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How to break in the games industry - an insiders' guide

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I asked the guys at Ensemble Studios what their recommendation was since I worked in the same building with them. They all said for schooling to do the masters program at SMU's Guildhall. Granted a number of them were teachers or founders of that program, but the students who come out of it have mostly gone straight into Junior Positions at every major studio that I know of (except Blizzard). If you don't mind moving to Dallas after getting your bachelors it's a really good option. Expensive, but good.

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I need to ask about portfolio building. I like to play around with web site building but when it comes to building something really solid.... I am playing with wordpress at the moment but there I would need a really good theme for the layout. Can anyone recommend a good way to go as far as site building is concerned? Want to start to think about this good and early.

Thanks

There are a fair amount of wordpress themes out there where they release them with the required PSD's so you can take a theme with the layout you like and pretty much make it your own. To a degree..

You can try using some more website oriented SQL solutions like Joomla, but they require more time and the benefits probably arent worth the time investment. If your host has something called Fantastico you can use that to quickly try out all the SQL-based content management packages and see which one works for you best.

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Something I was asking myself yesterday: it seems a good thing to bring your laptop to events or interviews to allow possible employers to try out your levels right away. But my laptop died a while ago, and I really don't have the money to buy one that would run Crysis without having to tune it down to low setting, and I really wouldn't want to show the game in low settings for fear of the poor dude going blind.

Is there a solution to my issue? Did anybody here ever have this issue and still managed to get a decent interview going? Maybe by bringing the CDs for the games involved?

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I took my laptop to my interview but they didn't want to look at my work, just discuss theoretical stuff. I made sure to leave them a CD with all my work on to check out later on if they wanted, it included all the levels I wanted to show in .bsp and the source files, as well as a full copy of Ham and Jam. The laptop I took could barely run HL2 on low anyway, I suspect my case was probably more the exception to the rule however.

Reposting from other thread for posterity

My advice is to do a general media based degree rather than a specific computer games degree. That way if it turns out you don't like the industry you don't have a paperweight degree.

I did mine in BA(Hons) Multimedia Design & Digital Animation which covered traditional 2D design, traditional animation, digital animation and modelling, web design, flash design and more.

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The answer to almost everything entertainments industry related is make yourself worth hiring, how you do that is down to you ;) Never forget thats the bottom line and everything you do with the target of getting a job should come from that.

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Another often overlooked tip is to bring multiple copies of your CV with you to interviews, even if you've sent them ahead. When I went to mine and sat down in the room I saw my CV printed out on a table, however when the two guys and PR lady came in to interview me the PR woman said "excuse me, I'll just photocopy these so we all have one" and I was able to step in and say "actually, I brought extras with me!".

Both the lead game designer and franchise designer then turned to each other and nodded. :)

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Another great insider tips is to shower before your interview, so you smell nice and fresh. I've always showered before going to my interviews, and I've gotten a job 2 out of 3 interviews I've been in.

The last time I went to an interview I quietly remarked "I've showered" while the HR person was out photocopying my CV, and both the art director and level designer smelled my armpits and nodded :)

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I need to ask about portfolio building. I like to play around with web site building but when it comes to building something really solid.... I am playing with wordpress at the moment but there I would need a really good theme for the layout. Can anyone recommend a good way to go as far as site building is concerned? Want to start to think about this good and early.

Thanks

There are a fair amount of wordpress themes out there where they release them with the required PSD's so you can take a theme with the layout you like and pretty much make it your own. To a degree..

You can try using some more website oriented SQL solutions like Joomla, but they require more time and the benefits probably arent worth the time investment. If your host has something called Fantastico you can use that to quickly try out all the SQL-based content management packages and see which one works for you best.

Thanks.

I have built something with pure HTML not even an editor that I think is going to do the job and will use you tube for videos or maybe Quick Time.

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