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College of Hilarity

Sorry it's been so long, but I've had betas achieved, (after being hot-blooded, I) fought off a fever of 103, fought off a particularly nasty flu, and played a fair amount of TF2.

I often get asked about going to Arts Institute - Vancouver (Burnaby), what it was like, was it worth it, and so on. Generally I say; It was really hard but you don't learn stuff you should, no, and save your money. Basically, the school costs triple what it should, and really isn't that great a help in getting a job in the games industry. In fact, I think less than 50% of my class actually has a job in said industry.

Why did I mention that rather suddenly? This add. It's funny, we'll all laugh at it, but people will go to this school. Now if you're curious what the game industry is like, I can tell you with firm authority not like that add. First off, no-one has ever had a discussion like this:

"So where do you think this guy should move?"
"I'd say.. this way."

Nor has anyone asked if 'that sound from the last level' shoudl be used. In fact, when the hell was the last time levels worked in that sort of linear way? Where sounds are slowly added together until a full midi soundtrack of hilarity has occured? Short answer: never.

Beyond being asked how AI was, I get asked about 'making games,' and what that is like. Firstly, designers don't sit in a room moving characters from the game around to 'make a level.' Designers are almost always coders, and if not that, they have management training. You don't design a game by having fully articulated characters shift around a screen. Generally, you have a non-textured level, where you decide the overall flow of a game, level, what-have-you. In the lower trenches, where anyone who wants to break into the industry will start, you basically see a really broken version of the game. I'm talking unbeatable levels, crashes every two minutes, and mind-numbingly boring bug hunts.

To give an example of my time in the lower trenches, I often use the following story. On a certain game I worked on (It may have had a Need for a Speed of high velocity, and may also have included the word Carbon) I had to watch the same cut-scenes a good 75 times. Each. All of the cut-scenes in the game in fact. Why did I have to keep watching them? I had to watch every cutscene, in every language (of which at the time we had about a dozen) and make sure that: A) The language stayed the same throughout the whole video; B) The audio was synced to the video; C) At what exact second any errors occured. And they often would not have timers on them.

So what I say to you, you whom think you want into this industry, is to research it well. Decide exactly what you want to do - Design, Art, Coding, Modelling, QA, Gameplay testing, Audio and so on. I'd suggest coding, if only because there's a constant need for coders, and they are by far the best paid. Audio is generally the worst for wear, as they are paid the least, and get the least consideration. If you want to play the game, avoid Audio, Art, Modelling, or Coding. Because chances are you'll never have the time to touch the game you're actually working on.

Your first, and best, way into the games industry is to do Focus Testing, if you can. That involves testing final product games, and saying what you think of them. If you ever get a job though, they wont want you back. Why? Because they want people un-tainted by training, so that they can tell what people who buy the game (you know, average Joe who wants 'more Halo' and less thinking) will think.

So that guy? You know that guy at school who you couldn't stand, and who probably couldn't spell his way out of a paper-bag that had been riddled with holes? You want to think as much like him as you can. Make sure even that moron could play the game. This actually goes for game design, now that I think of it. So really, learn this stuff now!

I'm slowly climbing the rungs to where I want to be. But it'll take years upon years, and I wish it wouldn't.

So watch that commercial I posted at the top carefully. Because those are the people you'll be working with at the start. People who have no idea what game creation involves.

G "Blackhat" E; "Use The Sound From The Last Level!"
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About Blackhatone of us since 11:20 AM on 04.11.2008

Xbox LIVE:Blackhatted
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