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Inner workings of the gaming industry??

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Senior Member


wow, thank yall so much for actually taking the time to reply to my thread! Made my day!
And don't worry about me missing red replies to my own threads -- i bookmark every one i post and check back frequently (even the ones that never get a reply, like my trundle skin inquiries )

This really helps me. I like to plan ahead.. have had my mind set on the whole moving to Austin, UT-Austin or bust, masters in Comp Sci and gaming industry, since 7th or 8th grade lol. Needless to say I'm super excited for August.

And though I'm only 18, I have had A LITTLE involvement in the industry. I've had an internship with a small indie company called Bandera Games for 4 years (turned into a paid internship a year ago). The team is literally one programmer, one website guy, one funder (afaik), and me as the community manager/forum mod/grammar guy. Progress is extremely slow since our one programmer has a full time job outside of the game ("BattleDex" if you're curious - name's bubbles) and he just moved to CA. But just from this little job I learned a good bit about how to handle myself in certain situations and what not. After playing the Blizzard Trio (WoW, Sc2, D3) and constantly getting nowhere on their forums, I vowed to make every thread on MY forums read by me and/or another dev. And once I came to LoL 7 months ago and began lurking the forums... I realized how huge of a difference that really made. I don't know WHY, but y'all make my day simply by replying to my threads, even for something unrelated to the game like this

I also went to 5 or 6 10-day overnight things called "Gamecamp" at ULL. Basically about 10 or 15 guys and girls working in the industry in Austin came over to Louisiana and led us to teach us about the industry. We split up into teams of 4-8 and brainstormed our own game concept. Then we had to learn how many devs of each kind we'd need, how much it would cost, the target audience/rating, etc etc etc. We put all this into a powerpoint and at the end of the camp, they brought in funders around the industry to give us feedback as if we were honestly trying to get our concepts funded. So fun One of those developers is the reason I have my internship now, and I still talk to many of them about their jobs from various companies. It's really a humbling experience
My ultimate hope is that one day if I manage to make enough money (granted I'm planning for a job I can look forward to every day, not that pays well), I want to keep this kind of thing running so other guys can have the same opportunities I did. The camps I went to ran out of funding about 4 years ago, but it was just such an amazing experience and I learned so much. Made lifelong friends. Met contacts in the industry.

And while we're talking about the industry, I have another question. I know programming is a great tool and all, but it shouldn't be the ONLY thing I can do since I want to make my own game. But what else should I learn? I've kinda been waiting for Unreal 4 Engine to be publicly released so I can teach it to myself, but I don't know if that's the best thing to spend time in, or something else?

EDIT (this paragraph): I just saw the news about THQ (http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/redirect.php?do=verify&redirect_url=http%3A%2F%2Fkotaku.com%2F5978429%2Fthis-is-the-letter-that-thq-sent-to-employees-today). That really sucks But since I mentioned darksiders in my OP, let me ask this: What happens in this case, where the disbanding company is NOT the developing company (vigil iirc), but IS the producing label? Does the developing company just find someone else to produce their games from now on, or is it more complex than that? And will the developing company be hit (hard or not as hard) financially by this change too?

Lastly, would any of you Rioters be willing to add me in-game to talk about something? I dont think it's something to put on the forums but really need help from someone working at Riot.

Once again, I really appreciate everyone's taking the time to share your knowledge with me Can't thank you all enough
If you actually try to program your own game, you will realize very quickly what you need to learn on the side to make it happen. My two cents (I go to Digipen btway) is to start with something small, and make a lot of projects before you try something big.

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Riot Ashley:
It is truly a sad today with THQ. It is really painful to see fellow brothers and sisters in the game industry go through these kinds of experiences. It is truly a rough business sometimes with a lot of risks. As cheesy as it may sound, I hope this kind of event demonstrates just how much care and passion it takes to keep at it despite all the risks. The folks affected are real people, with real families, that are trying to make fun games.

I don't know too many details about THQ's specific situation, and not sure I could say anything about it even if I did. However, it seems like Vigil is completely disbanding (based on today's news). I'm not sure what Vigil's direct relationship was with THQ. It may have been owned by THQ, in which case if THQ ceases to exist, then they usually try to sell off any part of it that's valuable (ownership of the developer / team, ownership of IP rights, etc). It could also have been that Vigil was independent, in which case, you rely on your own savings as a company to bridge the gap. If you can, you would try to find another publisher to pick up the deal to finish whatever game you had mid-way, or you develop a new deal and a new game for a new publisher. If none of that pans out and the money dries up, there's not much more to it.

Consider also how awesome of a reputation that Vigil has and how awesome Darksiders 1 and 2 were. It goes to show how difficult it is nomatter what you've done to keep a studio up and running. Either way, all you can sometimes do as a developer is just control the bit you can and work hard for players.

I really like your pay it forward attitude, and that will be a very useful principal to live by as you grow as a game developer. It's a relatively small industry and it's these types of good behaviors that help to build your reputation.

About Unreal 4, I say don't wait. Use what you can now, which is Unreal 3. It's been around for a while, but that doesn't mean it's old or bad. In fact, it means that more people, more games, and more studios know how to use it and you are actually developing skills that are directly applicable. There are plenty of things you can learn now, and when Unreal 4 comes out, you can switch.

Programming is always useful because picking up those skills means you don't really need to wait on or depend on anyone else to make stuff work. Even as a designer, programming skills are a huge help since so much of AI and spawns are set up through scripting (LUA, etc). Besides programming, it's useful to know your way around a level editor. There are lots of resources online where you can learn how to build your own simple levels in Unreal. Once you get some basics down, it's much easier to grow from there and add more to what you've built.

Good luck!

Once again, thank you so much for taking the time to reply!

I just remembered too -- wasn't Vigil an art company until about 4 or 5 years ago when they made Darksiders? I may be COMPLETELY wrong about that, but that's how I've always understood it. I do know that all of the art for BattleDex (the game I intern for) is done by a guy at Vigil. So I'm kinda curious to see how their situation holds up, not just as a fan but because... well if I can observe and learn from games themselves, why not the companies too?

I'll probably have to wait a few months to hop into Unreal Engine stuff (Robotics keeps me busy January/February), but I'll definitely do that! The reason I never looked at 3 is because I've been immensely busy since school started and with Unreal 4 around the corner, I don't want to just get familiar with 3 then have to learn something completely different. But hopefully it'll be similar enough for any familiarity with 3 to make a difference

I know how much of a difference that can make though. Back... 3? summers ago, when StarCraft 2 was finishing up its Beta testing, I taught myself the map editor. That's actually how I taught myself to SET UP code too (since I didn't have to learn a language along with it). I ended up making a tower defense, a demo for my game Somnium, and the beginnings of an RPG though that quickly ended hehe. Which also taught me what EnronTheGreat mentioned above.
But yeah, I'll definitely look into Unreal 3 in (hopefully) soon

If you are able to give any insight on this, I'm also curious: How many programmers do yall have at Riot now? I wonder how many it takes to do what now that yall are a huge name

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Senior Member


Wow according to Ironstylus's link theres only one game developer in Maine. That kinda tears at me a bit me, and my friend started our own game development project. Just small stuff at the time, but it shows you theres not much for jobs in that field around here D: