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What is the place of scientists/engineer in the gaming industry ?

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Hi! It seemed more appropriate to ask this here. Since I am in the path to become an engineer, I wondered what the gaming industry has to offer for scientists, in order to know if I'd have something there for my future :)

There should be a need with the rise of PBR, right?

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There are many software engineers who hold a degree in computer science working in the games industry. Their specializations may vary (from artificial intelligence to graphics programming). What kind of engineering degree are you studying for exactly? A software engineer's skill set is obviously different from a mechanical or electrical engineer's.

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Well for now I don't know yet, but in France engineer are supposed to know a bit of everything in order to manage teams, also, you decide your final skill set the last two years, I'm hesitating between an engineer - architect degree (which would provide me a knowledge in modelling and rendering, that could be useful if I want to develop games ? ) and also with a engineer-urbanism degree which should provide me a skill set in mathematics and computational sciences.

Or I could become a trader or a physician but that would mean selling my soul :P

But seriously, I thought that physicians could be needed to develop PBR since the P holds for physics, and that mathematicians could be needed because of the expensive cost of ray tracing which they could maybe reduce using mathematics' magic, was I wrong?

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Well, maybe i can give you some answers on that topic.

I just have 2 exams (tomorow and the day after) and a 6-months internship left and i'll be done with my mechanical engineer degree. Just like you, i'm in france and i know what you mean about the 2 first years of the 5-years syllabus, but you're not exactly right. Indeed the first 2 years are generalist, because you learn a common core of science and physics that can be useful, whatever the field of study you choose after that (in theory). But from the third year, you'll have to choose 1 domain (computer science, mechanical stuffs, electrical stuffs, logistics ...), and that's what FrieChamp would like to know, and the sooner your know what you wanna do, the better.

Like FrieChamp, I believe the only way to work in the game industry with an engineer's degree is with a computer science degree. There is even a specialization in my school dedicated to digital imaging (in which you learn about rendering process, games engine ...).

I am myself in a mechanical field, specialized in product design ("Conception de produits" in french). I might have a chance to work on some kind of hardware such as game controllers maybe ... But that's it, there really isn't any other opportunity for me (or at least i haven't found any). And since these studies have been incredibly hard for me (especially the first 2 years you're doing right now), my hopes at having fun at doing my job in this field are very low, I'm not even graduated that i'm already depressed of what happens next... And in the same time, I really like working and studying level design stuff, it's so much easier for me and interesting. So at the end of my studies, I might work for some time as a mechanical engineer, I still have fun at working on some stuff, but I might change my job after that and try to work in the game industry.

 

About the PBR and others "Physically based" stuff, it's really not that complicated. These stuff use old things discovered a long time ago in science, the difficulty is more about their integration in programming. I thought that because i know physics i could have helped with physics engine but apparently not, no one told me that IT guys needed mechanical engineers for that. If you want to work in the field and in the same time be an engineer, go for IT.

The 2 first years you are doing right now are probably hard, but at least they will give you some tools, and most importantly : a logic. That's the most important thing that will help you in the future, your way of thinking and solving problems.

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@leplubodeslapin thanks for your extensive reply, where are you studying by the way?

I do lack experience, this is why I asked, it has been helpful! In a few weeks I will have to choose (hopefully) which school I will attend next year, and this choice is depending on what the school can offer, this is also the reason of my enquiry, so that I have the largest amount of information :)

By the way, my physics teacher told us that quantum physics are very important in the industry (I read it is responsible for more than 75% of the gross income from science in the industry). Do you know if it has some applications in this industry? Maybe in the hardware conception?

(By the way, don't be depressed, you will certainly be paid well enough to allow you to change fields more easily ;) )

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That general 2 years followed by a further 3 years in a more specialised field sounds really good. Over in the UK up until university we do all the basic, core subjects and then suddenly you have to jump straight into computer science (which I did) with the chance of specialising in your 3rd year. I tried to tailor my course for a mixture of programming and creativity, but it was pretty rough and the staff were absolutely useless.

What I would say though is don't necessarily look to be in the games industry. From having been in that position myself and tried to adapt my learning to cater for it, (I would say) it's much better if you let the process happen organically as you could find yourself in a job you don't like with credentials suitable only for this job you no longer like.

Keep the mapping and level design as a hobby, and if more comes of it then great. These days there are an increasing number of opportunities to work in the games industry without having to actually be in it.

Good luck whichever direction you choose :)

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@jackophant it is nice since it allows people to find their way through what's best for them, but it makes it hard because you gave to learn many many things, so that you are able to redirect in everything afterwards. It has its drawbacks too :)

yes, it probably is the best way  to do this, but if I specialize in automotive, opportunities are limited...

And thanks, I really appreciate it, I do think which path I will take but who knows :)

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    [...]

Keep the mapping and level design as a hobby, and if more comes of it then great. These days there are an increasing number of opportunities to work in the games industry without having to actually be in it.

[...]

I couldn't agree more.

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@leplubodeslapin thanks for your extensive reply, where are you studying by the way?

I do lack experience, this is why I asked, it has been helpful! In a few weeks I will have to choose (hopefully) which school I will attend next year, and this choice is depending on what the school can offer, this is also the reason of my enquiry, so that I have the largest amount of information :)

By the way, my physics teacher told us that quantum physics are very important in the industry (I read it is responsible for more than 75% of the gross income from science in the industry). Do you know if it has some applications in this industry? Maybe in the hardware conception?

(By the way, don't be depressed, you will certainly be paid well enough to allow you to change fields more easily ;) )

I'm studying at the UTBM (one of the 3 UTs, along with UTC and UTT), the two first years dedicated to maths/physics were integrated in the school.

UTBM isn't a great school for IT, i don't recommand (but for mecahnical engineering, it's great).

I don't understand what you teacher wanted to say with Quantum Physics in the industry, I don't really see much of applications from it, maybe with quantum computers? It's quite new, i don't know much about the subject sorry... In videogames, i don't see any application, physics engine only uses simple rigid body laws for now (and particule simulations but it's just about big amount of particles than anything else). I expect the next physic engines to take laws and methods from Finite Element Analysis, the kind of tools used in simulation to make deformable objects (from the elastic domain to the breaking, it's all possible).

 

What I would say though is don't necessarily look to be in the games industry. From having been in that position myself and tried to adapt my learning to cater for it, (I would say) it's much better if you let the process happen organically as you could find yourself in a job you don't like with credentials suitable only for this job you no longer like.

Keep the mapping and level design as a hobby, and if more comes of it then great. These days there are an increasing number of opportunities to work in the games industry without having to actually be in it.

I agree from your point of view of computer scientist, you can use your knowledge to adapt to different fields because there is programming in this kind of fields. I personally have no chance to find anything that could get me closer to this industry, opportunities sometimes will never come and you have to adapt ...

 

but if I specialize in automotive, opportunities are limited...

That's what i meant.

 

Don't forget that the industry is still great fo lateral entrants. So if you want this, you can definitely do it :)

How? What? Without any contact, how could you convince that you are valuable and that you can bring an expertise to certain domains? It's a real question, I've been thinking about it a lot and i have no idea how i could manage to mix product design in mechanical engineering and videogames development.

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Oh yeah I heard about this school when someone from UTC went in my prepa for a convention of ancient students.

For now, I'm hesitating between Centrale Paris, les Mines Paris tech and l'école Nationale des Ponts et chaussées, have you had any insight about these schools?

I asked him, apparently semi-conductor in components have proprieties related to quantum physics, which are also very subtle. That and quantum computers of course, and supra conductors, which aren't in our imminent future. Your last idea is good, it could be fun to have such elements!

It could be a step to a more rich environment, because thanks to this, we could create sound, which wouldn't be scripted, many music instruments are using this kind of physics for instance.

When I'll be good enough to do so, we could team up and try this!

Thanks everyone for the insights, it gives me hope :)

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I agree from your point of view of computer scientist, you can use your knowledge to adapt to different fields because there is programming in this kind of fields. I personally have no chance to find anything that could get me closer to this industry, opportunities sometimes will never come and you have to adapt ...

I was talking generally about trying to adapt. I could more easily from computer science, but I think the same stands for any level of education manipulation, as unfortunately we don't all know what we want to do when we have to choose.

You quoted two of my paragraphs, but they are meant to be independent from each other. In my day-to-day life, I have nothing to do with the games industry, and quite honestly, the amount of ill-thought, rushed bullshit I see being churned out by a lot publishers, the less I'm inclined to want to deal with it. However, anyone with a bit of work can get into some aspect of the games industry, if only as an independent. No-one is going to start out at industry standard if they aren't already in an easily transferable field of work, but that doesn't stop people trying.

The opportunities Valve have provided the community to publish work are unprecedented, and is a good chance in itself to build a portfolio and gain some industry knowledge, even if you are never officially featured. Following this community driven model, I know that more companies will follow this idea and there will only be more options available all the while being an automotive engineer.

I'm sure at some point an automotive engineer will come into contact with 3D design software, which is undoubtedly useful.

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Look at which roles exist in a typical games production.
3D Art, Environment Art, Concept Art, Technical Design, Technical Art. (for example)


Learn what it takes to work in these roles, apply and get a job. That's all there is to it.

Edited by Zezeri
I want pizza

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Look at which roles exist in a typical games production.
3D Art, Environment Art, Concept Art, Technical Design, Technical Art. (for example)


Learn what it takes to work in these roles, apply and get a job. That's all there is to it.

these are mainly artistic jobs, which I guess are easier to get without a diploma, as long as you can prove you're badass at it, right?

(Don't get me wrong, it surely is harder to be a great artist than a great scientist even if the qualities required are basically the same)

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For now, I'm hesitating between Centrale Paris, les Mines Paris tech and l'école Nationale des Ponts et chaussées, have you had any insight about these schools?

Yes of course, these school are famous because they are very old, first engineer schools in the world. But it doesn't necessarly mean they are better than others today for what you want to do. I insist on that, don't choose 1 school because its global reputation is good, choose it because its school program for the field you want to study is good and fits to what you want (if you really have the opportunity to choose between these schools ! ^^).

 

I asked him, apparently semi-conductor in components have proprieties related to quantum physics, which are also very subtle. That and quantum computers of course, and supra conductors, which aren't in our imminent future. Your last idea is good, it could be fun to have such elements!

I really don't know the subject, I don't really see jobs in these fields except for science research today, but your teachers know better than me for sure.

About FEA, yeah i've studied many things on the subject and even made my own 1D physic engine :D  But it's extremely basic x)

 

I was talking generally about trying to adapt. I could more easily from computer science, but I think the same stands for any level of education manipulation, as unfortunately we don't all know what we want to do when we have to choose.

You quoted two of my paragraphs, but they are meant to be independent from each other. In my day-to-day life, I have nothing to do with the games industry, and quite honestly, the amount of ill-thought, rushed bullshit I see being churned out by a lot publishers, the less I'm inclined to want to deal with it. However, anyone with a bit of work can get into some aspect of the games industry, if only as an independent. No-one is going to start out at industry standard if they aren't already in an easily transferable field of work, but that doesn't stop people trying.

The opportunities Valve have provided the community to publish work are unprecedented, and is a good chance in itself to build a portfolio and gain some industry knowledge, even if you are never officially featured. Following this community driven model, I know that more companies will follow this idea and there will only be more options available all the while being an automotive engineer.

I'm sure at some point an automotive engineer will come into contact with 3D design software, which is undoubtedly useful.

Ok i see what you mean, you mean that even without a "video game degree" or whatever you have a chance to get to work in the field if you really want to. What I meant is that, maybe you can, but having an degree in another field will be completely pointless, it will never help you because it doesn't match with the needs of video games industry (for most of jobs). It's a restart, not an adaptation.

And you're right to mention about the situation in this industry that have its own rules. It can be shitty to work here...

I just want to redefine what a mechanical engineer is, because i know that almost everybody misunderstand it. It doesn't mean you're working in the automotive industry, mechanical stuffs are not only automotive engines, it is everything that can be connected between science and real-world with physic. Scientists discover laws/rules, engineers apply them. There are many fields in mechanical engineering, such as simulations, product design (mine), mechatronics, thermodynamics ... And they can be applied to any kind of objects you can see on earth, made by man, not only cars.
Just look at half-life 1, engineers and scientists everywhere ! But still, no cars :D

And yes I have to use daily a 3D design software named Catia, but it has nothing to do with Blender or Hammer that i use as a hobby. The use is completely different, and art isn't part of the equation ^^

 

Look at which roles exist in a typical games production.
3D Art, Environment Art, Concept Art, Technical Design, Technical Art. (for example)


Learn what it takes to work in these roles, apply and get a job. That's all there is to it.

Yea so basically, forget about all the things you've learned like a beast for 5 years of school and start over with something else.

That's not an adaptation.

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