Career Opportunities in Electronic Game & Simulation Design

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1 Career Opportunities in Electronic Game & Simulation Design

2 Development Career Categories Producers Designers Artists Programmers Game Testers and Quality Assurance Technicians

3 Developer Careers Producers are responsible for Proposal and Prototype management Budgeting (time and money) Payments Contractual Obligations Coordinating with partners (hardware manufacturer, publisher, external developers) Reporting to upper management These are VERY hard jobs to get at an entry level

4

5 Developer Careers Designers (not to be confused with artists) Lead Designer Supervises the design team Gameplay development Documentation assembly Level design Interface Designer Determines layout, content, navigation and usability features of the game interface

6 Interface What Goes Where?

7 Developer Careers Designers (continued) Level Designer Builds the game environment (or world) Physical Environment Gameplay for the world Might also write stories and dialogue Designs missions (or campaigns) within levels All designers work with all other team members to coordinate production of the game.

8 Developer Careers Designers (continued) Designers may often do work related to other jobs Importing art into game engines Creating simple art (especially for prototypes) Minor programming tweaks Generate documentation

9 Developer Careers Artists Lead Artist Supervises the art team on a particular game project Concept (Storyboard) Artist Creates drawings and sketches of the game environment, props and characters

10 Developer Careers Artists (continued) Technical Artist Straddle the art and programming careers Make sure art assets are created and stored in the appropriate format for the particular game engine used Texture Artist Creates texture maps for 3D models Characters Hair, skin, clothing Structures Building interiors/exteriors Objects Paint, surface texture

11 Developer Careers Artists Modeler Creates 3D assets from 2D drawings (characters, scenery, props) Create 3D wire mesh frames to represent objects Applies textures (skinning) to wire mesh objects

12

13 Developer Careers Artists (continued) Animator Applies movement to objects and characters May use motion capture devices

14 Prince of Persia: Warrior Within

15 Motion Capture Combination of hardware and software used to capture a live person s motion Measurand ShapeWrap System

16 Developer Careers Programmer Engine Programmer Creates/modifies the core game engine which controls: Graphics Rendering Animation Collision Detection between game objects User input Artificial Intelligence Programmer Creates intelligence for the game Create algorithms to emulate human intelligence

17 Full Spectrum Warrior

18 Full Spectrum Warrior

19 More Programming Careers Networking Programmer Programs multiplayer components of the game Interface Programmer Programs the user interface for the game Physics Programmer Ensures objects interact realistically with each other Tools Programmer Creates tools to allow artists to incorporate assets into the game code

20 Developer Careers Testing and Quality Assurance (QA) Game Testers Search for errors related to 3D geometry Texturing Aesthetics (look and feel) Game logic Coordinates bug fixes with the rest of the development team (programmers, artists, designers)

21 Geometry Error From Halo

22 Geometry Error From Halo

23 Developer Careers Testing and Quality Assurance (QA) Compatibility Tester Tests cross platform compatibility Determines if the game runs equally well on all platforms Investigates whether controls are adequate on all platforms to play the game Tests compatibility of joysticks, control pads, video cards, sound cards, etc.

24 Developer Careers Testing and Quality Assurance (QA) Playability Tester Temporary employee who works in house Finds bugs Suggests improvements to game play Adding features Deleting features Altering difficulty of tasks or scenarios Ensures the game is fun and challenging

25 Developer Careers Testing and Quality Assurance (QA) Beta Tester Volunteers (unpaid) who test games at their homes There may be a cost to you to participate in a beta test Test the latest version of the game before final shipping Provides detailed analysis of playability and bugs to the game development team Good feedback can earn you free beta tests or an invitation to be a playability tester!

26 How Do I Prepare for a Career? Play Games!!! But while you re playing think about Why the game is fun? How could you make it more fun? If you were the designer, what features would you add? Take away? Modify?

27 How Do I Prepare for a Career? Network! International Game Developers Association Game Developers Conference (GDC) There are TONS of conferences! I personally like the Montreal Game Summit. Nine hour drive from Philly and cheap to attend.

28 How Do I Prepare for a Career? Get a Job NOW! Beta Testing Isn t a paying job, but you get to try cool games Leads to Playability Testing (first entry level paid job in gaming) Some companies impose minimum age requirements Go To College!!! It is extremely difficult to get a job in gaming without a college degree! Take college courses while in high school You need a wide range of skills such as...

29 Programming Languages C / C++ XNA (C#) Open GL DirectX Assembly (HLSL) Good for fast response Programs are small Used in almost all console game programming Scripting Languages associated with 3D art programs

30 Software Skills to Acquire 3D Animation and Modeling Software 3D Studio Max (www.autodesk.com) Maya (www.autodesk.com) LightWave (www.newtek.com) SoftImage (www.softimage.com) Mudbox Z Brush Others?

31 Software Skills to Acquire Other Art Software Image Manipulation Adobe Photoshop Video Editing / Effects Vector Art Creation Adobe Illustrator Flash

32 Other Key Skills to Acquire Physics Kinetics (movement) Behavior of Light Mathematics Algebra Trigonometry Analytic Geometry Discrete Math Statistics Linear Matrix Algebra For engine programmers Calculus!

33 Soft Skills Verbal Skills Writing Skills Work Ethic (i.e. working hard!) Team Work Ability to take (and perhaps give) directions

34 Create Your Own Games! XNA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Play games on your Xbox 360 Microsoft Popfly Link? Alice Environment designed to teach programming You can build games in it!

35 Create Your Own Games! Full Scale Game Development Environments Blender (www.blender.org) Panda3D (http://panda3d.org/) They are both FREE!!!! Half Life!!!!!!!!!!!

36 What if a Career in Gaming Doesn t Work Out Alternative Careers With Skills Learned in Gaming Courses Multimedia Development Simulation Development Illustration Computer Programmer Movie Animation (Pixar, Disney)

37 Where Should I Go To School? Most 4 year colleges and universities do not offer gaming degrees (although many offer art degrees with concentrations in animation or 3D design) Digipen (www.digipen.edu) Full Sail (www.fullsail.com) Montgomery County Community College! Drexel Media Arts & Design School

38 New Degree in Computer Gaming A.A.S. Degree in Electronic Gaming and Simulation Prepares you for an entry level career in game development. You can take classes while you are in high school! Multi disciplinary degree Multimedia Courses Computer Science Courses Art Courses Math/Physics Courses

39 MCCC Gaming Courses Play games Learn to think creatively Deconstruct games Design games Learn to use professional game development tools Torque (game engine) Maya (3D animation) Develop a portfolio of game assets to show prospective employers

40 If You Want To Be An Artist New Degree in Animation Coming soon! Will be a transfer degree (perhaps to the University of the Arts) Designed from an art perspective Features many traditional art courses such as drawing

41 If You Want to be a Programmer Take MCCC s Computer Science A.S. degree Use game courses to fill elective slots Transfer to a four year school and complete a B.S. in Computer Science Arcadia Villanova Temple Possibly earn a Master s Degree, especially if you want to be an Artificial Intelligence programmer Carnegie Mellon Stanford Penn

42 For More Information Get In The Game: Careers in the Game Industry By Marc Mencher ISBN#

43 For More Information Game Development Essentials By Jeannie Novak ISBN:

44 For Even More Information Game Developer Magazine International Game Developers Association My web page

45 Please Contact Me! Jason Wertz Assistant Professor, Computer Science ATC, Room 141

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