All of you employed developers, what are your jobs really like?

This is a discussion on All of you employed developers, what are your jobs really like? within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Originally posted by nvoigt Don't kid yourself. Game development is development with another target. Not more or less challenging than ...

  1. #31
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    Originally posted by nvoigt
    Don't kid yourself. Game development is development with another target. Not more or less challenging than programming applications.
    I don't want to get into an argument on the topic as I'm obviously pretty biased, but I really disagree. If I sound offensive here I don't mean it to be, but a lot of people in here seem to be telling me my responses are harsh, so take this as a disclaimer.

    In game programming you have a lot more concerns and different time constraints. When you make a game, there's a lot more to it than getting it to work. It has to look good, it has to sound good, it has to play well, it has to have replay value, and most of all it has to be fun. Sure, there's more to any application than "getting it to work," but on games, it's much moreso. A lot of it is objective but even more of it is subjective. Not only do you have to be smart, quick, and creative, but with games, it often times also means that you have to be an artist. You have to be a talented programmer, but you also have to be unqiue, you have to know what looks good, and you have to know what is "fun."

    Not only that, but there's efficiency. That's something which is important to any application, but in games, it's usually moreso and in all areas. You need the game to be small, it's gotta tweak the most out of the hardware, and you have to get it to run in real time at fast speeds on an average computer (or on a console, etc.). Things like loadtimes don't become just a "downside" to your program, but can be what makes or breaks sales.

    On top of all that, a game programmer can't just be a "programmer." He, in most cases, has to be a mathematician, a physicist, an artist, and, of course, a gamer. A game is often a complex model of real life that has to run in real time, and be more fun than real life as well . That's a very big task -- bigger than most other applications. There are always exceptions to that, but in most cases, this is true.

    A game has to keep a player occupied and having fun for many hours. It's tough to make a game that retains the player's attention and keeps him wanting more after 20 hours. A game has to be detailed, interesting, and massive. You have to know what the player wants, you have to anticipate what the player will be feeling, and you have to be able to evoke emotion. You have to work with a team of artists, designers, musicians, etc. to have any hope of being successful. It's an incredible task with many sides, many more than an application in most other fields.

    Ask an application programmer to make a game and he most often won't even know where to start; ask a game programmer to make an application and it's quite a different story.

  2. #32
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    First, I don't know a lot about game programming.

    A lot of things you describe, like real-time behaviour, making efficient use of hardware also counts for other kinds of software, like embedded software. For example a car navigation system requires engineers to know about building efficient databases, user interaction, datacommunication, implementing real-time system behaviour and a lot more.

    In my opinion the main difference is in the thing you describe in this part: "A game has to keep a player occupied and having fun for many hours...". A game developer has to know how to entertain people, application developers, embedded software developers, system developers and other developers usually don't need that.

    I don't think a game developer requires more than others, but each developer needs different skills. I'm able to develop embedded software, but I don't think I'm very well able to develop games or large database systems, at least not at this moment.

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    hehe... i don't program games for a job, just i only really do directX as any kind of programming hobby (theres an ulterior motive here - one of the 20X modules at uni is C++ but it only has to be in a console, so i can practice without doing winAPI).

    i couldn't program a normal app. wouldn't know where to start. i know about 20 lines of winAPI code. and one of them is return 1.
    don't know hardly any file i/o. don't know more than 2 windows messages. can handle even less. can only start up full screen apps. don't know how to write a run time loop without a idle section.

    still, i recently finished code to use .X files and draw a seamless, potentially endless world. ok, so its not textured (minor detail ). took a weekend. i also know enough to scrap the .X files and use plain binary arrays. also know enough to convert the .X files to the plain binary, without all that heiracy crap. if anyones fussed enough to say "oi, no you can't" maybe i'll post a piccy or something.

    the physics in games is usually only a-level physics. maybe you'd need parabloic motion too for projectiles, but thats just maths which ever programmer i know is pretty competant at.

    i reckon i could pretty much write a game. giving a it a good go anyway (hehe, rewritten the map code 3 times. maybe it'll do now). couldn't code a normal app for sh...eep. (forgot where i was there). err... theres a point here somewhere...where was it? oh yeah... try not to generalise. its like one of those fairground mirrors. same but different.

  4. #34
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    Originally posted by gordy
    i couldn't program a normal app. wouldn't know where to start. i know about 20 lines of winAPI code. and one of them is return 1.
    don't know hardly any file i/o. don't know more than 2 windows messages. can handle even less. can only start up full screen apps. don't know how to write a run time loop without a idle section.
    Sounds like you couldn't program a complex game either.

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    Poly, im sure alot of those things you described are spread about many people (ie, artists, graphic designers, writers, concept developers, etc). And math and physics are necessary in many types of programs one can write. Perhaps you were making your comparison between game programming and programming business apps
    C Code. C Code Run. Run Code Run... Please!

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    Originally posted by Polymorphic OOP
    Sounds like you couldn't program a complex game either.
    and that makes me think you havn't tried or you'd know its enough. so lets no start this hmm ?

    edit:
    people tell you your responses are harsh because they are.
    Last edited by gordy; 12-26-2002 at 06:49 PM.
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  7. #37
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    people tell you your responses are harsh because they are.
    poly isn't a harsh person...is it considered harsh after you already bashed yourself down in your own post?

    Now that I have stuck up for poly I'm going to blatantly disagree with him (which may or may not be a good idea)
    On top of all that, a game programmer can't just be a "programmer." He, in most cases, has to be a mathematician, a physicist, an artist, and, of course, a gamer
    This doesn't seem to be true. A game programmer would probably have to be a physicist and a mathematician, but by no means an artist. The people who are in charge of keeping the user occupied are actually not the game programmers, but rather the artists, world designers, and character designers. They have to constantly be creating new things, the formulas used to model the real world stay the same. Don't get me wrong, the software engine running the game has to be very robust and very good, I'm just saying you had the game programmer made out to be more than what he/she really is.

    Now I'm going to get bashed for all eternity...sweet
    Last edited by Shadow12345; 12-26-2002 at 08:04 PM.

  8. #38
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    Originally posted by gordy
    and that makes me think you havn't tried or you'd know its enough. so lets no start this hmm ?
    No, I was trying to be nice in saying "you haven't done much." I was implying the fact that making a program to read .X files (a built in functionality with the Direct X SDK, mind you, as you obviously already know), would not exactly make you a game programmer. Of course you can make a quick world display based off .X files in a weekend with Direct X. You can do it in a day. Loading .X files is a build in functionality. That's not exactly a "wow" claim.
    I haven't tried!? What makes you say that? I've done a hell of a lot more than what you've apparently done, that's for sure. Does that make me a game programmer yet? No. Do I claim to be? No.

    A game programmer would probably have to be a physicist and a mathematician, but by no means an artist.
    First, by artist, I was refering to all programmers, though often times it's easier to understand with game programmers.

    What makes an artist? Someone who is creative, that can harmonize, create unity, and can make something that others marvel at or enjoy. What does that include, to name a few? Graphical Artists: harmonize with color. Authors: harmonize with language. Architects: harmonize with structure. Musicians: harmonize with sounds and the passage of time. Programmers: harmonize with code and design.

    It's not that bold a claim. Go back a century and ask someone if a movie is a piece of art. Most would say no it is not. Ask someone today and what is your response. Quite different.

    A good program is well structured and has to bring together code for audio, graphics, time, and make them blend seemlessly into one application. You have to be intuitive and be able to model a concept in such a way that others can understand what you are trying to portray.

    Just like with everything else, just because programming can be an art, it isn't necissarily. Not all drawings are works of art, neither are all movies. Same goes for programming.

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    On top of all that, a game programmer can't just be a "programmer." He, in most cases, has to be a mathematician, a physicist, an artist, and, of course, a gamer
    I disagree, I don't think game programmers don't have to know any more about physics or mathematics than any other regular developer. I think most game development teams hire physicists to do that kind of work (I know a few specific games which did).

    Plus, I doubt one person working on the network code for a game would be working on the graphics engine (in a team, of course)

    I really don't know what I want to do, game programming or regular application programming-- although I think it'd be just as happy doing either. I got two years left of high school to decide what to do and where to go when I finish (digipen is not an option-- I live in Canada and my family isn't rich )

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    if your referring to the first post since when has offering another opinion been bashing anyone?

    if your referring to the second post there is only one person who ever comes near these boards who knows how well i can't program. anyone who tells me what i have and havn't done who has never even spoken to me before is gonna get bashed back.

    i didn't say using .x files was a big claim. i wrote that particular item as an experiment to see what was involved in using models like tiles and how they looked when you did. .X files served nicely because they are built in. personally i prefer to make a round peg for a round hole rather than making a square peg and changing the hole. (no i don't like openGL much).

    i do remember saying to do it i used very little winAPI code. which i think was my original point. you don't see many standard windows GUI features in many games. would you get very far in a 'normal' app without a GUI? if there are any relevant MFCs i think they'd be a bit on the general (ie underoptimised) side for games. directX overlays the GDI and plays much nicer. all these are however common features in a windows program. anybody seeing my point yet?

    edit:
    "just enough education to perform"
    Last edited by gordy; 12-27-2002 at 07:33 AM.
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  11. #41
    5|-|1+|-|34|) ober's Avatar
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    hmm... what is my job really like? Here's my normal day...

    get to work and check my email
    maybe grab some water or something, talk to some of the co-workers
    sit down and do some coding for a few hours
    break for lunch... come back... code for a bit
    roam around the internet for a bit if i'm stuck on something
    back to coding
    go home

    You code, you get stuck, you STFW, you keep going... it's a vicous cycle... but I'm just an app/system developer. No game developing or anything goin on here (sorry, didn't read your origonal post, just the question)
    EntropySink. You know you have to click it.

  12. #42
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    I disagree, I don't think game programmers don't have to know any more about physics or mathematics than any other regular developer
    Uhh...ok...I somewhat doubt a 'regular developer' will commonly have to calculate things like the center of gravity of an object, the instantaneous velocity of an object, its acceleration, the friction of an object on an inclined plane, the parabolic movement of an object falling taking into account wind resistance, collision + countless other factors, or the location of an object's shadow using a shadow projection matrix on an arbitrary plane without using stenciled shadow volumes, just to name a few things off of the top of my shallow head (meaning there's lots of other complicated stuff I can't remember that game programmers would commonly do more than regular programmers).

    First, by artist, I was refering to all programmers, though often times it's easier to understand with game programmers.
    I don't know what you were referring to, I thought that post was to say how different game programmers are from normal developers, which I think is somewhat true. I'm not going to argue with your definition of artist, because I think it's correct. In order to understand what I was saying you have to take the term 'artist' more strictly. I was just trying to say there is a difference between the people hired to create the game content (artists, map designers, animators) and the 'game programmers' that actual develop the engine that loads and displays the content created by the 'artists' (in the strictest sense), map designers, and animators.

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  13. #43
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    hmm... what is my job really like? Here's my normal day...

    get to work and check my email
    maybe grab some water or something, talk to some of the co-workers
    sit down and do some coding for a few hours
    break for lunch... come back... code for a bit
    roam around the internet for a bit if i'm stuck on something
    back to coding
    go home

    You code, you get stuck, you STFW, you keep going... it's a vicous cycle... but I'm just an app/system developer. No game developing or anything goin on here (sorry, didn't read your origonal post, just the question)
    you forgot the url for your work ober

    EDIT:
    I also forgot to ask how much pressure do you guys generally get put on you from 'higher management'. Software development seems to have this cutting edge frisky panicky rush to it (or so it seems from job descriptions proclaiming how quickly projects need to be completed and such).
    Last edited by Shadow12345; 12-27-2002 at 12:24 PM.

  14. #44
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    www.adamsec.com

    don't blame me for the website... I'm not in charge of that one, but I did redesign that one before they published it but they liked their butt-ugly version better. Mine also downloaded in 1/4 of the time.

    Pressure? I don't get that much pressure... but being the main software developer here... i am expected to do certain things in a timely manner.
    EntropySink. You know you have to click it.

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    Uhh...ok...I somewhat doubt a 'regular developer' will commonly have to calculate things like the center of gravity of an object, the instantaneous velocity of an object, its acceleration, the friction of an object on an inclined plane, the parabolic movement of an object falling taking into account wind resistance, collision + countless other factors, or the location of an object's shadow using a shadow projection matrix on an arbitrary plane without using stenciled shadow volumes, just to name a few things off of the top of my shallow head (meaning there's lots of other complicated stuff I can't remember that game programmers would commonly do more than regular programmers).
    I think I'm missing something. What is a regular developer? In my opinion there is no such as a regular developer. There are so many kinds of software developers, so that it is not right to speak of a regular developer. Non-game developer is better. Just two kinds of developers which also do the things you mentioned: developers of simulations, developers of control system software.

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