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This topic contains 26 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  peter_b 12 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #4476

    Hobo
    Participant

    Hey everyone, i got a book on begeining c++ game progrmanning. my dad is a software developer and works on dcu campus but does not work for dcu. he has a 3.5mg connection on each pc so he would be able to get me a graphics engine tomorrow (GMAX). Anyway Me and my twin bro is palnning to go into game devolping and even if it works out start up our own company.

    Im going into 5th year and gonna do phyics maths and apllied maths
    When im done go to Carlow it or tralee it which is gonna start doing game devolping. Or maybe a ucas
    Gonna come home for 1 year after college and start making (with twin) my first computer game.

    But i have a prob should i do a phd. and if i do what are the advanteges. if i start up a company would i have a better chance if i had a phd

    If i cant start up a company ill work at home for awile till first game is in beta and then see if any phublishers are intrested (please point out if anything is bad so far)

    Well thats about it. but i have been only working on it for 3 months.
    O and this is a Off topic question whats radio broadband like. can you play games or what?
    Thx

  • #23914

    kyotokid
    Keymaster

    First up, I admire the drive to make games and start a company.

    I think it’ll be hard to get investment or publisher interest without a proven team behind your game. That is unless you have a hot demo or prototype- say made by you, your brother and anyone else you can rope in.

    Given that it’s a while away before you start the company I reckon you should crack on with any ideas you have now…prototype it, get a cheap engine (Torque)…see if its sound and if its fun.

    Aim as broad as you can, alot of start-ups have great ideas that flounder or are too weird. If I was to start a company I’d pay the bills first with any work we could get and keep working on the “proper” game aswell.

    Having said that the development world will hopefully be different (for the better!) in a few years – maybe digital distribution will rock all our worlds.

    Good luck, see you in a few years for a job :)

  • #23919

    archimage3d
    Participant

    Phds are great,

    but I can point you at several sets of brothers, (and at least one set of twins) who didn’t need a university degree to become successful developers.

  • #23921

    omen
    Participant

    Bit of advice, go learn some distributed systems. Not going to matter if you can code a game if you can’t multi-thread it….or so the rumours go…

  • #23922

    gizmo
    Participant

    Indeed, the Casali brothers immediately spring to mind. They started making maps for Doom before they were snapped up by iD and commissioned to create Final Doom. They were probably a special case however..

    As for a Phd, well I was in the same boat as you when I was in 5th year – loads of ideas and thinking far ahead. As time went on however I decided to, well lets just say live more in the moment…you have plenty of time to be worrying about Phds once your in college. Your main priority should be deciding what course to apply for and in the meantime the specifics of this project of yours. Kyotokid is right, get yourself a cheapish engine such as Torque and see how you find using that, then you can make your way from there.

    Remember though that developing a game its not just programming skills your going to need, theres also the textures and other art work you need to think about. Now one of you may want to concentrate on this are or as has been mentioned you could “rope” someone else into it who may have the required skills. If you take a look at the Programming and Creative Content forums of this site you’ll see other nice tidbits of advice for small projects. Trust me they’ll come in useful as I’m seeing for my own project so far… :D

  • #23923

    kyotokid
    Keymaster

    Indeed, the Casali brothers immediately spring to mind. They started making maps for Doom before they were snapped up by iD and commissioned to create Final Doom. They were probably a special case however..
    [/quote:a2003ab201]

    Thought he meant the UK’s Blitz games founders…The Oliver Twins

    They have advice here on their site:
    http://www.blitzgames.com/olivertwins/

  • #23924

    peter_b
    Participant

    phd? I’d say work on the undergrad degree first. Phd is a long way away and you might find after 4 years of college you might be sick of it. Phd is an entirely different ball game to college, you really have to be 100% commited to an idea for 3 years minimum and do it before someone else does it(often they can take many more years, i know people who took 5-6 years to do one).

    A phd wont help you really to make games, plenty of people do it without it. Phds really are useful if you want to make a career in research (work at intel labs\hp labs\ at &t\bell labs etc) or to go into lecturing etc.

    As for the phd increasing your chances of a succesful start up, people might take you a little more seriously at venture capital meetings but if you talking rubbish they’re still gonna call you on it :) Unless you phd is in business analysis :)

    Seems like you have a lot of ambition there, so thats always good but i suspect setting up a games company isnt all that easy (read the cover story on pooka games). As ivan said your gonna need a team behind you to get a publisher etc. but i guess that team could evolve from college mates when you get there. Also start up capital is gonna be a tricky one, i would take ivans advise again here and do anything to pay the bills while you get going (web\i.t consultancy\database work etc). I’m sure thats how the majority of games companies started. Although back in the day they probably delivered pizza, newspapers, worked on building sites etc. Start ups nowadays cost significantly more, especially considering the next generation of consoles. But that doesnt mean you cant prototype now, get the torque engine or something similar.

    Finally, damian is right something in the way of distributed computing\parallel computing would be very good, because the amount of multi-threading in games which will be required in the next 3-5 is going to be fierce.

  • #23929

    Paul_Conway
    Participant

    Dear god.. Ive got a certificate and diploma both in games design, and am doing 2 years starting september for my degree in the UK. You guys have even put the shits in me :D

    Bit of advice my dear man, breaking into the industry is a very hard thing to do, companys can get hundreds of applications a month. Setting up a company is a different thing altogether. In my first year in college, myself and pretty much the rest of the class where like, hey! lets start our own company next year and take on the world! And we were all dead serious. I can look back now and laugh at least. Ive had 3 months industry experience, i helped get a company (Starcave) get off the ground. It was a gruelling business and it certainly takes alot of commitment and initial investment if you even want your company to get not even to a prototype stage, but just to get the software lisences/hardware. I had the option of staying with them, but i decided that my lack of experience/incompetence would only take me so far.

    I think that you should set out some realistic goals. Since your interested in programming, i suggest, excuse the french, breaking your balls to get into Trinity to do computer science. Some of Irelands best come from there, re Havok. Get your degree, and get a job somewhere and work through at least 2 complete development cycles and THEN see if you feel like you are up to the task of setting up your own studio. But i also suggest that a management role or lead role will help you a long way too.

    Im not going out on a limb in saying this, but publishers wont even sniff at you if your company is made up of unexperienced individuals, unless you have a very solid prototype that has a market, which will cost in itself, in the region of 150K, alot of months, and a hard working, dedicated team who are willing to work for peanuts. Its becoming increasing hard for studios, even established ones, to sustain a market place, as costs rise and publishers become more tight arsed with their contracts. Risks are huge and many studios are being swallowed up by large, soon to be monopolies aka EA (Off you go Damien!)

    Im not saying its impossible, but saying it would be a challenge would be a huge understatment. Especially with next-gen around the corner and the fact that you have a few years left in school yet.

    But i admire your ambition and i can see that you might just have a bright future ahead if you get the head down :)

  • #23933

    kyotokid
    Keymaster

    Hobo, Latest GD.ie article is required reading too:

    http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/features/viewfeature.php?article=129

    :)

  • #23934

    aphra
    Keymaster

    I can just reiterate what has been said before really

    1. PhDs are only really required if you want to work in high level research or lecture – most game jobs don’t require them and in fact since PhDs usually involve a lot of solitary work they may think you are not suited to team work because of it..

    2. There is a lot of valuable experience here on these forums and people who have experience working in game companies and trying to set them up. We don’t want to put you off but set realistic goals for yourself and talk to those who have tried it already. Could save you a lot of time and expense..

    Aphra.

  • #23935

    feral
    Participant

    Always nice to see people with ambition.

    Your plan, as it stands, isn’t impossible, but is at least very hard.
    It may require more dedication and determination than you currently realise.
    You may also get bored along the way, or decide that this isn’t for you etc.

    Leaving all that aside, and assuming you are really determined, and really smart, here are my thoughts (hopefully this will be helpful, I remember being in a similar position myself).

    i got a book on begeining c++ game progrmanning[/quote:ebf3953626]
    What book did you get? There are a lot, some are better to start with than others.

    Also, C++ is a tough language to start, especially if you are teaching yourself.
    Although you might find it easier if your dad is able to help you.

    Learning to program effectively enough to write games is a hard path. There are long times when you have to ignore the goal (games) and focus on the path (learning to program). Towards the start is one of those times, and you should be aware it will take you some time to get to grips with the fundamentals of programming before you should attempt games. This will be time well spent.

    Make sure to take it in small steps at the start.

    Im going into 5th year and gonna do phyics maths and apllied maths [/quote:ebf3953626]

    This is a good move. I did that too. The fundamentals you will learn will stand to you in the long run, whether as a general programmer, or in games.
    Always make sure to focus on understanding the material rather than learning stuff off.

    When im done go to Carlow it or tralee it which is gonna start doing game devolping. Or maybe a ucas
    Gonna come home for 1 year after college and start making (with twin) my first computer game.
    [/quote:ebf3953626]

    Since your interested in programming, i suggest, excuse the french, breaking your balls to get into Trinity to do computer science. Some of Irelands best come from there, re Havok.[/quote:ebf3953626]

    I would agree with Paul here, and strongly suggest going to a university, and getting a computer science degree.
    If you want to be really good, you need to know the fundamentals, so that when things change, you can adapt to the change.

    (One example of this is the concurrency stuff some of the other posters were talking about. Suddenly there’s a part what was previously hard core computer science, and mightn’t have been taught in games specific courses, and it looks like it’s going to be essential knowledge for the games industry.)

    Gonna come home for 1 year after college and start making (with twin) my first computer game.[/quote:ebf3953626]

    A two person team is *very* small. It be may big enough to form the core of a demo-making team. But you will need at least one programmer and one artist.

    It is very difficult for one person to do both to a high level. I am assuming in this post that you are going down the programming path, as that’s the impression I got… you do have to choose.

    If your twin is planning on becoming an artist, then between you, you make do a game (of some sort anyway).
    Otherwise you’ll have to find some art talent.

    This is a long way away though, and things will change.

    I would suggest making games during university. You will have lots of free time in college to make games, lots of classmates to learn from, and will also have the resources. Turn all the college projects you can into games, it’s good fun :)

    But i have a prob should i do a phd. and if i do what are the advanteges. if i start up a company would i have a better chance if i had a phd [/quote:ebf3953626]

    Unless things change a lot, you may be better off without a phd.
    If you want to do games technology, you may want a phd.
    But if you want to do games themselves, you probably don’t – 3 years building prototypes and garage games if you can afford it, or 3 years in the industry if you can’t, will probably be better spent.

    This will all be a lot clearer when you finish 3rd level, as will what exactly a phd involves.

    If i cant start up a company ill work at home for awile till first game is in beta and then see if any phublishers are intrested (please point out if anything is bad so far) [/quote:ebf3953626]

    Often, starting up a company involves exactly that – ‘working at home for awhile till first game is in beta’.

    Although, rather than having a game in beta, you’ll probably be working to create a game mechanics demo, something completely unfinished, but which shows you have some skill and ability to execute.

    Starting a company like that is a tough route to go down though, with the games industry the way it is now. Maybe it’ll be easier, or even harder, in 5 years, it’s very hard to predict, (most people say harder).
    It’s most unlikely you’ll get funding without a really good demo (although people occasionally manage), and even a good demo it’s still unlikely (although not impossible).

    This appears to be the hardest part of your plan, to be honest.
    Getting a first enterprise off the ground will require lots of skill, and hard work, and even then you’ll have to be very lucky.

    What most people do is they go work for someone else for about 10 years, go up the food chain, learn lots and become really good and well known, and then do a startup. They use all their contacts and credibility they’ve established along the way to try and get funds and people to listen to them. Most of them then fail anyway, so it takes a lot to do it straight out of college.

    This isn’t meant to discourage you.

    If you work very hard throughout 2nd level, get into good 3rd level, work hard through 3rd level, become a coding ninja, do lots of games stuff in your spare time, then worst case, you will be at least able to get a job at a video games company abroad, and maybe do a startup later. Or, if you feel lucky, you can go straight out of college – it has worked before.

    In the meanwhile, work hard at your fundamentals.
    Do the physics, maths, and applied maths.
    Learn some programming, and games related skills in your spare time – even if just to make sure you don’t hate it!
    Work hard, get into a good university, and assess things from there…

    graphics engine tomorrow (GMAX)[/quote:ebf3953626]

    Just fyi, GMAX isn’t usually referred to as a graphics engine.
    GMAX is an artists tool, that allows artists make pieces of 3d art (3d models, like mario’s body in mario64), which are then used by a program (often called a 3d engine) which displays them to the screen (as the gamer plays the game).
    You will learn all this terminology in time.

    O and this is a Off topic question whats radio broadband like. can you play games or what?
    [/quote:ebf3953626]
    Depends on what latency there is with the radio. I am on an radio broadband connection and it’s fine (but it’s quite a good one).

  • #23936

    peter_b
    Participant

    I think that you should set out some realistic goals. Since your interested in programming, i suggest, excuse the french, breaking your balls to get into Trinity to do computer science. Some of Irelands best come from there, re Havok. [/quote:1ec9fdf457]

    Wouldnt entirely agree with this point, you pointed out some extreme cases. Its like saying to get the best results go to bruce college! Point is these people would have done just as well in any computer science course, coz its the people themselves not the colllege. They are smart, you cant teach people to be smart, only to use it.

    A college will not make you an ace programmer, i know quite a number of cs students from high profile cs degree\elec eng which i wouldnt hire to program my vcr. Like any college you get some good students nd you get some bad ones. How many on the forums are games programmers and went to trinity?

    I would say any course which has alot of programming\maths is of merit, although a degree is probably essential alright.

  • #23938

    omen
    Participant

    One thing that always scared me about Trinity is that its Computer Science degree is ( or at least was when I was applying for uni ) a BA and not a BSc. Never understood that one. As a result I didn’t go there, and I missed by 5 points and got the course I actually preferred as a result :)

    I’d definitelly agree with the going to work in a company for a while before making the jump. As was said before, I too had these grand ideas and then realising I couldn’t lay my hands oon quite a substantial sum of money (circa 100K+) it’d be a much better idea to get me a job where I could learn the ropes. Should things pan out, maybe in the future ( with the contacts and expereience gained ) something may happen, but the semi-security of working in a games company is comforting…

  • #23940

    stevec_havok
    Participant

    Indeed, the Casali brothers immediately spring to mind. They started making maps for Doom before they were snapped up by iD and commissioned to create Final Doom. They were probably a special case however..
    [/quote:409f38d9fe]

    Thought he meant the UK’s Blitz games founders…The Oliver Twins

    They have advice here on their site:
    http://www.blitzgames.com/olivertwins/%5B/quote:409f38d9fe%5D

    …then there’s the:

    Darling brothers (Codemasters)
    Stamper brothers (Rare)
    The Bitmap Brothers (er… The Bitmap Brothers)
    Rowlands brothers (of C64 Creatures fame)
    Kingsley brothers (Rebellion)
    Oster Brothers (Bioware etc.)

    …I’m sure there are loads more examples :-)

  • #23941

    stevec_havok
    Participant

    One thing that always scared me about Trinity is that its Computer Science degree is ( or at least was when I was applying for uni ) a BA and not a BSc. Never understood that one. As a result I didn’t go there, and I missed by 5 points and got the course I actually preferred as a result :)
    [/quote:1052bebc20]

    …nit picking here, it’s a B.A.(Mod.) which is different. B.A. is generally 3 years while B.A.(Mod.) is 4. Actual degree classification in this case is historic – the B.A.(Mod.) evolved out of the B.A.I. (engineering) from TCD and not the Science faculty and add in a twist of politics and alignment with other universities (outside Ireland) and you get the B.A. flavour.

    I’d definitelly agree with the going to work in a company for a while before making the jump. As was said before, I too had these grand ideas and then realising I couldn’t lay my hands oon quite a substantial sum of money (circa 100K+) it’d be a much better idea to get me a job where I could learn the ropes. Should things pan out, maybe in the future ( with the contacts and expereience gained ) something may happen, but the semi-security of working in a games company is comforting…
    [/quote:1052bebc20]

    Couldn’t agree more here. I’d re-use a quote from Carmack recently – when you think you’re 90% done with your game tech (he was actually talking about graphics engine) you’re really only 10%. Developing an AAA game is one of the most competitive, expensive, technologically demanding and least understood product creation exercises you can choose to embark upon. If it wasn’t so much fun no-one in their right mind would do it.

  • #23942

    stevec_havok
    Participant

    I can just reiterate what has been said before really

    1. PhDs are only really required if you want to work in high level research or lecture – most game jobs don’t require them and in fact since PhDs usually involve a lot of solitary work they may think you are not suited to team work because of it..

    2. There is a lot of valuable experience here on these forums and people who have experience working in game companies and trying to set them up. We don’t want to put you off but set realistic goals for yourself and talk to those who have tried it already. Could save you a lot of time and expense..

    Aphra.[/quote:abb2f59f8f]

    Excellent advice as always. Bear in mind also that “game development” is a very broad definition covering everything from AAA console game development to mods for classic games, to online downloadables to freeware/shareware etc. There is always space for the smaller developer – the hard part is translating what you do into cash. I know many game developers strongly advise small teams to focus on mod development initially – it can involve coding, art, design but also planning, development and deployment and demonstrates a strong results oriented team.

  • #23945

    Paul_Conway
    Participant

    Wouldnt entirely agree with this point, you pointed out some extreme cases. Its like saying to get the best results go to bruce college! Point is these people would have done just as well in any computer science course, coz its the people themselves not the colllege. They are smart, you cant teach people to be smart, only to use it.

    How many on the forums are games programmers and went to trinity? [/quote:6e5ba966e1]

    I maybe phrased that incorrectly, i was just using Trinity as an example, purely because i know people who have came from there and have gone onto great things. Im not particulary singling Trinity out but i do know that it has a really good course and that it porvides students with the best of resources etc. But if your good, you can learn anywhere, its about how much time you put into it. However a good college will help you.

  • #23947

    gizmo
    Participant

    Ah theres the Collyer brothers of Sports Interactive fame also…

    Does the Computer Science course in Trinity have a placement scheme for 3rd year by the way?

  • #23949

    stevec_havok
    Participant

    Ah theres the Collyer brothers of Sports Interactive fame also…

    Does the Computer Science course in Trinity have a placement scheme for 3rd year by the way?[/quote:b39914bf02]

    No it does not.

  • #23961

    Skyclad
    Participant

    There’s always CSLL in Trinity too, where you dont have the excuse the French :)

  • #24097

    stevec_havok
    Participant

    There’s always CSLL in Trinity too, where you dont have the excuse the French :)[/quote:d68cec8b7a]

    …strictly speaking the CSLL course offers placement in a university where your language choice is native. They do not do industrial placements. But maybe that was not your point? CSLL is a good option I think, covers all the software aspects that the “pure” TCD CS degree offers and then adds the linguistics and language and year’s placement in another country.

    Steve

  • #24103

    Skyclad
    Participant

    Note it’s also possible to do 3rd year abroad if you do pure CS (some string pulling required), though again neither course does an actual work experience placement. CSLL covers all the software side of the CS course, though it does not do any of the hardware. If you are interested in doing very low level engine programming, parallel processing etc its probably better to do CS, if you are more interested in sound, AI or some ofthe new interesting areas that will evolve in the coming years (speech recognition springs to mind) CSLL would be the way to go. Both courses provide the same course options in terms of graphics programming.

    Dave

  • #24104

    maniacrobot
    Participant

    UU coleraine computer science degree has a third year work placement and there is now the digital games pathway thing that can be incoporated into the degree

  • #24105

    Greenbean
    Participant

    At the moment the barrier to entry is very high for high end games and consoles. It would be wise to consider online distribution and internet gaming portals as a means to getting a foot in (go indie).

    This is assuming you can produce something of worth, because the competition in the indie space is not trivial; it’s probably one of the most ruthless. But at least the barriers are lower for now.

  • #24106

    peter_b
    Participant

    U.C.C. CS has 3rd year placements april-sept. Although none that i know of went to games companies but thats not to say you cant, you can apply to them and if you get it u.c.c. have no problem with that. Often some even do 1 year placements with intel\oracle and ms and they rejoin college a year later. which is all good.

    Places that offer these internships are EA, Euthenycx( however thats spelt), evolution studios and rare. Im sure theres many more.

  • #24107

    omen
    Participant

    Euthenycx( however thats spelt),[/quote:e593475b54]
    Assuming you meant Eutechnyx

  • #24108

    peter_b
    Participant

    Euthenycx( however thats spelt),[/quote:68ffb24b48]
    Assuming you meant Eutechnyx[/quote:68ffb24b48]

    yeah i had all the letter though,wrong order :P

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