PTO schedule. Christmas break is a full week, but I can guarantee you I will still work from home.
 

GameDevMich

Honored Hero
Have you ever worked with a developer wich had a crazy beard? So far olmost every developing team I saw had one of those guys.
My favourite:
View attachment 1644

That is indeed and epic beard. I have definitely seen my fair share. One of my instructors had something similar. Currently, I work with a guy who reduced his bear...but it's still intimidating:

 

GameDevMich

Honored Hero
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice about the knowledge you now have about game development, what would you say?

Not specific to game development: start saving for college as soon as you see your first dollar. I'm serious, had I known what student loan debt could amount to, I would have saved all my allowance and meager paychecks from Taco Bell.

Specific to game development: That's a really difficult question to answer. Kudos on finding one that makes me really pause. I think I would apply my favorite phrase much earlier: Read. Read Code. Code. For many people, that mantra really drives your ability to pick up on new code or tools. For example, if I wanted to learn TorqueScript from scratch, here is what I would do:

Read: Read through the official documentation. I know I'm one of those rare people who reads through docs before anything. Why? Because someone wrote it for a reason. RTFM. Also, if I at least skim each section I will know where to look for a specific piece of knowledge.

Read Code: Read through example code provided in the demos, docs and what other users provide. We have a resource section on GarageGames.com. This is where other Torque users post free tutorials, code, art, etc. These are the guys/gals who know the engine and are showing how to get stuff done.

Code: Now you can start coding. Try writing the code from tutorials, recreating demos, etc. Then come up with your code. Prototype, iterate, debug. For the love of God, don't just copy and paste code. Type it manually, because if you screw up you are still going to learn something.

Not everyone learns the same and not everyone has equivalent levels of patience. The mantra works for me and has been adopted by several Torque users with great success. Does it consume more time than just diving into the code? Yup. That's ok, though. Game development is wicked hard. It requires mucho dedication and time. Even if you are a hobbyist, you need to realize making a game does not happen over night. Well, unless you participate in a Game Jam.
 

GameDevMich

Honored Hero
this will probably help me so much! cause I'm taking an intro to game development class...starts in a week! so hopefully I'll have questions
Great! I look forward to your questions. If I may ask, who is providing the course and what is the focus?
 

Dacil

Member
Great! I look forward to your questions. If I may ask, who is providing the course and what is the focus?
I've got my graphic design degree but I wanted to take an extra semester to study things that are art-related that I'm really interested in before transferring to get my bachelors...I go to bucks community college and the description is kind of vague so I apologize... "Description
An introduction to the basic techniques, concepts and vocabulary of electronic game and simulation development."

edit: I met my professor for this class already...and I'm pretty sure our final is a group project for creating a mini-game
 

GameDevMich

Honored Hero
edit: I met my professor for this class already...and I'm pretty sure our final is a group project for creating a mini-game

That's a very good sign. Books and lectures are great, but nothing will beat hands-on time. I'm not contradicting my earlier statement. Docs, books and instructors are important. However, much like every other trade in the world, you have to get actual experience. Not only that, but there is something to be said about completing a project. Whether it's big or small, it's still an achievement.
 

Dacil

Member
That's a very good sign. Books and lectures are great, but nothing will beat hands-on time. I'm not contradicting my earlier statement. Docs, books and instructors are important. However, much like every other trade in the world, you have to get actual experience. Not only that, but there is something to be said about completing a project. Whether it's big or small, it's still an achievement.
Yes I totally agree...it helps that I have a knack for wanting to learn as much as possible...reading e-books about 3D software has recently been what I'm working at...I'm glad our college has stressed the experience aspect of learning so far in my two years there, so I expect no less this semester!
 

RedInk

Member
I've always been interested in modeling 3d objects(specifically torque), but I hear it takes away a lot of the art aspect.
How do I get started into this?
 

JF_097

Member
Greetings everyone. I started a thread like this on the old IA forums and really enjoyed answering inquiries about game development. For those of you who do not know me, I am a professional game developer. I work at GarageGames, which should be a recognizable name for those who know the history of Legions.

Anyway, feel free to post your questions about game development here. I will do my best to come up with useful information. The more specific the question, the faster the reply. A question like "How do you break into the game industry" will take a bit more time to answer since there is no one way.

Annnnnnnnnnnd GO!

I have a Q or two:

-For majority of games, what programming language to they use?

-Is it possible to create a game using only HTML?
 

GameDevMich

Honored Hero
I have a Q or two:

-For majority of games, what programming language to they use?

-Is is possible to create a game using only HTML?

It really depends on what the platform is. If you are playing Xbox Live Indie games, they are written entirely in C# using the XNA framework. A vast majority of iOS (iPhone/iPad) are written in Objective-C. Terraria, which is an amazing PC game, was also written entirely in C# using XNA. For the bulk of the big games, you can believe they were written in C/C++ with some scary Assembly mixed in. For your web-based games, specifically all the stuff you see on Facebook, it's 95% Flash.

See the pattern? C-based languages tend to dominate. Why? Performant, well established, varying levels of control, massive database of knowledge and so on.

It's possible to create something entirely in HTML, though I wouldn't recommend it. Your options will be fairly limited. I was able to write snake on a TI calculator back in high school. The tough part is the game logic, math and working in the boundaries a system puts on you.
 

GameDevMich

Honored Hero
Yes I totally agree...it helps that I have a knack for wanting to learn as much as possible...reading e-books about 3D software has recently been what I'm working at...I'm glad our college has stressed the experience aspect of learning so far in my two years there, so I expect no less this semester!
Sounds like you are off to a great start then! =)

If you become one of those rare people who can balance development and art, you will be in high demand. This is especially true for indie teams. Good luck!
 
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