View Thread : Ever wanted to break into the gaming industry?


demon
Well, Epic Games is trying to you a head start if you buy Unreal Tournament 2004 Special Edition. (Retail $59.99 plus $10.00 mail in rebate if you own Unreal Tournament 2003 and mail them in the cover or something.) They are doing this by including 70 HOURS of mod making training with the game! Read about it at: http://www.ataricommunity.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=338772 And to answer some questions that I know will come up.

Q: But I'm not interested in making a FPS, why should this interest me?

A: The Unreal engine is fully customizable in mods. In fact, you can even change the camera view! There are some very cool unreal mods that don't use first person perspectives. Such as a Marble Madness mod. I believe that one is called Marble Mania 2003. (You can google it.) Also, Splinter Cell, was made using the Unreal Engine! Just to give you some idea of its power.

You might want to keep an eye on the make something unreal (http://www.unrealtournament.com/ut2003/contest_categories.php) contest especially the phase 1 winners (http://www.unrealtournament.com/ut2003/contest_winners.php). There is some crazy cool unreal stuff being put out for that. Deathball and Jupiter Effects being ones that I think look particularly interesting. :)

Also, a lot of the training provided in UT2K4 SE (almost looks like a Capcom game name, doesn't it?) will be useful in ANY gaming environment. Especially the Maya stuff.

Q: What is Maya?

A: Maya is a program made by Alias. It is used for 3d modeling, animating, etc. While 3DS Max might be better known in the gaming industry, Maya is its equivalent in the film industry. Both programs are very capable, and it is pure preference which one you use. (Think Pepsi or Coke.) However, a person learning edition of Maya (it has watermarks) is included with Unreal Tournament 2003, and will be included with Unreal Tournament 2004. (You can also download it from alias.com) The PLE version allows you to practice with Maya, without paying $2000 to purchase the software. If memory serves Maya was used in the making of many hit videogames as well. Perhaps you've heard of a one of them, it was called Wind Waker I believe. ;)

OB1
That's cool. Right now I'm working on a 2D game with my friend and the next game we're going to make is 3D, but we want to use an open-source engine because otherwise you can't enter it into the independant game developers conference. But still, that Unreal stuff could be great training.

demon
OB1, I don't think you grasp how big this news is. Hell, I think Lord Shockwave is the only person I've spoken to who has any idea. Do you know how much training like this normally costs? Here's a hint check Gnomon's prices! $50 - $70 for 2 hours, or less, of Maya training. That's the price of the game right there.

Not exactly sure of the technical details, but I'm pretty sure that the Unreal Engine 2 Runtime was released publically. http://udnbeta.epicgames.com/Powered/UnrealEngine2Runtime22261903#Downloading_the_Runtime

OB1
Believe me, I probably know more than anyone here just how much training in this field costs. To make a long story short, I couldn't get the $45,000 in loans to go to study game design at UAT this semester. It's insanely expensive to get training in 3D art and animation in this country. I don't like Unreal but I'll probably buy it just for this mod stuff.

Laser Link
Interesting. I don't know how useful it will be for programmers, because making changes like that are pretty cool, but eventually you have to learn how to write your own code- not just change somebody elses. :) And I imagine it will be done through a nice user friendly GUI, since this is aimed at artists. But it will definently be a nice starting point for people who are interested in game development.

Maya is a fantastic tool. We use it at my school a lot for animation and such. But remember, this is not real training like the prices you quoted. And you can buy Maya books for $50, which will be much more in depth. Not saying this is bad, but I guess I don't see the ultra-amazing part.

Oh, and the runtime is the compiled executable- not the source code itself. I think OB1 needs something Open Source.

demon
Laser Link: I completely agree that you need to learn how to do your own coding. I also assume you know the power of Unreal Scripting and MEL. Both of which will be taught to you in the 70 hours. (Well MEL will only be touched on, but you'll still learn a bit.) Also, I'm sure tellign teh same comment to Ubisoft about Splinter Cell, or Valve about Half-Life would be equally beneficial. I mean, both games could have been released as mods. (Hell, Half-Life started off as a mod.) They use another game's engine after all.

As for it not being the same as the training I linked to, please enlighten me. How does Keyframe Animation change when you use it in an Unreal context, or another one. What about the polygon tools, which will all be covered. Do they change? I'm sorry , I don't see how this training is any different other then in specific sections they'll say "when exporting to Unreal you'll need to do the following" of course, everything leading up to that will be the same whether or not you are using Unreal.

Also have you ever paid for Gnomon training? It is really high quality stuff. Have you ever watched the 3dbuzz free training videos? They too are equally high quality stuff. I've done both, and for my money I'd go for free any day. But then again, I guess when you're rich...

Oh and I fixed the link in the first post. You might want to re-read the last of 70 hours of content. Because clearly, we are looking at different things.

OB1
My friend Robert (who's doing all of the programming) has found a few good open-source 3D engines that we might use for our next game, but we're still looking for better stuff.

alien space marine
I might start making games soon too , My freind who works ubisoft might give me a few goodies to play with.

Laser Link
Um, yeah. Heaven forbid I have a differing opinion. I can't believe I already forgot that I am always wrong and stupid and ignorant and the other person is always right and perfect and all-knowing. Stick around demon, you would fit in great with the new TC.

demon
Having a difference of opinion is fine, my friend. If you can SUPPORT it. All I've seen so far is you dismissing it as being "done through a nice user friendly GUI, since this is aimed at artists" which it clearly isn't, if you've read the content covered in the link I provided. Some of it is, no doubt. But last I checked designing and implementing a new weapon from scratch, designing and implementing a vehicle from scratch, and Unreal Scripting are not solely for the artist. Oh, and you said "this is not real training like the prices you quoted. And you can buy Maya books for $50, which will be much more in depth." which I find quite ironic, considering I've SEEN much of this content. And you HAVEN'T. Never pegged you as a being prejudice beforehand.

Oh, and just because I only post when I feel very strongly about something, doesn't mean I don't lurk at other times.

OB1
You guys are arguing? Huh, it took a while for me to figure out what about.

Laser Link
Let's just say I don't have a lot of faith in free stuff from commercial America. Maya is freaking huge, and you said yourself they only cover a small part of MEL. They cannot cover all of Maya in 70 hours, and a good book will cover all of Maya. Also, MEL is nothing compared to Direct X or Open GL- it is used as an extension to those APIs. As I said before, Maya is fantastic. But it is a program for animation- and that makes it for artists. No, I didn't read all about it- I tried but the link didn't work. I looked around on that forum for a few minutes but didn't find anymore helpful info before posting my first reply. So I assumed that since they are teaching Maya, this whole thing is aimed at artists and aspiring programmers.

Demon, you can't really believe that someone can walk into a game studio and apply for a software engineer position with just this. Modding a game, no matter how powerful the mod, is not programming. You know that too. That's like these script kiddies who follow some step by step instructions on how to use someone else's programs to crack a Windows box- and then claiming they are master hackers. It's bogus, and anybody who really is in the industry will see through it. The people at Valve and Ubisoft may have used another game engine and maybe it was something a lot like this, but they also had the ability and knowlege to do more than just add new weapons. If you use a year old game engine, don't you have a graphically dated game? Yes, unless you can push and expand and build on top of the engine to make something a lot better. That requires real programming experience.

As I said before, it's a nice start, but without a solid foundation in programming, plus Open GL and DirectX and a lot of time coding in all that, you won't go anywhere. If you've looked at jobs that are listed on places like gamedev.net, you will see that not only do they all want a CS degree or equivalent experience, plus at least one published game. I don't think this will count. That's why I have this opinion.

demon
... at least now we're back to some educated discussion ....

Let's just say I don't have a lot of faith in free stuff from commercial America.

Good thing the tutorials available at 3dbuzz.com prior to Epic contracting them for UT2K4 have all been free then, eh?

a good book will cover all of Maya.

You can't honestly believe that. If a good book covered "all" of Maya, then there would be no need for other books. You're lucky if a good books covers everything to do with modeling and rigging a single humanoid character.

Also, MEL is nothing compared to Direct X or Open GL- it is used as an extension to those APIs.

MEL is Maya scripting language. It is very powerful, inside Maya. It is not designed to do the stuff Direct X or Open GL can do.

As I said before, Maya is fantastic. But it is a program for animation- and that makes it for artists.

And here I thought making a game required making the models in the game, and thus artists. Foolish me.

No, I didn't read all about it- I tried but the link didn't work.

Try again, as I told you to do two posts back. Saying "I fixed the link".

So I assumed that since they are teaching Maya, this whole thing is aimed at artists and aspiring programmers.

They aren't teachign Maya. They are teaching everything needed to do a basic game mod. This involves creating levels in UnrealED. Creating Characters in Maya, moddeling, rigging, importing, etc. Same for vehicles, and weapons. Yes, even the scripting needed to import them.

Demon, you can't really believe that someone can walk into a game studio and apply for a software engineer position with just this.

I didn't say that. I said this will help. You know the Make Something Unreal Contest for Unreal Tournament 2003? Do you remember the one for UT? The guy who came in second place is now working for Epic Games. I don't know his qualifications, but Epic noticed him because of his mod. Have you spoken to Cliffy recently? What about Mark Rein? You know the Lead Programmer for Epic Games and the Vice President? They BOTH said that a great way to get noticed in the industry is modding. But then again, I guess you know better.

Modding a game, no matter how powerful the mod, is not programming.

We're not talking about Doom modding here. We're talking about current generation modding. There is a TON of scripting and programming that can be done for a good game mod now adays. It isn't like the Blizzard "make your own map" thing anymore. Hell, a good mod on a powerful engine can completely change the game. Even the GENRE!

That's like these script kiddies who follow some step by step instructions on how to use someone else's programs to crack a Windows box- and then claiming they are master hackers. It's bogus, and anybody who really is in the industry will see through it.

What about the "script kiddies" who see a step-by-step tutorial on how the program that was used was made. And then turn around to create a new program themselves, that can crack amazon? Bad example, I know. But these tutorials aren't showing you how to run a mod, they are teaching you how to MAKE a mod. If you choose not to learn from them, and only to follow them step-by-step that is YOUR decision.

The people at Valve and Ubisoft may have used another game engine and maybe it was something a lot like this, but they also had the ability and knowlege to do more than just add new weapons.

Lew levels, new characters, new vehicles, new weapons, new scripts. Hmm, almost sounds like a whole new game.

If you use a year old game engine, don't you have a graphically dated game?

Quake released on: 05/31/96
Quake II released on: 11/30/97
Half-life (runs on a Quake / Quake II hybrid engine) released on: 10/31/98
Half-life Couter-Strike released on: 11/08/00

Isn't Half-Life like the most played FPS ever, but by your logic it should be a "graphically dated game" being a mod and all. Even though it is the most played FPS -- right now -- beating out any other game. And by a big margin too.

http://www.gamespy.com/stats/

Yes, unless you can push and expand and build on top of the engine to make something a lot better. That requires real programming experience.

Which you need the fundamentals before you can learn.

As I said before, it's a nice start, but without a solid foundation in programming, plus Open GL and DirectX and a lot of time coding in all that, you won't go anywhere.

That *strongly* depends on what you're trynig to do. If you're looking into creating a game engine, then you're right, this won't do you all that much good. But if you're looking to create the next Half-Life then this is definately a step in the right direction.

If you've looked at jobs that are listed on places like gamedev.net, you will see that not only do they all want a CS degree or equivalent experience, plus at least one published game.

If you need to have a game published before you can get a job making a game, then wouldn't that be a catch-22? A good mod can get you noticed, a mod that is a dime-a-dozen won't. Talent gets noticed. This will just teach you how to use the tools, and draw on the canvas. It is up to you to make the next Mona Lisa.

OB1
Uh, LL, I think demon is just saying that this Unreal package will have some great modding and Maya tutorials that will help wannabe game designers learn a lot about modding and most importantly (for me, at least), modeling, animating, and texturing with Maya. I don't think he's suggesting that anyone who uses the tutorial will automatically become a professional game designer.

And I don't quite understand what you're saying. Not everyone in the game design industry is a programmer. That's a specific type of job. There are modelers, animators, concept artists, texture artists, sound designers, etc.

Although of course I'm trying my best not to read all of your arguments so I might be missing what you're trying to say. But this seems like a very strange thing to argue about.

alien space marine
There making a stargate Sg1 mod! :)

Laser Link
Demon: All I've seen so far is you dismissing it as being "done through a nice user friendly GUI, since this is aimed at artists" which it clearly isn't, if you've read the content covered in the link I provided

LL: As I said before, Maya is fantastic. But it is a program for animation- and that makes it for artists.

Demon: And here I thought making a game required making the models in the game, and thus artists. Foolish me.

I don't get it. First I say this is for artists, and then demon tells me it's not. So I believe you, and try to explain why I believed it was for artists. Then you tell me that of course it is for artists and try to make me look like an idiot who thinks there are no need for artists. Whatever.

And my point EXACTLY was the MEL is a scripting language and not going to replace OpenGL or DirectX, thus you need to know those APIs as well.

And yes demon, I realize that getting into the game industry is a catch-22. That is why I have been working at learning DirectX, OpenGL and other graphic programming tools and taking as many graduate-level graphics classes at school as I can. I've been working on games myself, trying to find time after the 60+ hours I spend on school work each week plus my job. But obviously it's hard to make progress, as I still need to sleep and eat and do those other pesky things that take up time in The Real World. And having a social life or friends is pretty much a joke. I'm actually looking forward to graduating in May so that I can get a job and have more free time to work on games or Linux.

Obviously this is something you are very excited about, and I'm sorry if you think I am trying to boo hoo on you or steal your thunder or rob your dreams or whatever else. That is not my intention. I tend to be down to earth and my comments were intended to point out that this will not make you a master game programmer, but instead give you a good start. It's something I've said a couple time in this thread, and it's something you have finally acknowleged too. I don't know why you took so much offense to what I said originally- maybe you misunderstood what I was trying to say. That happens a lot because I am not a good communicator, and people at this board used to understand that, being that we are all geeks. But lately things have changed, and everybody takes offense to everything- almost like they want to be offended and argue. In fact I have found myself doing that, and I probably did that in this thread. I'm sorry, it wasn't intended.

demon
Laser Link: THIS ISN'T FOR ARTISTS. I don't know why you keep saying that. Did you even look at the link in the end? Yes, PARTS are for artists. But far from the whole thing.

But anyway, I agree with most of the rest of what you said.

geoboy
For the past half year or so I have been a part of the <a href="http://www.3dbuzz.com">3D Buzz</a> community. 3D Buzz is an amazing place full of the most unselfish people in the world. Its founder, Jason Buzby, has sacrificed the past 2 or 3 years of his life making this place work. What he does is create free video training modules (VTM) for high end 3D applications and game modding.

These videos are amazing. I learned so much from them in a few hours than I ever have in my life from any other free online tutorials. These VTMs are done by professionals who know their stuff, and more importantly, know how to teach. Buzz DOES NOT accept any money from individuals who were pleased with the videos. All he asks is that you turn around and help someone else on the message boards.

All the money used to keep 3D Buzz up and running comes from sponsors (such as epic games, alias, etc.) and out of Buzz's pocket. Nobody is really doing this for the money. The only sponsors of the website are companies that create 3D software. These companies pour money into 3D Buzz partly because the people training there may someday buy that company's software, but also because it's a sort of mission for a 3D revolution. Anyone anywhere should be able to create 3D art at minimal expense. And nobody realizes this more than Epic Games.

Epic sponsored 3D Buzz to create 23 <i>new</i> VTMs for UT2K4 (that's almost as many old VTMs available at 3D Buzz currently) and I was simply thrilled. I have never been this giddy since, well... ever! You have no idea how good this knowledge, this...this free education really is.

Trust me, Laser Link. I know Jason Buzby. I've been with 3D Buzz for a long time now. This isn't a hidden form of greed. There's no catch. It's people sacrificing their time, money, their whole lives, so that people like me who can't afford training can get it. I owe 3D Buzz so much, and it just kinda hurt me to see what you said, LL.

</rant>