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May 24, 2004

Comments

Badman

I have to ask...would having done something like this make you more likely to hire someone, either for development or design?

Scott Macmillan

IMO, doing a demo of your work is essential for breaking into the game biz. That, and meeting/knowing people.

The first will show a prospective employer that, even though you don't have an industry credit, you're still someone who can do good work.

The second is essential to cut through the noise of game industry hiring. The people hiring are getting tons and tons of resumes constantly, since everyone wants to work in the game industry. If you live in an area near the some of the industry centers (Cali, Texas, Boston, etc.), try going to an IGDA function. If nothing else, you'll meet people who also aspire to get in, which I know can be good moral support.

People who are hiring - in any industry - are risk adverse. They want someone who will not let them down. Both of those things will help them feel better they're not making a risky choice.

Jeffool

Standard warning, I'm not 'in' the industry...

And I've not tinkered with the NWN set-up (I'm a Morrowind guy, save the wonderful fact that NWN has multiplayer) but I'd think that sound work with mods and scripting can only help someone looking for a job. At least so far as getting into a programming/scripting job, which seems to be where a lot of folk are beginning their trek these days. Two guys with the exact same resume, the only difference being that Guy A has completed a mod for a game and Guy B hasn't, I'd be inclined to think Guy A has shown more initiative.

Again, this is speculation from someone hoping to get 'inside' in a few months, but at the very least it sure as hell can't hurt, right?

Jamie Fristrom

Yes, it would make me more likely to hire someone for a level design / mission design position. For a pure coder position I'd want to see some good C or C++.


Tore Vesterby

I think your point about the story in Shadowlords evolving as you play hits the nail on the head. In the official campaign it's almost blatantly obvious who the 'bad guy(s)' is from the very beginning, whereas in Shadowlords you discover clues bit by bit. The Thief series and Morrowind use this same tactic you uncover parts of the mystery not via cutscenes, but also from odd notes and overheard bits of conversation. To me this approach is more engaging as a player than your standard NPC stroyteller approach - i.e. Aerin Gend and Aribeth in the official campaign.

I recently rediscovered Morrowind and actually have found it to be very engaging and very openended. But once I'm done - and completed Deadly Shadows - I'll definitely be going back to some of the player created content for NWN, just to see what all the little elves have been tinkering with.

sender

Could I get your thoughts on what constitute a 'good c/c++' demo? Is there anything in particular you like to look for?

Jamie Fristrom

I look for - meaningful indentifiers, code that's self-documenting rather than heavily commented, a lot of asserts will earn a free half star, asserts followed by code that gracefully fails if the assert fails would get another free half star - the code should be object-oriented whether it's C or C++. Simplicity of data would be a plus: a lot of pointers and dynamic memory allocation would scare me in a demo, although I know engines get that way over time. Other things that would scare me but I might hire anyway - getting clever with templates or macros or polymorphism. Immediate no-hire flags would be "repeating yourself" - cut and pasted code, using a case statement when there was an algorithmic solution, duplication of data (for example, a string class that is both null-terminated and maintains the length of the string in a separate member) without a good explanation. Another immediate no-hire would be fake-object-oriented code: having, say, a monolithic "manager" class in each module that does everything, and very few actual objects.
If I was hiring a graphics programmer I'd like to see a graphics demo and if I was hiring a gameplay programmer I'd want to see a game. Lately when interviewing I've pair-programmed with the interviewee - set them down on some code I was working on, given them an explanation of what it did and what I wanted it to do, and let them go at it. I've only done this twice, so although it hasn't failed me yet I can't really vouch for it. If I ended up in a position where I was doing more hiring, I would a) ask Don Likeness how he does it, because he does almost all the coder-hiring for our company which I think is why the standards are pretty high for engineers, and b) come up with a standardized test that our current crop of engineers would pass but everybody else would fail.

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Jamie's Bragging Rights

  • Spider-Man 2
    The best superhero games of all time Game Informer
    Top five games of all time Yahtzee Croshaw
    Top five superhero games of all time MSNBC
    Top 100 PS2 games of all time Official Playstation 2 Magazine
    1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die Nomination for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
  • Schizoid
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    Nominated for XBLA Best Original Game
    Nominated for XBLA Best Co-Op Game