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Journal FortKnox's Journal: Do YOU work in the gaming industry? 14

I have a bunch of questions for people that work in the gaming industry. The question is, do people in the gaming industry read my journal? If there is anyone out there that works in the gaming industry (or you know someone who does), please respond.

Addendum: I'll add my questions.
1.) Is it possible to enter the industry with a "Game Designer" job. If so, what is required? Project Management experience? Software Architecture experience?
2.) What is the best way to crack into the industry? I'm a coder by trade, sure, but coders are a dime a dozen. What really grabs attention? A game you made in your spare time (what about those without a terrible amount of free time)?
3.) Kinda like #2, but how do you make yourself a good canidate for a game designer position? Making a full high and low level design document for a game?
4.) What kind of pay is in the game industry? When I just got out of college, I heard game programmers/designers get paid dirt and work too many hours. Lately, though, I've heard they make a good living and don't work too terribly much (I think I could handle long hours if I were in the industry).

I may come up with more questions, so keep checking. Also, I'd love to have a conversation about some of the answers (if anyone answers).
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Do YOU work in the gaming industry?

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  • There's a good few people here in Edmonton working for Bioware. I've talked to a couple - one in particular got his job this way:

    1. Obtained CS degree.
    2. Applied for job at Bioware.

    Apparently it's a great place to work - free food and lots of comraderie. I didn't ask about hours or pay, though the fact that it didn't come up suggests that both are reasonable.

    I think the "game designers" start off as either coders or art staff, for the most part. Having written a game (or done extensive modding) would likely be a good reference - especially if the tools used are similar to those being used by the company for development.

    If you do go further with this - actually contact companies for employment - I'm sure lots of us would be interested to hear how it goes. No reason you can't just polish up your resume and get a job, far as I can see. Good luck.

    • Hrm... I have a CompEng degree. Maybe I should apply for Bioware?
      It'd have to wait a few weeks. Baby coming and stuff, so I can't afford plane tickets to Canada atm (not to mention that I'd need to get a passport), but its worth a shot...
      • I'm sure they aren't the only company that's hiring... But if you come up to Edmonton, I'll buy you lunch. There's a good Mexican place over by their offices.

      • No passport needed to travel between the US, Canada, and Mexico. A drivers license is sufficient.

  • I'm not a professional, but what I have to say *might* help.

    I applied for a job as a game tester at Electronic Arts, in Burnaby, BC, and made it to the 3rd interview [1st one was on phone; 2nd was in group; 3rd was private]. I didn't get the job, but I wasn't good at interviewing at the time.

    The reason that I bring up that experience, is to show that you don't need to have any game design or programming experience, but it helps. If you go through this method, you'll find that it's the slowest method [ie: you'll have to climb the ladder]. Unfortunately, you probably won't make enough to support your kid and wife. At least you have an option.

    I hope you get a job.
  • Just to clear that up... if you learn anything, PLEASE clue me in. I've been cooking up a game concept and design for years now, and I want to get it going.

    Hell, if the economy didn't suck so bad right now, I'd be set to just sit down, code until my hands bled (not that I've written real code in about 4 years!) and start pitching from a demo onward for some VC.

    Sometimes just being an idea guy isn't all it's cracked up to be.

The absence of labels [in ECL] is probably a good thing. -- T. Cheatham