> I've heard before that you need to know a lot of people to get into the business, I guess that's only half true then.
I wouldn't go that way. I don't see godfathering as a driving force of today businesses. And much less on a highly competitive business such as this one. Well, certainly not among the big players.
A good reference from someone inside might help, but in the end it's the stuff you show that calls all the shots. So like with everything else,
- Past Experience
- A rich portfolio of small apps (and respective source files) showing current/past/future technologies and clearly showing your understanding of them.
- Willingness to work in a team
- Understanding of the corporate environment
- Having a strong desire to work in the particular industry
- Believing one can contribute instead of just replicating.
All these things, and certainly, a few more will definitely contribute to get inducted into this world. I would say, of the all, the portfolio is a must! You don't need a full game, if you ask me (although you shouldn't. I know little of the game industry). You will never program a full game in your life once you get in. So, concentrate on small apps showing the technology you are comfortable with.
I also hear that some people get into the business by becoming beta testers, focus groups, etc.
... and even moders and level designers. Doom wad designers are a famous bunch. Many of the best ones, who used to do it at home and release their wads on the net, ended up working for companies like Valve, Looking Glass, Id Software...
The new game published by valve was done by a handfull of undergrads and valve just scooped them up.
Well, I'm working as a game developer now. Although only a small company and mostly in arcade with an embedded system called Komodo. I've just got this job recently. When I applied for this job, I've only been doing some freelance non game programming with VB, php, Delphi, etc. Also when I got the job, I've forgotten most of my C and C++ basics. I think the one trait that a game developer must have is the love to make games and enjoying the process. Because that's one reason they picked me although my C++ is not so great. Making game is one process that's tedious and takes a large amount of time. E.g. Prey was developed for 5 year with 30 developers and the codes consist of approx. 750 thousands of line (according to Game Developer magazine). So if you didn't like to develop game or didn't have the patient or easily got bored, I suggest you find another job. And believe me when I said that game developers are rare. In my country at least. :D
Why do you think programmers are stero-typed to be geeks or "nerds?"
Because they work hard, tackle problems from the root and almost always produce the right result. I am one of a family of five, and although my father knows BASIC rather well, he considers me the "nerd" as I can make the same thing he does in BASIC in C++ in half the time. But that is his personal preference of me...