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#1 aerokid1491  Icon User is offline

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Non - CS student getting into Game Development

Posted 19 January 2013 - 03:54 PM

Hey all!

So I am not a CS student but, as many out there, love gaming and am thinking about maybe pursuing trying to get involved in the gaming industry, if possible. Now, my main concerns have to do with getting into it. I will first off say I am an Aerospace Engineering student at UIUC. I have had a couple software internships in the previous years and have done extensive programming in Java, C, C++, MATLAB and a bit of programming in Python. I have learned a little bit of OpenGL but definitely not enough to matter. I have developed a couple games using Allegro. My latest ones, one made two years ago and the other a year ago, were more like an asteroid games with some fancy weapons. The most recent one of them used OpenCV as well so then one's webcam would track the player's hands and that in turn would move your spaceship and choose the direction to face and shoot(I learned some image processing techniques when I built some tracking algorithms for a UAV at school).

Now, I know I am not as knowledgeable about all the things one can do with any of those programming languages as a typical CS student.However, I hope to learn a little more in a data structures class I am in right now that uses C++ and I am also learning to do parallel computing for some CFD research project this semester using MPI. I suspect I would never be used as a main programmer of any sort due to lack of CS coursework, so my question is based on things I am knowledgeable with. I have done a lot of computational science coursework, especially with applications to fluid and solid mechanics and general ODE and PDE solutions, etc and plan to go the fluid mechanics, and the dynamics and controls route in my Aerospace curriculum. Do any of these skills aid with game development alone? I would imagine CFD and dynamics might at times, as well as some computational science methods, but I am not quite sure.

Anyways, thanks for helping a noob on these matters and for any advice you give me!

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#2 anonymous26  Icon User is offline

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Re: Non - CS student getting into Game Development

Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:05 PM

Without a doubt you will catch some studio's eye after have graduated. What makes you eyecatching is:

1. You love games.
2. You have written your own games.
3. You have used languages that are used professionally in the industry.
4. You have strong mathematical ability.

But, my concerns are:

1. You have no real computer science training being an aerospace engineering student. Why should this be a problem? Because there are computer science students also walking your path.
2. You need to get a website yp and running showing the best of your completed game projects.

I could easily see you being a physics programmer because of your engineering knowledge over a graphics programmer for instance.

Good luck!
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#3 aerokid1491  Icon User is offline

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Re: Non - CS student getting into Game Development

Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:14 PM

Thanks for that insight ButchDean!

I am glad to know I might stand out in some regards. As you said, I won't have the real CS training as other CS students going down the game development route and I understand this is a particular disadvantage. I will try making some new games with some more advanced physics aspects built in and then build up a website to show these off. I think a physics programmer is probably what I would prefer compared to a graphics programmer, so I am glad I have some credentials to maybe fill that role.

Thanks ButchDean! Any other advice and insight is greatly appreciated!
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#4 anonymous26  Icon User is offline

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Re: Non - CS student getting into Game Development

Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:29 PM

No problem at all and good luck.

Certainly if I were a hiring manager and I saw that even though you have a non-CS degree you have shown strong passion and talent to actually make games, I'd certainly put you on my 'under consideration' pile. In my time I've work with games programmers whose majors were math and physics. Even if programming doesn't turn out to be your thing in games you could become a member of the production staff for instance.

Either way, good luck! :)
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#5 aerokid1491  Icon User is offline

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Re: Non - CS student getting into Game Development

Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:37 PM

Well glad to know I would make it to the "under consideration" pile, haha. I actually enjoy programming a lot and spend a lot of time doing it on my spare time, but it is generally towards scientific computing, simulations specifically, since I enjoy that a lot, I do some part time app development and sometimes a game when I can make the time to work on it. But if I tried working in the game industry, I would surely do what I could help with the most and if programming wasn't a part of it, I would just keep doing that on my spare time haha.

By the way, what are typical roles of a member in the production staff? Thanks again for your insight!

Also,great quotes by Yoda and Einstein. I have a painting of Yoda in my dorm room with that particular Yoda quote on it, haha.
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#6 anonymous26  Icon User is offline

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Re: Non - CS student getting into Game Development

Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:55 PM

Thanks! Those quotes from Einstein and Yoda remind me to keep going in terms of building myself, and to make no excuses when things get rough.

Anyway, about the production staff. They are the ones who drive the milestones and maintain the quality of the final product for release. It is quite an involved job since you must be familiar with all aspects of game development like programming, art, etc. Their titles normally are 'producer', 'associate producer', 'director of production'. There is also business development. You will find to that nearly all of the production staff have been hands-on and credited on existing game titles.
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#7 aerokid1491  Icon User is offline

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Re: Non - CS student getting into Game Development

Posted 19 January 2013 - 05:18 PM

No problem! And for sure, those are excellent quotes for motivation to do better.

Ahh, I see. Definitely sounds like a busy job but an exciting one, especially as the games come together. Well, sounds like if I wanted those roles, I would need a lot more experience than making a few games on my own, particularly professional experience. Well, I still have 3 semesters till graduation and I will most likely go to grad school, so we will see what happens down the road! Thanks again ButchDean!

Any other insight is very appreciated!
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#8 anonymous26  Icon User is offline

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Re: Non - CS student getting into Game Development

Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:43 PM

No problem, aerokid! Good luck, you will do well. :)
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