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Furyo

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

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Ok, noobish question time.

I'm about 2.5 months into a 4 month personal project for Gears of War. I have a functional white box with all the necessary triggers, critical scripting, etc. in it. All I really have left is set dressing, lighting, and optimization left to do.

Problem is that the editor is so bug-ridden that all of the BSP for the level has become unmodifiable and inaccessible (invisible in all viewports and geometry mode won't let me edit the brushes anymore). Edit: And all of my daily backups that aren't almost 2 months old are corrupted.

Since I will still need to be able to access the BSP to finish this project, I'm pretty much stuck unless I want to throw away 2 months of work and start over from there again.

Bottom line, I'm going to miss my deadline of 4/30. Am I shit out of luck on all that work, or do employers actually care about having a design doc and a white box full of gameplay and thoroughly documented scripting? I've also kept a thorough log of exactly how much time I put in and what each chunk of time was spent doing into an Excel document.

Should I just chalk it up as a loss for taking on a project that was too big for an unstable editor, or try to incorporate the existing whitebox into my portfolio?

Would appreciate any feedback as I toss the Gears of War editor into the garbage and start studying up on Source/Sandbox/UDK/anything that is functional and stable.

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Stop now, and incorporate the white boxed game play into your portfolio as videos and tell the viewer that this was the intention from the start: To create game play only and see if it looks fun to play without all the nice graphics (because thats what matters most). Its a small lie, but a good one since no one likes a quitter :D (But at this point in your level, you need to stop because you cant fix what has been broken).

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Stop now, and incorporate the white boxed game play into your portfolio as videos and tell the viewer that this was the intention from the start: To create game play only and see if it looks fun to play without all the nice graphics (because thats what matters most). Its a small lie, but a good one since no one likes a quitter :D (But at this point in your level, you need to stop because you cant fix what has been broken).

^ This!

One thing I'd try though, download http://www.deep-shadows.com/hax/3DRipperDX.htm, and try to rip the geometry. You'll have the geometry in OBJ that you may open in 3DsMax or Maya and you could still do something out of it. Maybe even export it into another engine.

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":hwcz0vag]
Stop now, and incorporate the white boxed game play into your portfolio as videos and tell the viewer that this was the intention from the start: To create game play only and see if it looks fun to play without all the nice graphics (because thats what matters most). Its a small lie, but a good one since no one likes a quitter :D (But at this point in your level, you need to stop because you cant fix what has been broken).

^ This!

One thing I'd try though, download http://www.deep-shadows.com/hax/3DRipperDX.htm, and try to rip the geometry. You'll have the geometry in OBJ that you may open in 3DsMax or Maya and you could still do something out of it. Maybe even export it into another engine.

I could never get that shit to work. At least not in the games that interested me art-wise.

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Thanks to a helpful tip from Hourences, I was able to recover everything. Back in business!

I had to copy every brush, mesh, Kismet, etc. on a level-by-level basis to notepad (and saved the files of course). Then I backed up and deleted everything and created a new instance of the persistent level and all streamed ones, and individually pasted the contents of each notepad file into each correlating level. It also eliminated a lot of the ghost in the machine errors I was getting.

Lesson learned: don't move BSP across levels unless absolutely necessary.

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Kind of interested in "how" some of you guys work. I struggle quite a bit with keeping focused and often don't feel I spend enough time working on something in a day or in one session. Is there any kind of work flow some of you use, I guess its different when you work in a studio but, how many hours do you put in on an average day or work for at once?

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As far as I'm concerned, that will greatly change depending on the task at hand. My experience in this industry is varied, be that in level design, game design or tech tasks so the workflow associated to them has evolved along with my own experience.

On any given day however, I feel that I can stay focused on work for very long stretches. However that ability is always deeply rooted with my own level of interest in the task at hand. And whenever that interest isn't there, I will struggle to find a way to make it interesting to me rather than brush it off and not work on it. Most of the time, I will start with whichever part I'm most comfortable with, from previous experience. That builds up my knowledge of the overall task and will help me transition into the harder, newer parts of it over time.

Compartment your work, divide the big meal into side appetizers, and you'll get through it.

When it comes to level design, for me, that means figuring out a few things first. Before starting any production work.

1) Place in the overall game

2) Game mechanics to focus on

3) Story if any

4) Schematic layout to bring forward both the game mechanics and story elements, in a cubes and arrows fashion...

5) writing all of this in a design doc helps me immensely, not only in being able to forward this to others should the need arise, but also to engrain each element in my mind before I start producing the level.

Then I start, produce a prototype for each idea very fast, playtest early, study results and go from there, one "cube" at a time (in linear levels) or one "game mechanic at a time" (in sandbox levels)

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Kind of interested in "how" some of you guys work. I struggle quite a bit with keeping focused and often don't feel I spend enough time working on something in a day or in one session. Is there any kind of work flow some of you use, I guess its different when you work in a studio but, how many hours do you put in on an average day or work for at once?

Update project - look at youtube - update editor - look at reddit - build data - look at mapcore/gmail - work/check mapcore/gmail/reddit for ~7 hours

If someone from work reads this I don't have a job on monday :derp:

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Some days I struggle to get a few hours of real work done, other days I cant take my eyes of a task before its finished (which sometimes keeps me up late at night ~15 hours max).

But I try as best I can to stay away from the browser when I work. And its really important that I don't get interrupted when I work, even if I am not really coding, because that breaks my rhythm so bad and I can spend everything from 5 minutes to half an hour to get into the groove again.

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Has anyone here applied for foreign jobs? (foreign to you) Any suggestions? Particularly in regards to French Canada. All companies there require a French copy of your resume (by law?) but do they generally care if you speak French? Should I spend the time making a french version of my resume (with outside help) and applying to those companies if I don't speak french?

Also, I stupidly got a felony conviction when I was a teenager. Should I give up on international positions entirely or put that on my resume?

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French isn't an issue, if you already know and speak french go ahead though. If you're only english, that's fine, if you're the right person, they'll get you there and give you french classes from what I hear :P. What do you do btw? We've got a bunch of openings here at Ubi Toronto if you want me to pass along your stuff?

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Cool, thanks for the info. That's what I was hoping since I don't speak French but I can get help translating my resume! :)

I do level design and environment art withheavy focus on LD, I don't actually apply to art positions, just try and use those skills when needed

My portfolio (and resume) @ www.happy-hills.net please feel free to pass them along. I was going to apply to Ubisoft (and a few others) after finishing my current project. But maybe I should do it now!

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