8 year old gets advice about game industry

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80 Troll Shaman
7125
I had to log in to add to this.

NETWORKING

If you have a place you want to be when you grow up, a very specific position, you need to know people who know people. HR people suffer a bombardment of incoming resumes every day, some companies have filters that hunt for keywords and other systems that arbitrarily disqualifies you from the running simply because you missed too many buzzwords for the spot you were applying for....

If you know people, you can generally gauge how confident they are about their work situation, thier ethic, you know what you like and dislike about it. Essentially, you're a known quantity, which provides a bit of a basis for getting in the door. If you go to school to start your career, keep in touch with your peers. Having a guy on the inside will help you circumvent a good chunk of the selection process when your guy drops a resume on the HR person's desks and tells them to bring em in for an interview.

Essentially, The way HR works has become too ineffective at pinpointing "the right guy", not because HR people are bad, but because the sheer volume of people who can throw resumes into the internet without regard of where they land or that someone has to take time out of their day to parse it. I think, and it'll be even more relevant in the next generation of professionals in 10-20 years from now, to be hire-able not on your resume writing ability, but on your professional network, and ability to have people you've spoken with to put a name to your face.

On the flip side of that coin, Game development is actually a pretty cool industry in that if you're crafty, innovative, and know people who can supplement your weak spots... It's actually not too hard to make work for yourself; and there's a large number of success stories out there for clever people who've done just that.

I can't stress enough how important it is to keep up with your peers.
1 Blood Elf Warrior
0
A very good friend of mine started out as a temp QA tester for a video game company. He now is a MAJOR producer for the same company (console titles mostly)....has several titles under his belt....and is living the good life. He was able to get there in about 8 years from when he started in QA and a lot of hard work.

However, his background was in science (even got a graduate degree in it) and he just loved video games. If you love something....you will put in the work.

Just my two cents.
Edited by Pooz on 1/8/2013 10:04 PM PST
Can you imagine how excited this kid will be when he finds out about this? GC you take a lot of flack but for this sir you should truly take a bow. He'll probably be talking about this response alone for days.
90 Draenei Shaman
11990
Definitely an awesome read.
100 Draenei Death Knight
11345
This has been an interesting read thank you all for your input.
90 Blood Elf Priest
10685
Dax, Peratryne, Ghostcrawler

Thank you so much for responding. I'm quite surprised that y'all noticed, and replied to my post. I appreciate the advice and wisdom you provided and I am sure my son will be ecstatic when I let him read this. Not many children are serious about what they really want to do when they grow up and some lack the parental guidance to achieve his or her career goals.

I wish I knew what I wanted to be when I grow up when I was that age. Support and education was not a priority while I was young, and my parents didn't even think about me going to college.
In our household education is priority and if the kids bring home less than a B+ I reteach the content and make them practice. My children are also taught to think for themselves and develop rational decisions and conversations.

Alex decided he wanted to attend MIT after he graduates. His main reason was he wanted to "build robots, and learn how things work."

We will definitely take your advice and begin practicing with design. Who knows we may even start a podcast.
Again I appreciate your well written post and the advice you provided. I am so happy y'all responded to my son's inquiries.
90 Blood Elf Priest
10685
Thank you for the detailed post Ghostcrawler. And thank YOU Daxxarri for passing the info on to us.

I've made a toon on the OPs server and sent her a message just to be certain she actually sees the response. :3

[EDIT] Spelling error.


That was nice of you. I appreciate that. I was in class tonight so I haven't logged on yet.
100 Blood Elf Mage
13230


That was nice of you. I appreciate that. I was in class tonight so I haven't logged on yet.


I'm just glad you remembered this thread and came back to it. :3
90 Blood Elf Priest
10560
Four for you, Ghostcrawler.

You go, Ghostcrawler.
100 Undead Warrior
12140
one of the most excellent posts in some time.

If I may interject my own personal experience as a designer for the OP - the basic fundementals of design are the same regardless if you are designing toaster ovens or video games. Understanding the wants/needs of a customer or process, formulating ideas, drilling down to the best solutions, and fitting those solutions within parameters set, be it technical limitations, tradition, conventions, etc. As a mechanical designer, about half of my day is spent asking myself the questions "What if - ?" and "Why -?" and I would imagine game design is little different. The rest of my day is spent modeling and fitting things within conventions set by organizations such as ASME (American society of mechanical engineers), AWS (American Welding Society), etc. I would imagine game designers meet simelar constraints in programming language, modeling limitations, and so on.

That being said, there are alot of educational opportunities out there for general design, and in learning the fundementals I think your son would have a good shot at success at applying that knowledge towards game design once he has the requisite specializations, such as computer programming, 3d art, whatever (just as I have specializations in drafting, statistical tolerance analysis and manufacturing processes). And the great thing is many community colleges might offer summer programs for junior and high school students where he could get his feet wet relatively inexpensively when he gets a little older.

GC's points about communication, creativity, passion, etc are spot on. learning to work as a team, loving what you do, opening up your mind to new ideas and staying up to date or ahead of the trends are vital to success in design, again, regardless if its video games or something physical. The methodology is whats important - simply designing something without the methodology to support it no more makes one a designer than cutting people with a scalpel makes them a surgeon. The methodologies may vary a little bit industry to industry, but at the core its all the same.
90 Blood Elf Paladin
12550
GC should post that over on the career pages. Like make it the new listing for "How do I get a job as a designer?" FAQ.
Edited by Koror on 1/8/2013 11:22 PM PST
100 Undead Death Knight
16565
Best post I ever read.
90 Human Priest
10050
First of, GC your awesome.

To OP,
i am glad you are supporting your child's interest at a young age and i hope he makes it far. whatever you do, make sure if this is what he wants, he does it and doesnt do what i did. I was younger than him when i became interested in learning how computers worked, wanting to learn how to program, all the good stuff. But, my family wasnt big on computers so, i suppose it was like peer pressure, and i kind of put it on the back of my mind were it just bugged me, but i kept it quit because of family. It wasnt until high school when i was choosing my college until it finally broke back out. I was all set for a career in engineering, i could have chosen any field, but the fact that whatever i did, it would be my life, i really sat down and thought about it. i liked engineering, still do, but i wasnt really passion for it. i sat even longer and came to the same conclusion day after day after day. in the end I chose to study computer science because it something i have always wanted to do, and the passion never went away. This raised a serious problem though, i was ready for engineering, i was an athlete on two sports teams, i had high grades, but i knew nothing about programming, about computers, or how to even get started. So, a month before i had no time left, i had to teach myself everything needed to even be considered for a CS major (and with all honesty i had to lie about my experience, but lets not tell them that).

Right now i am only a sophomore, but it's clear how far behind i really am. Despite the fact i can pass the classes i need to get a degree isnt important. what it truely needed is experience, and knowledge. pretty much anyone can spit out code that is told to them with specific directions and restrictions. and like GC said, you will be staring at your code fixing the bugs, probably screaming WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU at the screen in the process, and the ratio of thinking to coding is right, but its actually enjoyable, even if it's frustrating at times. So make sure you dont let him get frustrated to the point he thinks he dislikes it. EVERYONE makes errors in code, even the creators of operating systems or games or anything, you cant let it get to him.

What i want you to get from this is that, even though you clearly support his dream, please do whatever you can to start him on the path NOW. If he is truly interested, he will feel the same way i felt when i started teaching myself, and how i still feel now about it. I lack the experience that can land me internships and jobs, i'm in for a very tough road, but with your son, make sure you start him on the path now and make his life not only easier, but better for the future.

i will gladly offer any kind of hint about how i started, just dont expect all too much as i am still pretty 'new' to the field.

-Eric

ps: i hate being serious for so long, so i am compelled to lighten up the mood. Along with computers, i have always wished i could draw, however this ability still alludes me, my friend wanted me to draw a lapras recently, so i did it for him, resulting in a very obese looking turtle like thing. Ask me to draw anything, i'd take it serious, but the results always make me laugh, it's kind of like programming, except if you mess up, instead of a compilation error or run time error, you just get a god awful drawing.

pps- To the son: i plan on making one of my focuses game design along with a couple others, if i do someday get a job in that, i hope to see you in the field, hopefully you get your job with blizzard, or maybe something even better (who knows what will be around a decade from now!).
90 Blood Elf Death Knight
12960
Dax, Peratryne, Ghostcrawler

Thank you so much for responding. I'm quite surprised that y'all noticed, and replied to my post. I appreciate the advice and wisdom you provided and I am sure my son will be ecstatic when I let him read this. Not many children are serious about what they really want to do when they grow up and some lack the parental guidance to achieve his or her career goals.

I wish I knew what I wanted to be when I grow up when I was that age. Support and education was not a priority while I was young, and my parents didn't even think about me going to college.
In our household education is priority and if the kids bring home less than a B+ I reteach the content and make them practice. My children are also taught to think for themselves and develop rational decisions and conversations.

Alex decided he wanted to attend MIT after he graduates. His main reason was he wanted to "build robots, and learn how things work."

We will definitely take your advice and begin practicing with design. Who knows we may even start a podcast.
Again I appreciate your well written post and the advice you provided. I am so happy y'all responded to my son's inquiries.


Hi Aayia,

I just felt it necessary to add in one of the first things that came to mind when I read your first post on this thread; you are an amazing parent. Education is important, but never let it mold your child into being unable to think outside the box.

I worked as a life guard for two summers when I was In high school, and the amount of terrible parenting I've seen is sickening. It's just really nice to see something like this.
90 Human Priest
10050
I don't know much about design, but computer programming is an extremely valuable skill to have. It doesn't pay as much as law, medicine, or investment banking, but it also doesn't require the years of extra school or the crazy hours.

If you want to put your son on the path towards a solid upper-middle-class career, seeing that he learns how to program a computer is a great way to do it. The best gift I ever got was a game programming kit my father gave me when I was around 14, consisting of a book and a copy of Visual C++.

Of course, at eight years old, he's probably a bit young for that. There are probably some programming lnguages and IDEs better suited to young children, but I don't personally know what they are. Hopefully someone else in the thread does.


if i had to make a suggestion for this i would point him towards python. The coding itself is essentially English, nothing super fancy, yet still powerful. It has an IDLE screen which allows you to write code lines one at a time and execute them, or even whole functions and programs. it compiles that one line and you can use it later or not at all. Of course, you write code in a .py file and not in idle, but the idle is a good tool for him to test things out. There's no real difficult syntax either, its indentation dependent, so it doesnt require closing of brackets (except in obvious places like lets say if(x=y), lists lst=['a','b','c'] and parameters) so that helps because one missed bracket can create hell, or a dreaded infinite loop =O . The compiler they give, goes to each error one by one, starting with the first it encounters, stops tells you were it is, you fix it and goes to the next, so this could help him figure it out step by step and not a gigantic list something like visual studios might give which may intimidate a new person. I will say if he starts getting into classes (as in codes for Dog and Cat, which hold code to make different items of that type, but with the same code. for example, all dogs bark, so that would be in the class, but all dogs dont have the same name, so it would have something in it to store a name, maybe a breed, etc., but they all make the same call to bark or wag it's tail, despite having different names) and things like that, make sure he remembers to copy the __self__ or you will be writing it EVERYWHERE =P. and just a lil exta thing, python is good with memory leaks, it wont let it happen, mean while, in lets say C++, if you forget to delete or re-purpose a pointer (basically, a data type that will use your ram and not the space given to the program by the computer), it will waste space, python is good with that.

if you do choose this language the versions 2.x are stable, meanwhile other version 3.x is still in development and can be buggy sometime, but picking either wont be an issue other than some minor syntax changes that are a little silly to me
Edited by Lusus on 1/9/2013 12:17 AM PST
90 Human Priest
10050


I worked as a life guard for two summers when I was In high school, and the amount of terrible parenting I've seen is sickening. It's just really nice to see something like this.


i totally agree, i have worked as a lifeguard for my city (even in that dirty ocean water >.<) since i was 16 and do it every summer for years now. i am glad you are a good parent because the amount of horrible ones we experience on a daily basis is staggering, and the fact you are trying to educate him is great, just make sure he doesnt fall into this current mold of our generation, make sure he stays himself and independent, for the sake of everything he will do.
95 Orc Hunter
12865
I invite anyone who makes it to let me know so I can personally congratulate them. It’s hard and it’s worth it.

Good luck!


Something told me to wake up and read the WoW forums.

I'm currently in college to be a game designer here myself in Texas. After I graduate, I plan to move to Austin and pursue any kind of game programming job I can there. Then after a while, knock on the big blue doors that inspired me to pursue this education in the first place. Blizzard Entertainment. Thanks for the post, it was very beneficial, and something I shall take heed in.
90 Pandaren Shaman
12265
And what happened, then? Well, in WoW they say - that the Ghostcrawler's small heart grew three sizes that day.
90 Pandaren Shaman
8095
Thank you so much Draxxarri. I myself am attending school at the Art Institute of Colorado for game design. This post really helped out so much. I just gained a huge amount of respect for the company, and will definitely be throwing in an application for an internship. I will do anything in my power to transfer out to California to be able to do so.
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