PREPARING FOR YOUR CAREER IN GAMES
AI Programmer, Bungie Studios
Massey University, New Zealand; University of Otago, New Zealand
Did you do any
Tell us about
your first job in the industry. How did you get the job? What was it like?
What were your responsibilities?
What jobs have
you held in the games industry thus far? Briefly describe the career path
you took to get where you are today.
of study, specific courses, or life experiences would you recommend to
students interested in your field?
You might consider delving deeper into a specialised field of knowledge. There are a lot of programming specialties that are applicable to games, including but not limited to physical simulation, networking, artificial intelligence, graphics, operating systems and low-level programming. General programming expertise is very important as well - problem solving and mathematical knowledge are the skills that are most likely to get you through a successful first interview.
Even if you have these skills, it won't mean anything unless you are a good person to work with. Game developers are a very eclectic breed, and you need to be able to get along with some real characters. There is a lot of highly detailed knowledge and some tricky concepts that you'll need to communicate to people, and the only way to learn this is through working in a team. Try to get involved in a group project or two at college if you can.
Finally, we almost
never hire anyone unless they are passionate about playing games and have
an understanding of what makes a good game or a bad game, or at least
a strong desire to learn. Play games! Think about what you would have
done differently if you made the game, and be prepared to back up your
views. If you really enjoy a game that is user-editable, maybe putting
together some content in a 'mod project' would be a good idea.
Is there anything
you wish someone had told you before you got into the games industry?
Is there anything you would have done differently?
I also wish that someone
had told me how much hard work is involved in the final run to ship a
game. Every game studio is different, but if things go badly you can be
looking at months and months of grueling effort, spending up to a hundred
hours a week just trying to finish a game. When people tell you this,
they aren't joking.
As games increase
in complexity, what are the various kinds of jobs that you foresee development
companies needing in the next five years?
Do you have
any other advice or recommendations to share with students who are interested
in doing what you do?