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Thomas Valentino
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Joined: 2007-09-11

[URL=http://www.dperry.com/archives/jobs/descriptions/game_programmer/]Game Programmer FAQ[/URL]

The game programmer is an essential part of the game development team, bringing the vision of the artists and designers to life. In this section you'll find the answers to the most common questions we are asked about game programming, as well as a list of suggested reading materials.

· [URL=http://www.dperry.com/archives/jobs/descriptions/game_programmer/]How do I become a video game programmer?[/URL]

· [URL=http://www.dperry.com/archives/jobs/descriptions/game_programmer/]I know how to program in C/C++, where do I start? [/URL]

· [URL=http://www.dperry.com/archives/jobs/descriptions/game_programmer/]What programming books should I read?[/URL]

· [URL=http://www.dperry.com/archives/jobs/descriptions/game_programmer/]What programming positions should I apply for?[/URL]

· [URL=http://www.dperry.com/archives/jobs/descriptions/game_programmer/]What materials should I submit with my programmer's resume?[/URL]

· [URL=http://www.dperry.com/archives/jobs/descriptions/game_programmer/]Are there any other cool programmer links?[/URL]

[B]How do I become a video game programmer?[/B]

Start here: [URL=http://www.gamedev.net/]GameDev.net[/URL]. If you know nothing to very little about programming or game programming, then visit this link. GameDev.net has provided a great beginning reference for individuals who want to get into the business of programming games. It answers many basic questions about where to start and how to do it.

While a college education is not essential, it�??s rare to find any new programmers in the industry who don�??t have a higher educational degree somewhere in their background.

Why is that? Well, math is DAMNED important these days! You will also find programmers a lot more interested in reading research papers and having deep discussions about applied physics. Luckily, there are lots of good books out there to keep you on track or to brush up your skills.

So which programming languages do you need to learn? You gotta know C and C++. There also is still a lot of assembly language for console programmers. Java is working its way in, and Visual Basic is a simple language to program basic tools. There are tons of great commercial compilers available, as well as several free C compilers available on the net. At Shiny, we mostly use Microsoft's Visual C++ Compiler.

There are books appearing just about every month now on how to make 3D games or write fast 3D code. You are going to have to focus on C or C++ from now on and use a good compiler. Some "Learn to program C++" books actually come with free copies of the Microsoft compiler. The trick is to buy the newest books, so check the publishing date. Also, stay current with the latest version of Direct X.

For a good list of possible books to buy, check out my book recommendations below.

[B]I already know how to program in C/C++, so where do I start?[/B]

The way to get your foot in the door with a video game company is to make a demo that looks really great and interesting. A gaming company wants you prove that you can carry through with a project and polish it off. Demo games are a great way to demonstrate this to a company. That means you will need to find an artist and an animator to help you.

The good news is, there are already several communities on the Internet where finding like-minded team members to create a great demo is fairly easy.

· [URL=http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20010216/scheib_01.htm]GamaSutra article on the demo scene[/URL]

· [URL=http://www.scene.org/]Scene.org[/URL]

· [URL=http://www.scenemusic.eu/]Orange Juice [/URL]

· [URL=http://www.cfxweb.net/]CFXWeb[/URL]

I tend to keep an eye on the developers that are winning competitions, and yes, we have hired demo coders at Shiny.

For some 3rd party ideas, read this article: [URL=http://www.gamedev.net/reference/design/features/makegames/]How Do I Make Games?: A Path to Game Development[/URL]. This article provides a starting point for building traditional demos and a good learning roadmap for game development. It points out that you should start small and move up. Do not try to make the next great First Person Shooter, but program a small Tetris clone and build from there.

Remember one thing though -- programming takes a LIFETIME to master, so hang in there. Grey hair or even baldness is a normal thing in this business.

Remember, that you probably won�??t get your first job as the lead programmer on any project. Expect to make tools, editors and stuff like installation programs or interface coding. Keep your eyes and ears open, and learn from who ever is willing to show you stuff! My first programming job was for $5,000 a year, but I got to learn from some REALLY talented people. I doubled my salary EVERY year.

Like every business, it's often not about WHAT you know, it's who you know. So if you get the chance to go to trade shows or hang out with professional game developers, you should seize it. You can learn a lot from them and also they are a great pipeline into real jobs.

Either way, make a great demo and don't shop it around until it's looking great! Be your own worst critic. Don't leave it up to the head of development of your FAVORITE video game company to tell you that your stuff sucks, ESPECIALLY if you kinda already knew it could use some work. SO BE PATIENT!

[B]What programming books should I read?[/B]

[B]Beginner's Books[/B]

· [URL=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0764516787/dperry-20]Windows Game Programming for Dummies [/URL]

· [URL=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1556228104/dperry-20]Introduction to Computer Game Programming With DirectX 8.0[/URL]

· [URL=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0672323699/dperry-20]Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus[/URL]

· [URL=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/059600298X/dperry-20]C++ in a Nutshell[/URL]

· [URL=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/059600298X/dperry-20] C++ Pocket Reference [/URL]

[B]Advanced Books[/B]

· [URL=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0761534296/dperry-20]The Zen of Direct3D Game Programming[/URL]

· [URL=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1584500492/dperry-20]Game Programming Gems[/URL]
I HIGHLY recommend this series. It's treated like a Bible among game programmers.

· [URL=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0122861663/dperry-20]Graphics Gems[/URL]
This is a series of 5 books DEDICATED to 3D graphics programming, covering tons of topics. Warning: You need to know your math! I have all five.

· [URL=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596000065/dperry-20]Physics for Game Developers[/URL]

· [URL=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596000065/dperry-20]The Cartoon Guide to Physics[/URL]

· [URL=http://finebooks.bizland.com/game.htm]Fine Books - Computer Books - Game Programming[/URL]


Thomas Valentino

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