#gamedev

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CS Engineer here. I've often encountered especially in job interviews that a history/interest in video game programming is looked down upon. How did you cope with it in regards of your gamedev background?

This was especially tough for me because my degree actually mentions games so when I went for interviews they'd just ask if I was going to leave to work on games. I'd answer no but that was a lie. I'm positive it was the make or break question in at least one interview and I think they saw through me.
In the end I was out of work for a while after college and ended up having to intern at the place I ended up for a while before I got a proper position. I like the company and left on good terms but I'm still a bit resentful that it came down to that before I could get a job.
Anyway I wish I had some good advice but I don't, I just want you to know I had a similar struggle and came out the other side. I don't like lying but I think you should consider just making some shit up. If you're confident you can do the job that's all that really matters, what you do in your private life should have no bearing on it. As far as I'm concerned it's morally justified in this case.
If you don't want to lie and the topic does come up you can deflect by pointing out how shitty the working conditions are in the games industry. Just tell them you have no interest in working there because of that. Although some employers will probably hold that against you too.

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I know you didn't start doing gamedev until like last year, but when did you start doing art/music? It seems like you've got a lot of experience there, even if you weren't really focused on games?

i've been drawing on and off since i was a kid. if im being honest, i never really took it seriously and continue to not take it seriously... i'm fully self taught and my fundamentals are really wobbly!! these days i pretty much only draw when i have to for a project etc, almost never for study or fun. i guess its kinda like... something i -can- do to an extent, but dont necessarily -enjoy- doing. and a lot of that is due to lack of study! SO, STUDY UP, Y'ALL
music... i have effectively zero experience with music, lmfao. that thing i tweeted earlier is the longest thing ive ever made. i took a keyboarding class in high school and was in band for a year of middle school but... i dont think either of those really count. i just like to make a sound!!!!

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when did you start learning how to make games and stuff? i want to learn about games, but it seems like so many people my age already know so much that ive Missed the Boat for learning about that kind of thing. is it ever too late to start??

it's never too late!!! imo!!!!!
i'm 26!!! i have bits and pieces of knowledge from messing with, like, rpgmaker and the games factory growing up, but i only started actually trying to Really Make Stuff last summer. i have zero background in coding. i've never taken a class for anything gamedev related. i'm still learning, and still have soooo much to learn, but... i'm workin' on it!!
the power is within your hands, my friend. just gotta do it. it's frustrating learning something new and being bad at it, but it's the unavoidable first step! just gotta pick a nice reachable goal to start with and work toward it.
(NOTE: im sorry if me being like "HAHA IVE ONLY BEEN DOING THIS FOR LIKE A YEAR!!!" ever sounds like bragging!!! that's not my intent. i just wanna impress upon people that if they look up to me or the work i do, they don't actually have that much catching up to do, lmao)

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hey drak, i've got a question which may or may not be cliche or whatever?? What advice do you have for a 15 year old artist who wants to do stuff someday but with a bunch of problems at the moment?

hmmm!!! i don't have a good answer for you, my small friend. i'm 26 and still figuring a lot of stuff out myself. i only started taking gamedev relatively seriously, like, a year and a half ago for some reason, and i already have no idea why i put it off for so long. what was i even doing!!!
best general advice is that if you love to draw, if that's a Thing You Love, your big passion, just... keep doin it!! a whole bunch!!! you're still v young in the grand scheme of things (heck, so am i really) and you've got tons of time to improve and create cool stuff.
i can't speak to your individual problems, since only you know what they are and the gravity they have on your life, so it feels kinda empty to say things like "Ha Ha, No Worrys Kid, Your Teen Problems Will Get Better!"... since who knows how much of that sentiment is informed by my own privileges and circumstances growing up, haha. BUT chances are... you'll work through your stuff and become stronger for it!! teen years are for Having Problems and Eventually Solving Them so you can grow more powerful and learn how to deal w/the potential messes life throws at you later.
keep it up!! hang in there!!! pursue your passions!!!! mess up a bunch!!!!! that's the good stuff.

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Sorry if you've been asked this like a zillion times, but how did you learn to start making games? I'm a game design student and am doing well, but I'm disappointed with my education, to be frank, and wish I could learn more without going through a silly bureaucratic expensive school system.

i just started makin' stuff! i've never taken a gamedev class or anything. my method of making things is always just like. "hmm. i wonder if i could do this thing" -> download the tools i need, do a lil reading -> mix of reading tutorials and trial and error until i do the thing i wanted to do. wreckboy was 100% learning how to do stuff i didn't know how to do when i started the project, and even though they're completely different gametypes the stuff i learned from making that is feeding into the item haver dev process!
i can't really tell you anything about the value of a game design class because i've never taken one. but. i CAN tell you: Just Doing Stuff has worked pretty ok for me!! so, like, i dunno. make stuff. start small and do learning projects to start. play games you enjoy and think critically about them. why do you enjoy certain aspects of the gameplay? what makes those aspects tick? do you think you could recreate them in whatever environment you create your own games in?
if you're just starting out it can be fun to give yourself small coding challenges, like "i wonder if i could code [x mechanic] from [game im familiar with]." i think of that kinda thing as the equivalent of sketching/drawing from reference! you can learn a lot by trying to recreate systems you're familiar with and put what you've learned to use in original works. that's not to say everything you make starting out needs to be based on something that already exists, obviously! just a Fun Exercise
also, it's important to note that wreckboy is my first 100% Me On My Own completed project. i haven't been at the business of seriously working on games for very long (i guess a little over a year now) and im still learning a lot!! i guess what im trying to communicate is... if you're impressed with where i'm at, it doesn't actually take a lot of time to get here!!
make the video game. do your best.

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really enjoying gamedev at the moment but feeling pretty isolated - any tips on finding a community/scene i can fit into?

Yes! So many tips.
First off there's IRC. The Ludum Dare channel is pretty active and helpful, and twitter is a great place to meet and talk to devs. Don't be afraid to start a g+ hangout or something either and invite people! I am constantly idling in like 4 of these things and so are a lot of people.
I don't know where you're located, but a good step might be to see if there's a local chapter of the IGDA in your area. If you go to one, you'll likely find another indie meetup in your area if you live in a city that's less business focused as well. Some indie groups get started on meetup.com too. Make sure you're checking for specialized groups too, like unity users.
If there's nothing, start one! Pick a date, pick a venue, talk about it online, invite friends, and just start showing up. And more importantly, KEEP showing up. You might not get any bites the first 1-5 times but most groups usually see new members starting to appear slowly as long as you keep consistently attending + promoting.

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