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Vanguard: Saga of Heroes: So You Want to be an MMO Developer

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

Sigil Entertainment's Nick Parkinson returns today with part two of his four part series that answers the question: "So You Want to be an MMO Developer". This week, he looks aat that question from the Programmer's point of view.

Most development studios work with C++ and maybe some C#. Fortunately, more and more schools (high schools included) are offering beginner courses in various forms of computer programming, C++ included. Take those, see if you like it - it'll be challenging but if you enjoy it keep going. If you find yourself not liking it at all, it's probably best to focus on some other area of development as it's only going to get more intense.
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Getting a well rounded view of programming as a whole though is a good idea too. Look into taking a few beginning computer science courses, maybe even a class or book on Visual Basic or JavaScript. You won't necessarily be using either of those to develop games but the knowledge base that comes with them will help.

Read the whole article here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

Comments

  • DrumwizDrumwiz San Rafael, CAPosts: 217Member
    Ehh I was expecting part 2 to be a little more serious , page one was great but then it basically just interviews them when they're clowning around image only 2 pages and the art has several :(
  • paulscottpaulscott WI rapids, WIPosts: 5,613Member
    One of the major empasis in any IT or comp field is reasearch and persistance.  so the devs decided that they could goof around a bit in it(not to mention there are trillions of more articles of what companies want in programmers over artists).


    I find it amazing that by 2020 first world countries will be competing to get immigrants.

  • AmatheAmathe Miami, FLPosts: 1,658Member Uncommon

    Summary:

    Go to a school for game develpment

    Get an internship

    Make a demo

    Don't be a douchebag in the interview.

    Is any of this news? Proof once again that anyone at Sigil can blow their nose into a handiwipe and mmorpg.com will print it. Free ads ftl.

    EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

  • premiereboripremierebori Sarasota, FLPosts: 249Member

    Originally posted by Amathe
    Is any of this news? Proof once again that anyone at Sigil can blow their nose into a handiwipe and mmorpg.com will print it.
    It's becaue Sigil is awesome and Vanguard is awesome and Brad is awesome and Keith's Art is awesome.
    As a matter of fact ist's more awesome then a liquid injection of Chuck Norris blood.
    As a matter of fact US should make Sigil an official religion.




    Wow... I dunno where Chuck Norris came out of >.>image



  • EthanaelEthanael Wichita, KSPosts: 194Member

    Nothing that really isn't common sense for any programmers out there that are looking to get a job in this industry.  Too much humor in this one, unfortunately. 

    Some things that I would have rather read about was a sort of bio of some of the people that works at Sigil involving where they came from, what they 'really' thought got them the position they are in and what kind of things they were actually working on when they did get hired.

    One of my concerns, if I do choose to get into programming, is what kind of things do they start associate programmers on? If you are not absolutely hot on your programming skills, would you jump in the scene as a tester with a company that allows you to shift into a programming position when they see that you -do- have the talent? Would you send a resume to Sigil (or any company) with a demo disk attached, or, perhaps a weblink to my online portfolio? How does the difficultly change with me trying to get a job from a different state(KS) vs actually being in the local area?

    Please, amend this article with some answers to these questions.

    Regards,

  • I kinda have to agree, the same boring general stuff that every other articale with the same title has. I mean is it possible we can ever get meat in these kinds of things. Such as when learned C++ should we learn managed code or unmanged code, how about with graphics, OpenGL, DirectX, what type of things do you use, and why do you use them. Why would you recomend using C# over java, and if you are suggusting C# does that mean you develop you C++ on the .net platform to be compatable?

    Thats not even touching graphics, for why Maya would be recomended over Blender or Max.

  • premiereboripremierebori Sarasota, FLPosts: 249Member
    Yah, it would have been more fun if they would have told about some bios or some inner workings of Sigil. This is rather generic.


  • jdongjdong wake forest, NCPosts: 80Member

    Originally posted by Stradden
    Sigil Entertainment's Nick Parkinson returns today with part two of his four part series that answers the question: "So You Want to be an MMO Developer". This week, he looks aat that question from the Programmer's point of view. Most development studios work with C++ and maybe some C#. Fortunately, more and more schools (high schools included) are offering beginner courses in various forms of computer programming, C++ included. Take those, see if you like it - it'll be challenging but if you enjoy it keep going. If you find yourself not liking it at all, it's probably best to focus on some other area of development as it's only going to get more intense. advertisement Getting a well rounded view of programming as a whole though is a good idea too. Look into taking a few beginning computer science courses, maybe even a class or book on Visual Basic or JavaScript. You won't necessarily be using either of those to develop games but the knowledge base that comes with them will help.

    Read the whole article here.


    ha C++ sucks.... C# visual studio FTW


  • Diffusion213Diffusion213 Westbrook, MEPosts: 2Member

    I'm currently a Computer Science student in college and have been researching jobs in this industry for a couple years. I have a few friends in the industry as well and one who is a MMO designer. A few words to the wise.

    Experience is what matters. Large established companies generally won't hire you right out of college. A lot of guys start in small unknown companies and work their way up. Or they start in as an intern, or working an entry level spot in QA. It also helps having friends on the inside. But like the article says it's not where you're from or what degree you have, it's what you can do. Professional experience shows you can do it.

    Most importantly for those who are going into programming, game designers/programmers/artists are some of the most under paid and over worked people out there. They easily work up to 80 hours a week, and even more when your project is nearing ciritcal deadlines (i.e. release). Entry level programmers make very little money. It takes a long time before you get into the higher senior level roles before you start making good money. At one company I researched, I learned from talking to the people who work there, that they live together in houses of 4 - 5 people because they can't really afford to live on thier own. Do a little research on EA programmers if you really want to see overworked.

    As a programmer working in a "normal" programming job you will easily make much more right out of school. I know people in jobs right out of college that make $40,000 a year starting pay. That's about twice as much as most entry level gaming positions. Of course it's not as cool or as fun writing tax software as it is making games, but you also are only working 40 hours a week, have nights and weekends off and you'll be making 2, 3, or even 4 times as much money.

    Just a few things to think about, if you have other questions, I'll answer whatever I can. :)


  • EthanaelEthanael Wichita, KSPosts: 194Member

    Originally posted by Diffusion213

    As a programmer working in a "normal" programming job you will easily make much more right out of school. I know people in jobs right out of college that make $40,000 a year starting pay. That's about twice as much as most entry level gaming positions. Of course it's not as cool or as fun writing tax software as it is making games, but you also are only working 40 hours a week, have nights and weekends off and you'll be making 2, 3, or even 4 times as much money.

    Just a few things to think about, if you have other questions, I'll answer whatever I can. :)

    I've done plenty of research on this also and have read several articles.You're trying to say that game developers make around 20 to 25k, starting salary in the gaming industry? Perhaps testers, maybe. I know people that work at no name game development companies that started at around 42-45k, with no degree, and now are sitting around the 54k mark after being there for 2 years. In an even better viewpoint, Gamasutra.com produces a gaming salary every year. You can easily google this salary report to get an idea of what starting programmers/artists/designers make in this industry.

    Just to throw some averages:
    -- Programming: < 3 years $52,989
    -- Art and Animation: < 3 years $45,645

    Yeah, this is just one of those industries that works a lot of hours. Then again, this is also one of those industries where a lot of people who work in it, really enjoy what they are doing. That being said, can you remember a indie programming project that you might have done where you really wasn't even paying attention to the time you involved in it because you were immersed in what you were building?

    Regards,


  • Diffusion213Diffusion213 Westbrook, MEPosts: 2Member

     In an even better viewpoint, Gamasutra.com produces a gaming salary every year. You can easily google this salary report to get an idea of what starting programmers/artists/designers make in this industry.


    I've certainly seen the numbers from Gamasutra and those published from Game Developer magazine, I however approach them with a bit of skepticism. Often those numbers consider in bonuses that many developers receive when they have a successful launch or similar. These can greatly skew actual annaul salaries, as much as $20k in some cases. Also many industry averages are greatly skewed from those at the top. Some developers working in A+ companies, shipping A+ titles can bring in 200k+ a year once bonuses are figured in. Those again will skew actual averages.

    Also I have to look at the recent boom in people going into the game industry. It's undeniable the populatiry of gaming recenctly and that has produced a boom in people heading into the industry. It'll be nearly impossible in the not too distant future to get a job without a degree and even tougher to get into A+ companies without years of prior experience. All of these over time devalue the individual and salaries will reflect that.

    I know there are plenty of folks that are bringing in a decent salary, but there are still plenty of "starving artists" out there as well, and most of those are people just breaking into the industry. I approach the published numbers with skepticism, especially when some of the people I talk to in the industry tell me different. I don't mean to discourage people from persuing a dream, but I also want to outline that it's not all glitz and glamour and it's not an easy lifestyle. They work long hours, for relatively not a lot of money. There are plenty of other programming options out there with regular work hours, a sane lifestyle and for better pay at nearly all levels. image

    Oh yeah, Semper Fi image


  • DruidblueDruidblue Lansing, MIPosts: 28Member

    I would so very much love to work in the gaming industry, but unfortunately there are several issues that make it impossible for me, the first being out of my control- there are no development studios where I live, and I wouldn't live in Texas, California or the other predominant design spots if you paid me half a million a year.  image  Why don't you guys start a nice development studio here in the capital of Michigan, in Lansing?  You can grab students from the outstanding University that is Michigan State which has programs in game development, and we need jobs here! image

    Seriously though, I'd like to point out one thing to those younger folk considering entering into a software development field.  I work(ed) as a virtual reality and multimedia developer for 4 different companies (well, one was a buyout/transition) and there was one FACT of life at each place (and the client sites of each place)...  100 percent overtime.

    In an 8 1/2 year time span, at all 4 jobs, I had to work to meet the deadlines- and these deadlines are NOT something that is achievable.  (We're talking 8 month deadlines in 2 month timeframes.)  Therefore in that 8 1/2 years, I had to work nearly all of it 7 days a week, 10-24 hours a day. (For those that get confused easy, 24 hours a day means overnight! image

    Also, as the developer, YOU are where the blame ends up.  Nevermind the fact that the art department didn't get you the items needed until the night before the deadline without even a possibility of getting it in in time... it is still going to be YOUR fault.  It is a thankless job, and you lose ANY social life you may want.

    That said, game development is even tighter on the deadlines in many instances, so keep that in mind.  You will not be running home to play your own games, you'll be lucky to sneak home for a 2 hour nap before returning to work on that list of 2482 bugs that won't go away.

     

    All that said, I envy those who are young enough to land the jobs in this, and willing to live in the areas that the work is in.  Despite the horrors I experienced in my work journeys to this point, it can be rewarding and making a fun game that people love is all the more so an outstanding experience.  So, be aware of what you're getting into, and go for it! (Just send me a tell if you're putting Druids in your game so I can tell you what they're REALLY like and we can get away from these cheesy concepts of Druids that are currently in the MMGS games out there. image)

     

    P.S. If you're a game company starting up in Lansing, drop me a line! image

    _______________________________
    MMORPG is an inaccurate term...

    I use a new and improved term: MMGS = Massively Multiplayer Gaming Service.

  • KillaraiKillarai Monroe, WAPosts: 36Member

    I worry, you guys are getting a huge mix message about Game Design, it's like you put it on this huge pedestal.

    Sure, programming is really deep into the foundation of Game Design, but it's not something to freak out about, every field of Game Design has their sure duty.

    In every field, everyone makes a mistake once in awhile, don't fret.

    I've been designing for quite a long time; overall, I just feel like I should have fun with it, exactly what was posted... You have to be fun to make something fun.

    Confidence is key; you have to be an MMORPG player to make a good MMORPG game, don't be afraid to come up with crazy ideas for a game you're working on either.

    I'm starting up my own Game Design company at a very young age, I have true confidence that everything will work out well, because I trust my friends/employees, aswell as myself.

    Even if it doesn't work out, I'll note it as a heavy set of experience. image

    Awhile ago I thought this would be impossible, but I winged it.. And everything is getting easier and easier over time.

    If you want to start something up, be sure you have friends that will help you out along the way, a true friend will always be there when you need 'em, and vice versa for yourself. image

    If you have any questions about what I'm doing, or if you need advice, you can message me on Aim or Msn

    Also, don't ever be afraid to show your true colors, you'll gain more respect and confidence that way.

    Aim - Kilarai
    Msn - Killarai@hotmail.com

    Abysma.net
    Abysma Entertainment.   image



  • killjoyroykilljoyroy Port Aransas, TXPosts: 5Member
    haha, Austin, Texas is probably one of the coolest places in the South to live. The general public around this area is nothing like most of the southern locale.

    I wouldn't expect you "Northerners" to understand that though! image



    Tired of watching Obraik ignore posts that have points that prove his logic wrong

  • EthanaelEthanael Wichita, KSPosts: 194Member

    Originally posted by Diffusion213

    Oh yeah, Semper Fi image


    Oo-rah.

    If a person works thier butt off to A) get a college degree, and B) self teach themselves how to program (because your not going to learn it in school), taking a game programming job for under 40k is putting the persons own foot in their mouth. There is plenty demand for programmers out there and pay is extremely important, considering where you decide to live.

    Nothing can be said about work hours though. Working in the games industry will work your butt off, regardless of how pretty you are. Then again, that is why I noted that a lot of people that work in this industry absolutely love what they do. But, there are a lot of programmers who get into games and leave within 3 years because they realized that wasn't for them. You have just to experience it for yourself to determine if your mind is ready for that sort of environment.

    Regards,

  • MarchusMarchus Tempe, AZPosts: 88Member

    I started on my computer science degree for the purpose of working in the games industry and learned about the terrible pay and hours right from the start. I've got about a year left and if I do go ahead and finish both chances are working for a game studio will be my very very last resort. Even if I did like what I was doing, people need money, and i'm definitely not going sign up to willingly be treated like a mule for the next 15 years. People are making more money just for playing and writing about the games. As big as the industry is and with as much money as even small scale games make there's no reason for people to just accept it either. Even Starbucks workers have a union.

    Anyways, should Westwood and Devry really be listed there with Full Sail and Guild Hall? I think there's a limit to that "What you do with it" statement, and "free demos" for joining a program doesn't really scream reliable to me.

  • dsorrentdsorrent Greenville, SCPosts: 1,627Member

    What I'd really like to hear from a Game Developer is how do any of them manage their family life? Every article I've ever read about Game Developers is they work really long hours for no money. I understand they are doing something they love to do, but, what would make a really great interview is to interview the WIVES of Game Developers. I'd love to know what they think about the whole thing.

    :)

  • ApocalypticaApocalyptica BerlinPosts: 491Member
    Originally posted by dsorrent


    What I'd really like to hear from a Game Developer is how do any of them manage their family life? Every article I've ever read about Game Developers is they work really long hours for no money. I understand they are doing something they love to do, but, what would make a really great interview is to interview the WIVES of Game Developers. I'd love to know what they think about the whole thing.
    :)


    Well I am a game developer, AI Programmer to be precise. The hours we are working depends on what stage the project is., We can have weeks on end where we work Mo-Fr 9 am to 6 pm. These are good weeks. Then we can have weeks on end where we work from Mo-Sa from 7am to 9pm usually before milestone, alpha, beta or release. And then we also have sometimes weeks where we truly work 7 days a week, these are the hardest.



    How we do it with our families? Well, they just need to be verry patient und understanding. Thats all there is to it realy. They get used to it as well to not seeing you very much in those times. I am noit saying that it is easy on them, but there are lots of proffessions out there where the partner is gone for a long time and they manage as well. Btw, there are also husbands of gamedevelopers, I am female after all .



    As for the money, as a programmer you can make everywhere else more money than in game development. Biggest money earner still is SAP, but I realy could not do that, I fall asleep on the job, lol. Game developemtn is a labour of love, and thats ok that it is that way.

    ------------------------------------------------------
    Do I ever sleep?
    image

  • tbj11tbj11 Fresno, CAPosts: 1Member

    I have always loved games starting back with a Colecovision and have always wanted to make them.  I went to school, and loved creating things with programming.  I have a degree and have worked in IT for the last 7 years doing business programming. 

    I still dream of making games for a living, but the reality is all the downsides already mention have kept me away from seriously pursuing that field.  I love my family and my kids just as much.  I can't trade one love for another so I can't program games.  Now if someone were to create a company where overtime was the exception and they could still make games then maybe I could someday have my dream.  I am not holding my breath though.

    It won't matter how many studies of productivity show that hard deadlines and overtime create poor programs and burn out good programmers.  I don't really think the gaming companies would be willing to lose what they have always done.

    So lets say it this way, "You have to love games and programming, and put them above everything else to work in the game programming field."

    I relize that I am stereotyping the field somewhat, but stereotypes exist because of the actions of the majority so I stand by what I said.

     

  • w1ngzer0w1ngzer0 Phoenix, AZPosts: 24Member
    Why did they recommend Devry and Westwood? 2 horribly unorganized and cheesy commercialized schools. Have you ever watched a watched a Westwood commercial? horrible......



    I will not just focus on the negative. I am really glade they are doing an article like this. Getting an inside view is awesome.
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