Home Forums Education, Training and Jobs How the Games industry is seen as a career

Welcome to our forums. These forums were active from 2003-2014. We have now decided to close them down, but will leave them here as an archive.

Remember you can send us feedback, news, jobs and content ideas by clicking here.

If you're really stuck for time, email news@gamedevelopers.ie.

You can also follow us on Twitter @gamedev_ie 

 

 

This topic contains 38 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Jamie McCormick 13 years, 2 months ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #3186

    Jamie McCormick
    Keymaster

    Ronny’s post about journalistic work has gotten me thinking about what a pain in the arse it is to get any sort of encouragement from people who are supposed to help you with your career choices when it comes to the games industry.

    I recently had to attend my brother’s parent teacher meeting who is doing his leaving this year, and met up with my old guidance councellor. He laughed at me when I said that I wanted to work within the games industry around 5 years ago before I left the school, and when I met him I told him how it was going. He had two people in his year, a school that when I was there never even touched computers, with two people who wanted to get into the development side of the industry. He barely knew about LUDO, and when I told him about Abartay he told me that the submission date had passed. And these were people who would get the points they needed, aced the mocks and will now have to probably do a CS degree and then follow through with a post-grad in games. And had he known, those two guys could be jetting up to Scotland, and in three or four years time come back.

    I’ve been through the system so recently, and battled every step of the way to get into this industry against people who don’t consider it a viable career, so surely could the IDGA, GameDevelopers or something similar to an action group be set up to talk to the guidance councellors in schools, to talk to careers officers in colleges and to show that it is a career that IS worth more then the US Box Office, IS booming in terms of sales, quality etc, IS going to continue to grow with technological improvements and IS going to have to be there to have graduates in a few years time when all the little steps that are being put together right now come to fruition, they will have fresh blood to continue with it’s growth.

    People should know, and have the information available to them that you can do it, and the fact that we about 100,000 students in Ireland studying some sort of third level or whatever the number is, and a grand total of about 100 of those people have a course specifically related to games. That’s 0.001% of people coming through.

    Is there anything that can be done?

    Jamie

  • #12100

    aphra
    Keymaster

    I’ve had a few e-mails from career guidance councellors and indeed it is something that we should look at – even an information sheet to career guidance officers and links to the site for info on courses.

    Also there is some good literature from the US and the UK skills bodies which give detailed job descriptions and the skills needed for them..as a first step these should be probably put up on this site…I came across them when I was doing some contract work for FAS..

    am I talking myself into more work here??

    let me bring it up at the next IGDA chapter committee meeting…

    Aphra.

  • #12102

    Jamie McCormick
    Keymaster

    Well my old guidance councellor was probably one of them, because I pointed him in your direction and you seem to be the only academic working in the area, and they take that seriously.

    I’d love to get involved to actually get something done about it, and would love to bring it up at a chapter meeting, so does that mean I’ll have to join the IGDA, as I’m not quite on the development side as such?

    If anyone can let me know, please say.

    Jamie

  • #12103

    aphra
    Keymaster

    well I will bring it up at the next committee meeting. The general chapter meetings are more events but posting ideas here or to the IGDA thread are a good way to start a discussion. You don’t have to be a member to attend IGDA meetings or to post ideas to the IGDA thread and at this stage we all have a stake in improving things so the more help and volunteers the better.

    If you have a few minutes you might scan the Department of Education website and see who is repsonsible for producing careers leaflets etc. that go to secondary schools – maybe we can identify someone we can work with on this…

    Aphra.

  • #12104

    Jamie McCormick
    Keymaster

    Please do,

    I’ll have a look through the Dept. website later, better get back to work.

    Jamie

  • #12124

    kyotokid
    Keymaster

    I feel that we need Irish success stories to hold up as examples to schools and things are only moving forward in that respect now…in about 1-2 years we should see Irish game content out there.

    I mean it Dundee, our head of Art will visit colleges and say ‘we are blah blah blah and we made these games that have sold loads etc..’ so it would be hard going around the schools of dublin without a Irish example to give…’We are Irishsoftco and we made x game for the ps2′. (I don’t count the Havok chappies in this as they are a bit different.)

    If a person is interested in games enough they will find your own way into the career as we have demostrated….You don’t see people visiting from ardmore studios talking about getting a career in film production.

    Also, 100 people coming through on the Irish games side of things (That must be excluding art and animation – right?) is a very large amount considering there isn’t a huuuuuge need for game developers in Ireland….

  • #12125

    aphra
    Keymaster

    what does the 100 people coming through refer to Kyotokid? There are about 20 on the Ballyfermot course this year although this number will be boosted by courses in the ITs if they get them going by September..

    Aphra.

  • #12126

    kyotokid
    Keymaster

    what does the 100 people coming through refer to Kyotokid? There are about 20 on the Ballyfermot course this year although this number will be boosted by courses in the ITs if they get them going by September..

    Aphra. [/quote:e8ebbaf245]

    hmmm, I think I read :

    “and a grand total of about 100 of those people have a course specifically related to games.” as

    “There are a grand total of about 100 people in a course specifically related to games”

  • #12128

    aphra
    Keymaster

    oops.. looks like that Q should have been directed to Jamie…I’m reading these e-mails too quickly..

    Aphra.

  • #12129

    Jamie McCormick
    Keymaster

    That’s an estimate of a figure, going on LUDO, people coming out of CS with interest in games, animation in colleges like Dun Laoghaire etc.

    I know for a fact that DIT frowns on games, I know some people who tried to do their CS degree projects on games and weren’t exactly encouraged to pursue it. I know myself, doing a business course that only for having the head of GameStop going through my course a few years back is there a recognition of the size of the industry, but that is for retail. I’ve been trying to enquire about doing my thesis next year on some aspect of the games industry and am constantly being told ‘don’t do it, you need academic journals backing up everything, blah blah blah’, but I’m going to do it anyway and argue my case for an exemption if I have to.

    God it’s fun trying to get people to take it seriously in college, and that’s why it’s p*ssing me off so much.

    Jamie

  • #12132

    aphra
    Keymaster

    as I said I can point you to books and journal articles a plenty – even on the business side.. unless of course marketing lecturers don’t accept sociology, cultural studies and economics as valid disciplines!

    Aphra.

  • #12133

    Jamie McCormick
    Keymaster

    Cheers Aphra,

    I’m sure I’ll take you up on that offer.

    Jamie

  • #12136

    Sofox
    Participant

    That’s an estimate of a figure, going on LUDO, people coming out of CS with interest in games, animation in colleges like Dun Laoghaire etc.

    I know for a fact that DIT frowns on games, I know some people who tried to do their CS degree projects on games and weren’t exactly encouraged to pursue it. I know myself, doing a business course that only for having the head of GameStop going through my course a few years back is there a recognition of the size of the industry, but that is for retail. I’ve been trying to enquire about doing my thesis next year on some aspect of the games industry and am constantly being told ‘don’t do it, you need academic journals backing up everything, blah blah blah’, but I’m going to do it anyway and argue my case for an exemption if I have to.

    God it’s fun trying to get people to take it seriously in college, and that’s why it’s p*ssing me off so much.

    Jamie [/quote:0a9b1719c4]

    Hey nice going Jamie, you’ve got yourself a challange. Good luck and keep up the good work. Something like that is bound to help us all.

  • #12140

    omen
    Participant

    I know DCU frown on games too. Has it changed??
    Two of the lads in my year did a car driving physics simulation, racing game. Head of the school told them there was no money in games and they couldn’t use the lab machine for work cos they only had 4 or 8mb graphics cards.
    Ended up winning 2nd prize for best end of year project.
    And now one of them is in EA and the other in Creative Assembly.

  • #12142

    Skyclad
    Participant

    I had an awful lot of trouble getting a games related project for my final year too. Eventually I took some aspects of courses I was following (AI, nlp) and fit a game around them. Also, I remember having a few conversations about the AI where I found it difficult to get across that it was more important for a game work in real time then to get an academically ‘perfect’ solution (i ended up doing both).

    Trinity does provide some options for projects in the real time graphics area (via the ISG), though these projects are snapped up very quickly for the most part.

    Other then that, games are not as much frowned upon but rather not understood – that may change as the current generation of academics are replaced by people who have a greater understanding of game ‘culture’ and why it is also an interesting area of academic research.

    Dave

  • #12145

    Jamie McCormick
    Keymaster

    Well again this brings it all back to the main point, can’t something be done? Surely even the members of the board here and the IGDA in the UK might have some documentation that we could use to present to people to show them that there are careers in it, and it is as viable a creative process as television, movies, music etc. are, because you have to build everything from nothing, and it incorporates all these other areas in it.

    As for colleges, I’m going to work on a letter to send to the President of DIT, he’s new in this year and maybe he might listen, considering that the problems CS is having in attracting the right people since the bubble burst, as I know that a lot of courses around the country have been having massive drop-out rates because people stuck it down on their CAO and the points have fallen so much.

    Jamie

  • #12160

    feral
    Participant

    I’m finishing final year in trinity at the moment, in computer science, and I have to disagree a little with these other opinions, speaking from my own experience.

    While there is definitely a lack of recognition in universities in general, on the worth of games design as a discipline, I have found that the computer science course has given me pretty much the education that I wanted from it, and that the recognition situation isn’t as bad as it first seems.

    First off, a few caveats:

    A) I did come to college with the intention of eventually working in games.
    B) I wanted to go into the technical side of games. So what im saying is not neccessarily applicable to people wanting to be games designers.
    C) this only applys to my specific experience and what I wanted out of my course.

    My core point is that I really don’t think that if I was setting the syllabus for a games programming/software course I’d have done it much differently than my CS course was.

    Some games related stuff I got to do:
    My 2nd year team programming project (one whole course in second year) was a video game engine.
    My second year programming project was a (simple) graphics engine.
    My final year AI programming projects were done on Robocode, a perfect testbed for games style AI.
    My final year project was a complex realtime graphics engine.
    I know this year that the 3rd years are now doing chosen programming projects again, some of which are games.

    Granted, those projects resulted from choices I made, and not everyone did the same sort of project.

    But that aside, that’s about as much games related CS as i’d want in a games programming degree.

    The other elements of the course, were all the hardware and maths, as well as the non games specifc software. However, were I desiging a university degree for games programming, I’d make my students do all the ‘boring’ stuff too.

    The reason is, that while simulating a memory cache in C++, or a floating point pipeline in circuit-maker, isn’t as glamorous as rewriting the BSP engine that they used in Quake, and not directly games related, it -is- something that teaches you a lot about computers.

    And you need that sort of broadness, within computer science, to properly understand the other new games related stuff, as it comes out. For example, a lot of graphics programming just became more hardware related with the programmable pipelines. Suddenly all that ‘useless’ assembler and low level knowledge is needed again?

    A uni course on CS is broad. There’s stuff like compiler design, and hardware architecture. You have to cover a lot of ground.

    That why I did a 4 year course in the first place. Not just to learn games programming, but to learn all the other layers underneath it, and other concepts within CS around it. Just games programming doesn’t take 4 years to learn.

    A lot of the time I didn’t enjoy studying nasty hardware projects as much as I would have enjoyed making another demo game, but in the end, it’s neccessary to understand the bigger picture.

    So… I’m glad I didn’t do a games specific course – I’d have had a less general computer science education, and might have been in trouble had the technology changed.

    So, in my opinion, Irish students, in CS and related disciplines should be careful to not sell their courses short for not being games specific, and hence narrower in scope, – they might be better off that way, at the rate technology changes!

    Now, to the ‘respect for games in academia’ side of things:
    I’ve found that there -is- respect within the college for games technology.

    The work i’ve seen going on in some of the research groups in Trinity wouldn’t seem to be a million miles away from games – there’s a Machine Learning Group doing stuff on Game AI
    http://www.cs.tcd.ie/research_groups/mlg/projects.php

    and plenty of the Image Synthesis Group’s projects are games related, as Dave mentioned.

    It is true that noone is gonig to be impressed if you show them pacman after 4 years, and that the focus is on technology, as opposed to games design (you won’t get much marks for good gameplay balance in a project, but you will for a technologically sound engine).

    But that’s probably the way it should be in a CS, or even games programming, course.

    Just my .02 :)

    Fergal

    >I had an awful lot of trouble getting a games related project for >my final year too. Eventually I took some aspects of courses I >was following (AI, nlp) and fit a game around them.

    >Trinity does provide some options for projects in the real time >graphics area (via the ISG), though these projects are snapped >up very quickly for the most part.

    >Other then that, games are not as much frowned upon but >rather not understood – that may change as the current >generation of academics are replaced by people who have a >greater understanding of game ‘culture’ and why it is also an >interesting area of academic research.

    >Dave

  • #12166

    Jamie McCormick
    Keymaster

    Well I think Trinity is setting itself apart then, as it has had Havok come from it, and considering their success in the industry it surely had an impact on the acceptability of the industry within the uni.

    I’m not complaining at all, I just think that in general colleges seem to be making it as difficult as possible to get into the industry, purely because they are ignorant of it.

    Jamie

  • #12179

    omen
    Participant

    I’d agree that doing a CS course is probably the best thing to do cos it will give you an all round knowledge and you’ll be more adaptable. I was in DCU and then came to Abertay to do the PgDip for a year in Comp Games Tech. If you know that you want to get into game you can make the most out of the course to play to your needs. I just think the lecturers need to wise up to games as a real job. That was the main thing that really suprised me and I liked most about Abertay….the lecturers cared. I got to know all but one of lectureres there in one year. I didn’t get to know any of my DCU lectuerers cos they didn’t give you the impression that they really cared that much about what you were doing because projects were diverse and maybe not really what they were into.

  • #12211

    Idora
    Participant

    Guys, check out – http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/community/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=3618#post3618

    Carlow IT has just had their degree course in game development validated

    Jamie,
    we’ll bring up your suggestion of a working group at the IGDA meeting next week. I think what you’ve proposed is a very good idea

  • #12238

    Jamie McCormick
    Keymaster

    Hi Tony,

    If you’re going to the shindig on Friday, any chance I’d be able to sit down and chat to you about this? I’ve a number of ideas that I know myself I’d like to do, as well as something broader that the IGDA could get involved with, as discussed within this thread, as I’ve been thinking it over a lot over the last few days and to be honest with you I feel that a lot can be done.

    I was in college yesterday, and have a look at this fantastic statistic from DIT.

    DIT has about 22,000 students, full time, part time, apprentices etc.

    I could find 4 books in the libraries across 6 sites, 2 of which were missing, one (Game On book from 2002), and Mind At Play: The Psychology of Video Games (1982).

    I checked the thesis’s list to see if what I want to do has been covered, and a grand total of 4 people, 50/50 split male female have done theirs on games. One was on the Playstation Success, one was on feminism in games using Lara Croft as an example, one on using games as a marketing communications tool, and one on violence.

    I had two meetings, one with my course tutor, who gave me the impression that I should maybe consider something a little more broad, and one with the head of my school, who in fairness to him said as long as there is academic material to back it up, I can do it on games.

    It’s really pissing me off, and I want to do something about it, so if I could grab yourself too Aphra for a chat, it would be appreciated.

    Jamie

  • #12241

    kyotokid
    Keymaster

    …. one was on feminism in games using Lara Croft as an example…..

    [/quote:982cb42b43]

    *shudder*

  • #12242

    Jamie McCormick
    Keymaster

    *shudder*[/quote:afaf1fed19]

    Well I’m going to have to read through all four of them, I’ll let you know how it comes along >:)

    I’m going to be reading so many books this summer as prep work, might start getting some brief reviews of the books I read done, see which ones are any use and which ones are crap. I’m nearly finished “Game On: The History & Culture of VideoGames” edited by Lucien King, it’s interesting reading, a collection of essays from a broad range of people on a broad range of areas, from design, to culture, people who love games, people who hate games, people who found games to help them through rehab and more, and it accompanied the Game On exhibition. It’s pretty good.

    Jamie

  • #12243

    kyotokid
    Keymaster

    I never read Steve Poole’s ‘Trigger Happy’ (I have no credit card to get the books I really want!) but based on his collumn in EDGE, I think it would be a very good read.

  • #12245

    Idora
    Participant

    If you’re going to the shindig on Friday, any chance I’d be able to sit down and chat to you about this?[/quote:011d542868]
    love to, jamie. I’m hoping to be in early

  • #12246

    Idora
    Participant

    I know DCU frown on games too. Has it changed??[/quote:08d3d4e4ee]

    Prof. Michael Ryan was in Carlow with me for the validation of their degree course and he was praising the car driving simulation done by some of the DCU students. Isn’t he head of the CS dept.?

  • #12248

    Sofox
    Participant

    Yeah, “Trigger Happy” is definitly a good book. There were one or two things I didn’t like about it, but they were mainly nitpicks and just my opinion. Generally speaking it’s a well researched and thought out book giving an interesting general overview of the area and many aspect of computer games.

    Oh, and out of interest, at one point at the book he talks about game physics and how they’re improving. I noticed that mention of Havok was conspiculously absent from this section and instead he talked about some English company. Probably because of the timing of the book, written before Havok became too well known.

    EDIT: Incidentally, I’ve forgotten the name but does anyone know what happened to that English company?

  • #12249

    Pete
    Participant

    I’m hoping to be in early [/quote:28c5a6f506]

    Shit! Hide the Jack Daniels!!!;)

  • #12250

    aphra
    Keymaster

    Michael Ryan was head of the school for ages but not anymore..he is a great man for mathematical conundrums…

    Aphra.

  • #12251

    Jamie McCormick
    Keymaster

    I never read Steve Poole’s ‘Trigger Happy’ (I have no credit card to get the books I really want!) but based on his collumn in EDGE, I think it would be a very good read.[/quote:b893ae7039]

    Ivan, I have this book floating around at home, email me or PM me your address and I’ll see about posting it over to you, and you can send it back when you’re done, or give it back if you ever come to one of the shindigs. It’s an interesting read.

    love to, jamie. I’m hoping to be in early[/quote:b893ae7039]

    Tony, cool, I’ll be up there at 7 anyway, I’ll stroll up after work and as I haven’t been drinking in ages I’m planning to tuck in tomorrow night :)

    Jamie

  • #12252

    aphra
    Keymaster

    this has just been brought to my attention..

    https://www.gamasutra.com/

    Aphra.

  • #12253

    omen
    Participant

    he was praising the car driving simulation done by some of the DCU students[/quote:0398151789]
    Hehe….that was my year…the two guys who did it were in Abertay with me two, think they check the boards now and then.
    Their project proposal was rejected by the school, it was never actually approved, but Prof Ryan told them to go ahead cos he thought it sounded cool. The computer labs didn’t have any machines with a decent gfx card, so I think he was going to or did (can’t remember now) buy a machine for them. In the end, the project got 2nd prize for bet project that year.
    Guys who did it are now in EA and Creative Assembly.

  • #12254

    kyotokid
    Keymaster

    Oh, and out of interest, at one point at the book he talks about game physics and how they’re improving. I noticed that mention of Havok was conspiculously absent from this section and instead he talked about some English company. Probably because of the timing of the book, written before Havok became too well known. [/quote:3e07896373]

    “ITS THE BIASE OF THE MEEEDJA!!! A spin in the army would do them a world of good!”

  • #12255

    Jamie McCormick
    Keymaster

    Well we need more people who actually think like this in colleges if we’re going to get anywhere.

    Jamie

  • #12259

    feral
    Participant

    >Well we need more people who actually think like this in >colleges if we’re going to get anywhere.

    The amount of games related courses popping up in ireland is going to make people in other colleges take notice, or at least certainly will if, for example, the CAO points are high. (do lots of people want to do games? the bigger CS courses could take another hit in applications – if that’s true, people will notice)

    Also, maybe people are starting to take games more seriously, because, in some ways, it’s only more recently that games are getting serious..?

    The writing in games is much more likely to be done by a professional writer now, than ten years ago – same with the acting, and the sound and music. It’s not unheard of for a game to have it’s music performed by a proper orchestra.

    The AI in games is no longer quick simple hacks, but instead games are becoming a platform for the implementation of more serious, research worthy, AI techniques.

    I people in general still see the games industry as “nerd in garage” when really it’s gone beyond that. I think this will eventually filter out to people, and academia, and we’ll see an increase in respect.

    Also, people are only still realising the vast amounts of revenue in the games industry – funding is becoming a big big issue in 3rd level.

    Is this just silly? will there always be an ingrained dislike of the games industry? Whether people take cinema seriously not long after it was realesed would be interesting to know.

  • #12261

    omen
    Participant

    Well the problem with DCU i think was that many of the lecturers had their own tastes for projects and there were some who just wanted to see something funky looking. Michael Ryan was one of them…and thats why the lads got to do the racing simulation.

  • #12346

    monument
    Participant
  • #12510

    aphra
    Keymaster

    myself and Jamie met last week to discuss what can be done to inform career guidance counsellors at secondary and third level about career options in the games industry.

    We are hoping to contact existing career guidance organisations in the first instance and provide them with skill profiles, info. on relevant third level courses and information sheets on the games industry.

    If anyone has ideas on this or want to collaborate on drawing up skill profiles and information sheets please let us know..also it would be good to establish what has been done in other countries, so if you know of any resources abroad please let us know..

    thanks..

    Aphra.

  • #12512

    Jamie McCormick
    Keymaster

    Also, if anyone has Irish contacts in development companies abroad, ask them to get in touch as we’d like to interview as many of them as possible, from any related aspect of the games industry, be it development, legal or the business side.

    Jamie

The forum ‘Education, Training and Jobs’ is closed to new topics and replies.