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Decline Career advice

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by Mystic_Quest, Jan 28, 2019.

  1. Mystic_Quest Educated

    Mystic_Quest
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2019
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    Not sure if this is a good place for career advice, but I thought - what do I have to lose (besides my dignity, confidence and self-respect)?

    Been working here and there, but mostly on jobs that didn't involve coding. Latest job involved an ASP.NET application (C#). Have been toying with Unity in my free time, made a mini rpg with free assets, a couple of mini "games" to mock my casual comrades and so on.
    Long story short, I think game systems design and level design is my definite calling. At the very least I would really like to work my way into the game industry until I am able to make my own creative decisions or fund my own project. The country I live in has no such thing. My questions are:

    1) Should I try to look for a remote job as a junior/hobbyist dev or not even bother?
    2) If yes, should I try making various level/area "demos" with free assets to put into my CV (or even work on a whole game in my free time) - in what way could I improve my chances?
    3) Should I also add a custom minecraft map made with plugins in my CV or will everyone just laugh at me? :P
    4) Any other suggestions?
     
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  2. sser Arcane Cuck Developer

    sser
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    Bro take all the shots. You literally lose nothing by putting your name out there and trying. The best avenue is to get a gig somewhere while keeping you hand on the pulse of bigger opportunities. Of course, you also advance your craft at all times. If you're not already doing this intuitively then something is wrong or you're down the wrong path.
     
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  3. Mystic_Quest Educated

    Mystic_Quest
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    Thanks for the advice! It's just that until now, I've had no luck finding a paying remote job that doesn't require a senior developer or isn't a short contract. I'll definitely keep looking though. Any suggestions as to where I could be looking?
    I am working on a project atm with a friend who makes 3D models, but it progresses very slowly because my time is limited - got a steady job atm, but it doesn't involve coding unfortunately. Hopefully I'll manage to replace that job in the future.
     
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  4. Volokard Literate

    Volokard
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2019
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    If you absolutely love designing levels I think that including really good-looking pictures of your minecraft map would be a good idea, and not something to be embarrassed about. If I'd need a level designer I certainly would ask for some samples. And on top of that, I'd ask for more. So if you can design and show even more levels in other games/engines to prove what you can do, it would be better for the person wanting to work with you. Also, do not ask other people if you should bother with your passion or not. It depends only on you.
     
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  5. J1M Arcane

    J1M
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    Disclaimer: I'm about to describe how the industry is, not how I think it should be.

    In today's game industry system design and level design are two different jobs. If you want to apply for both you need two different applications.

    The only remote jobs you will be able to land without a published title are on teams that can't afford to pay you properly. If you are serious about working in the industry you need to be willing to relocate. You may find yourself at a disadvantage against other inexperienced candidates if a company needs to pay for you to do that.

    Your best bet to start building experience with a team is to go to a local IGDA or GDC meetup (even though those organizations are scummy, they have the mind share) and offer to help with an indie project that looks like it will actually ship.

    Creating levels with Unity or Unreal is a good idea. I don't know what you would be able to show in a Minecraft level. Keep in mind that when you send in your application the person who sees it first will be from HR and have the IQ of a damp blanket. I suggest you create videos of your levels to show them off, and provide youtube links instead of video files because, yes, codecs and video players are enough to trip up the first people to see your resume.

    Using other people's assets is fine, but in the video you should either through voice-over or captioning, explain that although you didn't make the asset you brought it through the import tools and are not intimidated by the process. Most games have custom pipelines for things like art or code changes and demonstrating that you aren't intimidated by learning some arcane software will give you a leg up.

    The game industry is not a place for a career. It can be a fun job, but due to that property, anything else will pay better per hour. Due to chronic poor decision-making by game executives you will also face a constant risk of layoff. (Even if, for example, you work at EA on a Star Wars game.)

    PS: If you can pass as female that will greatly help your chances.
     
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  6. zwanzig_zwoelf Graverobber Foundation Developer

    zwanzig_zwoelf
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    On top of what others advised you to do, I'd also recommend slowly building a hobby project while you're trying to land a job and keep it as professional as possible.

    This will allow you to:
    1. Show your mad skills.
    2. Improve your skills along the way.
    3. Add stuff to your CV, especially if you manage to finish it.
    4. Have a backup plan in case you get laid off / don't manage to land a job in the industry / land a job elsewhere but still have a desire to make games.
     
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  7. Leshy Educated

    Leshy
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    Location:
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    If you don't live an area where there are game development studios, you are unfortunately in a disadvantage. Remote work is not very likely to happen, unless you have some serious experience under your belt. Your only option is to relocate. Unfortunately most companies will not be willing to pay for your relocation if you're applying for a junior position, so you'll need to take care of that yourself. However I think something can be worked out.

    Apart from that, if you are applying for a game design job, portfolio and flexibility are key. Make some small games, projects, ideas. And, importantly, using different tools.

    It might take some effort, but a lot of companies are looking for all kinds of people. If you care and take some effort you will land a job, just keep trying :)
     
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  8. Syl Arbiter

    Syl
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    Pessimistic answer: What you want to do is a veteran job. Forget about it.

    Optimistic answer: Find a work in QA. Be a beta tester for a big company. If you give valuable feedback, you will make your way up. You have no idea how clueless these guys are. The guys they use as beta testers are even more clueless. That's your entry.
     
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  9. Mystic_Quest Educated

    Mystic_Quest
    Joined:
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    Thank you guys, really appreciate all the advice. Created a few small additional projects and uploaded on github with much better code structures than the old ones, as I am trying to hone my programming skills for a .NET dev or something similar backup plan.
    Not pessimistic at all - it's realistic! But it makes sense it would be this way. I haven't really searched much for QA jobs (remote shouldn't be a problem for these jobs), I will definitely look into it.
     
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  10. AW8 Arcane

    AW8
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    Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Do you have your own portfolio site? That is a great way to present your projects using Youtube videos and descriptive texts, screenshots/webms and flowcharts/topdown maps to show your projects and explaining why you built them the way you did.

    Remember that recruiters' time is limited, so only front-page a few of your strongest projects. For a level design application, making levels for games using mod tools is a good idea - it shows you understand that game's game design and can apply it in your level design.

    If you're applying for game designer, making your own projects in Unity and Unreal is great. You'll have more freedom than in an established game and your idea will be crystal clear to the viewer.

    The tool you work in can also be a bonus for a certain developer. Mobile and indie developers will mostly work in Unity while a bigger developer might work in Unreal, for example. It's always a plus if you've already proven that you're familiar with the tool you're gonna use in your job.

    I don't think a Minecraft map will be very interesting for a developer. For environmental art you're better off creating a pretty scene in CryEngine or Unreal. For pure level design, any game with a level editor.
     
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  11. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Many level design jobs ask applicants to provide portfolio examples of previous levels you've made, even if you haven't worked in the industry before, so mods can be a good way to get your foot in the door.

    I know someone who was hired as a level designer because he made good maps for old games and released those in the fan communities.
     
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  12. Heretic Erudite

    Heretic
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    Don't work in the games industry. It's a dead end.
     
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  13. Sergiu64 Arcane

    Sergiu64
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    Yes, terrible industry from my experience.
     
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  14. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    Working in videogames is shit because they hire people who are young(don't know better) and/or 'passionate'(don't care) about it.
    I suppose for most game-related professions it's not that bad because there isn't exactly a lot of career opportunities for level designers outside of games, artists aren't that highly paid in general, etc. For programmers(especially in USA) it's shit all around.

    If you're well paid at your current job as a programmer I'd suggest sticking with it and using your free time to work on games. The pay for game designer won't get anywhere near what a programmer will make unless your country's economy is really fucked.
     
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  15. Duckard Savant

    Duckard
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    Messages:
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    Most people wont hire a junior for remote work any important role. Retopologizing a mesh? Maybe. Designing a level? No. You can always apply, but I wouldn't get my hopes up.

    If you relocate to a place with game developers (or find studios locally -- have you done your research?), it's a different story. Put together a portfolio you can show people and go to as many events as you can find. Talk to people in person, ask them questions about their work and listen to their advice. Go and ask them what the difference is between a level designer and a system designer, so you'll know which one you actually want to do. Ask them how to improve your portfolio. Ask them what the shittiest part of their job is. Ask them how they like the company they work at, and the one they used to work at. Use their answers to figure out what you want to really do, and how to do it well.

    Actually, I don't know how good your work is. If it's tops, you might not have to do all this stuff. I was shitty and started late so I had to.
     
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  16. Mystic_Quest Educated

    Mystic_Quest
    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    I've gotten a whiff of how terrible the industry is long ago... Default plan is: keep it as a hobby, become a better programmer through other jobs, and slowly create stuff to show off and perhaps make some pocket money in the process.

    Nothing of the sort, just the typical site profiles in Unity Connect, LinkedIn etc. And github is the only thing I update, I hate social networks :P. I do plan to get a raspberry pi soon and devote a few weeks to make/host one.

    I started a bit late as well. Yeah, both are veteran jobs, especially the mythical system designer - it's more of an "end goal". But then again, it's not wise to set end goals before not even getting into the industry. The few local studios can barely be called studios (perhaps with one exception) and are more of start up side-projects consisted of people with "real" jobs. State doesn't support them and game development is rather frowned upon in social/business circles (not like this is of any relevance, just a fun fact).
     
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  17. Lord Andre Arcane

    Lord Andre
    Joined:
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    If you're good at programming you can make small prototypes until you hit a gameplay loop that is fun and addictive then develop that up a bit and try to sell it. You're aiming for an Undertale type game. Crap, but sold like candy. Then quit your job and continue doing gradually bigger projects.

    The chances are slim to none but you can try.

    I think one of the problems of aspiring indie developers is not prototyping their ideas. You would be surprised how shit, boring and derivative your ideas are once they are translated into actual gameplay.

    Prototyping wise, you don't need 3d models, just a bunch of colored squares on a screen. If the gameplay is not remotely interesting in such a stripped down state, it surely won't become better just by adding modern graphics to it.

    To make it in today's saturated market you really need to come up with lighting in a bottle, can't just show up with derivative works.

    As for working your way up in the industry as an employee, the industry doesn't make games, it makes products. If you're passionate about making games that's not the place for you.
     
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  18. you know what time it is Arcane

    you know what time it is
    Joined:
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    The outlook on the 'industry' as a whole has been quite bleak since its inception, yet it's still here and getting bigger and better (in terms of working conditions that is) every year. Even shitty and stale mobile dev companies I had pleasure to work with, had pretty decent perks and pay (relocation + pre-paid apartment for a couple of months, food twice a day, built-in gym, overseas trips, additional education and such - all on a company dime).

    As far as getting your foot in the door - it's probably the hardest part of the whole deal and mostly because of inept HR managers or convoluted interview processes, if you survive through the initial job hunt - you'll be fine. Having something to show would be a huge boon obviously (either a finished product, a good/popular mod or something of that nature), generally speaking Junior GD/LD positions are mostly for students that are willing to work for food, so depending on quality of work you present you might just skip that step altogether. Beyond finding the initial employment there's no real advice or clear career path, it's all very situational, random and depends not just on your professional skills, but also social skills, much like any other line of work.

    7 day challenges (or any other game jams) are good place to build your resume and hone your skills initially, it's also quite fun.

    Show Spoiler
    :love:
     
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  19. Druidpeter Literate

    Druidpeter
    Joined:
    May 19, 2019
    Messages:
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    you know what time it is , I'm glad to hear the industry outlook has been improving! Video game design was one of the few skills I have that could potentially help lift me out of poverty, lol, but then I found out about just how unlikely that is without becoming a top tier, rockstar developer. The grunts have a far more difficult time of it, sadly. :(

    Mystic_Quest , if I may offer an alternative opinion? You say that your passion lies in level design and systems design, but even then, it may not be the case that you should rule out being a solo dev. As a solo dev myself, I find myself far more interested in the interactions between different mechanics and AI algorithms, whereas gui development and overall polishing is my least favorite aspect of game development, lol. Lots of solo developers have their absolute favorite aspects of the craft, but that doesn't preclude them from engaging in the more sucky aspects in order to develop a game.

    This is especially important if you live in an area where there's no game industry to speak of. It's far easier to make money as a solo dev launching games online, while at the same time working on your craft and boosting your resume far more than repeatedly trying to just get hired doing the basics, you know?
     
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  20. you know what time it is Arcane

    you know what time it is
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    Being a grunt myself it's pretty decent, of course if you want the best money to effort ratio, being a frontend developer in financial sector is probably a better option, but yeah. It all depends on what's your end-game here, if it's money then hypercasual is your best bet or just look elsewhere outside of industry. If you want to make games, than just work, get some xp and save up a bit of money, you'll meet enough like minded folks eventually and then just go for your own thing akin to the Rimworld dude an the like.
     
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