Blog Archives

What should I put into my video game programming portfolio?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Supreeth, who asks, “Hey Jason! Supreeth here, we here in India appreciate all the information provided in you website and I’m a huge fan of your podcast :). So, I would feel glad if you could provide me any certain information regarding, How do I make a game programming demo to apply for jobs? How should the demo be? In video format? How do I show my code along with my demo reel?”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why you can’t afford not to have a game programming portfolio
  • How to use the “what, why, how” portfolio format
  • How to get your own portfolio website and your own domain name

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Posted in Podcast, Resume

How To Become A Video Game Server Engineer

This interview is part of the Quest for Your Career series. We focus on each specific job in the video game industry by interviewing an expert in the field. Learn what they do, how they got started, and whether it's a good job for you.
"New problems will occur on a daily basis. Treat every problem as an onion and peel one layer at a time."

“New problems will occur on a daily basis. Treat every problem as an onion and peel one layer at a time.”

The Tastiest Code

If you’ve ever thought about becoming a game programmer, you were likely enticed by the obvious parts of game programming: The artificial intelligence; the physics engine; the visual effects system. And who could blame you? Those are tasty systems that players interact with most, and they’re interesting challenges to sink your code chops into.

But the meatiest code of all may be a part of the game that you’re barely aware of. In fact, it’s nearly invisible to most players, because it doesn’t even exist on your computer – it exists entirely “in the cloud.”

I’m talking, of course, about the game’s server software. Read more ›

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Posted in Careers

Do video game programmers get to contribute to the game design?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Derek, who asks “I’m interested in both game programming and general game design, my talents lying mostly with programming. Do game programmers often get much input in the game design outside of simply how the game functions? I assume this would largely depend on the size of the team. But I’m just wondering if it’s likely I’ll get to participate in both areas.”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How team size influences programmer input to game design
  • Why your choice of subject matter expertise affects your design influence
  • The #1 most impactful way to ensure you get your say in a game’s design

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Posted in Careers, Podcast

Should I learn programming if I want to become a video game designer?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Dylan, who asks “I want to use Game Designer as a career path and I was wondering if being a game programmer would help with that?”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why programming is at the heart of every game project
  • 3 reasons why programming will help your game design career
  • How to stand out from the crowd when you apply for your first game design job

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Posted in Careers, Podcast

The Very Best Game Programming Books

With books, you're less likely to drop your phone in the toilet.

With books, you’re less likely to drop your phone in the toilet.
Image: Indi Samarajiva/Flickr

It’s easy to get started with game programming, thanks to a variety of pre-made game engines that help you create basic games quickly. But to make anything substantial – not to mention anything unique or ground-breaking – you’ll need to invest time and effort into your programming skills.

For learning a deep topic like game programming, nothing beats a book. You can throw it in your bag and read it anywhere – on the bus, at school, on your lunch break, on the toil… well, you get the idea.

The game programming books listed below are some of the best available, and they come highly recommended by professional game programmers like Brandon Fogerty, David Galloway, Dan Posluns, Brian Gish, and Yours Truly – me. Start at the top, and build your coding chops as you work through the list. Read more ›

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Posted in Tools

What are the downsides of a job as a Video Game Programmer?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Hy N., who asked “I am good in math, I love coding, and I have a strong passion for gaming. So I think being a game programmer fits the best for me. I want to know what are the disadvantages? I found out that programmers have to sit in front of a computer all day, that really scares me. Any advice for me?”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How “knowledge work” is fundamentally different from other jobs
  • Why game programming is a bit less… social than other game jobs
  • How to tell whether you’ll be cool with game programming, or whether it will drive you crazy

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Posted in Podcast

The Pros and Cons of Remote Game Development

A game programmer commits code from a pleasant, grassy field

When you work remotely, you could commit code from a grassy field and no one would ever know.

Gene Walters had his dream job: programming graphics and special effects for video games. What could be better?

Well, how about this: Programming graphics for video games… from home? No frustrating morning commute. No clatter and distraction of a hectic game studio. No need to slip out of your comfy pajamas. Doesn’t that sound even more perfect than perfect?

When Gene made the leap from an in-studio programmer to an at-home programmer, it was the solution to many problems – but it also caused new ones he didn’t expect. We’re speaking with him today to learn how he launched his at-home career, how he wrangles the ups and downs of remote employment… and why he might give it all up, if given the chance. Read more ›

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Posted in Careers

What’s the best way to learn video game programming while I’m in high school?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Joseph F. who asks, “I’m a high school student considering a career in game programming or design. I’m trying to learn C++ on my own with no background knowledge of programming and I wondered if you could recommend any tips for learning game-specific coding. My school doesn’t offer anything code related until junior or senior year and I’m having trouble knowing where to start. Is there anything in particular I can focus on to start practicing game coding while I’m in high school?”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to learn the most popular game programming languages from scratch
  • How to learn to use the most popular video game engine, for free
  • The best way to combine your skills to make your first video game

Read more ›

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Posted in Podcast

Can I get a job testing games while I go to school to learn video game development?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Arun, who wants to know, Is it possible to do game testing while learning programming languages and securing a degree? If the answer is yes, then how can I get started?

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The specific steps I took to get promoted from a Game Tester to a Game Programmer
  • Why many people start their game development careers in the QA department
  • The best way to learn game testing and get a job, even if you don’t have a college degree

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Posted in Podcast

Would a computer science degree be helpful for a career making video games?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Chris B., who’s wondering whether a computer science degree would be helpful to a video game design career, or in the video game industry in general?

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why a computer science (CS) degree is helpful for a job in game design
  • How a CS degree could help you get one of the highest-paying jobs in the game industry
  • How a CS degree can provide critical job security when times get tough

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Posted in Podcast, Schools
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