Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Developer Movement

Have you always dreamed of making your own app? Maybe you just need a bit of motivation? Or simply being pointed in the right direction? Well here's something you might like!

Microsoft has something called The Developer Movement going on right now. They want developers to create Windows 8 apps and they are offering really good rewards for those that want to undertake this challenge.

You can check out tons more info over at this link:

They also release Challenges to the community once in a while with more great prizes to be won. Everything is free, so why not give it a try? It's on until the end of March, so check it out!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Time flies!

I haven't had the time to update my blog much, for the past little while. That's about to change.

I honestly didn't realize I hadn't updated in so long, I'm kind of ashamed of this. Time to redeem myself with some new posts and as much information I can think of!

To be fair, I had quite a lot happen in my personal life for the past year, but it feels great to come back to this and share information on some of the things I'm most passionate about.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Meet the Programmer

You are a creature of the night. You believe in the Matrix. Your PC is your best friend and an extension of your body. Coffee is part of your life force. Passionate about doing everything your way and super awesome! You understand languages that cause most people brain damage. We are NOT vampires and we DON'T glitter in the sunlight, those are pure misconceptions!

Programmers take 3 parts Art, 2 parts ideas, and 1 can of Red Bull and voila! You get an amazing game!

Seriously though, programming in the game industry is quite challenging, but very rewarding at the same time. So let's jump into it shall we?

What do Programmers do?
- Give time estimates on tasks in order to create a schedule at the beginning of every project.
- You will also create documents with all the technical details on every feature in the game.
- Implement features according to documents and the Game Designers vision.
- Code thousands upon thousands of lines.
- Lots and lots of bug fixing.
- Evaluate and improve game performance.
- Create clear and easy to read code that follows your companies coding standards.
- Leave plenty of comments on important functionality and/or hacks.
- Attend meetings, communicate with the rest of the team on your task status.

These are just a few things I can think of the top of my head. Most times you will be assigned a specific area(s) to work in. It ranges from Audio, Gameplay, AI, UI, Engine, Networking and other areas of the games that will need to be worked on. As a programmer you need to communicate a lot with the rest of the team when issues occur, or if you foresee problems with some of the design of the game.

Now make sure that you understand that as a programmer you don't have any control on the direction of the game. You are usually not there to share your ideas. You are there to implement what the Game Designer and Production Team ask you to do. Not to say that every studio is like this, but most are. I know a lot of people that tell me they want to be programmers, but when I question them about what their aim is, most times they realize that they actually want to be Game Designers.

So what skills do you need?

- Communication!
- C/C++/C# are core languages that you should know.
- Good Linear Algebra, Calculus, Math, and Physics knowledge
- Good writing skills.
- Scripting and web development are usually a good thing to know.(Lua, Python, PHP, HTML, Flash Actionscript)
- DirectX and OpenGL knowledge.
- Command Line knowledge, batch file and script making.
- Source Control knowledge.(Perforce, Subversion)

Now I would also suggest creating a portfolio website with coding examples of your best work. Most employers nowadays request coding samples, and this way you'll be ready for them. Try to be original and don't steal other peoples work as employers will research the code you give them and if you are caught stealing code, it's not going to go over well. Not to say you can't use open source code, but if you do make sure to identify which code is yours and which isn't.

Now this post only reflects tips and hints in a very general manner. With this information you can start figuring out how you are going to approach this type of career if it interests you. Each job is different and may have very different requirements.

I'm sure I'll touch on this again later, but it's a great start thus far!


Thursday, July 7, 2011


I got to attend the Jalloo Festival that NBCC Miramichi creates every year finally. I had a great time and it really opened my eyes to how great the independent development market is becoming.

I've also been really busy at my current job, which is sadly no where near as much fun as making games, but it will have to do in order to get the bills paid. At least I have some nice goals that I'm setting up for myself to achieve in the near future.

I think I'll try to get involved with Jalloo a bit more next year, see if I can lend some of my experiences to young people embarking on their own journey in the game industry.

Anyways, I haven't forgotten about my blog, I just need a bit more time to really put my best efforts into the information I'm trying to provide to all my future readers. I have lots to come!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Questions and Requests

For those reading my blog, if you have any questions you'd like to ask me, you can post them in here or shoot me an e-mail which is posted in my profile (Click my name in the Profile box on the right and you'll see Email in the contact panel once the page loads up).

I'll also read requests for me to touch on certain topics you'd like more information on, if I have any that can help.

Over the next couple weeks I'll starts posting more information on some of the different roles in the Game industry and how to figure out which one is right for you and how you can prepare yourself if you want to study in those roles.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Reasons to work in the Game Industry.

Working in the Game Industry can have it's perks! From massive launch parties to collaborating some great ideas on an up and coming title.

Making games!
For most people, they join the game industry because they have a huge passion for video games. When you're a video game fanatic, making games is the greatest job in the world! Plus you get the work on project that thousands, if not millions of people around the world will play. It's a hell of a lot of work, but in the end, does it ever pay off! It's a great feeling seeing a game that you've worked on for months/years finally make it to the shelf.

Another reason why some people choose to work in the game industry. Not all positions pay the same, but if you are a programmer, chances are that you'll be making a pretty good income. Entry level jobs usually pay pretty well, depending on the studio.

One of the things I loved is that everyday I would learn at least one new thing. The game industry is always evolving. New things and new ways of doing stuff is always coming out. You have to evolve with it, you have to learn new things on a daily basis. You'll also get to share your own knowledge on a daily basis with others in order to achieve goals or tasks. Or even just discuss different implementation techniques!

The People
I've always found that the people that you work with make the job so much better. Most people will love video games just as much as you, if not more. So you'll have something in common from the start. Plus with all the hard work that goes in each and every game, I find this brings teams together and you'll make some good friends really quick. I always found that people I worked with treated me almost like family and I loved it. Maybe not all studios are like this, but it's great if you work in one with this kind of setting.

Most studios I know will have a few events throughout the year, not including launch parties and holidays! These are great for relaxing, getting to know more people around the studio, and meeting their families. These events are very social, just don't let the open bar make you go too crazy! Launch parties are pretty fun, everyone gets together to celebrate the release of the studios latest game or games. Sometimes it's even a really cool themed party at the beach or something of the likes.

Living the dream
Most people that work in this industry are here because they want to be. To them working extra hard into the wee hours of the morning is rewarding and makes them feel like they are accomplishing great things with their life! I'm a workaholic and being a programmer has always kept me busy, maybe even too much at times. It's a great feeling to be working along side others who share that passion and will be there with you every step of the journey, or project. This is an exciting career, if you want it to be.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Reasons to avoid the Game Industry

So before I start telling you about the positive side of the Game Industry, here are the negative things that you should know.

Crunch time
From Alpha to Beta stages of the game it is crucial to be at work everyday. During this stage you’ll be polishing the game and fixing bugs from the QA testers. During this time you cannot take any vacation time, which can last up to 2-4 months, if not more. If you’re lucky, you’ll get testers that know what they are doing, if not you’ll get bugs that take days to fix or testers that don’t know what a bug is or how to describe it. As sad as that sounds, there are testers out there getting hired that don’t understand what a bug is and you’ll waste hours obtaining the information you need from them to continue.

With crunch time usually comes a lot of overtime. This can depend how badly, or smoothly things are going and you may end up staying all day and into the night which can be difficult when you have family at home.

Constant Learning
The is also a good thing for those that like learning, as you'll be doing a lot of it, especially when you first start out. You'll be constantly learning new languages, software’s, engines etc, and you have to do it quickly and effectively. The Game Industry is constantly evolving and you will be doing a lot of research at work and at home.

Making games requires a LOT of work
No matter what your position (Programmer, Artist, Designer, and Producer) there's always something to do. At the beginning of the project, you will be doing lots of documentation, and then implementation of new features followed by testing and bug fixing. That’s a pretty general overview of a project. There’s also the fact that something you had been working hard on can be cut from the game and you have to move on. You may also work on a game or feature that you don't like at all, so you'll have to suck it up, or find work at a studio that makes the genre of games you like. Everything you do will depend on something or someone else which can slow you down and be very frustrating. You have to manage your time efficiently, and you’ll be dealing with pressure and stress on most days.

Creative Input
With what I mentioned before about not getting attached to a feature, creative input links into that. With some studios, you will get paid to do the job you are assigned to and that’s it. They won't care if you get a breakthrough idea or if you point out that something is stupid or doesn't make sense. Obviously not all studios are like this, but if sharing your ideas is something you really like, this is something to ask during an interview.

Studios sometime take a lot of risks in order to create their video games. If you are not comfortable working in a risky industry, making video games may not be for you.

Finding a job
This is probably the hardest thing to do if you don't have any experience in the game industry. You may have to move far to work for some studios, depending where you live. This is one of the many reasons why people will stop trying to get into the Game Industry, as they don’t want to leave family, friends, their home, etc.

With everything I've mentioned so far, you can see that it can be hard to raise a family with all the stress, overtime, and moving around. So make sure that this is what you want in life. If you're thinking of starting a family, these are quite a few things to consider.

There is often a misconception that because you love playing games, making them will be just as fun but this career has it’s downfalls too. As you can see making games can sometimes be just as boring and tedious as any other job so don’t be too quick to think it’s all glamorous.
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