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   GAME DESIGN BULLETIN BOARD

WELCOME to the Sloperama Game Design Bulletin Board.   It's a place to ask questions about designing games (videogames, board games, table games, computer games, handheld games...). You'll get answers, here on this board.

PLEASE READ THE FAQs BEFORE YOU ASK!!!

And read the questions and my answers below, before you ask me anything.

"ALL YOUR EMAIL ARE BELONG TO ME." Questions and answers are handled in this public forum only - I don't give free private answers. The "price" of the free answers is that they are given in this public forum for the education of all readers. No information you provide through this website shall be deemed confidential. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes permission for your email to be made public. I won't reveal your email address unless I think you're a spammer. DO NOT come back later and ask me to anonymize your email in any way. If you do not want your personal information to appear on this board, do not put any personal information in your email to me. If you do not want your question to be used in this public forum, then be prepared to hire my professional services, or do not send your question to me. This privacy policy is stated in numerous places on this website.

I'M NOT HERE TO BABY YOU. I'm here to teach you, to help you learn about game design and about the business of making games. Have you seen The Karate Kid or Kung Fu or those martial arts movies where the hero has to learn from a hardnosed sensei -- a rough-edged taskmaster with a secret heart of gold? I'm a little like that. As Randy Pausch said, "When somebody rides you, they're doing that because they care to make you better." Dumb questions and sloppy writing habits aren't exactly welcomed with open arms here. Babying isn't helping. If you want somebody to just pat your head and tell you how clever and talented you are, or to commiserate while you whine about how unfair the world is, go to your mama -- don't email me. If you want realistic game biz advice, though, I'm your guy.

I DO NOT REVIEW résumés, demos, websites, portfolios, schools' curriculums, or amateur designs. I do not choose schools for you. I do not make your decisions for you.

I AM NOT A PROGRAMMER, so please don't ask game programming questions here. There are other forums for that topic. This board is about game DESIGN. And game career advice.

EMAIL YOUR QUESTION to WebmasterSloperama.com, or any email address you know to be mine (it doesn't matter which Sloperama email address you use to get email to me) -- or click the picture below to submit your question or comment. In order for me to give you the best game career advice that's tailored for your individual situation, the first time you write me, I need to know these 5 tidbits about you:
How old are you?
What's your level of education?
What's your current occupation? (If student: "student")
Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for?
And depending on your question, I may need to know what country you live in (where in the world are you?).

And make sure you write an appropriate subject line for your email. Read http://wordwise.typepad.com/blog/2007/03/subject_to_chan.html.


To ask a question, click the image or email the address above.

After you submit your comment or question, RETURN TO THIS BOARD SOMETIME LATER (like several hours, or the next day) to see the response (below) - and keep coming back to see followup discussions. Clicking the picture above might not work for everyone. If you do not see a reply (below) within 24 hours, then email your question directly to WebmasterSloperama.com.

On this website, all the marbles are mine -- so you have to play MY game. Here are the rules:

  • Rule #1: read what I wrote above, and act accordingly.
  • No shouting. Nobody is allowed to shout here but me. (^_^) If you type your question in all caps, I'll convert it to lower case. Then everybody will think you're a sissy poet, or beatnik, or chatroom pervert... or something.
  • Don't send me confidential information and expect me to keep it to myself. It all goes right here.
  • Don't send me your game design for my "thoughts" about it -- the only way I can comment on it is to post the whole thing right here for everybody to see.
  • In fact, don't send me any attachments, photos, or anything. This board is for words. Ask me a question in your own words - I'll answer it in mine - or just send me your comments and I'll respond with mine.
  • Please do not try to friend me on Facebook or link with me on Linkedin. If I don't know you, we're obviously not friends. If we haven't worked together, we're obviously not colleagues.
  • I do not recommend you send me a PM on some other website (like GameCareerGuide or GameDev or LinkedIn or ReachMahjong...) for a number of reasons, but especially since if you do that, I might never notice that you did that. If you want to contact me, email me. Don't PM me.
  • Humor and entertainment for the readers is also part of what's offered on this site. Don't ask me for advice if you can't take a little good-natured ribbing. Oh OK, so I'm kind of like Dr. House or Mr. Miyagi sometimes. Take it like a man!
  • Don't use the word "gaming" to me. Look it up at dictionary.reference.com if you don't know why I dislike the term.
  • I give this free advice only by email - please do not telephone me with any game career advice questions! Business or journalist queries are of course welcome. If you do phone me with a business query, please make it clear very quickly that it is a business query and not an advice call.


  • Stuck in Brasil

    >From: gabriel .
    >Sent: Wed, August 31, 2011 2:43:02 PM
    >Subject: A brazilian aspirant game designer who fell in love with eletronic gaming years ago and with your all website and work just a few days ago.
    >I understand that, in order for you to give me the best game career advice suited to my unique situation, you need to know that...
    >My approximate age is: 22 years old
    >The level of education I've completed is: I don't know the actual therm for but i belive i graduated in high-school 4 years ago and i hope to get my superior degree as Telecomunications Engineering in the next year.
    >My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: Student
    >The type of game job I aspire to is: Probabbly progamming, but i`m still getting to know myself and the potential that i may or not have
    >The country I live in is: I live in the northeast part of Brazil, Fortaleza-CE.
    >
    >Before i make my question i would like to say how much joy felt when i found your site and spent a few hours reading everything. Unfortunately i belive i can't express it in words (hope it didn't sounded too bootlicking). I say this because i found all your material just a few days after i found myself professionaly, and i fell like i can't say how grateful i am for someone to give such type of guidance. It's just SO MUCH generous of your part. So enough of me trying to express my gratetude, let's go to the questions. (BTW, sorry if my english is poor. I never had english classes, learned eveerything i know throught video games, music and Star Wars novels haha)
    >
    >My game biz questions are:
    >1 - Has been about an year since i started dreaming and planing (only the main plot, characters, game engines like menus and battles) a really kick-ass project in my opinion. I already worked in the development of other indie games, just friendly, but i never launched a game. I belive i need to create a better background, profile and launch at least a couple of games of my own and my team before i can REALLY work on my life-game. Do you think it is a good idea to still run this project in parallel or it would be a better idea fo me to put it into a hiatus before i get myself really ready to develop it? (Only the first question was long, it really is something that is botthering the hell out of me nowsdays)
    >
    >2 - I really found all your work so much fascinating. Reading it i felt the need to share it with my fellows game designers, it is a sad thing that not every of my friends can read english. Do you know of any translation of your material? And if not would you mind if i translated it and shared it into my website throught an article?
    >
    >3 - The region i live in it's not developed in the field of games. It got an superior course that started about to 4 years ago and only one game company.I also belive that Brazil it's not an great promissing country to work in games, but i belive i really don't know about it. What do you think about the idea of travelling into another more promissing city or country for game designer? Do you think it is easier or harder to accomplish things when the industry here are still growing?

    Hello Gabriel, you wrote:

    Before i make my question i would like to say how much joy felt when i found your site
    That's nice to hear. (^_^)

    Do you think it is a good idea to still run this project in parallel or it would be a better idea fo me to put it into a hiatus before i get myself really ready to develop it?
    You can have your dream project on the side, that's okay. But you have to remember what your primary job is -- you say you're a student, so that means that your primary job has to be your studies. But whenever you have free time, you can turn your attentions to your side project.

    Do you know of any translation of your material?
    If there is one, there would be a link to it on my Game Biz Links page.

    would you mind if i translated it and shared it into my website
    This should be a separate private discussion. Not part of a public Q&A.

    The region i live in it's not developed in the field of games. It got an superior course that started about to 4 years ago and only one game company.I also belive that Brazil it's not an great promissing country to work in games, but i belive i really don't know about it.
    Check gamedevmap, gameindustrymap, and http://www.igda.org/chapters

    What do you think about the idea of travelling into another more promissing city
    Sure, why not? I advise Americans to do that all the time.

    or country
    I think that'll be even more difficult than getting work at a Brazilian game company.

    for game designer?
    Even more difficult. What would be your breaking-in pathway? Level design? Programming? Localization? What?

    Do you think it is easier or harder to accomplish things when the industry here are still growing?
    Have you read FAQ 64 yet?

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 31, 2011


    When I leave the military, 10 years from now

    >From: Randy S
    >Sent: Wed, August 31, 2011 7:50:43 AM
    >Subject: Long term planning
    >How old are you? 27
    >What's your level of education? Basically an Associates plus tons of elective credit hours.
    >What's your current occupation? I am an E-5 in the US Air Force. Satellite Communications.
    >Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? Designer.
    >What country do you live in (where in the world are you)? (OK, so that's 5.) Currently stationed in Japan.
    >
    >First of all, thanks for all the effort you put into your website. I can say is has been quite interesting to read(up to #11 so far), if somewhat useless to me in the near term(discussed in Q1).
    >
    >However, I have become more and more interested in game design over the years. I suppose I have always been interested, being an avid gamer, dreamer, etc, but never really considered it as a possibility, even remotely. For as long as I can remember, I have modded any and every mod-able PC game that I have played. When I was ~13, my best friend and I developed a new monopoly game from scratch, complete with a new board, new properties, new building mechanics, debt mechanics, and other things that I can't remember at this point. When I wasn't designing board games as a kid, I would be out in the forest designing forts, fake fleets made out of twigs, countless things that have existed solely in my mind.
    >
    >Thus, I have always been a designer at heart. Interestingly, I have only realized this about myself in the past year or so. Recently I have realized that instead of just being a full time daydreamer, perhaps I really should try and make a career out of it. I am also an INTJ, so I thought it was interesting that you are also one. I haven't taken the test in many years.
    >
    >Anyway, here are my questions:
    >Q1: How does the Game Industry view military service as seen on an application(both with and without degree)?
    >Q1.1: More specifically; how do you think it would go if I were to apply for Game Industry positions right out of military service, instead of getting a full degree and then applying?
    >(Background): I have a wife, son, and am expecting a second child. I have been in the Air Force for almost 10 years now, which realistically means I will be staying in for 20(hence the subject). The unique advantages that I feel I would bring to the table right now; leadership and management experience, familiarity with long hours, and significant technical and troubleshooting experience. Since I will likely stay in for 10 more years, I will gain a great deal more leadership experience. I currently supervise ~15 people, and it would be somewhere north of 200 by the time I get out.
    >Q2: How seriously, if at all, is modding taken into consideration when Breaking In to the Game Industry?
    >Q2.1: Is there a viable process for showing a mod off to a game company?
    >(Background): Last year, Civilization 5 launched. I eagerly awaited it, having played just about every iteration of it in the past. The game came with some wonderful mod tools, which I quickly began to utilize. Unlike my other forays into modding, Civ 5 really consumed me completely for 6 whole months. Every day after work, weekends, long into the night, modding Civ 5. I had a vision, my path layed out, and I implemented it ferociously. I received tons of excellent user feedback(free testers yay), people started submitting art to me out of the blue, it was great. I had found my calling. I would even say it was a rather popular mod. I am not a programmer by any means, it was all purely xml work with some fiddling in lua here and there. If you want to know more about why that modding experience came to and end, I can tell that story at a later date.
    >
    >I have more questions, but it is late, so I will leave you with these and maybe ask some more tomorrow. Thank you for your time and insight.
    >Randy

    Hello Randy, you wrote:

    How does the Game Industry view military service
    It's viewed as pretty much the same as unrelated job experience. Unless the company primarily focuses on military-themed games (then it's not unrelated).

    how do you think it would go if I were to apply for Game Industry positions right out of military service, instead of getting a full degree and then applying?
    I think they'd want to see a portfolio, they'd want to know how well you'd fit into their team. You haven't read the Switching FAQ yet. (#41)

    How seriously, if at all, is modding taken into consideration when Breaking In to the Game Industry?
    Very. It's pretty much a requirement, if you want to break in through level design.

    Is there a viable process for showing a mod off to a game company?
    Yes. But a 10-year-old mod might require a 10-year-old computer running a 10-year-old operating system and a 10-year-old game that the publisher doesn't necessarily have or care about, since the mod tools are 10 years old (i.e. "out of date"). Unless you make a machinima or movie capture from the mod, in a movie format that isn't 10 years out of date.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 31, 2011


    My friends disagree with me as to what "game design" is

    >From: Paarth G
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 6:45 AM
    >Subject: I'm sorry
    >Name:Paarth
    >Subject:Apology
    >Occupation:Student
    >Location: India, chennai
    >I'm really sorry about not following your advice. I'm right now making two games of my own in order to get experience to be a game designer all by myself. So I just told my friends that they don't have to be perfect on artwork as game designers just try their best to draw it so that the concept artists can do it better. But they disagree on that and when I tried proving that by explaining how Blow made Braid, but they said that he was very rich so he could afford to get an artist. And when I tried telling them that Game design is about making the rules and contents of a game, they refused. What is game designing actually? Is it about artwork or a discussion, because either way you need to explain it to a group of designers right?
    >Btw if you happen to know anyone who is experienced in game maker, let me know as I am very stressed in making games by myself( Not that I'm lazy, I've got tons of things to do.)

    Namaste, Paarth. You wrote:

    I'm right now making two games
    I don't know what that means. Why two, and what do you mean "making" exactly? Making how, using what?

    I just told my friends that they don't have to be perfect on artwork as game designers just try their best to draw it so that the concept artists can do it better. But they disagree
    So what? What does it matter what your friends think? Your life is your responsibility, not theirs.

    And when I tried telling them that Game design is about making the rules and contents of a game, they refused.
    It's funny, but I had this same argument with another person over the weekend -- an industry professional who works in the UK. He denied that there are people in the industry who do what I do, and demanded that I stop differentiating between game design and level design. I can only assume that he's got a very narrow view of the industry, that he's worked at very few companies and for only a very few years. Since there are even people in the industry who have a distorted view of what "game design" is, it's not surprising that your friends do also.

    Is it about artwork or a discussion
    No. Do you need to read FAQs 7, 14, and 28 again?

    because either way you need to explain it to a group of designers right?
    It's not surprising that your friends are disagreeing with you -- you have an inexact way of expressing things. A game designer expresses the vision of the game (the design of the game, in big-picture and in detail) to the other members of the game team, and to the project stakeholders.

    if you happen to know anyone who is experienced in game maker, let me know
    I am not your team matchmaker. You are on your own in that regard.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 30, 2011


    kudos for your work sir. I spent several hours captivated reading.

    >From: David B
    >Sent: Wed, August 24, 2011 5:06:56 PM
    >Subject: Thanks for your work
    >1. Age:22
    >2. Education: Some College
    >3. Student
    >5.USA
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    > I'm one of the individuals who believes they've found an ultimate game idea. I found your website looking for suggestions on how to pitch my game idea. I love your website. After reading through some of it I think I'll sit on the idea until I have the chance to take it more seriously. Maybe when I have downtime after I finish school. I wanted to say kudos for your work sir. I spent several hours captivated reading.
    >Regards,
    >David B

    Hi David,
    Thanks for the kind words!

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 24, 2011


    Am I on the right path? Did I ask right?

    >From: Chris v
    >Sent: Sat, August 20, 2011 12:54:57 AM
    >Subject: Deliberate practice; practicing game design effectively
    >Hello Tom,
    >I study "Game Design and Development" at the HKU in the Netherlands, I'm going to the second year in about a month. I'm 20 years old, and aspire to be a game designer.
    >I've been designing games for about 3 years before I went to college.
    >Lately, I've been reading about a research paper: "The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert experience". I've read the paper, and two books about it; Outliers and Talent is Overrated. Although I knew about the 10.000 hour rule for some time, I never really took thought on what the FORM of practice should be for me. I have now basically decided to do practice and school work for a minimum of eight hours each day, and I am disciplined and motivated enough to do it, but it seems that 'just practice game design' is really too vague and I don't learn as much as I could.
    >So basically, I'm trying to take my practice up a notch to a more effective level.
    >It seems a good practice method always has certain traits according to the deliberate practice theory:
    >1. clear feedback
    >2. high repetition
    >3. relevance to the skill you're trying to learn
    >So I went to make up some of my own practice methods. Here are some examples:
    >1. In order to practice game balancing: pick a badly balanced game, and balance it. This can be repeated alot since the game is basically already made, so you can focus solely on the balancing, and the feedback is clear because you can feel whether your game is better than the original or not.
    >2. Make a physical prototype of an existing video game, in order to practice physical prototyping and abstraction of compicated games.
    >I've started doing this already.
    >My question is basically: Am I on the right path? And specifically: are there practice methods like these that are effective, and that the game designers already use to take their skill to the next level? Because they don't really gave any at my school, and I'd like to take it up a notch from the level they're aiming at.
    >Thank you,
    >John Doe
    >ps. Could you also scrutinize this email itself? Am I asking the right questions, in the right way?

    Hi John Doe, you wrote:

    pick a badly balanced game, and balance it. This can be repeated alot since the game is basically already made, so you can focus solely on the balancing, and the feedback is clear because you can feel whether your game is better than the original or not.
    Well, maybe the feedback is clear, depending on exactly HOW you are envisioning this working. If you just balance it on paper, you can't playtest it. So maybe you're saying you can balance it in a level editor or something...

    Am I on the right path?
    I would say "a" right path. There isn't just one right path.

    are there practice methods like these that are effective, and that the game designers already use to take their skill to the next level?
    What you're describing is "just do it." And of course that's correct. A lot of guys say they want to be designers, and what they do is yammer on and on on forums, and never actually try doing anything.

    Could you also scrutinize this email itself? Am I asking the right questions, in the right way?
    Yes, you asked just fine.

    Greetz!
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 20, 2011


    Perrinoid questions, part 2

    >From: Andrew Perrin
    >Sent: Wed, August 17, 2011 3:38:27 PM
    >Subject: Q&A part II - Perrinoid questions.
    >Hello Mr. Sloper,
    >Thank you for your quick answers! The hemorrhoid thing never even occurred to me, it was just supposed to sound like paranoid.
    >I watch my graduating friends get jobs 6 or 8 months (in other fields) before they graduate, and I was just hoping to try and do the same. Based on your words, though, it seems like it would be wasted effort to even bother sending resume/portfolio links prior to next June. You're the first person I've ever known to say that. It seems counter-intuitive to wait that long to start trying to get a job.
    >Thanks again for your quick answers and insight,
    >Andrew

    Hi Andrew, you wrote:

    The hemorrhoid thing never even occurred to me, it was just supposed to sound like paranoid.
    If you add "oid" to "Sloper," you get a "roid." If you add "oid" to "Perrin," you get a "noid" (as opposed to "annoyed"). Noids and roids are COMPLETELY different things. Nobody would perceive roids from "Perrinoid." I was talking about me. I wasn't talking about you. It can't always be about you, you know!

    I watch my graduating friends get jobs 6 or 8 months (in other fields) before they graduate, and I was just hoping to try and do the same.
    Sure. Just apply to those other fields, like they did.

    It seems counter-intuitive to wait that long to start trying to get a job.
    It does? Huh. How about that.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 17, 2011


    Some Perrinoid questions

    >From: Andrew Perrin
    >Sent: Wed, August 17, 2011 11:23:35 AM
    >Subject: Game Industry Q+A
    >Greetings Mr. Sloper,
    >First off I'd like to say thank you for this website. It's helped me quite a bit and has found a permanent home in my bookmarks. I love that you are straightforward with answers, and don't sugarcoat the truth.
    >I went to a game design school in Arizona, but didn't like it and dropped after one year. After working a few years in a factory I decided it was time to get back into school and chase those dreams again. I'm currently 24, and a senior dual major in Computer Science and Information Systems at a state school in Pennsylvania. The Computer Science part is obviously training students to become programmers. The Information Systems is sort of what the school does for anyone who doesn't want to be a programmer. They cover subjects like hardware, computer networking, event driven programming, and they sweeten the deal with valuable business classes. It was the Information Systems part that made me discover that I also like the work that a game producer does. I try to do a little of everything, but what I'm good at is programming, design, and project management. I'm going to start a blog/portfolio site, and had a couple of related questions.
    >When I was a few years younger I thought up of the name "Perrinoid" as a name for my potential future company. Now I'm thinking of using it as my blog/portfolio name instead. I've been told by some friends that it's a clever play on my last name. Others have told me that it sounds corny or stupid.
    >
    >1. Would seeing "Perrinoid" as the portfolio of a prospective employee make you "paranoid" to hire him?
    >
    >For several years in high school, I participated in and designed "Forum RPGs." I'm sure you've seen them, but it's basically a pen & paper rpg that's done online over message boards. Everyone who designed these RPGs would design them based upon an existing game or anime show. We would use the source material and manipulate it to fit a pen & paper style system, our members would come in and design a character using our rule sets as a guide, and then we would come up with scenarios for the roleplayers to write about. It was fun, and for me it was a way to design games without having programming knowledge. I often wrote GDDs for these RPGs.
    >
    >2. Can I use sections of the GDDs on my portfolio website to showcase my writing style, even though they contain IPs that aren't mine? Would it be a bad idea?
    >
    >
    >My last two questions will probably get me a deserved cynical response, but so be it - I have to ask. I'm being completely honest when I say "I don't care where I end up in this country. I'm willing to move anywhere." I plan on applying to any game company I can, well-known or not, AAA or indie. If they're looking, I'll put myself in their sights. What this means, then, is that it's not going to be a good idea to move to a hotbed like, say, somewhere in California, when I'm willing to work in Washington, Texas, New York, Maryland, or any other state. I'll have some money stashed away when I graduate, but it would be naive to think it will be enough to move more than once. I'm far from rich, and I'm fine with that.
    >
    >3. How imperative is it that I move right away? What if I mention in my application that I'm willing to travel at my own expense for interviews? I don't want to move to California, not be able to get a job, and then have to pass up an opportunity in Washington because I can't afford to move again. Basically I want to know that I have a job before I put all of my money into getting started in an area.
    >
    >4. I plan on applying to places before I graduate. Is this a bad idea? How early is too early? My friends and family seem to think I should start applying now, but I have a whole year of school to finish. I'm hard pressed to believe anyone would be interested in talking to an applicant who can't start for a whole year.
    >
    >That's all for now. I feel like I've already typed too much and you're probably tired of reading. Just know that you're website has been invaluable to me.
    >Thank you for taking the time to read and answer my questions,
    >Andrew Perrin

    Hi Andrew, you wrote:

    Would seeing "Perrinoid" as the portfolio of a prospective employee make you "paranoid" to hire him?
    Probably not. I thought it was clever, until I realized what it sounded like. I wouldn't call my site "Sloperoid" because it would be vaguely connotative of hemorrhoids. But you can leave yours for now, see how it goes. When people meet you they'll see what a nice guy you are and forget what your website is called. Unless your site has dark imagery and thoughts expressed on it...

    Can I use sections of the GDDs on my portfolio website to showcase my writing style, even though they contain IPs that aren't mine? Would it be a bad idea?
    Well, what if you wind up applying to a company that owns that IP? Or what if you apply to a company who's in direct and antagonistic competition with the company owning the IP you write about? This is a difficult question. I've heard that the way to get work writing for TV is to write sample scripts for the shows you want to work for. But I've never thought about that in the context of games.

    How imperative is it that I move right away?
    It isn't. But you won't get work until after you do.

    What if I mention in my application that I'm willing to travel at my own expense for interviews?
    That old question yet again? NO. Enn, oh. It doesn't do a bit of good. Read my March and April 2010 columns on IGDA.org. Click "The Games Game" link above left, then click archives. http://www.igda.org/games-game-archives

    I don't want to move to California, not be able to get a job, and then have to pass up an opportunity in Washington because I can't afford to move again. Basically I want to know that I have a job before I put all of my money into getting started in an area.
    Understandable. Sorry! I have no magic for you there. You'll have to take the risk. That's what I did when I came to California. It worked out okay for me.

    I plan on applying to places before I graduate. Is this a bad idea? How early is too early?
    Read "I want to minimize downtime in my new location" >From: M X >Sent: Mon, August 1, 2011 11:53:55 AM >Subject: Applying for job prior to moving to game hotbed? (scroll down to see the answer I gave to the last guy who asked this).

    thank you for this website. It's helped me quite a bit and has found a permanent home in my bookmarks. I love that you are straightforward with answers, and don't sugarcoat the truth.
    Sweet.


    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 17, 2011


    Masters degrees, part 2

    >From: deepak k
    >Sent: Mon, August 15, 2011 9:43:49 AM
    >Subject: Re: Game Development career related
    >thnx a lot , that really helped , I have some more questions but guess
    >i will explore more before i ask them.

    Good, Deepak. Sounds like a plan.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 15, 2011


    Masters degrees

    >From: deepak k
    >Sent: Mon, August 15, 2011 5:45:10 AM
    >Subject: Game Development career related
    >Hi , I m Deepak from India.
    >I have done Bachelor of Engineering ( 4 year degree in information technology).
    >I m have a passion to develop games.
    >Throughout my college life i made many games ( some in flash , others
    >in C++/Java).
    >From 7 months , Im developing games on J2ME( for mobiles , non-directx).
    >But I want to do a master degree in game development for desktop games in USA.
    >I love programming but ,
    >1.Is it worth it? I mean the money is a very big factor for me.
    >2.Are there enough jobs and good money in this career?
    >3.What are good colleges/universities for this?
    >Thnx.

    Hello Deepak,
    Welcome to my website. You've asked questions that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers, I have compiled them into a series of articles or FAQs ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask newcomers to explore before writing to me.
    Please scroll up and find the links to the FAQs, above left (they're easy to find since they're indicated by a blue and yellow flashing arrow, emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Bookmark the FAQs page for your future reference. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking a question. Today you asked:

    Is it worth it?
    Please read FAQ 66. And I wrote my June column about masters degrees. Click "the Games Game," above left (you'll find it just above the IGDA logo). If the June 2011 column isn't presented to you right there, you can click Archives to get to all the past columns.

    I mean the money is a very big factor for me.
    You can learn about game industry salaries in the United States by finding the link to the Salary Survey, in my Game Biz Links page (you'll find a link to the Links page beneath the USC logo). And I've written my August column about the cost of education, but the column hasn't gone live yet (there was a recent change in webmasters there). You have to make the financial decision yourself. Read FAQ 70.

    Are there enough jobs
    I don't know what you would consider "enough." You have a lot of competition, but there are indeed a lot of game programming jobs. That Salary Survey might have information about that.

    What are good colleges/universities for this?
    See the Game Biz Links page.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 15, 2011


    Legal liability for references to copyrighted material, part 2

    >Date: Sat, 13 Aug 2011 11:05:22 -0700
    >Subject: Clarifying it because my muddled self didn't word that right anyway
    >From: nathan f
    >I was meaning that as a casual pass time, I am making a dice / pen and paper system that my friends and I use that are using copyrighted material such as Characters from well known things. As an example, earlier on we had a 2 v 2 v 1 v 1 match of Rance Claire and Protoman teamed up against Kenshin and Spike Spiegel, with Vash the Stampede and Crimson Moon Brunestud all on their own. This game is not going to be sold for obvious reasons, and we're just doing this project out of boredom and we want to see how many characters we can add to it. I'm just wondering, in your opinion, about how much danger would you think we'd be in for stashing the character sheets for these themed characters on a website?

    Hi Nathan,
    Stashing the character sheets online, eh? How much danger is there of the IP owners finding them? If they do a search for their character names, will they find you? Because that's what we're talking about here. Visibility = risk. I assume you've read FAQ 61 already.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 13, 2011


    Definition of AAA, part 2

    >Date: Sun, 14 Aug 2011 00:48:15 +0800 (CST)
    >From: AByn
    >Subject: Re:Re: How to know a game wether is a AAA-Game?
    >Sir Sloper:
    > Thank you so much,Sir!
    > By the way, it's the third time i wrote to you, you always reply to me so quickly, and i really appreciate it so much. Maybe i will bother you from time to time. ^_^

    You're welcome, Abyn.

    Maybe I should amend that definition. Different people define the term different ways, but essentially it's a game that costs tens of millions of dollars to produce, tens of millions to market, and has very high production values.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 13, 2011


    Definition of AAA?

    >From: AByn (spira14)
    >Sent: Sat, August 13, 2011 7:11:49 AM
    >Subject: How to know a game wether is a AAA-Game?
    >Sir Sloper:
    > I can always hear medium say Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 (3) is a AAA-game, but I don't know what on earth is a AAA-game? How the game industry define a game is a triple-A product. Is that a business propaganda?
    > What is the triple-A game's standard? Or, which games are the 3A games in the recent 2-3 years? Can God of war 3 be it? Or the NDS game Dragon Quest 9 can be it?
    > The questions are a little more, hehe.
    > Sincerely.
    > AByn

    Helly Abyn,
    Have you looked at the definition of AAA game in the Game Biz Glossary? Click on the FAQs link above, then look for FAQ 28.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 13, 2011


    Legal liability for references to copyrighted material?

    >From: nathan f
    >Sent: Fri, August 12, 2011 9:36:05 AM
    >Subject: Hey there, I just want to ask about something I'm unclear on.
    >So, I've made a game system that friends and I have been using. It's pretty awesome. It pretty much takes any mainstream character from any anime, game, or popular fad and slams them all into an arena to fight to the death.
    >Anyway, it's not like I intend to sell this system or game. It's just a fun pass time between my friends and I. So I was wondering, if as a fan tribute I wound up putting this system online for others to play in their spare time, could I then get in legal trouble for making pen and paper character references to copyrighted material, regardless of the fact it is for no profit?
    >Before I put this system out there, I'd like to pretty much get your word on if it sounds like a terrible move first.

    >From: nathan f
    >Sent: Fri, August 12, 2011 9:39:00 AM
    >Subject: Also
    >Sorry, I stayed up all night like a goober, so I spaced putting down that vital info as well.
    >I'm 22 with a Technical Degree in Business Technologies, I aim to lead a team of developers someday and I am from the US. Thanks for putting up with my question.

    Hi Nathan,
    I don't think anybody will sue you for referring to copyrighted material. Here, I'll refer to copyrighted material:
    How about those Mario graphics, eh?
    I liked the wording of that dialogue in Red Dead Redemption.

    Nobody's going to sue me for that. Or were you meaning references to trademarked material instead? For instance:
    I enjoyed Super Smash Brothers™.
    How about that game Grand Theft Auto™, eh?

    I don't think anybody's going to sue me for that, either.
    But somehow I suspect I've totally missed your question.
    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 12, 2011


    Movie title parody for a game title

    >From: Robert V
    >Sent: Wed, August 10, 2011 2:08:59 PM
    >Subject: Legality of using a parody of a film's name
    >Hi Tom,
    >I'm a twenty-five year old analyst/software developer from Malta. I have a post-secondary level of education, and I am currently studying for a bachelors in computing. I've sent you a few open-ended questions before. This one is a bit more specific. Can my team and I get into legal trouble if we use a parody of a movie's name for the name of our game? It's along the lines of taking the name of a famous movie (very famous, well known in popular culture) and changing one of the syllabels to something which is related to our game. We're planning to sell this game on the iPhone market, so it's important for us to know if apple will accept such a name. If you can answer us with regards to the United States, that would be great. If you can also answer us with regards to Europe as well, that would be awesome. Any help would be appreciated.
    >Thanks and regards,
    >Robert

    Hi there, Robert.
    So you want to go into business, but you don't want to consult a lawyer. I understand! Making money good. Spending money bad.

    Can my team and I get into legal trouble if we use a parody of a movie's name for the name of our game?
    Yes. You can get into legal hot water very easily that way. But that doesn't mean that you WILL. Just that you CAN.

    It's along the lines of taking the name of a famous movie (very famous, well known in popular culture) and changing one of the syllabels to something which is related to our game.
    Like, say, "Sisterhood of the Traveling Plants." Or "Die Card." Or "Under Sieve." Or "The Temple of Boom." Or "The Wizard of Odd." Or "Kill Phil." Or "How to Drain Your Flagon." You probably wouldn't get sued if you did that. But I'm not a lawyer, and I'm not giving you legal advice, so if you do get sued for doing that, don't bother trying to sue me for what I said.

    it's important for us to know if apple will accept such a name.
    And why are you asking me? You'd have to ask Apple.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 10, 2011


    Becoming a game publisher

    >From: bere d
    >Sent: Tue, August 9, 2011 6:46:10 AM
    >Subject: Game Publishing
    >Hi Tom,
    >I'm 19 years old going into my second year of graphic design in Canada. I'm looking at taking a path towards becoming a Game Publisher. I was wondering if you had any tips or suggestions on taking this certain path. To be more specific, what is the first step to take to get onto this path?
    >-Steve

    Hello Steve,
    It's odd that you've chosen to major in graphic design if what you want to be is a businessman. To be a publisher (to publish finished games that have been made by other people) means to have the marketing, legal, and financial chops to make things happen. So the first step would be to switch majors -- study marketing and business instead of graphic design.
    Then you should be spending your spare time reading up on the game industry. Read voraciously about the existing players in the retail market (packaged games), the online market, the social market, the mobile market. Subscribe to industrygamers and gamesindustry.biz. Hang out daily on Gamasutra.
    And right now you can read FAQ 60 (scroll up and click FAQs on the left).
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 9, 2011


    I want to minimize downtime, part 2

    >From: M X
    >Sent: Mon, August 2, 2011
    >Subject: Re: Applying for job prior to moving to game hotbed?
    >Thank you for your response and advice; it's greatly appreciated.

    Hello Mr. X. You're welcome.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 2, 2011


    Suspiciously spammy-sounding subject line

    Date: Mon, 1 Aug 2011 23:21:50 -0500
    Subject: Love
    From: Stephen B
    I love you for making this web page.
    See you in the gaming world soon!

    Thanks, Stephen.

    A little word of advice, though, if you don't mind. I'd be more careful when writing subject lines in the future. No biggie, just saying. Maybe after you've received a few more years' worth of spam emails, you'll understand why I cringed when clicking it. (^_^)
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 1, 2011


    I want to minimize downtime in my new location

    >From: M X
    >Sent: Mon, August 1, 2011 11:53:55 AM
    >Subject: Applying for job prior to moving to game hotbed?
    >Hello Mr. Sloper,
    >Thank you for the information you've provided on your site; your advice has pushed me to move out to a game hotbed before the end of the year.
    >Tidbits: 24 years old, Bachelor's in economics, unemployed (2 years QA experience), aspiring position is still QA, live in US
    >Would you advise against sending out the application/cover letter/resume a few weeks or several days before moving to a hotbed? I would note in the resume or cover letter that I am relocating to the area in X weeks/days. I am fine with waiting until I've arrived at the destination, but I would prefer to expedite the process if possible.
    >Thanks!

    Hello Mr. X, you wrote:

    Would you advise against sending out the application/cover letter/resume a few weeks
    Yes. They're going to completely forget they ever heard from you, so you will have to send it again. And when you send it again, they'll look in their files and find you just applied a month ago and will put you down as a stalker. What do you think, the HR person is going to call a company meeting and announce, "Hey! Listen up! Mr. X is coming on September 1, so put it on your calendars and everybody be ready to interview him then! Don't forget, now!" And then everybody will do it, and await anxiously your highly anticipated arrival? Get real!

    or several days before moving to a hotbed?
    Yeah, I guess you could do that.

    I would prefer to expedite the process if possible.
    Keep on dreaming! (^_^) You'd better have about 3 months living expenses before you move. These things can take time.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 1, 2011


    I'm looking for a stay home career

    >From: Maritza
    >Subject: Interested
    >Date: Sat, 30 Jul 2011 03:19:44 +0000
    >Hi,
    >I'm 31 yrs old, only have 8th grade education, I'm a stay home mom of 5 kids. I have a 16 yr old boy, 14 yr old boy, 5 yr old boy, 3 yr old girl, 2 yr old boy, I live in Chicago, IL.
    >Well the reason that I'm contacting you, it's because I'm interested in the game programming field for the following reason, I'm looking for a career that's fun, I've been having kids since 15 yrs old, so by me saying that you know that I've been playing alot of video games, I'm a single parent and I'm looking for a stay home career so that I can be the mother that takes care of the kids and at the same time be the father to provide for them. I've been thinking of what I'm good at, but like I started very young it's really hard to know, because I've haven't had a chance to discover myself good. I'm not asking you to tell me what to do, I just wnat to know if I have the right reasons to start in this field. I'm starting from scratch, my first step was reading your lesson 15, and now writing to you, thats was the link that caught me attention when I did a search. Thank you for your attention and hope to hear from you soon. Thanks for helpling us out, your lesson are well organized and interesting. Thanks you great!!!

    Hi Maritza, you wrote:

    I'm looking for a stay home career so that I can be the mother that takes care of the kids and at the same time be the father to provide for them.
    Then I'm sorry, but you can't get a job being a game programmer at home. (You can go into business for yourself, though -- that's not the same thing.)

    my first step was reading your lesson 15... thats was the link that caught me attention when I did a search.
    You need to read FAQs 16, 56, and 60 now. Good luck to you.


    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 29, 2011


    My autistic son, part 3

    >From: [DELETED]
    >Sent: Sun, July 24, 2011 3:45:33 AM
    >Subject: Thank you
    >Thanks for your candid advice Tom. After reading much of your material it confirmed what my gut was telling me. He does blog alot at www.[DELETED].blogspot.com but I just don't know enough about how to turn blog pages to income.

    Let him start thinking about that and figuring that out. A big part of earning income from a blog is writing something that brings in lots of eyeballs and return eyeballs. If he's got those, then he can figure out how to monetize it.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 24, 2011


    My autistic son, part 2

    >From: [DELETED]
    >Sent: Sat, July 23, 2011 10:36:33 AM
    >Subject: Re: Re: Autisum and Game design
    >I apologize for this automatic reply to your email.
    >To control spam, I now allow incoming messages only from senders I have approved beforehand.
    >If you would like to be added to my list of approved senders, please fill out the short request form (see link below). Once I approve you, I will receive your original message in my inbox. You do not need to resend your message. I apologize for this one-time inconvenience.
    >Click the link below to fill out the request:
    >https://webmail.pas.earthlink.net/wam/addme?a=[DELETED]

    Understandable but no, thanks. Too much work to go through to notify you that my response has been posted. I can only hope that you come back and see that response, below.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 23, 2011


    My autistic son

    >From: [DELETED]
    >Sent: Sat, July 23, 2011 4:59:36 AM
    >Subject: Autisum and Game design
    >First off your site is one of the best I have seen when tring to evaluate a career in the game industry. I am a father looking to help my son deside if the game business is a good fit.
    >1. 18 years old
    >2. High school graduate
    >3. Student
    >4. Game design
    >5. [DELETED], USA.
    >My questions are:
    >Do you find many Autistic people that have been able to sustain a living in this industry if so what areas?
    >Is there a good aptitude test that could indicate basic required skills to learn the business?
    >My son can stay at a computer and concentrate for 10 hours a day (mostly doing political research and playing Simms) but he also processes things a bit slower than most. Once he gets it though it is locked to memory forever. He is a very polished communicator when writing but awfull verbally. He also would not do well without help in a collage campus. Any training would most likley have to be online and he would do best working from home.

    Hi Dad, you asked:

    Do you find many Autistic people
    No. Not "many."

    that have been able to sustain a living in this industry if so what areas?
    I'm sure there are some. But none I am personally acquainted with, as far as I know. A famous example is John Romero, who developed Doom and Quake. I don't know him personally. See http://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,817/ and Google him for more.

    Is there a good aptitude test
    I don't know.

    that could indicate basic required skills to learn the business?
    Can he get a college degree? That's what it takes.

    He is a very polished communicator when writing but awfull verbally.
    You make it sound like his symptoms are pretty severe.

    Any training would most likley have to be online
    That's a problem for getting hired, since online degrees are not seen as being as valuable as brick-and-mortar degrees.

    he would do best working from home.
    That's a big problem. It means he has to be self-employed. Which means he has to be his own boss, and take care of all his own business (either finding clients or self-publishing).

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 23, 2011


    Is your content available in an offline-readable format?

    >From: Kenneth B
    >Sent: Sat, July 23, 2011 8:46:55 AM
    >Subject: A question about the game design FAQ.
    >I am looking at the various FAQ's on your website, and was wondering
    >if you have them availably as a zipped archive by any chance?
    >I am mostly looking for them to be able to read offline.
    >
    >If the answer is yes, I do realize that your website is add driven. I
    >fully intend to make a donation through the paypal link in the near
    >future. :-)
    >
    >I have seen cases on other data oriented sites where the authors had a
    >donation link to purchase a copy of the information for offline
    >browsing (for instance www.d20srd.org). I have not read all of the
    >information on your site yet of course, so if some part of it
    >prohibits such a transaction, I fully understand. :-)
    >
    >I still find the information interesting, and very potentially useful.
    >
    >In my own game design endeavors I have a concept, and I am starting to
    >work on background code that will be needed to make things run. :-) I
    >still have a long ways to go on the actual design portion. However,
    >given that I am coding in my spare time, and don't have a lot of it
    >(time that is), I don't think I am in any danger of that slowing me
    >down any time soon.
    >
    >I do however like the advice that you are putting out, and think that
    >it is of value to the community. I just got done reading FAQ 61 (So
    >You Wanna Clone Somebody's IP). If the number of ways you choose to
    >reword the same thing are any indication on what you have dealt with,
    >you must have the patience of a saint. It seems like such a simple
    >issue to me. "Not yours, get permission or hands off." ^^ I mean,
    >most of us were taught that in kindergarten. :) People just think that
    >the rules don't apply if it seems cool I guess.
    >--
    >Ken

    Hello Ken,
    I acknowledge that I ought to have my content available in an offline-readable format, for a price. The problem is that it would be a LOT of work to make it so. I would have to figure out the best way to organize the content, and it would need to be cleaned up. That's a lot of work right there. Then I'd have to figure out how to do the payment-and-unlocking-and-downloading thing. It's going to take time to make the content available that way. Don't hold your breath; in other words, read it online.
    And yes, the number of ways I had to reword the same concept in FAQ 61 is indeed an indication of what I deal with.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 23, 2011


    Please tell me how I would rank right now in getting started

    >From: Brad M
    >Sent: Thu, July 21, 2011 11:49:57 AM
    >Subject: How far do I rank in becoming a game designer based on these stats
    >Dear Tom,
    > My name is Brad M, and I am currently a College Senior at Georgia State University. The reason why I am contacting you is because I wanted to ask your opinion on my status so far as to becoming a game designer. I decided on becoming a game designer my freshman year, and because I was already majoring in computer science, I thought it would be great to combine two interests (science and art) into one career. I am pretty skilled in art, but I still need to perfect my skills a bit more so I would say I am intermediate. My grades are not high though in my transcript, but I have done alot of extracirricular things pertaining towards game design (I started my college's first game design club and manage it, I have alot of public speaking experience, I have done alot of writing, and taken a course in game design). So, after all I have told you, could you please tell me how I would rank right now in getting started in the game industry as a game designer and in any other position I can get into right after college? Also, could you give me any suggestions towards enhancing my last year to make me stand out more for the position. Thank you again
    >Brad M

    Hello Brad, you wrote:

    alot of extracirricular ... could you please tell me how I would rank right now in getting started
    You're off to a fine start*, except for your spelling. Read FAQ 3.
    * The starting gun went off, and you took a first step without falling flat on your face. Now just run the rest of the four thousand miles of the race.

    and in any other position I can get into right after college?
    You can get into QA right after college, but your spelling is a problem there too. Read FAQs 4, 5, 24, and 27.

    could you give me any suggestions towards enhancing my last year to make me stand out more
    Make a portfolio. See FAQ 12.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 21, 2011


    Obrigado

    >Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2011 14:52:11 -0300
    >From: Rodrigo B
    >Subject: A Brazilian fan of you. Thanks master.
    >How old are you?
    >I am 31 years old
    >What's your level of education?
    >Industrial Design graduate
    >What's your current occupation? (If student: "student")
    >Independent Producer, teacher and freelancer in 3D art and direction.
    >Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for?
    >Producer
    >What country do you live in (where in the world are you)? (OK, so that's 5.)
    >brazil
    >Please read:
    >Tom Sloper you gave to me what I was looking for. I consider you now like a father in my way to do what I most like. I love games, they are in my blood, I have energy, motivation and I want to invest all my money and my life to the game development. I just want to go there and you gave me the fuel I need. Things are not easy, really, but I had good emotions these years, for example winning the second place in "The Best New Character Customization" of Epic MSCU contest, also another finalist diferent character and a honorable mention in a level design. But, again, after another 3D awards I see the way is much more difficult and I was looking for a way to break the wall. I made some NDA group projects, some of them will be realeased later but in the same time I need to keep my focus, nothing can stop me, I fell I have a mission and I will do it. I am thinking in 10 or 15 years mission, I already started an objective. I want to thank you and I will read all your documents to improve my head and talent. Let's go and thanks thanks and thanks again.
    >Rodrigo B, a brazilian fan of you that wishes the best in your life.

    Hi Rodrigo,
    I appreciate your taking the time to let me know my site has been helpful to you.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 12, 2011


    Gracias

    >From: =?iso-8859-1?B?c2ViYXN0aWFuIGd1ZGnxbw==?=
    >Subject: good job Mr. Sloper
    >Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2011 19:47:37 +0000
    >How old are you? I¥m 26
    >What's your level of education? University - System Analyst
    >What's your current occupation? (If student: "student") Employee, (Project Manager/Project Lead/ Producer.. etc.)
    >Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? N/A
    >What country do you live in (where in the world are you)? (OK, so that's 5.)Argentina.
    >Hello Mr. Sloper. I¥m running a project with a couple of Friends, and co-workers.. Beside that we were working in different jobs not related to this industry ( Video Games Industry), we encourage ourselves to go into the industry of video Games. We have a really nice goal to pursue, and we are committed to the challenge of developing a game. ( we should be under the garage game category I think).
    > Being said that. ( guess no one care of who we are and what we do...neither what we are building.). I wan¥t to thank you to take your time and write this F.A.Q.s for the game industry wannabees?. I see that what you pursue with this is to show that creating a game or running a company is not easy for anybody and you are encourage people to learn a degree or a lot of courses!!. and the most important think maybe is to encourage them to take responsibility, you have done it well.
    > When I finish reading all your answers like 72 I think. some of them are repetitive. not sure if you pursue a goal here to emphasize these answers or all the notes you receive are like this hehe. maybe you can review those... take this as optimistic Critique, please.
    > I let you know in 18moths were I am with the Project and tell you how difficult it was for us to achieve it.(this is not our first project), by the way the size of my team is five people and we are not in the same state. Also thanks again for the F.A.Q.s I learned something new for sure,
    >Thank you. meet you at E3 Some day. and my apologies if my English was not that good.
    >Regards.

    Hello Sebastian, you wrote:

    When I finish reading all your answers like 72 I think. some of them are repetitive. not sure if you pursue a goal here to emphasize these answers or all the notes you receive are like this hehe. maybe you can review those...
    The site is not set up like a book. It's a series of articles that I wrote to address frequently-asked questions, and also maybe to blog a little. I expect that most people who come here to find information will selectively read just the one or two articles that apply to the one or two questions in their minds*. When you look at it this way, maybe you'll see that a little repetition actually makes sense.
    * Actually, it seems that a lot who come here don't bother to read ANY of the FAQs (they just ask me questions without bothering to try to find information themselves). It's unusual and special that you have read them ALL! (^_^)

    thanks again for the F.A.Q.s I learned something new for sure,
    >Thank you. meet you at E3 Some day. and my apologies if my English was not that good.
    I'm glad you find the site helpful!

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    7/11/11


    You really need to know A LOT about my special unique situation (I'm different from every other person who ever wrote to you -- the usual answers do not apply to me because I'm complicated and special)

    >Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2011 19:55:42 +0200
    >From: "Alessandro U."
    >Subject: Questions about studies for game design, would love your opinion
    >I understand that, in order for you to give me the best game career advice suited to my unique situation, you need to know that...
    >My approximate age is: 23
    >The level of education I've completed is: High school in italy.
    >My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: university student.
    >The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: Anything in game design so, level/quest/lead/interface.Also Game development/publishing in general.
    >The country I live in is: Italy
    >My game biz question is:
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >Before asking my questions I'd like to introduce myself a bit so you'll understand a bit better my thinking behind those questions:My name is Alessandro Uliano I've been living since ever in a small city in the middle of Italy, and I've always loved making games, mostly board/paper games or similar, when I grew a bit older I've found I could make my passion into a job working into game design and especially video game design, so while i was trying to learn how to become a designer I've found your website and found it really informative and helpful(thank you for that by the way!), thanks to your website I learned a lot of things and changed the way I used to think, for example before I was one of the newbies thinking you could get a job in design as a starter or that you could "sell ideas", but then with age i learned my lessons.
    >Now in 2007 when I was in highschool I decided I would follow your advices and get a degree while working on some personal projects to build up a demo reel for the future, so I could be ready to set my feet into a starter job position after my degree(was mostly thinking QA especially beta testing since I seem to be enjoying that somehow, played a lot of serious beta tests as professional as I could be), but then all my plans went crazy when a couple of things happened:
    >In 2008 both my parents died just before I started doing university leaving me with debts and a lot of things to administer like properties, bank accounts, etc. the next year my town(L'Aquila) was struck by a strong earthquake so I've been forced to set aside my studies because I really had to take care of more pressing matters, in the meantime while I tried studying between all the problems I had (fun fact according to italian government I died 2 times in 2 years...That's why I used the word "try" near studying)I started my game project, doing design docs, and all the pre-production I could do alone without having talent in the artistic department, and finally this summer found some other people interested and we started making a game together(though we miss a good programmer since people here are scared of something I can't comprehend so I'm learning myself the programming languages I need) but that to me doesn't seem enough, I'd still love to get a good degree especially one focused a bit more in game production than what Italy offers, since I have to say, my country doesn't value design at all in this field: 99% of courses are mostly for programming or graphics ONLY, because design is considered useless, I do know that a good designer needs to know both these but, the courses are really different than anything I've seen outside Italy and they don't really have anything related to design so I'm concerned they might not really get me into the right mindset.Probably I am the one wrong in this matter but i don't agree with this type of teaching since you will never learn design in these courses.That's why I'm thinking about studying abroad, especially in the USA.
    >I was especially considering the university of southern california, in which I discovered today you're a teacher.This is one of the reasons why I'm writing this mail to you, hopefully I won't be doing some newbie mistake like asking something I should know, but still i think sometimes the best lessons are done the hard way, so without further ado I want to ask you the following(sorry for the really long introduction but I felt it was needed):
    >
    >1)Should I complete first my game project and then go on studying or you would say it's more important to complete a degree now and work on my project in the meantime/later?Consider that I plan to get a degree at USC instead of completing here mine, since I feel it's a lot more polished and related to the field I'd love to work in.I know degree marketability is a huge thing, because if I can't find a job in game design with a degree in game design I'm then a bit in troubles since with just another more broad degree I'd have more choices, but I'd really love to get good doing what I love instead of being just good at doing something related that I might not love equally.For information I'm studying "theory of communicative processes and philosophy" right now which I feel is a good degree but still it doesn't satisfy me enough so that's why I'm planning to change.I also know that you advice strongly to get any degree before getting into working on something, but I believe I could probably either finish the project quickly enough and then dedicate 100% on studying at USC, or better yet I could do both at the same time.What do you think about this since you're also involved in the courses as the teacher?Would you think I could do both or should I drop one of the two to do well enough?I'm a particularly quick learner so it's rare I have troubles learning but you're the expert here I guess so I eagerly await your opinion!
    >
    >2)I know this is probably even sillier but still: I was thinking to try to get in internship(mostly volounteered since I have no money issues and since I have no real special qualities right now) at some Los Angeles companies in the meanwhile, do you think this is a bit a naive thinking?I read that mostly I won't get accepted since immigration is a complex and costly process for a company, but I also thought that asking and giving my curriculum, cover letter, and demo reel, isn't going to be bad per se, they could always ignore it/turn me off.Would you say I should just quit the idea of working right now and just polish my education and skills before trying to apply?I've always been told here in Italy that asking doesn't cost anything, and also I've been heavily suggested to try doing volounteer work just to learn since here it's kind of a common practice in some work fields, also I strongly believe that learning by experience might be even better, though I'm not sure if this applies in the game design field.Your opinion on this matter would be awesome.
    >
    >3)At the moment this last 2 years since I couldn't be working on my real studies(I had too much of an erratic schedule since I had to attend to matters that couldn't be delayed, so I couldn't follow a real university program in this period, while I could self-study design since I had no deadlines) I took some time to learn design by reading professionl books/blogs/presentations/etc. for example I loved the Ian Schreiber's game design and balance courses or I spent some of my free time reading gamasutra(and related websites) to learn, I purchased the books considered "standard" to be a starter designer, I volounteered to be a beta tester in a lot of games, and when I was younger I "worked" on quest design/level design/localization/database management/debugging on an emulator for a korean mmorpg (ragnarok online) when there was this era of private servers, I also did try to design heroes for the DOTA map but never released them to the public for a long list of reasons(still have the concepts written though), and of course, I've started right this year a full project for a simple game,do you think this could count as a basic curriculum or no one would really be interested? I know most people applaying for internship or jobs have real curriculums but I still believe this kind of experience helps, I'd love to hear what you think.(please be blunt, if I'm thinking as a silly man I want to know it, I'm still learning and growing I need to have my dose of doors-in-the-face experiences!)
    >
    >I know this might be a long e-mail and I should've been a bit more concise but I really thought I should be giving complete information to have a good answer, I want again to thank you for all the work you've done on your website that helps people like me to better understand the world we would love to get into, and somehow ourselves since I learned many valuable lessons on how a braindead-young-guy I were before.
    >Thanks for everything,
    >Best Regards
    >Uliano A

    Uliano, you wrote:

    Before asking my questions I'd like to introduce myself a bit
    You already did, when you told me your age and education and occupation and location and desired role in the game industry. I disagree with your apparent expectation that I really need to read THREE PAGES just to give you a little free advice. It's unreasonable! I have a lot of other things to do. I am going to give you a little free advice, but I am not reading all those words you wrote. If my advice is off the mark because I missed some crucial tidbit, then you'll have to write me again and give me that crucial tidbit and explain how it's important to your question, and you'll have to re-ask that question.

    sorry for the really long introduction but I felt it was needed):
    I sincerely doubt it. In looking for question marks in your email, I found the following:

    Should I complete first my game project and then go on studying or you would say it's more important to complete a degree now and work on my project in the meantime/later?
    You need both a degree and a portfolio if you want to get a job in the game industry. OR you need game industry experience (which negates the necessity of the degree and portfolio). If you can make a spectacular portfolio without having to go to school, that could work too. Most people would not be able to build a portfolio without first getting a degree, but maybe you're not "most people."

    I believe I could probably either finish the project quickly enough and then dedicate 100% on studying at USC, or better yet I could do both at the same time.What do you think about this
    I think one project is not a good enough portfolio.

    Would you think I could do both or should I drop one of the two to do well enough?
    I think a portfolio made while learning how to make a portfolio is not a good portfolio. A portfolio must show MASTERY of a skill, not merely learning of that skill.

    I know this is probably even sillier but still
    Okay, then I'm not going to bother reading it or answering it. DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS YOU KNOW ARE SILLY.

    I also did try to design heroes for the DOTA map ... and ... I've started ... a full project for a simple game,do you think this could count as a basic curriculum or no one would really be interested?
    "Curriculum"? No, that's not a curriculum. You're just playing around and learning a little by doing. You need an organized, certified program of learning that forces you to discipline yourself. You clearly lack discipline.

    I know this might be a long e-mail and I should've been a bit more concise
    You're welcome to try again, with more discipline on your part, and consideration for the end user experience (think of me as the end user for the emailed questions).

    but I really thought I should be giving complete information to have a good answer
    Looking back on it now, how different really is your question from the usual questions I get (below), warranting a THREE PAGE email?

    Uliano, you are welcome to try again, but please try harder to focus your thinking and your questions, and providing only the information I really need in order to give you your answers. And no admittedly silly questions, okay? Ciao for now.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    7/11/11


    Frequently Asked Question 25

    >From: "F***, Michael J. IT2 (***
    >Sent: Sat, July 9, 2011 6:28:37 AM
    >Subject: From Military To Game Design
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have been reading a lot of your articles lately, mostly about game design and game colleges, and I see a lot about where you give advice about how if you are especially right out of high school. I am currently working as an IT in the US Navy but I will be getting out soon and I been reading a lot about game design. I am willing to move anywhere once I get out in a couple months it's just I am having trouble deciding which path to take(BS in Game Design or BS in Computer Science). The way I see it BS in Game Design you get your degree on something much more specific and meet a lot of people in the biz, whereas a BS in Computer Science I will have a larger span of opportunities to apply my degree with but won't have the specialized training and know the right people. I have a lot more life experience than someone just getting out of high school but I am still only the young age of 22. I have taken some college (basic programming and computer skills)but once I am back home I will be going to community college to take a few refresher courses so I can get back into the college mindset. If possible give me some kind of shove in the right direction as far as should I try one of these big fancy Game Design degrees or just more along the line of Computer Science.
    >Very Respectfully,
    >Michael F***

    Hi Michael,
    Thank you for your service. You wrote:

    I am having trouble deciding which path to take(BS in Game Design or BS in Computer Science).
    So make a decision grid.

    The way I see it BS in Game Design you get your degree on something much more specific and meet a lot of people in the biz, whereas a BS in Computer Science I will have a larger span of opportunities to apply my degree with but won't have the specialized training and know the right people.
    So your decision grid presently has only two criteria: opportunities, and meeting people in the biz. I have several things to say about that (well, as I write this, I can think of 2 or 3 but usually more crop up while I'm writing).
    I disagree with your assessment re opportunities--that there are fewer with a design degree and more with a CS degree. I think the opportunities measure up equally either way. With a design degree, you'll be pegged as an aspiring designer, and have to find an entrance pathway through the eggshell and swim through the albumen to get to your desired yolk. With a CS degree, you'll be pegged as a programmer, and have to make a portfolio that'll get you hired, and will be pegged again with a specialty (whatever you turn out to be particularly good at).
    I disagree with your assessment re meeting people in the biz--that you'll meet lots of them in getting the design degree and not in getting the CS degree. I don't know where you got that idea. You'll meet the same number of people in the biz either way.
    I think you need to consider lots more criteria than just those two.

    give me some kind of shove in the right direction
    Make a decision grid as outlined in FAQs 25 and 70. You're still young enough that it's not unusual for decision-making to be tough for you.

    By the way, your subject line was misleading:

    From Military To Game Design
    See, when I read that, I envisioned an entirely different question, and was starting to pull my thoughts in a particular direction. But your question has nothing whatsoever to do with your having military experience. A better subject line would have been something like, "Deciding between two degrees." Or just "Frequently Asked Question 25." That would have been better user interface design.

    At ease!
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 9, 2011


    Promoted to higher QA responsibilities

    >Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2011 16:07:18 +1200
    >Subject: Regarding QA resources
    >From: Ian R
    >Hi Tom,
    >I recently made the leap from a tester at a publisher to one at a developer. The elements are very different and I am expected to have an opinion on how things should be run. Though a little worried about the change in dynamic, I figure now is the right time to educate myself, and herein lies the issue: I am having difficulty discovering resources on the QA process. For a long time, I have relied on FAQs 5 & 17 for their invaluable advice, but now I'm in a position where I need to know more. I'm expected draft a test plan, and consult on developing the QA framework partially from scratch. Cursory looks at Gamedev, Gamasutra and Gameindustry are a bit overwhelming and other software testing almanacs are not as specific to the game testing process.
    >Do you know of any additional resources that may help me? A particular forum, even? I'm going to buy the new edition Game Testing All-in-One when it's released in August, but until then there's going to be a gap in terms of strategy that I'd like to close.
    >I'd also like to make a suggestion. I've constantly referenced your tutorials over the years, and I have always been really keen on seeing a guide on making the jump from junior to senior roles, as well as other career management techniques. I know your site is dedicated to breaking in, but it might be a good resource for juniors and food for thought for those trying to get in.
    >Thankyou for your time, and I look forward to your response!
    >Regards,
    >Ian.

    Hi Ian,
    Game Testing All In One, Second Edition, isn't coming out for another month, as you say (coincidentally, I was looking into that just yesterday myself) -- so why don't you buy a copy of First Edition? And you should definitely also get Luis Levy's book. Those two are the only ones I know of that discuss QA in depth.
    I just Googled Luis' book, and was surprised to find that it's on Google Books. But I recommend buying a hard copy.
    And yes, I do rarely get questions from junior professionals. So rarely that it doesn't rise to the level of FAQ. So when I get one of those, I write a Games Game column, and it goes on IGDA.org.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 6, 2011


    Thanks

    >From: Guilherme V
    >Sent: Fri, July 1, 2011 6:55:45 AM
    >Subject: Some international thanks
    >Hey, Tom.
    >I've recently found your site (along with IGDA) and it's been incredibly helpful. I'm a programmer outside of the industry seriously thinking about switching in. Pretty common situation, I'd assume, even if you count the fact that I live in Brazil. Of course, I have my share of doubts and questions, but don't worry, I'll do you the courtesy of not asking you any of them until I've read through your site (the bits relative to my reality, at least) :)
    >So I'm basically writing to tell you something you already know: you have an great website there --and to thank you for it. Also, keep up the brutal honesty in your responses, I really belive that's that correct way to go. Sugarcoating won't get anybody too far!
    >Actually, if I were to make a complaint would be in its design. You can keep the frames (I actually like that retro feel), but that Times New Roman can really give you a headache after reading too much in there. Or maybe that's just my astigmatism.
    >P.S.: I see that you like Japanese culture and Mahjong. You wouldn't happen to enjoy playing some Go too, would you? :)
    >Sincerely,
    >Guilherme V

    Hi Guilherme, I appreciate the thanks.

    I assume you're going to read FAQ 41. And I checked, and the only page where I specified Times New Roman is FAQ 62. In most of my pages, I didn't specify a font face at all, or specified Georgia. If you're getting Times New Roman on all the other pages, maybe you can fix that in your browser settings.
    And no, I don't play Go. Too cerebral!
    Standing by for questions anytime...
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 1, 2011


    Thanks

    >From: Matt M
    >Sent: Thu, June 30, 2011 1:43:43 AM
    >Subject: Thanks for the game career advice!
    >Mr. Sloper,
    >I just wanted to write you and thank you for the career advice that you have posted on your site. I actually stumbled across it several years ago, and it helped get me started in the game industry. I recently hosted an IAMA on Reddit: "IAMA ex-World of Warcraft Game Master - AMA" that was very popular, and a lot of people asked me about getting into the game industry. It was at that point that I realized I had never gotten around to thanking you for all the effort you've put in over the years, on your site and on gamedev.net, helping young folks like me figure out how to get in to the field.
    >So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
    >Regards,
    >Matt McComb
    >P.S. - I referred everybody who asked me anything about getting into the industry to your site. So, if you receive a sudden barrage of mail, I apologize.

    Hi Matt, you wrote:

    I just wanted to write you and thank you
    Thanks are nice!

    I recently hosted an IAMA
    So, you're an Iranian American doctor or a flying missionary... Iranian American Medical Association, International Association of Missionary Aviation...

    if you receive a sudden barrage of mail, I apologize.
    So maybe your event was in India! Now it makes sense. (^_~) I am mildly amused.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 30, 2011


    I probably shouldn't pigeonhole myself?

    >Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2011 17:41:45 -0400
    >Subject: A big thank you and a question about targeting a specific game design genre
    >From: jon p
    >I want to start out by thanking you for taking the time to put all
    >this information in one place. For someone who is just beginning to
    >get into the game industry their is a multitude of great information
    >here that I cannot wait to continue reading.
    >
    >In regards to the information you asked to include in any email:
    >1. I am 24 years old.
    >2. Immediately following highschool I got into real estate instead of
    >pursuing a college degree, after making the decision to get into the
    >game industry I went back to school and am currently attending the
    >University of Advancing Technology in their Game Design program.
    >3. My current occupation is full time student and professional PC FPS
    >gamer. By professional I mean I travel around playing in world level
    >competitions and make money doing it.
    >4. My long term goal in the game industry is to become lead designer
    >on projects that I create, my short term goal is to make enough money
    >in the game industry that I can make a living doing it, most likely
    >starting in QA as soon as possible.
    >5. I live in the US.
    >
    >As I stated earlier I play PC FPS games at the professional level.
    >Because of this I feel that for someone outside the industry I have a
    >fair amount of knowledge about the gameplay mechanics of PC FPS games
    >(I also certainly have alot to learn) and I have a very strong passion
    >for them and hope to work in that specific genre of game development.
    >My question for you is do you think that making an attempt at
    >tailoring my game design education towards that field would be a good
    >career move since I would be stronger in that genre, or do you feel
    >that it would be narrowing my skill set so that it would be more
    >difficult to get a job as a game designer.
    >
    >Again, you have a great site that I feel lucky to have stumbled across
    >so thank you very much,
    >Jonathan P

    Hi Jonathan, you wrote:

    A big thank you
    You're welcome.

    I also certainly have alot to learn
    Like, for instance, there is no such word as "alot." If you want to be a game designer, you need to be better at English grammar and stuff.

    most likely
    >starting in QA
    Ridiculous. With your background as a pro player and with a degree from that school, you could start out higher than QA. QA can be your fallback plan, nothing more.

    do you think that making an attempt at
    >tailoring my game design education towards that field would be a good
    >career move since I would be stronger in that genre
    Please forgive me for saying the following: "Well, duh."

    Dude, you're a professional FPS player. That means you have a lot (note correct usage there) to offer to a game company that either publishes or develops FPSes. In fact, when someone sees your experience as a pro player on your resume, if you're applying to a casual game company, they'd question your suitability. (They'd pigeonhole you, and have great doubts about your commitment to casual games.)

    One time way back in '88 or '89, I hired a pro player to fill the position I had open -- I needed an assistant producer. He stayed in the industry a few years, I haven't kept up with him to know what industry he's in now.

    or do you feel
    No, never. I never "feel" -- I only "believe" or "suspect" or "know." "Feel" is a word teenagers use, so grow out of it already!

    that it would be narrowing my skill set
    Hogwash. You've apparently never heard of specialization, and/or don't know that the game industry is highly specialized, especially FPSes. Read my May 2005 IGDA column. Click the "Games Game" link above, then click Archives, or go to http://www.igda.org/games-game-archives and scroll down to May 2005.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 29, 2011


    International internships, part II

    >From: Mohit r
    >Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2011 11:18:50 +0530
    >Subject: International Internship II
    >Dear Sir,
    >I have contacted the competent authorities at EA and Lucas Arts.
    >It is unfortunate that they expect students to have a work permit before applying for internships. It's kind of unfair because, one doesn't get a work permit unless he/she has an internship offer in hand.
    >I think that's a way to avoid a lot of international applicants? I don't know.
    >Anyways, thank you for making me realize that I had to find out facts before aiming for something big.
    >Regards,
    >Mohit R

    Hi Mohit, you wrote:

    It is unfortunate that they expect students to have a work permit before applying for internships. It's kind of unfair because, one doesn't get a work permit unless he/she has an internship offer in hand.
    >I think that's a way to avoid a lot of international applicants?
    Now you're being childishly petulant. "It's unfair." "They don't like foreigners." Bull$#!+. Believe me, it's a LOT of extra work for a company to deal with applicants from other countries who don't have legal work status and are on the other side of the world. They are literally flooded every day with local legal applicants, and they can pick and choose who they accept. That's just reality. Nobody is supposed to make reality "fair" for you. It's YOUR job to work around the reality, so you can get what you want.

    Look at it this way. Two hypothetical imaginary overseas applicants:
    Applicant A is an innocent, a dreamer. He thinks that when he gets an easy answer to an easy question that he knows how the world works. But then when someone puts up a roadblock, he is stymied, and he whines about unfairness.
    Applicant B is a driven, obsessed worker. When he doesn't know something, he knows he doesn't know it, and makes an effort to learn. When someone puts up a roadblock, he finds a way around, through, under, or over it.

    Which of those two do you think a hirer wants? Applicant B will get the job every time. If you can figure out a way to get a temporary work visa, and be in the United States, people would be impressed by that alone, and you might manage to get an internship. I can't tell you how to do that. If I could, your accomplishment would not be impressive, because everybody else would be doing the same thing.

    thank you for making me realize
    You're welcome. Call me "the eye-opener."

    that I had to find out facts before aiming for something big.
    You hadn't read my "Ten Stupid Tricks" FAQ? (FAQ 24)


    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 29, 2011


    Your readers might find my article interesting

    >Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2011 11:40:11 +0530
    >Subject: GAME DESIGN BULLETIN BOARD
    >From: Sara McDowell
    >Hi Tom,
    >I just published an article on my blog entitled "40 Helpful Independent Game Design Forums" ( http://www.videogamedesignschools.net/40-helpful-independent-game-design-forums/ ), and I'm happy to let you know that I've included your site in my article.
    >I thought that this was something that you and your readers might find interesting, and if so, I was hoping that you would possibly consider giving my article a quick mention on your site? Either way, I really enjoy your site and appreciate your time.
    >Thanks,
    >Sara McDowell

    Hi Sara,
    Okay, my readers now know about your site. I checked videogamedesignschools.net, and I see that your front page features for-profit game schools up top. But then scrolling down below the highly-visible paid content, it looks like there's pretty good info down there.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 29, 2011


    International internships

    >From: Mohit r
    >Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2011 23:16:02 -0700
    >Subject: Advice on International Internships
    >Dear Sir,
    >I read your FAQ 24 and i understand the importance of relocating to US for a jobs in US, learning Japanese for a job in Japan, but still i feel there must be a way out to break these barriers of relocation at least for my 4th year internship.
    >I read this on Game dev forum:

      Hap,
      Nobody can tell you "oh yes, all companies welcome interns from overseas" or "oh no, no companies welcome interns from overseas." You think the world is binary, that everything is either black or white. It's not.
      Each company, each manager, is different. Each one has its own ideas and policies.
      But in general, overseas candidates are extremely problematic because of not only the paperwork but also for many other reasons: language, timing among them.
      It's too late to apply for summer internships for this year.
      If someone looked at your resume and said, "let's interview him," they would want you to come to their office within 2 or 3 days. Since you live on the other side of the planet, you can't do that. If they then said, "let's hire him," they would want you to start the following Monday. Since you live on the other side of the planet, you can't do that.
      Read FAQ 24. The "stupid tricks" that apply to job applicants are exactly the same for interns.


    >Lets talk about my situation after six months, like October 2011
    >I have a competent portfolio, i am in the middle of my MBA degree (so i am eligible for Game design/production intern positions in formal internship programs like Lucas Jedi academy, EA etc), i have a respectable web presence(website, blog), i have a business/tourist visa for US (so that i can go for internship interviews if my application is shortlisted)
    >I read on EA website that if i am eligible to work in US they will consider my application. What does this mean? I mean if i get an offer of internship from EA , i can definitely get a J1 visa(intern/trainee) from India and i can join them. Do they want me to have a work-permit prior to application?
    >What other constraints do you think i should be prepared to face?
    >Also traveling to US many times in the middle of my semesters here would be difficult. Do these companies conduct telephonic/video conferencing interviews or they all need me on-site?
    >Regards,
    >Mohit R

    Hello Mohit, you wrote:

    but still i feel there must be a way out to break these barriers
    Is it a "feeling" or is it a "wish"? The problem is you're not actually trying to break the barriers yourself. You're just talking about it with strangers on the Internet, hoping somebody will give you the magic answer.

    I read this on Game dev forum:
    You're talking about http://www.gamedev.net/topic/604679-international-internships/, where I responded to "HappyBirthday," a guy who sounds a bit like you. And what was the point of quoting my response in that thread? Was there a comment or question about what I said?

    i am eligible for Game design/production intern positions in formal internship programs like Lucas Jedi academy, EA etc
    You're shooting very high, but you don't have good aim. Instead of contacting those companies, you're asking me.

    I read on EA website that if i am eligible to work in US they will consider my application.
    Yes. They say "if A exists, then B can occur."

    if i get an offer of internship from EA , i can definitely get a J1 visa
    Yes. You're saying "if B occurs, then A can exist."

    Do they want me to have a work-permit prior to application?
    You know the answer, but you don't WANT to know it. If A exists, THEN B can occur, they're saying. But if you want to clarify whether or not this classic chicken-and-egg problem really holds sway, you shouldn't be asking ME. You should be calling THEM.

    What other constraints do you think i should be prepared to face?
    You should expect that vague all-encompassing questions won't get good answers.

    Also traveling to US many times in the middle of my semesters here would be difficult.
    Oh my gosh, "difficult"!! That's the end of the world! How does the universe expect Mohit to get anything difficult done? It's so unfair! Look, everything about what you want to do is difficult. Even if you are the stellar and perfect candidate that Company X wants for an internship, you still can't expect the universe to bend itself and make everything easy for you!

    "Difficult." Sheesh!

    Do these companies conduct telephonic/video conferencing interviews
    It's not unusual to conduct initial interviews by phone. But I can't tell you what Lucas and EA are willing to do to make life easy for some unknown guy in India who wants an internship in America. I don't work at those companies. Did you really read what I told "HappyBirthday" on GameDev?

      Nobody can tell you "oh yes, all companies welcome interns from overseas" or "oh no, no companies welcome interns from overseas." You think the world is binary, that everything is either black or white. It's not.
      Each company, each manager, is different. Each one has its own ideas and policies.

    or they all need me on-site?
    Call them and ask them.

    You, Mohit, think that the world can be predicted, that just because one guy experienced one thing one time, that a rule can be figured out from that. That every person or company then always acts according to the rule. The world is not that simple. Nothing can be predicted. Heisenberg had it right.

    In that GameDev thread, "HappyBirthday" also asked:

    What if I have the legal work figured out ..
    Good. Figure it out, then ask them.

    Do these companies actually higher [sic] international students as interns ?
    Ask them.

    How often do these companies higher [sic] international students as interns ?
    Ask them.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 28, 2011


    Aspiring game designer, part 3

    >From: Gt
    >Sent: Sun, June 26, 2011 3:30:02 AM
    >Subject: Re: Aspiring game designer
    >Yes sir will do


    Frequently Asked Questions 65, 21... part 2

    >Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2011 18:36:43 -0700 (PDT)
    >From: Craig M
    >Subject: Phil again with more understanding.
    >Hey Mr. Webmaster. Anyway, I took your advice, and I especially focused on section #11, and I apologize for not making the questions clearer. Anyway,
    >1. To contact a game publisher/developer about a concept, should i do it over the phone, in person, or VIA email...when I'm old enough?
    >2. You said that if you have a concept on paper and if you're not an expert in the industry, and if you don't have a development company willing to make the game for you that the publisher won't give you a deal. What if you do have a game developer willing to make the game for you/you have every aspect of the game (scale models of the location, hundreds of pages worth of dialogue, etc.) written out, then what's your chances of success?
    >Anyway, as I said before, sorry for not making the questions clearer, and thanks for taking your time to help other guys like us help make video games! plus, I can send you a GDD of what I have so far, if you're interested
    >Cheers,
    >Phil

    Greetings Phil, you wrote:

    Hey Mr. Webmaster.
    I have a name, Phil. I signed my previous reply with it.

    I especially focused on section #11
    Translation: you read ONLY section #11, and none of the other things I advised you to read. What do you have against reading? If you want to be a game designer, you will have to do a lot of reading and research. Your lazy attitude makes me sad.

    To contact a game publisher/developer about a concept, should i do it over the phone, in person, or VIA email...when I'm old enough?
    Read the articles I told you to read last time.

    What if you do have a game developer willing to make the game for you/you have every aspect of the game (scale models of the location, hundreds of pages worth of dialogue, etc.) written out, then what's your chances of success?
    You didn't read FAQ 11 very carefully, did you, Phil. It's a waste of my time to tell you things if you don't read them.

    sorry for not making the questions clearer
    Your questions aren't the problem. The problem is that you don't read.

    thanks for taking your time to help other guys like us
    You're welcome.

    I can send you a GDD
    Read the instructions for this bulletin board (above). And read my May 28 reply to Paarth, "Here is my game idea" (below). Or am I wasting my breath asking you to read anything?

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 22, 2011


    Frequently Asked Questions 65, 11, 21...

    Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2011 12:21:27 -0700 (PDT)
    From: Craig M
    Subject: Video Game Questions
    >First, I will provide the tidbits-
    >1. 15
    >2. high school
    >3. student
    >4. writer (not a code writer, just a writer/designer)
    >5. America
    >First of all, I love your website. It helped me a lot throughout the process of my game (I'm not giving out the name due to secrecy, but we can just call it "Scotsmen with nunchucks"). However, I feel that a few questions of mine are unanswered, and that's why I'm writing to you, good sir.
    >1. Should I contact a video game publisher via Phone, Email, or in person?
    >2. Would a game company take my idea if I have the whole thing written out (script, soundtrack, map?)
    >3. If a game company that usually makes, let's say 3rd person horror games, for example, be willing to make a 1st person horror game?
    >If you answer my questions, I would greatly appreciate it
    >Cheers,
    >Phil

    Hello Phil, you asked:

    a few questions of mine are unanswered
    Only because you didn't read the right articles. You haven't read FAQs 65, 11, or 21. That's for sure.

    Should I contact a video game publisher via Phone, Email, or in person?
    It depends.
    If you want to offer to wash the designers' cars, you should go in person.
    If you want to apply for a job, you should do that by email. But you're 15, so you should wait a couple years first.

    Would a game company take my idea
    No. You haven't read my FAQs 1 or 11. You said my website "helped me a lot" -- what parts have you been reading?

    If a game company that usually makes, let's say 3rd person horror games, for example, be willing to make a 1st person horror game?
    It depends. If you're talking about a development company, many of them will make games in any genre a publisher wants. If you're talking about a publishing company: "sure. Why not?"

    If you answer my questions, I would greatly appreciate it
    Of course. That's what I do. You might want to scroll down and read the answers I gave to Sergey yesterday, and Edan the day before that. The questions they asked, and the answers I gave them, might also be informative for you. And make sure you read FAQ 35. You can link to my FAQs above left.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 22, 2011


    Sole designer

    >Subject: Form submission from: Ask Tom
    >From: "IGDA"
    >Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2011 14:06:41 -0500 (CDT)
    >Submitted on 2011/06/22 - 15:06
    >Submitted by user: Kudlaty [83.14.236.146]
    >Submitted values are:
    > Question:
    >Hi Tom,
    >For two years now I have been a sole designer. I have read a selection of books on the topic of game design but I haven't been successful on finding one that addresses sole design role in the company.
    >I wonder if You by any means know any valuable position i could dig into or social group of sole designers.
    >Yours sincerely,
    >Mike

    Hello Mike,
    I can't write a column on the IGDA website based on your question, since I don't understand what you're asking. So instead I'm replying here on my own site (which is what I do whenever anyone contacts me to ask for free game career advice).
    I don't know what you mean by "sole designer." Does that mean (a) you're the only game designer at your company? Or that (b) the only job you do is game design? Please describe your role for me so I can more clearly understand the term and what it means to you. Are you a full-time employee at your company? If so, how big is the company (how many people, how many projects at a time)? Or are you freelance? And what more is it that you want to learn about your job (what are you looking for from a book)? Then maybe I would be better able to help you with your question.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 22, 2011


    Frequently Asked Question #61, part 2

    >From: Mihai B
    >Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2011 23:49:40 +0300
    >Subject: Re: Question on game patent
    >> Hello Tom, and thanks for your reply.
    > Yes I have read the FAQ's, and I'm still puzzled :

      5. What if the only thing I want to borrow is the gameplay - say, the idea of jumping on things and collecting coins?
      Fine. Don't worry about it.
      5Ω. So I can make a Mario game as long as it doesn't have Mario in it or have "Mario" in the title?
      No. You also can't use the Mario music or sound effects, and you can't use any of the other Mario characters (you know, the ones who aren't Mario himself), and you shouldn't simply copy the Mario gameplay exactly.

    > Just what i was asking :). To what extent do i need to copy a gameplay skeleton until i can consider myself free of hassle? I want to keep the core functionality, and improve upon it, but not change it drastically.
    > I know, you're not a lawyer :P
    > But there aren't many lawyers in Romania in the game design field, and i think they need to be accustomed to this area before they can answer my questions :P
    > Therefor, here I am.
    > Thanks for your time.
    > Mike

    Alo Mike, you wrote:

    To what extent do i need to copy a gameplay skeleton until i can consider myself free of hassle?
    Never. ANYbody can hassle you ANYtime, for ANY reason, or for NO reason.

    there aren't many lawyers in Romania in the game design field
    You can find a list of game lawyers (including European game lawyers) at obscure.co.uk (click the Directory tab).

    i think they need to be accustomed to this area before they can answer my questions
    That's YOUR opinion. Why don't you ask an IP attorney for HIS opinion?

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Summer Solstice, 2011


    Frequently Asked Question #61

    >From: Mihai B
    >Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2011 22:44:09 +0300
    >Subject: Question on game patent
    >Hello Tom, and thank you for a very enjoyable and informative website, it has really helped me in my attempt of ?becoming an indie game designer.
    >Now, i have a question on game cloning, i hope you find the time to answer it.
    >I'm currently planning to clone a very old game, which is still being owned by a big gaming company (and an ugly one, too). It's not a particulary popular one but there's still a decent fan base out there who I'm sure will be glad to see an up-to-date version of it.
    >Question is, regardless of whether i choose to release it for free or commercially, can that company claim ownership at any point over my creation?
    >I know you need more details to answer that, i will try to comply without revealing too much :
    >- I will not be using any of the original artwork, sounds and whatnot. It will be redone from the ground up.
    >- I'm told the company only owns naming rights. Needless to say, I will call it differently.
    >- The game is basically a turn-based strategy, set in a fantasy environment. I'm guessing no one has patent rights on elves, orcs, spells and knights..? What about turn-based games? Do the creators of Command & Conquer had to purchase any rights from the creators of Dune 2?
    >- What I will be using are the original game mechanics. And here lies my dilemma. Can they be true to the original or do i need to make changes?
    >Can these changes be subtle, or do they need to be extensive in order to evade any claims from the owners?
    >Such as tweaks to the economy, different combat system etc?
    >Or different naming conventions will do the trick?
    >I wouldn't like to have corporate hounds on my behind for this, which i heard could be the case even if i just leak it on the net.
    >Many thanks for your time,
    >Cheers
    >Mike

    Alo Mike, you wrote:

    I'm currently planning to clone a very old game
    I am not a lawyer. Have you read FAQ 61? The FAQs are above left.

    which is still being owned by a big gaming company (and an ugly one, too)
    I am not a lawyer. All big game companies should be pretty! (^_~)

    It's not a particulary popular one
    I am not a lawyer. All big game companies should be popular! (^_^)

    can that company claim ownership at any point over my creation?
    I am not a lawyer. They can't claim to own your clone. But they can sue your @$$ and make an enforceable demand that your clone be removed from the Internet and all copies destroyed. Romania is a signatory to the Berne Convention. Read FAQ 39.

    I know you need more details to answer that
    No, I don't. BTW, I am not a lawyer.

    I'm guessing no one has patent rights on elves, orcs, spells and knights..? What about turn-based games? Do the creators of Command & Conquer had to purchase any rights from the creators of Dune 2?
    I am not a lawyer. Read the FAQs.

    Can [my game's game mechanics] be true to the original or do i need to make changes?
    I am not a lawyer. How much risk are you willing to take?

    Can these changes be subtle, or do they need to be extensive in order to evade any claims from the owners?
    >Such as tweaks to the economy, different combat system etc?
    >Or different naming conventions will do the trick?
    I am not a lawyer. How much risk are you willing to take?

    I wouldn't like to have corporate hounds on my behind
    I am not a lawyer. Why don't you ask a lawyer? (Or at least read my FAQs.) You're welcome to ask me more questions, but please always read the FAQs first, before asking a frequently asked question.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Summer Solstice, 2011


    I have many great game ideas, part 4

    >Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2011
    >Subject: Re: Hey Tom
    >From: Sergey Z
    >Awesome, i got brownie points with Tom!!!!
    >Thanks for the info and thanks again for the breakdown on which chapters to review. Ill drop another post after reviewing the mentioned chapters.
    >sz


    I have many great game ideas, part 3

    >Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2011 11:47:45 -0400
    >Subject: Re: Hey Tom
    >From: Sergey Z
    >I see, said the blind man. Non the less thank you for your honest and
    >professional advice, but i think i will still use the abundance of
    >information provided here and try to submit my idea with a publisher.
    >Do you think a 10page game summary would suffice for a honest review
    >from a game publisher?
    >sz

    Hi Sergey, you wrote:

    Non the less thank you for your honest and
    >professional advice

    Nonetheless, you're welcome.

    but i think i will still use the abundance of
    >information provided here and try to submit my idea with a publisher.
    Make sure you re-read FAQs 11, 21, & 35 at least.

    Do you think a 10page game summary would suffice
    Read FAQs 49 & 13.

    for a honest review
    >from a game publisher?
    Oh, any replies or responses you get will be honest, no matter what. Count on it.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Summer Solstice, 2011


    I have many great game ideas, part 2

    >Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2011 17:58:00 -0400
    >Subject: Re: Hey Tom
    >From: Sergey Z
    >Hey Tom,
    >Thank you for your quick response. In your posted reply, you
    >mentioned angel investor as a viable solution to my dilemma...would
    >you be able to point me in the right direction knowing it would cost
    >about 2-3mil in development costs? Also you mention business plan,
    >now does that mean game design document or full blown business plan??
    >sz

    Sergey,
    I was suggesting that a "job" in the game industry was not a good option for YOU, since you have exceedingly high salary expectations, and since what you mainly have to offer are ideas and product plans, rather than marketable skills.
    I was suggesting that you start your own game company instead. Before you can start a game company, you'll need a solid business plan. Angels aren't the only way to get money for a startup. You might want to take some business classes or get an MBA.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 2, 2011


    I have many great game ideas

    >From: Sergey Z
    >Sent: Mon, June 20, 2011 11:15:25 AM
    >Subject: Hey Tom
    >Hey Tom,
    >I have read some of the advice articles that your website provides and
    >i have the following question, but before i get into the question
    >itself, i would like to give you my background as the answer would
    >probably stem from your knowledge about me.
    >First i would like to say that i am 28 years young, and that i am not
    >in the video game industry other than from the side of a consumer...i
    >spend at least $500 a year on video games, weather i am buying a new
    >console, games or paying for a game subscription but that's how much i
    >spend. I have also loved video games since first finding out about
    >them in 1991, since than i have played all kinds of games, ranging
    >from video games on the consoles and pc's to playing out mind based
    >scenarios with friends while cutting school or on long trips out of
    >state. Most of the time after playing one of my mind based games the
    >participants have smiles and tell me that i need to make a comic book,
    >game or something of the type.
    >Secondly, even though I am not a gaming industry professional, i am a
    >professional. I work for a huge media company in the US, earning a
    >six figure salary for my work as a san\nas engineer. I have also
    >acquired a BA in micro computing and understand coding and technology
    >concepts very well, although i have not coded since my graduation. I
    >believe that the above mentioned qualities make it easy for me to
    >identify gaming industry trends, and existing industry progressions
    >have reinforced this belief about myself even more.
    >After reading over your website pointers i have come to conclusion
    >that if i want to follow my dream, than i need to get into the
    >industry and make my moves from within. So here is the question.
    >If i was to present my idea to a game publisher or designer addressing
    >following points of interest: controls, story and character design,
    >game progression, and finally game production concepts regarding
    >future expansions and the revenue generation model. How likely is it
    >that they would hire me as the games producer, matching my or
    >increasing salary and maybe offering some royalty options after paying
    >off the games development costs. I expect the games development costs
    >to be about two to three million, but i have ideas on how to start
    >paying back on the investment as early as a year and a half after
    >start of the funding.
    >Just to clarify, I have many great game ideas and they are all based
    >on existing gaming trends, but i do have to say that my ideas always
    >have a splash of originality as that is just who i am.
    >sz

    Hello Sergey, you wrote:

    though I am not a gaming industry professional, i am a
    >professional. I work for a huge media company in the US
    OK, so "professional but not in the industry" as described in FAQs 11 and 21.

    If i was to present my idea to a game publisher or designer
    Designer? No, no, no. Publishers accept outside submissions. Designers have plenty of ideas of their own, and have enough trouble selling those! And if you meant "developer," they also are not in a position to accept concept submissions. See FAQs 11 and 21.

    How likely is it
    >that they would hire me as the games producer
    Very close to zero.

    matching my ... salary
    No way. Read the game industry Salary Survey (one place where I have a link to that is my Game Biz Links page).

    I expect the games development costs
    >to be about two to three million
    Pretty cheap. Too much for a mobile phone game. Must be for the Wii or DS, or maybe a web-playable or -downloadable game. No packaged product for Xbox 360 or PS3 could be viable for such a small budget.

    I have many great game ideas
    Big deal. Those will not get you a job. Sounds to me like what you need is a business plan and an angel investor and a greatly reduced risk-averse outlook on life and career.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 20, 2011


    Who do I submit my game concept to, and how? (Frequently Asked Question #21)

    >From: Edan L
    >Sent: Mon, June 20, 2011 3:25:21 AM
    >Subject: Who is the best person to send your game design to within the industry?
    >Hi Mr. Sloper,
    >You mentioned in your articles that one of the best ways to break into the gaming industry is to continuously write out ones designs and then send them to the developing / publishing company that one has an interest in.
    >My question is: which is the best person to send my design to, within that company, and how can I find their contact details?
    >Additionally; what is the best method to contact this person, especially if I don't live in the same country that they are working in?
    >Thanks / Regards
    >Edan

    Hello Edan, you wrote:

    You mentioned in your articles that one of the best ways to break into the gaming industry is to continuously write out ones designs
    Yes. It's called "practice." It's called "developing one's skills." It's called "pursuing one's passions." Hopefully you're writing your concepts using the techniques I outlined in FAQs 2 and 13.

    and then send them to the developing / publishing company that one has an interest in.
    I never said that. I never said that one of the best ways to break in is to send one's concepts to a developer or publisher. Show me where you think you read me saying that, and I'll show you that you have mischaracterized and twisted my advice.

    which is the best person to send my design to, within that company, and how can I find their contact details?
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question #21. You need to read FAQ 21.

    what is the best method to contact this person, especially if I don't live in the same country that they are working in?
    I see by your email address that you live in South Africa. Most of the big publishers are in the USA and Japan. If you're trying to contact the submissions manager in an American company, all you have to do (once you've gotten the phone number) is call long distance. If you're trying to contact a Japanese company, first you have to learn Japanese and become fluent before you call (see FAQ 48).

    Look, Edan. You said you want to break into the game industry? You don't do that by submitting game designs internationally. Read FAQs 7, 10, 14, 4, 24, and 27. And read FAQs 34, 44, and 25. When you're ready to ask me something that I haven't already answered in an FAQ, you're welcome to write me again.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 20, 2011


    Aspiring game designer, part 2

    >Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2011 13:06:23 -0600
    >Subject: Re: Aspiring game designer
    >From: Gt C.
    >I am very thankful for the response you gave me [on May 22]. Even though I feel like a complete idiot for the way I worded my sentence I feel like I have learned a lot from what you have told me. Thank you so much for your time on correcting me in my ways so i can now learn them correctly.

    You're welcome, George. But you still need to work harder to make sure you always capitalize your I's. You missed one! (^_^)

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 19, 2011


    How do I network, part 2

    >From: "The One Man Project"
    >Subject: My Moniker
    >Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2011 19:28:16 -0700
    >Hello Mr. Sloper,
    >I looked through both of my messages that I submitted and noticed that I didn't exactly clarify the meaning of my moniker. I'm terribly sorry for that it seems to portray me as the lone wolf type, that's simply not my goal. I took on the moniker because I have many abilities I can offer as potential job positions. I wanted a handle that could convey this while sounding catchy...
    >Just to clarify,
    >but I'm not going to let this email come across as a complaint of some sort, that's not my purpose. I also wanted to thank you for your response and references, I haven't yet explored your entire site( I'm still on lesson 22), but-- each time I'm finding new things that help open my eyes and shape my persona.
    >Thank you once more Mr.Sloper,
    >Kaylin N.

    Hi Kaylin,
    You don't have to apologize for your email nick. But perhaps you see that it sort of requires explanation. And that's the problem, since people can misinterpret it (if one considers me a people). Anytime you have to explain something (a nickname, a title, a design concept, a drawing, whatever), then that thing does not accomplish your intended purpose. So I still think you should consider changing it. I do get it now -- like "One Man Band," it might mean "multi-talented person," but have you seen a one-man band? They usually look kind of silly, and if they were really greatly talented, how come they can't get anybody else to be in their bands?
    Anyway, I'm glad you didn't get hung up on that one aspect of my reply, and that my reply did helpfully address the questions you meant to have answered.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 14, 2011


    How do I network when there's no networking event?

    >From: The One Man Project
    >Sent: Tue, June 14, 2011 11:43:42 AM
    >Subject: Game Industy Connections Question
    >Hello Mr. Sloper,
    >Its me Kaylin N., I emailed you a few months prior praising your work here on the site. MY web handle is the ìOne Man Project".î Anyway I wanted to ask you a question regarding connections. This summer I really want to boost the amount of friends that are either in or going into the game industry. I have a pass to the PAX event in august which I'm very excited about, I'm sure I'll make some sort of connection there. But this leaves a near two month gap of time that I could be using trying to put my passion in creating games out there. What I want to know is how can I properly convey my interest to others who have my same passion and gain connections within this two month time frame?
    >Every time I try I end up getting the same words thrown at me about developers in general, that they're these unfriendly and spiteful people who don't welcome newcomers at all( of course I don't believe this).
    >I'm not asking for a direct answer Mr. Sloper, just suggestions. I value your opinion highly since you have more experience in this field than I could ever muster.
    >Thank you for taking the time to read this message. I humbly await your valued response,
    >Kaylin N.
    >a.k.a The One Man Project

    Hello Kaylin, you wrote:

    I ... want to boost the amount of friends ... in or going into the game industry.
    Contacts and acquaintances are easy. Friends take time.

    I have a pass to ... PAX ... in august... But this leaves a near two month gap of time that I could be using ...
    So you can network locally, and you can network digitally.

    trying to put my passion in creating games out there.
    Why? What is the end goal? What does it accomplish that people here there and elsewhere know "Kaylin is passionate about creating games"?

    From your choice of moniker, it sounds like you're telling everyone that you're a Lone Wolf type. Lone Wolves usually aren't interested in getting game jobs, and game hirers aren't interested in hiring Lone Wolf types. If you're a Lone Wolf, what do you need anybody else for? Or maybe you're a One Man Project through circumstances, not by choice? And trying to change that? If so, you should consider changing your persona.

    And maybe I just don't understand what "putting my passion out there" means. Um, well, actually, no "maybe" about it. I don't. We are what we do. We don't have to tell people what we are; we only have to show by our actions.

    how can I properly convey my interest to others who have my same passion and gain connections [while not at a game networking event]?
    Network locally -- look for an IGDA chapter, local SIGs, schools, clubs. And network digitally -- go on indie game forums, read, share.

    Every time I try I end up getting the same words thrown at me
    So every time you talk to a developer or someone who's interested in becoming one, they just say "forget it, kid. Developers are unfriendly and spiteful." I can't believe any developer or aspiring developer would tell you that. (When you say "every time I try" to make connections, I have to assume you are contacting the people you're trying to connect with -- but apparently, from your words, you're doing something else instead, like talking to people not connected with the industry about your aspiration of connecting with industry people?)

    about developers in general, that they're these unfriendly and spiteful people who don't welcome newcomers at all( of course I don't believe this).
    Good, don't. Because that's bull$#!+ started by losers who talked a lot and never listened.

    I'm ... asking for ... just suggestions.
    Read my FAQ 54. Be a good LISTENER. When you're at PAX, ask good questions of the people you engage in conversation and exchange cards with. Don't just go on and on about yourself.
    If there's no chapter, SIG, or club, then start one. Go real grassroots; post flyers, talk to local business organizations (you know, Elks and Moose, if those still exist) and schools (high schools and up, don't bother with junior high and lower).
    Nothing you can say to anybody is going to convince them you're someone worth working with. You have to work, read, listen, and do. Go on indie forums (see my Game Biz Links page for some that I've found, for starters). Read, read, read. Don't bother posting a "hello dere youz guyz" post, it's a waste of time and makes you look silly. Wait until there's a topic you can add meaningfully to, then add meaningfully to it.
    Bad: "Hey dood96, you say you're stuck in Outer Noplace? I can sympathize, I'm stuck here in Nowheresville trying to put a portfolio project together, anybody know somebody in either Nowheresville or Nohootersville? Oh, and btw how do i make a cutscene for my game lol?"
    Good: "gdev123, you said you were looking for hosting solutions? Well, I read on indiegamerforum that XYZ.net and QRS.com are both pretty good hosts. Haven't tried them myself (haven't gotten that far yet), but you could have a look at their offerings."

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 14, 2011


    Which Masters should I go for, part 3

    >From: Nagarjuna V
    >Sent: Mon, June 13, 2011 2:34:11 AM
    >Subject: Regarding Pursuing a masters in game development
    >Hello Tom,
    >Thank you for your answers. I am not against teaching and im certainly up for working hard, i know that nothing in this life is free and no ones going to hand over the stuff you want on a golden or ( silver) :) platter.The fact is my dads putting a lot of money for this and that is one of the reasons im looking into tiny details. I have to make sure that i make a good choice.
    >You have proven the point which i had believed too, "everything finally depends on you ", there are no shortcuts.Guess all the pressure was making me search for a shortcut.
    >I do want to do a masters cos i believe that it is essential and that i wud learn new stuff.
    >Correct me if you are wrong, but i think what u are trying to say is that:
    >"Dude, i dont care for which program you want to go, decide for yourself , weigh all the points, make a decision grid............................I cant tell you which college is better (even though i would prefer USC :) )......Some things can be taught and others can be learnt by urself...............if u can learn by urself go ahead......otherwise learning from someone can be useful too"
    >Thank you again sir,
    >I am greatly honored that you took such interest in my problems.
    >Regards,
    >Nagarjuna V

    Hi Nagarjuna,
    Good, I'm glad you have come to this point. You wrote:

    I have to make sure that i make a good choice.
    You're trying to decide between (a) a good choice or (b) a good choice -- so I don't see how you can make a bad one at this point.

    want to do a masters cos i believe that it is essential
    I don't think it is "essential," but you have my permission to go for it. (^_^)

    And you are being very polite today, so...

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 13, 2011


    Which Masters should I go for, part 2

    >From: Nagarjuna V
    >Sent: Sat, June 11, 2011 11:38:45 PM
    >Subject: Regarding Pursuing a masters in game development
    >Hello tom,
    >Thank you for your answer, Ya i know that learning / gaining knowledge is the way to go, i would give more importance to that any day. Right now all the info i have about these colleges is basically from the internet and some random seniors, The fact is no one would say anything negative about their colleges and since im in India, i dont have the opportunity to check out the colleges first hand.
    >So i will do the decision grid,as per ur advice and perhaps it will make some sense.
    >Some other stuff, i wanted to ask you is,
    >I have some experience in programming and when i started off game programming (i started with allegro moved on to SDL, then to unmanaged Directx) , the thing i noticed was that everything was there online ( tutorials, optimizations u name it) and i learnt all of that through online tutorials,
    >1.) So, is it imperative to have someone teach you these things as a part of the masters program when i feel that i can learn it by myself? are game programming courses really necessary at this level?
    >Isn't getting experience working as a team better than taking regular courses on game programming?
    >2.) I am also interested in the new types of technologies say motion control as in Knect, Virtual Reality concepts (i feel that tht is the future of gaming), so in that case how will a normal masters in game development help, if i want to work on cutting edge technology and to apply that tech to gaming ?
    >P.S i said i was interested in cutting edge tech in gaming, i wish to work on these concepts which could be applied later to gaming, im not interested in a Phd.
    >Thanking you,
    >regards,
    >Nagarjuna V

    Good day, Nagarjuna. You wrote:

    is it imperative to have someone teach you these things as a part of the masters program when i feel that i can learn it by myself?
    Let me turn this around and ask YOU some questions (note that I do not need you to reply to me -- I am only trying to make you arrive at your own answers):
    Are you an experienced teacher?
    Are you a better teacher than the ones you would get in school?
    Did I not already say that you don't have to go for the masters -- that the industry does not require that level of education before it will hire you -- did I not already say that you should only go for it if you want to?
    I imagine that there will be classes you would have to take as part of the masters program. That in those classes they will be teaching you things. I also imagine that there will be things they won't teach you. In my ever-so-fertile imagination, I can envision a world in which some things are taught you, and some things you teach yourself. Maybe my imagination is too fanciful. Or maybe your imagination is too limited.

    are game programming courses really necessary at this level?
    Probably. But I don't know what courses a masters student has to take. I teach at the undergraduate level. Look, if you don't want no more stinking classes, don't go to school after you graduate. But if you want to learn, then why on earth are you expressing a rejection of teaching?

    Isn't getting experience working as a team better than taking regular courses on game programming?
    Classic two-choices question. Read FAQ 52. Your imagination IS too limited -- you think the world is black and white, either or, if else, binary.
    It isn't.
    Besides: I am certain that in both schools, you WOULD get to work in team situations.

    I am also interested in the new types of technologies say motion control as in Knect, Virtual Reality concepts (i feel that tht is the future of gaming), so in that case how will a normal masters in game development help, if i want to work on cutting edge technology and to apply that tech to gaming ?
    This is another typical "why do I have to study stuff I don't want to" question, only asked in reverse. MAYBE you would be given the chance to work with motion control and VR in grad school. And if they don't hand you that opportunity on a silver platter, I'm certain you would be able to simply take the opportunity yourself, proactively, at that level.

    And PLEASE don't use the word "gaming" unless you're talking about the gambling industry. Read http://www.igda.org/games-game-may-2008.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 12, 2011


    Which Masters should I go for?

    >From: Nagarjuna V
    >Sent: Sat, June 11, 2011 2:12:16 AM
    >Subject: Regarding Masters in game development
    >Hello Tom,
    >So im in a fix right now. I have a Bachelors degree in Engineering (Computer Science) and now i was looking to further my knowledge by doing a Masters degree with a primary aim to get into game industry. The thing is i love programming and i also want to design games ( i have some game ideas), so i applied to the top programs and was able to shortlist two colleges :
    >1.Masters of Entertainment Tech @Carnegie Mellon gives u an environment where you work with a team of artists, designers,programmers to develop games and other entertainment related stuff, it includes only projects and very little normal lecture type courses
    >2. Masters in Computer Science specialization in game development @ University of Southern California concentrates mainly on ur computer science stuff to program games, they concentrate on game engines and coding mainly, there is a project at the end where you work with other students from arts and design schools also
    >Till now the stuff i have done includes designing and coding some 2D games including a game in which you control the character using hand gestures (input via the web cam)
    >I have also worked on 3D game engines like Unity and Panda3D.
    >So the problem im facing is choosing between them. If you have any information about the above courses it will be really helpful.
    >The fact is i have contacted seniors from both the colleges and both of them seem good. There is not much difference in Cost or any other thing for the matter. Only difference is in the structure of the programs.
    > Could give me a direct comparison based on your knowledge of these colleges ? (Since you are teaching at USC)
    >Thanking you,
    >Nagarjuna V

    Hello Nagarjuna, you wrote:

    So the problem im facing is choosing between them.
    You have to make a decision grid. Read FAQ 70 and FAQ 52. And of course you have to understand that I am terribly biased towards USC!

    If you have any information about the above courses it will be really helpful.
    I will not do your research for you.

    Could give me a direct comparison based on your knowledge of these colleges ?
    I will not do your decision grid for you. Besides, it should be obvious that I know more about USC than about Carnegie Mellon.

    You are very fortunate that you are in a position to pursue a Masters degree. My position on Masters degrees is that you should pursue it IF YOU WANT TO. And that you should pursue it FOR THE LEARNING, not for the piece of paper and the cachet, the impression it might or might not make on a potential future employer.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 11, 2011


    Which should I go for: an MS or an MBA, part 2

    >From: Mohit r
    >Sent: Thu, June 9, 2011 12:01:42 AM
    >Subject: What should i Choose : MS or MBA
    >Hi,
    >I think i couldn't put my words well.
    >I am currently in Integrated post Graduate Program (5 years) which means : I am bound to study here for 5 years for a degree that can be either-
    >1. Bachelors of technology in Information Technology (3 years ; over now) + MBA(2 years)
    >2. Bachelors of technology in Information Technology (3 years ; over now) + Masters of technology in IT(2 years)
    >I have to now choose at the end of three years that i will go for 1 or 2 .
    >I am interested and studying Game Design on my own and so i am looking for a good entry level job after my 5-year degree. Since design jobs are hard to get, my idea is to look either into programming or producing. I am sort of inclined to management side more than programming and so i have decided to go for an MBA (option 1)
    >My doubt is: When i send my CV across applying for position of Game Programmer, will option 1 serve as a negative due to an MBA degree ?
    >Have you ever come across a situation where you didn't prefer a MBA graduate for a programming position (assuming the guy had good indie games and programming internship experience in game industry )
    >Does industry even take this into consideration as i heard a lot many people saying during GDC that your masters is not that important, your work is!
    >PS. I am the same guy Mohit R not Rohit ;)
    >Regards,
    >Mohit R

    G'day, Mohit. You wrote:

    I have to now choose at the end of three years that i will go for 1 or 2 .
    Okay, so what is wrong with the answer I gave you yesterday? I told you how to deal with this.

    i am looking for a good entry level job after my 5-year degree.
    How about, say, IT for instance? Or programming, if your skills are up to snuff.

    will option 1 serve as a negative due to an MBA degree ?
    You are saying I did not address this yesterday?? I can't foretell your future, but I can (and did) state a probability. The point is, you have to decide using a number of criteria -- this one, plus others.

    Have you ever come across a situation where you didn't prefer a MBA graduate for a programming position
    No! If I had, my reaction would be what I told you yesterday.

    PS. I am the same guy Mohit R not Rohit ;)
    Actually, M. Rustagi also emailed me a question on Feb. 15. But I see that his question and my answer have fallen through the cracks. I don't know what happened to his question. And I'm sorry for mistyping your name yesterday. I've fixed it now.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 9, 2011


    Which should I go for: an MS or an MBA?

    >From: Mohit r
    >Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2011 23:34:37 +0530
    >Subject: Advice on Degree.
    >Dear Sir,
    >I have read FAQs and articles on how to break into the shell of Gaming industry.
    >I have a situation here.
    >I am pursuing an Integrated Post-Graduate course in Information Technology where I complete my bachelor's in IT and then have an option to either choose Masters in Science or MBA.
    >I completed my bachelor's and now I have to make a decision.
    >I am interested to take MBA as Masters in science will eat up a lot of my efforts and time in non-game fields. If I opt for MBA, I can work more and do more indie-projects as I have been doing since 6 months.
    >My question to you is, if I get an MBA degree - is there any chance that recruiters won't prefer me as a programmer?
    >I do understand that this question is quiet relative and depends on the work that I portray.
    >But, I want to know what are the chances of me getting rejected for a programmer job just because I am an MBA grad and some Masters in Comp. Sci. has also applied?
    >Please note that I have a bachelor's in Computers.
    >Thnx in advance,
    >Regards,
    >Mohit R

    Namaste, Rohit Mohit (sorry!). You wrote:

    I have read FAQs and articles on how to break into the shell of Gaming industry.
    Yes, and you've written to me multiple times before. I have also been contacted by another guy named Mohit with the last initial R, so I can see how you might think there is cause for confusion on my part, but really: why do you act as though we were complete strangers and have never communicated before?

    I have to make a decision.
    And have you tried making a decision grid on this?

    if I get an MBA degree - is there any chance that recruiters won't prefer me as a programmer? ... what are the chances of me getting rejected for a programmer job just because I am an MBA grad... and some Masters in Comp. Sci. has also applied?... Please note that I have a bachelor's in Computers.
    Those are all the wrong questions (FAQs 50 and 52). What you're trying to do is decide between getting an MS or an MBA, right? You have decided to go on beyond your BS (or BA, whatever the case may be). And you have to decide between more advanced learning in computers or advanced learning in business. To make a decision, I always advise that you make a decision grid, so that you can consider a variety of factors, weigh them, and make order out of a chaotic jumble of information. See FAQ 70.

    You should include these factors into your decision grid:

  • An MBA is invaluable if you plan to eventually run your own company;
  • An MS will not guarantee that you get hired as a programmer;
  • An MS might possibly make a potential hirer think you are over-educated;
  • An MS will not necessarily be an impediment to getting hired as a programmer;
  • An MS in computing is not a ball and chain forcing you into a computing job for life;
  • An MBA will not guarantee you success as a businessman;
  • An MBA will probably make a potential hirer think you intend to run your own company, meaning you won't stay in the job very long if he hires you;
  • An MBA is not a ball and chain forcing you into a business career for life;

    Make a decision grid, and see which of the two degrees the grid says you should go for. If the results of the grid are inconclusive, and you can't decide, then flip a coin. If you are unhappy with which side of the coin comes up, then go for the opposite decision. Unless you don't want to.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 8, 2011


    Thank You and a few questions?

    > Game Career Guide Forums > User Control Panel > Private Messages > Inbox
    >Private Message: Thank You and a few questions?
    >05-26-2011, 01:27 PM
    >emanuel.sepulveda
    >Junior Member
    >Activity Longevity
    >1/20 0/20
    >Today Posts
    >0/11 ssssssss4
    >Default Thank You and a few questions?
    >Hello,
    >You recently replied to my one thread. I was wondering if you could please answer a couple of questions for me?

    Hello Emanuel,
    I check public forums like GameCareerGuide every day. But I do not go all around the internet every day checking for PMs on every site I visit. So I didn't find this PM until today (June 8, almost 2 weeks after you sent it). The reason I found it today was that you posted on GCG saying, "I cannot seem to find any information anywhere [regarding]... career path[s] in the gaming industry." (http://www.gamecareerguide.com/forums/showthread.php?p=24896#post24896) I was just about to post links to the IGDA's Career Paths page and my FAQ 7, but when I scrolled down I saw that a mod asked what was the matter with the links you'd been given before, I clicked over to your previous thread and saw that I'd already given you those links. Reading further, I saw that you were helped by my links and wanted a private conversation with me. That made me wonder if you had PM'd me, then I looked in my GCG inbox, and there you were!

    Long story short: sure, go ahead, ask me questions. But I will not give your answers in private. When someone emails me or PMs me with game career advice questions, I always answer them right here on this board. I want the information to be shared. Standing by for those questions...
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 8, 2011


    How to home-school game design, part 2

    J, some afterthoughts:
    On the HTML and web design: although that's not something a game designer uses on the job, it's a very useful job-hunting skill. Creative people need to have a portfolio website.
    Along with the teaching of Microsoft Word, an aspiring game designer also needs excellent typing skills. So I hope you're planning to teach him typing.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 7, 2011


    How to home-school game design?

    >Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2011 14:25:27 -0700 (PDT)
    >From: J
    >Subject: Homeschooler
    >My son will be doing 9th grade work in the fall and has a great interest in game design. I have been researching classes and other avenues to find out where the best place for him to start is. I already have informed him about specific classes he will need, which I found on your list, physics and a lot of math. I am wondering if starting the text mentioned on your site Introduction to Game Development would be a good start or if you have any other suggestions such as basic HTML, web design or any software programs. Great web site very helpful, I will be recommending to the other homeschoolers who are seeking the same information I am. Thank you for your time.

    Hello J,
    That book is one that I recommend. There are a whole lot of other ones as well. In that book, though, there are three parts (11 chapters) that I recommend for a game design student:
    Part 1, Critical Game Studies (history of video games as well as background on games and how they fit into culture and society).
    Part 2, Game Design.
    Part 7, Game Production and the Business of Games (so the student can understand the process, and how games are monetized, how the business works).

    You also asked:

    any other suggestions such as basic HTML, web design or any software programs.
    Well, designing websites can be a useful skill, but is not a useful job skill, unless he's going to become a web designer. He should learn how to use Microsoft's Office suite - Word, Excel, Visio. Also Google Sketchup. He should know how to make diagrams and spreadsheets and write good-looking documents, if he wants to become a game designer. But he also has to have a breaking-in path; he needs a skill that will get him hired at a game company (see my FAQ 7 for info on game jobs). After several years at a game company, if he shows talent for game design, he might get a chance to do some game design. The best game-building tools that I know of are listed in my FAQ 56. It would be very useful for an aspiring game designer to have played around with some of those.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 7, 2011


    How do I volunteer?

    >From: J. Alejandro K
    >Sent: Mon, June 6, 2011 12:50:52 AM
    >Subject: Indy game volunteer for music soundtrack (from Argentina)
    >1) 32 years old.
    >2) Some Uni, but quitted.
    >3) Switching careers, I've been symphonic musician 'till now
    >4) Music composer, 2D and 3D artist would be fine as well, game tester as an entry job.
    >5) Argentina (not in Buenos Aires)
    >
    >Q) Do you know where I could offer my services (long-distance) composing music for indy video games?
    >
    >I did find a couple of places thanks to brother Google (indiegamemusic.com and matchlessmusic.net)
    >But I'm just a newcomer and it's a big world out there, so I'd appreciate very much any advice from you, if you just happen to know about this topic.
    > --------////////--------
    >Now following the telegraphic inverted pyramid system you mentioned, some less-important details:
    >My dream 20 years ago (when I was 12) was to work making videogames but then I turned into music and now I want to go back to my teen age dream.
    >Video game industry didn't exist in my country back then but finally things started to change and now there are some small projects been made here in my own city.
    >The only available position I could (and did) apply without any programming skills or prior experience in the biz was as a game tester, but guess what... there are hundreds ahead of me also pursuing the same, it's such a sought after position! so I think I'll need something else to show, and since I can draw and compose music I'll prepare a demo reel/portfolio over the next weeks.
    >
    >Meanwhile I'm reading your page and educating myself on internet the best I can. I just found your site two days ago from a Wikipedia link and I've read Lessons 1 to 16, I plan to finish reading everything quite soon. As my question has to do with music I went to FAQ #41 (Switching Careers) and Article #53 Graphics & Audio, and some other FAQs that have been very very interesting. Thanks for all the work you've done here!
    >
    >I found you said:
    >"You can volunteer for indy game projects and mods, either locally or long-distance."
    >"Negotiate for your name in the credits and the right to use the project's name on your resume. Unpaid experience is still experience. You have to do stuff, otherwise you can never honestly say you did stuff!"
    >So, that's the idea for me now. Ideally I would like to find a project where they need full orchestral music "tailor made" for cut-scenes, individual themes for some characters, and epic battles or so, with lots of interaction with the rest of the creative team, but I'll take whatever I can get and start building from there.
    >
    >Finally, if you think my email falls within:
    >"I Don't Want To Do A Search Myself! It's Too Hard! Just Spoonfeed Me, Please!"
    >That's fair, I'll graciously accept any reply from you, in fact your FAQs already answered all the other questions I could ask! but I wanted to ask about this anyway, and say Hi! :-)
    >Thank you very much.
    >Alejandro.-

    Hello Alejandro,
    I can't give you a tutorial on how to volunteer for indie projects. All I can do is point you to my Game Biz Links page and the Indie Dev article (FAQ 16). Follow links, find indie game dev forums (try various spellings: "indy," "indie," "independent," "amateur," etc.), participate. Good luck!
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 6, 2011


    Why is there no info on teachers who are indie developers?

    >From: "jmannii
    >Sent: Wed, June 1, 2011 6:36:15 AM
    >Subject: I want to keep teaching and still create games on the side.
    >Hi, Tom,
    >I am a 33-year old elementary school teacher in the Washington DC Metro area. I have a BSW, MSW, and Master of Arts in Teaching.
    >
    >I would like to have a second income so this month I started creating board game protoypes for 5 game ideas that I have. My goal was to eventually license these ideas to game companies that specialize in children's games. The games I have are all for entertainment and not meant to teach reading or math or other academics, although they may have that side benefit. In fact, my emphasis is on games that require children ages 3-10 to use strategy and to think and plan (more like Sequence and less like Candyland).
    >
    >Then I read how difficult it is to make a breakthrough and earn income in the board game industry so I thought I'd expand my options and consider turning some of my ideas into computer games, web games, apps, etc. In other words, I won't limit myself to non-tech games.
    >
    >I've read through exactly half of the FAQS so far, and my questions are: what are my options as an educator who does not want to be a full-time game designer? I'm not planning on applying to the makers of LeapFrog or V-Tech for a job.
    >
    >How should I look for more information? I've been googling "teachers who create games," "games made by teachers [educators]," and other similar wordings. I keep getting websites of pre-made online games, and my role is to type in study questions. That's not what I'm looking for.
    >I've read that even teenage boys have created apps for the Iphone, so I think that I'm capable of learning to create an app.
    >Thanks for your time,
    >Jackie

    Hi Jackie,
    The gist of the issue here is that if you want to license games to publishers, you do indeed have to do more than simply design them -- you do indeed have to execute them. With a board game, that means building a prototype, which is pretty easy to do -- in the case of a board game. With an electronic game, that means building a prototype, which is much harder to do, but is manageable for individuals who have the programming, art, and audio chops. If any of those chops are not in your repertoire, you can hire them.

    I don't know why you're so insistent on searching only for TEACHERS who create games on the side. There is no unique difference between a teacher who creates games on the side and a sanitation worker who creates games on the side, other than that the teacher isn't busy during the summer and the sanitation worker makes more money. I repeat: I don't understand why you think you need information about TEACHERS who make games on the side. What you're talking about is making games on the side; being an independent ("indie") game developer. And there are lots of websites about that. Forums where indies share tips are listed in my Game Biz Links page. There's a link to it above left. And read FAQ 16, too.

    And of course if you are going to submit a digital game to a publisher, you have to do all the things listed in FAQs 21 and 35 -- carefully research the publishers, make sure you are pitching your game to a publisher who would welcome your specific concept, then go through the proper submission channels, aware of the legal/contractual aspects that will arise. Sounds like you've already read FAQ 20; you should probably also read FAQ 60.
    If I haven't answered all your questions, you're welcome to ask again. Good luck to you.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 2, 2011


    Is this thesis topic feasible?

    >From: Mohit r
    >Date: Mon, 30 May 2011 18:08:50 +0530
    >Subject: Advice on Bachelor's Thesis Topic
    >Dear Sir,
    >You have always been a source of useful advice for me. Your advice on Business Cards really helped me to network at GDC. The cards simply rocked!
    >I am doing my Bachelors Thesis in games. My research interest is :
    >Can relational transgression be used to model NPCs in games to make player experiences more engaging?
    >Can jealousy, envy, deception be used to give a new dimension to Player-NPC interaction in games?
    >Is this a researchable topic? If yes, How should i proceed? I looked into research papers on general emotional modelling of NPCs but could not find any relevant literature on using relational transgression in games.
    >Also i am not sure what genre of games would this topic suit best for simulation? I think RPGs!
    >I am here because i am from a university that has no professor in the field of games. Also i am not from any game course!
    >I still find this topic interesting and want to pursue it as my thesis.
    >Thanks in advance,
    >Regards,
    >Mohit R

    Dear Reader, you asked:

    Is this a researchable topic?
    Read FAQ 50. You know where the FAQs are.

    How should i proceed?
    I have no idea. Ask your professors.

    what genre of games would this topic suit best for simulation? I think RPGs!
    Yes, and any game with interactable characters, like the new L.A. Noire, for instance. Or a Japanese dating game, maybe.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 30, 2011


    Here is my game idea, part 2

    >From: Paarth G
    >Sent: Fri, May 27, 2011 11:58:34 PM
    >Subject: Hi again.
    >Name:Paarth
    >Occupation:Student
    >Location:India
    >Um...Maybe I didn't make myself clear.My friend tells me to scrap this idea down.But I don't want to because I feel its gonna be a good game.
    >I don't want to do any business plans yet.Here is the link of my story of the game.
    >http://www.mediafire.com/?eqzo88t020j8gwm
    >I've written quite a lot.And my friend feels that the game will need a lot of budget.The cutscenes are actually short, its just how I've written it.

    Paarth,
    Perhaps it is I who have not made myself clear. I said (below) that you should read those FAQs. I said (above) that I do not evaluate your game concepts and I do not follow links for you. You have ignored all those things that I said.
    I asked (below) what you intend to do with your game idea -- when I said "business plan," what I meant was "action plan." In other words, now that you have committed your game idea to paper (and to my website), what are you planning to do with it next? You did not answer my question. In my opinion, the best thing to do with it is file it away and start working on another one. It's called "practice." If you aspire to be a game designer, it's good practice to write game designs. That last word is plural, you see -- nobody can build a career or a life on one game design.
    So what if the game would be expensive to build? Most games are. I repeat, though: so what? You aren't going to build it. You're a kid with an idea, and as discussed in the FAQs, that's about as far as it's likely to go for the time being. You're practicing, starting a portfolio. As long as you are busily avoiding reading my FAQs, you should avoid reading FAQ 55 too. (^_^)
    I am standing by for a good question whenever you are ready to ask one...

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 28, 2011


    Here is my game idea

    >From: Paarth G
    >Subject: My game idea.
    >Date: Sat, 28 May 2011 03:12:31 +0000
    >Name Paarth
    >occupation:Student
    >Location:India
    >Passion:Game design
    >Hi.My friend Dan from gamedev claims that this game idea of mine is not worth focusing on.So I need to know that as a game designer, should I just create the idea before asking anyone's opinion or follow people's opinions and drop the project.Because I'm so emotionally attached to it and I believe it will do well.If you have time, here is the idea.Say what you think about it.
    >Dragon Heart
    >Story:Once upon a time there was a legendary warrior who fought fearsome dragons and beasts and was known by all. One day he grew old and died and he wrote a message to all
    >"I have hidden a deep treasure within my heart and soul.It was given to me by a wealthy king with whom I grew friendly with.It was called the wishing sword .But it was too dangerous for me to have it.So I have hidden it somewhere in this earth land where no one could find it. Those who retrieve the wishing sword must be desperate for adventure .
    >If he is worthy, he shall have any wish he wants.But beware those without the true skills of a warrior are doomed if in greed of the sword."
    >Meanwhile a young boy Heold and a treasure hunter Ruki just saved a town from a monster.When the two ask for the wishing sword the mayor tells them to head to tiipat.
    >The journey begins from here.
    >Gameplay:It is a 2d RPG game with elements of point to click and visual novel where the player controls the main character Heold. Players can move,run,jump,pick and use objects when in the field.When picking items, the player can use them to other items in order to solve some puzzle For example the player must get a rope to save Baron in the first level.When players reach DragonHeart the player must complete tasks for further progressing. During the battle system the player like every rpg game must defeat the opponent by using various tatics. However Heold is immortal meaning that enemies cannot harm him for the time being while his partner gets harmed. Heold can protect his partner to avoid his partner from losing hp and vise versa. As the game progresses Heold's immortality will slowly fade off when fighting similar powerful enemies. Players can only use one partner when completing tasks. There are two ways to level up. One way is defeating enemies to get EXP. The other way is to sing the lyrics of the songs either by repeating the lyrics, humming or singing along sometimes to increase stats according to the character singing. The game has various endings. The game ends if Heold and his partner lose in a battle.

    Hello Paarth,
    That's great that you have a game idea. What is your business plan? What are you going to do with your game idea? Why did you send it to me? What were you hoping to accomplish?
    Read FAQs 1, 11, 21, and 43. If you have a question to ask me, I'm always here. Read FAQ 65. You can access my FAQs by clicking the link above left.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 27, 2011


    I couldn't decide what to type in the subject line

    >Date: Mon, 23 May 2011 17:34:21 -0700 (PDT)
    >From: Tre T
    >Subject:
    >Hello, I read your website and I wanted to say how helpful it is. I have one question though about choosing a degree, since I am stuck between choosing a degree between art and design. Sometimes, family and friends comment on my artwork, and I'm getting my Associate's Degree in Fine Arts. However, I have kinda lost my passion for drawing, maybe due to the criticism I used to get back in my art class (I was in one of the top art classes at my school). I never really knew how to improve my drawing skills, either. Plus, most of the time, I am writing stories or thinking of new ideas for games/stories. I also make my own music (with Musicshake, unfortunately not FL Studio) as well. I do love art, though, along with writing and thinking of ideas. I'm planning to get my Associate's in Fine Arts at CC before transferring to an art school studying in animation, but reading your website I'm not sure what to study in. What do you think I should study? I'm kinda looking for advice. Thank you.

    Hello Tre,
    You have not read enough of my website. If you had read enough of it, you would not be asking this question. You would know that I don't tell people what their passion is, I don't tell them what to major in, I don't tell them what school to go to. You would also know how to figure this out.
    You have to make a decision. Read FAQ 70 and learn about how to make a decision grid. Make a decision grid to decide between art and design (basically, drawing and writing). Make another one to decide between staying with Plan A and changing to Plan B (whatever that is). If the decision you get from the grid leaves you disappointed, then just go the other way (that's what FAQ 40 says).
    Also, you forgot to write a subject line. I almost threw your email out since it looked like a spam. Read about subject lines in FAQs 27 and 28. And don't tell me you've already read FAQs 27, 28, 40, and 70 -- because if you had, you wouldn't have asked me this question!

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 23, 2011


    Aspiring game designer

    >Date: Sun, 22 May 2011 10:28:16 -0600
    >Subject: Aspiring game designer
    >From: Gt C
    >Hello i am a aspiring Game Designer and i have a few questions for you.
    >My age is 17
    >My education level is novice at the moment
    >I am going to be a senior next year
    >I hope to be a video game designer and to start my own business
    >I am located in Colorado U.S
    > I have been very interested in making games since i was a kid but never knew about how to go about doing/ perusing my dream. But i am attending a community college at the moment for game design and hope to attend full sail university in the upcoming years. How would you suggest me to start making games/ making my own company to start making games? I apologize for the very broad question and i know you don't have all the answers but every little bit helps and i can use all the help i can get!
    >Thank you for your time and hope you have time to reply to this!
    >Sincerely, George

    Hi George, you wrote:

    Hello i am a aspiring Game Designer and i have a few questions for you.
    [Edit. I regret the wording I'd used in my initial response. This is a re-write, conveying the same message but in a less-harsh manner.] George, the job of game designer requires excellent written communication skills. You have not capitalized the word "I," and you use "a" when you should have used "an." You MUST work harder at your English writing. I encourage you to aspire to get an A in English in your senior year, and to take Writing courses in college and ace those, if you want to be a game designer. [/Edit]

    My education level is novice at the moment
    >I am going to be a senior next year
    Um, your education level is "high school student" (and that is also your current occupation).

    i am attending a community college at the moment for game design
    I'm confused. I thought you said you were a high school junior? Are you actually a CC junior, is that it? (Or at a CC, are there just freshmen and seniors given the 2-year programs there?) Or are you just taking evening courses at the CC while still a HS student, is that it? And is your CC really teaching "game design" or are they actually teaching game PROGRAMMING? There's a world of difference, you know (even if your CC instructors don't).

    How would you suggest me to start making games/ making my own company to start making games?
    Read FAQs 56 and 29. Something tells me you have not read ANY of my FAQs yet. So you should also read FAQs 3, 7, 10, 12, and 44.

    Standing by for further questions AFTER you have done your homework. And I hope you will use better English writing the next time you write me.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 22, 2011


    Where the heck are these alleged Quality Assurance providers? (Part 2)

    >Date: Sat, 21 May 2011 13:22:27 -0400
    >Subject: Game Testing
    >From: Chris S
    >Christopher S again
    >17
    >High School Graduate
    >Game Designer
    >Willoughby, Ohio
    >Hello again Mr. Sloper,
    > Thank you for your questions, you made me realize that my question may have sounded like I want to do nothing with my life but test; however what I would like to do is find one of these Testing Labs that you mentioned in FAQ5, get a job working there so I can build up experience for the next four years while I go to college for Game Design. I know you said its difficult to be a student and a game designer but I was thinking if I took my classes at night that I would be able to test games as well. After I get my degree in game design I plan to quit working at Labs and move to California maybe, but right now that is just impossible for me, and that's not for at least another four years. I understand you go nowhere with the Labs but I just want the experience while I am in school still.
    > As for finding the Labs, I have been using google, I know of no other way, the closest I got to one of these Labs was by searching "video game QA testing outsourcing companies," which gave me a place in India.
    > So again I ask, is there any website or forums that you know of or can point me to that would better help me find these Labs and achieve my goals?
    > Also, would it be more beneficial for me to get my Masters in Game Design, or would a Bachelors degree suffice?
    > Thanks a lot,
    > Christopher S

    Hi Chris, you wrote:

    >17
    >High School Graduate
    >Game Designer
    >Willoughby, Ohio
    I remember you from this morning. My memory isn't so bad that all my knowledge of our previous conversation has disappeared in just a few short hours! (^_^)

    what I would like to do is find one of these Testing Labs that you mentioned in FAQ5, get a job working there so I can build up experience for the next four years while I go to college for Game Design.
    Okay, so you're saying that first you need to find an area where there are multiple game QA providers, then move there and get a job testing, then look for a school? Is that what you're saying? And WHY are you so dead set on a QA lab, and not a developer or publisher?

    I know you said its difficult to be a student and a game designer
    "Difficult" is putting it mildly! But wait, I thought you said you wanted to work as a game tester while going to school...?

    but I was thinking if I took my classes at night that I would be able to test games as well.
    Where are you going to take classes in "Game Design" at night? You're talking online school, aren't you. Have you read FAQs 3, 34, & 44? Is the job of "game designer" the role you're aiming for?

    After I get my degree in game design I plan to ... move to California maybe, but right now that is just impossible for me
    If California is impossible for you, why is it that other non-Ohio areas are not impossible for you? (The only game companies I found just now in Ohio are developers, and you are not interested in doing QA at such a company, apparently. So obviously, you have to move to wherever the test companies are.)

    I understand you go nowhere with the Labs but I just want the experience while I am in school still.
    Why? I don't understand your thinking (as should be evident by all my replies so far).

    I have been using google, I know of no other way, the closest I got to one of these Labs was by searching "video game QA testing outsourcing companies,"
    And have you tried using other search strings too? How many times have you searched, how much time have you spent on the search, how many things have you tried? (How hard have you REALLY tried?)

    is there any website or forums that you know of or can point me to that would better help me find these Labs
    Yes. I get the sense that you have not been very thorough in your exploration of the resources I have available here on my website...?

    would it be more beneficial for me to get my Masters in Game Design, or would a Bachelors degree suffice?
    You've asked Bad Questions 52 and 49. Read them (FAQs 49 and 52), and rephrase the question. Oh, and Paarth asked me this exact same question this morning. You can scroll down and see my reply to him.

    I noticed a trend in my responses on this forum and other forums of late -- I was just answering the questions as asked, taking the questions at face value as though each asker had already arrived at the best decision and now just needed some minor directional advice. I was aware, all along, that there were fundamental problems behind the questions, but chose to ignore those. It was part trying to make an obscure point, but mostly it was laziness. The spring semester has ended and I have a lot more time now, and it makes sense to try a little harder at making sure that an asker gets the best possible answer. That's why I'm not just telling you what I would do to find test companies (beyond the 3 or 4 I could most easily find by looking in my address book or in the directories from past GDCs and E3s, as discussed in FAQs 6 and 46). I hope you will work with me to try and arrive at a better plan than the one you are currently working on, if for not other reason than to be sure that your current plan is the right one for you.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 21, 2011


    Two choices

    >From: Paarth G
    >Subject: FW: Which is better?
    >Date: Sat, 21 May 2011 04:43:10 +0000
    >From: games_ville
    >Subject: Which is better?
    >Date: Sat, 21 May 2011 04:27:25 +0000
    >Name: Paarth
    >Age-19
    >Occupation:Student
    >Country:India
    >Game job:Game designer
    >Hi I just want to know which is better for me? getting to a game design school or getting a master's degree in game design?
    >Because right now, I'm doing college in India that teaches game design and Its for a three year course which is bad since you suggested a four year course.So I was wondering if I should focus on both or just get to a game design school?
    >Oh and do you happen to know any good game design schools around California? And Do I need GRE to study in a game design school abroad? Because Game design school is different than getting a master's degree.

    Namaste, Paarth. You wrote:

    [My desired] Game job:Game designer
    Okay. What is your breaking in pathway? What job do you plan to use as your entry into the game industry, since you know that you cannot break in as a game designer right out of college?

    which is better for me? getting to a game design school or getting a master's degree in game design?
    A classic Two Choices question. Read FAQ 52. And then tell me: why are these the only two choices you are considering? Then read FAQ 70 and make a decision grid, deciding between more than only those two options.

    right now, I'm doing college in India that teaches game design and Its for a three year course which is bad since you suggested a four year course.So I was wondering if I should focus on both
    Both WHAT? I don't understand what your question is!

    I'm doing college in India that teaches game design... I was wondering if I should ... get to a game design school?
    I am so confused! First you say that you are going to game school, then you ask if you should go to game school! It's very difficult to understand what you're doing and what your REAL question is.

    do you happen to know any good game design schools around California?
    Why are you so intent on game school? You haven't read FAQs 3 and 44, have you? I strongly recommend that you read them.

    Do I need GRE to study in a game design school abroad?
    Am I misunderstanding something? Isn't a GRE a substitute diploma for people who've dropped out of high school? Are you saying you've dropped out of high school?

    And in closing -- isn't it weird that my response to your question was to pelt you with questions?
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 21, 2011


    Where the heck are these alleged Quality Assurance providers?

    >Date: Sat, 21 May 2011 00:53:41 -0400
    >Subject: Testing Facilities
    >From: Chris S
    >Age: 17
    >Education: High School graduate
    >Occupation: Currently unemployed
    >Game Job: Game Designer
    >Location: Ohio, United States
    >Hello,
    > I was wondering about the QA Testing Labs that you mentioned in Lesson 5. I am incredibly interested in getting a career in video games and will stop at nothing to achieve my goal; I have scoured the web and done extensive research on QA Testing, I've been fortunate enough to find a large amount of free information that has proven to be very helpful and has given me an idea of what to expect from the game industry. However, I have searched high and low and I just cannot seem to locate any of these QA Testing Labs, not just in my area, but not in my country, not any at all. My question is, do you know of any of these Labs, and if so could you possibly compile a list or at least point me in the right direction? I want nothing more in the world than to start testing games, playing levels tediously over and over again, and I would really appreciate you help please.
    > Thank-You in advance,
    > Christopher S.

    Hello Christopher, you wrote:

    I have searched high and low and I just cannot seem to locate any of these QA Testing Labs
    What search technique have you been using? Are you just Googling? If so, what search strings have you tried? Think of this conversation as a bug reporting exercise. Use good Quality Assurance communications techniques. You must describe the problem you've been experiencing in better detail. How can anybody help you if you don't communicate the problem? How can you be hired as a tester if you don't communicate bugs more effectively?

    But why are you looking to work at a QA provider in the first place -- why not at a developer or publisher? Did you not understand what I wrote about test labs in FAQ 5? What is your desired game job 5 years from now? Why aren't you going to college? Or is it that you just want to be a tester for the rest of your life?

    Location: Ohio, United States
    When do you plan to move? Have you checked out gamedevmap and gameindustrymap?

    And in closing -- isn't it weird that my response to your question was to pelt you with questions?
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 21, 2011


    Lost on the path to game designer

    >From: Christopher O (loud_noises_are)
    >Subject: Advice
    >Date: Thu, 19 May 2011 17:11:17 +0100
    >Important info:-
    >Age = 15
    >Education = preparing to take on five higher subjects next year in high school. Theses are Computing Studies, Maths, English, Physics and Chemistry.
    >Occupation = Student
    >Location = UK, Scotland
    >Hello,
    >My name is Chris and i am a big fan of the games. I am really interested in game designing and hope to one day work for companies on the frontline of the game industry like Treyarch or Ea. I was wondering how i could become a game designer. I have decided to apply for Abertay university which is international know for good game designing courses but from there onwards I'm lost. I know i need to get a few years in game designing under my belt before i can even think of applying for one of these major businesses but what is the best way into do so. I'm hard working and take my education serious so i have no problem in working for it, I'm just looking an good and effective way in which to get in to the gaming industry and do the thing i have a burning passion for. If you could help me out i would be very helpful.
    >Many thanks,
    >Chris

    Hi Chris, you wrote:

    I was wondering how i could become a game designer. I have decided to apply for Abertay university which is international know for good game designing courses but from there onwards I'm lost.
    OK, well, you didn't say anything that proves to me that you have already read FAQ 3, FAQ 12, and FAQ 14, so my first piece of advice is: read FAQ 3, FAQ 12, and FAQ 14. Even if you've read them before.

    I know i need to get a few years in game designing under my belt before i can even think of applying [at one of my dream companies]
    Um, well, not exactly, no. What you need is a breaking-in plan. An entry pathway, on the assumption that you most likely won't be hired to work as a game designer right out of university. Pick another thing besides "game design" that you could do until such time as your game design chops are recognized. The game industry doesn't need new idea guys -- it needs new craftsmen, builders, doers.

    what is the best way into do so... I'm just looking [for a] good and effective way in which to get in to the gaming industry
    There isn't one sure path. The reality is better than that! (If there was one sure path, it'd likely be nearly impossible to follow it exactly and not fall off.) Rather than one sure path, there are many unsure paths. The "unsure" part just means that they don't all lead to the one place you think at this moment you want to get to. But most likely if you just follow your passions, do what you enjoy doing, eventually you'll likely find yourself in a place you enjoy, even if it's not the place you're currently envisioning. Read FAQ 40.

    Right now you're 15, you still have a long educational road ahead of you. During that time you will get to learn a lot, try a lot, and discover a lot about yourself and about the world. Don't make yourself crazy trying to understand it all instantly -- that never happens. (I mean you'll never understand it all, nobody does. Because it often happens that people make themselves crazy in the effort.) Enjoy the journey.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 19, 2011


    From a fan

    >From: [DELETED]
    >Sent: Fri, May 6, 2011 2:18:42 AM
    >Subject: A fan
    >Hello Tom Sloper,
    >I know you love to post emails to your site, some of which I do find rather humorous that they would argue your stance even as other professionals agree with you.
    >My name is [DELETED] and even though I would like to stay anonymous to the outside world for the time being, I would like to say thank you.
    >I have been writing a game idea since I was 16 (26 now) and even though any gamer who hears the pitch loves it tremendously, companies always wrote back messages like its very ambitious or would start asking me serious business questions of which I could not answer back. I never really understood till finding your website why if I could get everyday people who didn't play games to at least look it over, that a company wouldn't at least give it a second glance. Money, some odd reason I always kept that in the back of my head as a minor detail. Which in reality runs this current day world, people do not do things with the hopes of getting paid (well those who are intelligent). Wait I will add in those who are starting their own business (which some intelligence and insanity seem to be joined together), but what is life without some risk. Ive always been an idea guy whose main ability is mimicry, I can watch someone do a job and copy it exactly and even times excel their own work. But I will admit, I am not an artist, programmer or designer, I am just a writer (if you can even call it that). I drive myself crazy at times still not knowing what professional achievement that I will be able to accomplish in my lifetime. Just so you know I chose to follow a childhood dream of being an Engineer (CADD) Computer Aided Drafting and Design, just so you do not have to look it up just in-case. I see you loath acronyms. Well I will say, BORING, you spend your time drawing things that have existed for years or drawing projects that are enjoyable the first time and after 20 or so revisions and resubmittals of drawing the same thing over and over again, it gets to be aggrevating. And if your wondering why I didnt become an Architect, well that was my original goal before working in the industry and seeing that life is not like the movies one bit. I have met one too many architects (most of which could not tie their shoes without help), and it showed me most who recieve that title do not mentally consider themselves one. They find themselve not doing those dream jobs, not having their name on those fancy magizenes, not even being recognized by their own boss or clients for their work. In the end it showed that why not do a job less stressful for the same pay (yes I know a degree of 2 years makes as much if not more than more than 60 percent of Architects with a masters, its sickening). I have to say they should teach that in schools, its not how long you go to college, its what you major in so research what your dream is.
    >So a tad bit off track, but I read so much about you, at least be polite and give you my background. I do have to say, its either you have made yourself so suceessful you have time to do so many interesting things or you are a master at time management.
    >So thankyou if you did, for reading my email. You have helped a crushed spirit regain that spark from failed attempts. Only thing now is to think of a new approach to show if not a small group my stories. I mean I have well over 7 thousand pages on this one idea alone. Short stories of all points in the game, and no I did not send the whole thing, just a one page summery of the full idea, and its the first summery I wrote for it, the one that created all the other pages. Crazy thing is thats just one of many, I still do not know how I did so much when I always thought I never had any time to do anything.
    >Thank you again Mr. Sloper
    >-[DELETED]

    >From: [DELETED]
    >Sent: Fri, May 6, 2011 2:21:38 AM
    >Subject: A fan part 2
    >Hi Mr. Sloper again,
    >If your wondering, spell check cut out half way through.
    >-[DELETED]

    Hi [DELETED],
    I'm glad my site has helped you make sense of the game industry and its nefarious workings. Good luck to you.

    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 6, 2011


    Thanks

    >From: "The One Man Project"
    >Subject: Hello and Thank you!
    >Date: Wed, 4 May 2011 22:49:18 -0700
    >Hello Mr. Sloper,
    >My name is Kaylin N, I'm a 19( soon to be 20) college student with a large passion for game design. I live in Washington State in the US of A, so I know I'm pretty close to well over 150 different studios. I also know that I have a good set of schools to choose from. Over the years my school choice has changed depending on the unfortunate circumstances of my situation(s). Digipen rejected me twice, I had no where else to go and was pretty close to giving up my life long dream of creating video games. Thanks to your lessons of which I have been reading non-stop ever since I have discovered your site a few days back have opened my eyes to what sort of things I need to get into my position of "game designer."
    >I live in the Pierce County area of Washington State, and its somewhat hard become a game designer--being that all of the opportunity rests in the King County area. I want to thank you for opening my eyes and showing me that not only can I get into the "game biz" with a simple state degree, but with the time, effort, and guides that you have given in your site, I can increase my potential and creativity.
    >From the bottom of my heart Mr. Sloper , Thank you for saving my dream, and my future career,
    >Kaylin N

    It's always good to hear this sort of thing, Kaylin. Good luck 2 U.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Cinco de Mayo, 2011


    How do I write a good email subject line?

    >Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2011 12:24:25 -0700
    >Subject: Question on FAQ 24, Stupid Thing 19
    >From: Damien O
    >You write about bad email subjects. I understand that those are bad, but you don't give examples or advice on writing good, clear, communicative subject lines. I know it should be obvious, but communication isñfor a variety of reasons beyond my controlñmy biggest challenge. It doesn't come to me naturally. So what advice do you have on email subjects?
    >--
    >When I hear somebody sigh, ëlife is hard,' I am always tempted to ask, ëCompared to what?'
    >ñ Sydney J. Harris

    Hi Damien,
    Let's say you want to send an email to your buddy and invite him to share pizza with you. Your natural inclination might be to open a new email and type "hey" in the subject line. But how about if instead you first write the body of the email: "Hey buddy, do you wanna get together tonight and have some pizza?"
    Then (after first writing the body of the email), you can type the subject line. You might type a number of things in the subject line. From worst to best:

    Hey
    From Damien
    Pizza
    Pizza tonight?

    Your buddy can see that the email is from you, because most people scan not only the subject lines but also the From/Sender as well when looking at the list of unread emails. Your buddy is probably going to read anything you email him because, well, because he's your buddy.
    #5 is bad because, well, I shouldn't have to say why; it says "I'm too lazy or unimaginative to tell you what my email is about. It's from me so you're gonna read it anyway because we're budz." #4 is bad because it doesn't communicate anything much other than "it's me saying 'hey' to you," which is about what #3 says. #2 is better because it sets your buddy's mouth watering for pizza, but #1 is best because it summarizes the message you convey within the email.

    Or let's say you're emailing a stranger. Let's say you're emailing a game company about a job opening that you want to apply for. Let's say it's a job in Customer Support. You type your cover email and you attach your résumé, then you tackle the subject line. You might type a number of things. From worst to best:
    Higher meee!!!!
    To whom it may concern
    Job opening
    Regarding Customer Support position
    Customer Support application--Damien O.

    #5 is bad for a number of reasons; "hire" is misspelled, "me" has extra e's in a misplaced and rather juvenile effort at drawing attention to oneself, and multiple exclamation marks are often used in spams. #4 is bad too; it's polite, but does not say what the email is about. #3 could be misconstrued (the recipient might think you are offering her or him a job). #2 is almost good; at least it indicates what you're emailing about. #1 is best because she or he knows not only what you're writing about but also who you are.

    I hope this is helpful, Damien. Good luck to you.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 2, 2011


    Would a second degree help, part 2

    >From: Aaron S
    >Sent: Tue, April 26, 2011 6:58:41 AM
    >Subject: Re: Would a second degree help?
    >Thanks for your rapid response. To follow up, I am not afraid of putting in the work to get where I want to be, the goal of my question relates more to how highly the industry views these "Game Design" degrees. Are they essentially mandatory for a designer hopeful, or could someone without that degree reasonably expect to break into the field? Thanks again.
    >Aaron S

    Aaron, this frequently asked question is answered in FAQ 3 and FAQ 44. Also read my IGDA columns for June and July 2009. Click the "The Games Game" link above, click Archives (or just copy and paste this address: http://www.igda.org/games-game-archives)
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 26, 2011


    Would a second degree help?

    >From: Aaron S (ninjaworm)
    >Sent: Mon, April 25, 2011 8:23:19 PM
    >Subject: Would a second degree help?
    >Age: 25
    >Education: BA in English
    >Employment: Substitute teacher
    >Goal: Game designer
    >Location: United States (Texas)
    >Mr. Sloper,
    >I stumbled across your informative website today while searching for more information about careers in game design. As I've listed above, I currently have a Bachelors degree in English, in which I specialized in creative writing. My question is this: Would it be beneficial for me to seek a second degree in "Game Design" in order to get into the industry? I read in your Lesson #3 FAQ about game design that having any major will do, but in the current competitive economy would it, in your opinion, be worth the time and cost of gaining the more specialized "Game Design" degree?
    >Your advice would be greatly appreciated,
    >Aaron S

    Mr. Smith, you asked:

    Would it be beneficial for me to seek a second degree in "Game Design" in order to get into the industry?
    I assume you would learn a lot during the course of obtaining that degree. I can't foretell, though, whether obtaining that degree would get you a job in the industry. I don't know what you have done to this point towards a career in games -- what kinds of things you have written or designed or built. Of course you have to have more than just a degree, you also need a portfolio. As I wrote in FAQ 12, there are things you can do now.

    would it, in your opinion, be worth the time and cost of gaining the more specialized "Game Design" degree?
    Read FAQ 66 and FAQ 70. Standing by for follow-up questions anytime...


    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 25, 2011


    Aspiring QA tester

    >From: Charles M
    >Sent: Mon, April 25, 2011 2:57:42 PM
    >Subject: Aspiring QA/Tester
    >My approximate age is: 28
    >Education: Completed 4 year degree (Criminal Justice) and halfway through an MBA program
    >Occupation: Customer Support Analyst for Non-Profit Software (tech/bug calls about my companies non-profit software)
    >The type of game job I aspire to: Marketing / Public Relations
    >Country I live in: USA
    >State: South Carolina
    >Very brief background:
    >As stated above, I currently live in SC, where the gaming industry is non-existent. I am at a point in my life where I don't actually have anything holding me down in SC except for family, and I have lived away from them before (three years in Boston working for a private bank) so that is not an issue. After reading around I have decided to save up enough money to move out to LA, because most industry insiders have said you need to be where the jobs are or they won't give your application a second thought. I have looked at several beneficial industry maps (gameindustrymap, gamedevmap, etc.) and decided that my best chances lie in LA because all of the companies I would want to work for have offices there, thus providing me with the best location to live and apply from.
    >
    >Sorry for taking a but to get to my questions but I thought that extra background info would help you to understand my questions a little better:
    >1. Because QA/Testing jobs are not advertised (or so I have been told and read), when you apply for them to whom should you direct your resume?
    >2. Do large companies hire in waves (like seasonal hiring) for this position or do they just "hire as needed" because they have so many projects? If they hire in waves is there a certain time of year that is more advantageous to applicants?
    >3. Because they receive so many applications, is it really a "cover letter must be golden" or bust situation? (I only ask because I am confident that my resume is very strong) Will they even look at the resume if the cover letter is not perfect?
    >Note: A lot of my prep work that I have planned for my applications is centered around getting the cover absolutely letter right, so I want to make sure I am justified in spending a lot of time on them
    >4. Because QA/Tester jobs are not listed I have a couple of generic questions about this position across the industry
    >A. In your opinion, what is a normal starting salary?
    >B. What are the normal hours that testers put in?
    >C. Are there specific skills that, if applicable, I could/should list on my resume?
    >5. Cake or pie?
    >Thank you in advance for any help you can offer!
    >--
    >GT: Priced4Evil

    Hello Charles, you wrote:

    Sorry for taking a but to get to my questions but I thought that extra background info would help you to understand my questions a little better:
    I didn't read it. I jumped straight to your questions. I don't see why your questions aren't self-sufficient.

    Because QA/Testing jobs are not advertised (or so I have been told and read), when you apply for them to whom should you direct your resume?
    Human Resources. You can start your cover email, "Dear GameCo," and that is fine. Although some companies hire testers on a temp basis from a staffing agency like Volt, for instance. I don't know if game publishers forward applicants to the staffing agencies, or how you're supposed to know of the existence of the staffing agency. You might try calling and inquiring. Another thing you can do is look up the name of the QA leads or director in game credits, and address your cover email to him or her.

    Do large companies hire in waves (like seasonal hiring) for this position or do they just "hire as needed" because they have so many projects?
    In waves, hiring as needed. Does that mean the answer is "both"?

    is there a certain time of year that is more advantageous to applicants?
    Maybe, but you can't worry about that. Just apply when you need a job or know that you will need a job.

    Because they receive so many applications, is it really a "cover letter must be golden" or bust situation?
    No.

    Will they even look at the resume if the cover letter is not perfect?
    Probably. Maybe. It depends.

    I want to make sure I am justified in spending a lot of time on [cover emails]
    You are. Have you read FAQ 5 yet? See FAQs link above left.

    A. In your opinion, what is a normal starting salary?
    Ten dollars per hour. See the Game Industry Salary Survey (see my Game Biz Links page).

    B. What are the normal hours that testers put in?
    8 hours a day exactly. No more, no less. Unless overtime is authorized.

    C. Are there specific skills that, if applicable, I could/should list on my resume?
    Yes.

    D. Cake or pie?
    Sean Connery (as I told James on Wed, 30 Mar 2011, below).

    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 25, 2011


    Just want to get some experience before I'm ready

    >From: Georgie M
    >Sent: Mon, April 25, 2011 11:17:28 AM
    >Subject: Game Industry Q+A
    >I understand that, in order for you to give me the best game career advice suited to my unique situation, you need to know that...
    >My approximate age is: 16
    >The level of education I've completed is: Year 12 student at school studying for AS levels.
    >My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: student
    >The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: games designer
    >The country I live in is: England
    >My game biz question is:
    >Do you have any advice for a year 12 student hoping to gain work experience in the gaming industry? I have applied to numerous companies however all of them have replied telling me they do not do work experience for undergraduates. I understand getting experience in the industry is vital for me in order to make the right decisions concerning my further education and career but i am having great trouble in working out what to do?
    >All advice will be appreciated. Thanks.

    Hi Georgie,
    You're not cooked yet, that's why they're not biting. Game companies sometimes take on interns (often unpaid) when they are 4, 5, or 6 years older than you (when they are juniors or seniors in university), but usually no earlier than that. It is possible to get a summer QA job at a game company, if they have a summer need for testers. You should read my FAQs 3, 5, 24, and 27 -- you can access the FAQs above left.
    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 25, 2011


    Game localization jobs

    >From: Marcos G
    >Sent: Mon, April 25, 2011 8:17:15 AM
    >Subject: Game Translator - Brazilian Portuguese
    >Hi Tom,
    >My name is Marcos, I am a 32 years old brazilian guy teaching English in Brazil. I have a Bachelors degree in Tourism and Hospitality and willing to work as Translator.
    >I am Brazilian with EU Passport and I have lived in Europe for 3 years studying English and working.
    >I am thinking of get a career in translation and researching about Translator Jobs I came across Games translation jobs in Europe for Brazilian Portuguese Speakers.
    >Although I like to play video games, definitely I am not an avid player (I have to be honest!).
    >I am looking for a career in translation and also I want to get back to Europe in a near future, but not working in restaurant jobs anymore. So, I am considering combining my studies in translation focused in translation from English to Portuguese with a decent job within the video game industry.
    >As far as I am concerned there aren´t many Brazilian Portuguese speakers in this field, plus I have EU citizenship and I am fluent in English.
    >Do you think there is a demand for Game Translators or even Game Testers fluent in Brazilian Portuguese and English?
    >Thanks a lot,
    >Marcos

    Hello Marcos,
    I don't think it likely that you can get a full-time job doing translating or localizing for games. Very few game companies can keep someone employed full time doing that. But certainly there are translator jobs -- with translation companies who translate everything from documents to publications, and yes, sometimes games. Localization testing is also not a full-time job. It sounds like you probably would not be hired to be a full-time all-around game tester (and do localization testing some of the time), since you are not an avid gamer. But you can apply -- one never knows!
    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 25, 2011


    Niggling doubts

    >From: J .
    >Sent: Fri, April 22, 2011 1:30:42 PM
    >Subject: A concise summary of my concerns, and a request for advice.
    >First, I would like to extend my thanks for this rather robust collection of information compiled herein. It was quite helpful in my initial decision concerning my education.
    >
    >I am 21 years old, currently in my 3rd year of college majoring in History and Literature with a minor in Writing. I spend my free time toying with modeling/design programs such as Unreal and 3ds; modeling trees, wilderness scenes, and pretty much anything else that strikes my fancy. Currently, I have the aspiration to work my way to the role of the fabled Game Designer. The general plan is to start out in some suitable entry level position, perhaps Level Design (if my portfolio is impressive enough). However, I feel that the small niggling doubts I have beset myself with need some sort of utterance; who better to utter them to than someone with experience in the field?
    >
    >Having read through a majority of the articles for the umpteenth time, I have decided to outright ask the question that has been bothering me. Simply put: "Am I making the right decision?" I often find myself reading through the descriptions of the myriad meetings, gratuitous paperwork, and endless excel charts thinking "This isn't what I want to do. I want to write plots, give characters character. I want to bring these ideas to life. I want to help make a game players wont just have a reason to like, but a reason to love." This rather creation-focused ideal seems to be outside the scope of the position, as I have come to (perhaps mis-)understand it. From my interpretation, the Designer is more of a managerial position rather than hands-on. Someone who sees everyone's ideas through to fruition, while remaining impassive toward their own. Am I incorrect in this assumption? If not, would my drive to create be more suited for free-lance writing for a developer and modeling?
    >
    >Extending another heartfelt thanks for your efforts here,
    >Justin

    Hello Justin, you wrote:

    I often find myself reading through the descriptions of the myriad meetings, gratuitous paperwork, and endless excel charts thinking "This isn't what I want to do. I want to write plots, give characters character. I want to bring these ideas to life. I want to help make a game players wont just have a reason to like, but a reason to love." This rather creation-focused ideal seems to be outside the scope of the position
    Those things you want to do are outside the scope of the position of level designer, but they are within the scope of the position of game designer. But the game designer does have to do those things you don't want to do. EVERY job entails things you don't want to do, at some point or other. Personally, I've come to enjoy even those spreadsheet tasks (something about the organizer in me) almost as much as those more classically creative tasks.

    From my interpretation, the Designer is more of a managerial position rather than hands-on
    Don't let my writings mislead you. I'm both a producer and a designer. But if you're reading that from other designers' writings too, then yes. And this is all the more reason why you have to gain lots of experience before you can be trusted with design responsibilities.

    would my drive to create be more suited for free-lance writing for a developer and modeling?
    Read my articles on freelancing, writing, and art. You still have to have lots of game experience. And if you want to be a writer, you have to have serious creds from other creative fields like TV and movies.

    Am I making the right decision?
    Put your understanding of game jobs on one side of the scale, and put any other job that you might be qualified for on the other side of the scale. Which job would you rather go to, day after day and year after year?

    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 22, 2011


    I made a remix track based on Spike

    >Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2011 07:52:30 -0500
    >Subject: Spike - Vectrex (Morgantj Remix)
    >From: Travis Morgan
    >Hi Tom. My name is Travis Morgan. I thought it best to inform you of a remix\track I composed yesterday sampling sounds from your game, "Spike." When I was a kid I used to play it on my fathers Vectrex console. I loved it. I created the remix just for fun. So now I can listen to good ol Spike anytime and reminisce. I don't plan of profiting from this. I just like making music and what better then to make music to those things which we grew up with. I hope you approve.
    >You can listen to it on Youtube here-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T9_4mUbTrA
    >Or you can download the mp3 here -http://www.travisjmorgan.com/blog/opentape/songs/spike.mp3
    >or via Soundcloud -http://soundcloud.com/morgantj/spike-vectrex-morgantj-remix
    >If you would like me to remove the track from public consumption, let me know. Otherwise, I think those familiar with your game will love it.
    >Best Regards,
    >Travis Morgan.

    Hi Travis,
    I'll check it out, sounds like it oughta be fun. Can't check it out right now (in the middle of watching last night's Idol). I tried watching it during a commercial but something's funky with my connection -- it had to keep pausing while playing, so I'm downloading it and will listen to it from the hard drive to eliminate the pauses.
    If it's good, I'll make a point of sharing it with my USC students next week (last class of the spring 2011 semester).
    Oh, and not to worry about copyright and stuff -- my former boss, Jay Smith, was the owner of the IP, and he put all the Vectrex games into public domain several years ago.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 21, 2011


    Does military service give me an edge?

    >Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 20:30:00 -0500
    >Subject: Game Tester Qualifications Question
    >From: Daniel S
    >I am 25 years old.
    >I have completed high school.
    >I am currently serving in the US Air Force as an active duty member but my separation date is May 31st 2011.
    >I would love to become a Game Tester/Game Editor for Game Informer or something and then go even farther beyond
    >in the Gaming industry.
    >And for the last answer I live in the United States of America. Born and Raised.
    >My question might seem like a silly one but would my time in the US Air Force (4 years) give me any edge at all
    >in being able to get a job as a Game Tester?
    >That is all for now.
    >Thank you VERY much
    >Mr Daniel S

    Hello Daniel,
    It doesn't really give you an edge, no. Standing by in case you want to ask any more questions.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 20, 2011


    I have a very very very, facts provable, good idea

    >From: Victor I
    >Sent: Tue, April 19, 2011 11:04:19 AM
    >Subject: I have a question if you can help me I would be very grateful
    >Hello,
    >First, I apologise for contacting you on your business e-mail, it's not related to it and I know how it feels when I have to take action on other mails and one distracts me from my work.
    >Which I hope is this. My questions is : If I have a very very very, facts provable, good idea but at the same time I don't know how to code something. I have an idea to create the "perfect" MMORPG. Let's say that I come with the whole game, how it works, storyline,races,mechanics, names, way to quest, pve and pvp system, balancing, everything but the knowledge of coding it. And now the real question : You think it's possible that I can negociate with a gaming company so that they invest time and money into my idea with me coordinating everything ( as I am the only one that knows my game ) ?
    >My experience allows me to call it the "perfect" game. I have spent many years playing computer games, starting with Load Runner for HC90 (tape loading type of games ), arcade, consoles in the beginning ( The Legend of Zelda, etc ), every electronic way of gaming, any type,size, mode and everything else you can imagine. That and I am smart. So after many years spent in this field, forum readings, game testing ( found the first bug reported to Prince of Persia - The sands of time, fell through some spikes in "void"). I had 2 job offers from Ubisoft and EA games from Bucharest for a game tester position, they calling me a phenomenon. And I'm not lying, call them :). So everything that's gaming related. I know how to make comparisons between games, using facts in order to strenghten my game and so on.
    >The game is both phisically and psychologically superior to any other games existing ( in the MMO category ).
    >So basically this is what I put on the table. This and some cash, if needed.
    >Once again, apologies for interrupting your work!
    >Cheerio
    >Victor

    Hello Victor, you wrote:

    You think it's possible that I can negociate with a gaming company so that they invest time and money into my idea with me coordinating everything ( as I am the only one that knows my game ) ?
    Read FAQs 50, 1, and 11. You can link to my FAQs above left.

    Cheerio
    Weetabix back to you!

    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 19, 2011


    Art in designing?

    >Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2011 16:29:40 -0400
    >Subject: Art in designing?
    >From: =?UTF-8?B?xbhhbmc=?= (Ÿang)
    > How old are you? 23
    > What's your level of education? College, second year.
    > What's your current occupation? Student
    > Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? Designing
    > What country do you live in? USA
    >I am a bit confused when it comes to gaming. All I know is that I want to be one of the ones who work on backgrounds, adds color, or texture to the worlds or the characters. I need some guidance from someone in the business. Now I have no math skills for programing, and my art skills are limited. I am a student at The art institute of Pittsburgh, and wonder if that is a good fit for someone wishing to work on games as a designer. Also, how much artistic skills do you need to be a designer? Yeah I doodle, but they aren't worth money. Also, thanks for taking questions. I appreciate it!

    Hello Yang, you wrote:

    I am a bit confused... Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? Designing... I want to be one of the ones who work on backgrounds, adds color, or texture to the worlds or the characters.
    Yes, you are confused! You say you want to be a game designer, but then you say you want to do environment art and texture art. You really need to read up on the different jobs and specialties in the game industry. Read the the "Frequently Asked Questions" ("FAQs"), expecially FAQs 7, 14, and 53. And also read http://archives.igda.org/breakingin/career_paths.htm and http://archives.igda.org/breakingin/path_art.htm
    Please scroll up and find the links to the FAQs, above left (they're easy to find since they're indicated by a blue and yellow flashing arrow, emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Bookmark the FAQs page for your future reference.

    I have no math skills for programing
    Why are you telling me this? What does this have to do with what you want to do?

    my art skills are limited.
    Hmm, then maybe you should go for Level Design. Read FAQ 69.

    I ... wonder if [the school I'm going to] is a good fit for someone wishing to work on games as a designer. Also, how much artistic skills do you need to be a designer?
    You should read FAQ 3.

    Also, thanks for taking questions. I appreciate it!
    You're welcome.

    After you read all those FAQs on my site and on the IGDA careers page, you're welcome to ask me more questions anytime.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 13, 2011


    Shooting for a career designing strategy board games

    >From: Gilbert W
    >Sent: Mon, April 11, 2011 8:59:05 PM
    >Subject: Advice for a career in Strategy game design
    >Hey Tom,
    >I'm 21, a student studying Music and Arts at University in Australia.
    >I'd love to design strategy board games (abstract or themed). I'm mostly interested in the actual mechanics game design and have been designing games as a hobby for a few years now...
    >1. If I think I have a game with interesting and solid game play, how would you recommend I go about distributing it?
    >2. Do you know of any way of training to be a board games designer?
    >(I can't seem to find any course specifically for board games design anywhere)
    >Thanks mate,
    >Gilbert W

    G'day, Gilbert.
    You have to be creative, not only in designing games, but also in business. It sounds like you haven't yet read my FAQ 20? Scroll up and look for the FAQs link at the left side of the screen. FAQ 20 should have some useful info for you. Also check out FAQ 60, FAQ 54, FAQ 46.
    You've heard the old joke. This guy is walking through Grand Central Station when a young lady carrying a violin case asks him for directions. "How do I get to Carnegie Hall?" she asks, fluttering her eyelashes. He glances at the violin case and answers, "Practice, practice, practice." In other words: "just do it." Then do it some more, and keep on doing it. And network at board game conventions, sci-fi conventions, comic conventions... Toy Fair, ChiTaG, etc.
    I don't think you'll find one. Study math (especially Game Theory), psychology, graphic design, art, marketing, and business. Major in whatever you want. Read FAQ 3 while you're at it.
    Good luck 2 U!
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 11, 2011


    Student interview project

    >Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2011 20:50:41 -0400
    >Subject: Q and A
    >From: Priscilla P
    >Hi,
    >My name is Priscilla P and I am a student getting my major in game art and design. I need to ask someone in the career field of my interest a few questions if someone wouldn't mind answering some for me. The questions are: What specific communications skills are required by people entering your line of work? how important are public speaking skills to your job? how important to success in your career is effective public speaking? Thanks so much and hope to hear from you soon.
    >Priscilla P

    Hi, Priscilla.
    Yes, you emailed this to me earlier today, and I emailed you back at 4:30. Scroll down and you can see what I replied to these questions the first time you asked.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 10, 2011


    Student interview project

    >Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2011 17:53:26 -0400
    >Subject: Q and A
    >From: Priscilla P
    >Hi,
    >My name is Priscilla P and I am a student getting my major in game art and design. I need to ask someone in the career field of my interest a few questions if someone wouldn't mind answering some for me. The questions are: What specific communications skills are required by people entering your line of work? how important are public speaking skills to your job? how important to success in your career is effective public speaking? Thanks so much and hope to hear from you soon.
    >Priscilla P

    Hi, Priscilla.
    My past line of work was game designer and producer (and I still do that part time). My current full time line of work is university instructor. Written and verbal communication skills are an absolute necessity for me.
    Extremely.
    Extremely.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 10, 2011


    PDF version of your articles? (part 2)

    >Date: Thu, 7 Apr 2011 19:26:09 -0400
    >Subject: pdf
    >From: Brian B
    >Why do you think? Convenience and bandwidth reduction.
    >--
    >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    >+======================+
    >| Brian B |
    >| BrianB...@gmail.com |
    >+======================+

    Hi there Brian, you wrote:

    Why do you think?
    If I knew, I wouldn't have asked. Just curious: do you have any statistics on the percentage of websites who offer PDF alternatives to their browser-viewable content?

    Convenience and bandwidth reduction.
    It's not convenient for ME! It wouldn't reduce MY bandwidth! If you want to print my stuff, go ahead and print it. Just open the content frame and print just that, without the nav frame and header frame. What do I gotta make PDFs for?
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 7, 2011


    A difficult decision, part 2

    >Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2011 04:12:14 +0530
    >From: Sourav T
    >Subject: Re: Seeking a crucial advice on the crossroad of life!
    >Hello Tom
    >Thanks for the brilliant advice. I can finally go to sleep now (its 4:11am!) knowing I have something positive to work on tomorrow. Will let you know later which way it goes.
    >[PS: Apologies for wasting your time with the long email. I am kinda stressed and therefore poured my heart out. Thanks for bearing with me.]
    >Regards and respect,
    >Sourav.

    Well, I don't know how brilliant it was, but good luck making the best decision for you and your family.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 7, 2011


    A difficult decision

    >Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2011 01:20:46 +0530
    >From: Sourav T
    >Subject: Seeking a crucial advice on the crossroad of life!
    >Hello Tom,
    >The 5 tidbits first-
    >1. I am 28 years old. ( *sigh* )
    >2. I have a Master's degree in Computers. ( hmm.. :-) )
    >3. I am presently working as an IT Infrastructure Engineer with HSBC ( Job sucks but its' fed me and my family for almost 5 years now. Am grateful for that. )
    >4. I intend to do an MSc in Game Technology in near future if possible. ( The best education there is... ^_^ )
    >5. I live in India, Calcutta to be precise. ( home sweet home )
    >I've been reading Sloperama for the last couple of years now and the advice given by you has proved nothing but useful. But now I am facing a very difficult situation and would really benefit with the advice of someone like you. A little background first.
    >I've dreamt of becoming a game programmer from Class VI (when I started learning computers, and played Commander Keen for the first time). I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life - make games. Not having much information or internet I was left guessing how they were made. I came to know "Windows" was made in C and taught myself C in Class IX thinking if it can make that then it can make games too. By high school I also learnt C++ and had made 2 games albeit using the standard graphics routines. Another 5 years and I had learnt DirectX 8 (thanks Andre LaMothe) from books sent to me by my best pal in UK. As game programming books are not available in India (even now!). This helped me make my first DirectX arcade game.
    >In 2009, I wrote to you you stating I plan to move into game industry from my current profile and therefore how many games for a portfolio is "enough". That got me the answer I rightly deserved as that question should not have come from a person whose passion is game programming. I understood. Thanks Tom.
    >Another 2 games and a Warcraft 3 Frozen Throne MOD later, today I am on the verge of making my dream come true. But life is yet again creating things difficult for me so that I can prove whether my dream is truly "worth" it. Here's the situation.
    >I am currently getting a salary of 6.1 lac p.a. in Calcutta which is very comfortable in the suburb area where I live. I have received an offer from Trine Games (one of the largest studios in India based in Malad, Mumbai) today. This is supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life but since I am a fresher in the game industry, they are offering a salary of 4.8 lac p.a. and I don't think any other game company in India will be offering more. I have a wife and a 5 months old daughter. Therefore, I am faced with this very vital decision to either follow my heart and lead my family to a difficult life (with a lower salary in one of the most expensive cities in the world) or carry on with the settled easy life and subdue my passion and destroy my dreams.
    >I have spoken with a few of my friends and most of them have asked me to abandon this offer and not take the leaf of faith as I am now a married man though my best friend thinks otherwise. Some have even termed the former a selfish act. I think only a person with a similar passion for games will be able to comprehend my feelings and thus help me make probably the "most" important decision in my life. That's where you come in Tom. What would you have done if you were in my shoes ? Please help me make the right choice.
    >Thanks in advance.
    >Sourav

    Namaste, Sourav. You wrote:

    they are offering a salary of 4.8 lac p.a. and I don't think any other game company in India will be offering more. I have a wife and a 5 months old daughter. Therefore, I am faced with this very vital decision to either follow my heart and lead my family to a difficult life (with a lower salary in one of the most expensive cities in the world) or carry on with the settled easy life and subdue my passion and destroy my dreams.
    Make a decision grid. Discuss it with your wife. Have her help you make the decision grid.

    I have spoken with a few of my friends
    No. Forget the friends. The important one here is your wife. Don't mess with friends' advice. YOU TWO have to make this decision.

    What would you have done if you were in my shoes ?
    I would make a decision grid, together with my wife.

    Please help me make the right choice.
    I already have. I wrote FAQ 70. "How to make a decision grid."

    By the way, I didn't really need the first four paragraphs of your email. Good luck!
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 7, 2011


    PDF version of your articles?

    >Date: Thu, 7 Apr 2011 12:43:21 -0400
    >Subject: pdf version
    >From: Brian B
    >Hi, do you have a pdf version of the following series of articles?
    >http://www.sloperama.com/advice.html
    >--
    >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    >+======================+
    >| Brian B |
    >| BrianB.....@gmail.com |
    >+======================+

    No, Brian. Why do you ask?
    How old are you?
    What's your level of education?
    What's your current occupation?
    Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for?
    What country do you live in?
    What is your REAL question? What is it you really want to know, and why?
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 7, 2011


    I want to drop out of high school

    >From: Keith B
    >Sent: Tue, April 5, 2011 11:06:34 PM
    >Subject: Questions...
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    > I figure that you are the best person to consult about a particular issue I am having. You see, I am a high school student, currently finishing my sophomore year. I have above average intelligence and artistic ability. Since the second grade it has been my dream to enter the video game industry and participate in the creation of one of my favorite entertainment mediums. I have wistfully dreamt up many game ideas since then and over the years, have pretty much come to the conclusion that I want to either be a concept artist or a game designer (although, any other job in the industry wouldn't necessarily be bad). The problem I am having is the high school education itself. There are a lot of complications stemming from my home life and the school itself having a certain lack of outreach to students such as myself. I have a hard time fitting in to this particular style of education, and it's not something I can change on my own. I have potential, I just have no output for it in the near future. I could go to an online college or some alternate form of education. I could even get my GED and go to a college which accepts it. The question I want to ask you is, if I do take one of these alternate paths, will my possible future employers view me any differently? Will they think I gave up on a "proper" education, or took the easy way out? Should I really have to deal with 2 more years of unhappiness for the sake of looking like a better student for future reference? Can't I just be, happy? I know it is specifically the school which demoralizes me, because I also have a job, and I am actually happy and perfectly content there, but once I go to school I find that everything is more difficult and I lack motivation. In any case, thanks for reading, I imagine you are busy so I thank you for the time you took to read.
    >Sincerely,
    >Keith B.
    >P.S. I am currently enrolled in an art major 3 course at my high school and I have been accepted for an advanced art course. Will these electives matter or are employers more worried about college courses. Also, would colleges take these classes into account, or are they practically pointless?

    Hello Keith, you wrote:

    I hate high school and I want to quit. Can I still get into the video game industry?
    OK, so I changed your words there. But that's what you're saying (I had to dig through a lot of your words to find that out).

    Look. You will regret this hasty action for the rest of your life! If your school experience is so bad, try to improve it. There are lots of things you can try. You can talk to your counselor at school. Tell him or her that you are contemplating quitting. See if s/he has any ideas for how to improve it. You absolutely have to talk to your parents, too. Tell them you're contemplating quitting. Maybe they can get you into another school, or home-school you, or something. Talk to your pastor or priest or rabbi or imam, too. Spiritual guidance can be helpful in getting you through tough times.

    Something you wrote suggests even another avenue you should explore:

    Should I really have to deal with 2 more years of unhappiness...? Can't I just be, happy? ...the school ... demoralizes me... everything is ... difficult and I lack motivation...
    This suggests the possibility that you might be suffering from depression. I understand that you say it happens only in school. But maybe a mental health professional can be of help. It's worth considering.

    One thing confuses me, though. You say:

    I have above average intelligence ... but once I go to school I find that everything is more difficult
    I don't understand this apparent oxymoron. Maybe some of those adult resources I've suggested can have better insight into this matter and can come up with a workable solution.

    I have one last thought regarding what you said:

    Should I really have to deal with 2 more years of unhappiness for the sake of looking like a better student for future reference?
    Yes. It's a very adult thing to do, to suck it up in the short term for the long term good. All adults run into unpleasant times that they just have to get through as best they can. Your parents have. Ask them. You've gotta make use of your parents, your school counselor, your spiritual counselor, and if necessary, mental health professionals.

    I lied when I said that was the last thought. One or two more.

    the school itself having a certain lack of outreach to students such as myself.
    I have no idea what you're saying -- I don't know what you expect the school to do, and I don't know what you mean by "students such as myself." You can't wait for the school to reach out to you. You have to be the one to reach out. Help is out there. You have to take it.

    There are a lot of complications stemming from my home life
    I understand that there's a lot of stuff hidden behind those innocuous words, and that you go through stuff I can never understand. I hope you can reach down deep inside yourself and find the strength to endure and rise above whatever it is. You need to get your high school education, and go to college, if you want to become a concept artist or especially a game designer.

    I'm not interested in your other questions. Quitting high school would be a huge mistake. All your other questions pale in comparison. I implore you not to give up school.

    Tom Sloper

    Faculty, Information Technology Program
    Viterbi School of Engineering
    University of Southern California
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 6, 2011


    Nice work!

    >From: dancing kirby
    >Subject: Really nice work!!
    >Date: Sun, 3 Apr 2011 11:19:49 -0700
    >I am recently looking into finding a Q.A. job and I came across your site sloperama.com. I found many sites that just did not help out very much, it was like finding an oasis in a desert when I found your site. It must have taken a very long time to write all the stuff down so I want to thank you first hand. It has inspired me to continue searching. I didn't even read it all yet, but I am getting there.
    >Wish me luck. Sincerely
    > Stephan C/ Gamer tag: Dancing Kirby

    Good luck, Kirby. Keep on dancing.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 3, 2011


    Aspiring designer, part 2

    >From: AByn
    >Sent: Sat, April 2, 2011 7:17:41 AM
    >Subject: Thank you for reply me so quickly
    >Sr. Sloper:
    > I should not expect you replying me so quickly, and the answers you given to me are thoughtful, i will take it on my mind. i appreciate you so much for that.
    > Here now is not the question only for the game industry, it's about my English ability. Just as you see my first letter wrote yesterday, what my English-level is in your opinion, and what advice you can give to me to improve my written and oral English. Because i'm about to deliver my resume to game-loft, a big mobile-phone game company, According to my comprehensive capability, I think the company's jobs offered i can competent will only be the tester. But i am not look down upon this jobs, because i think platform is more important.
    > Are these questions involve the privates? If so, please forgive me about that.
    > By the way, i.like ma-jiang too, and tomorrow i will be with my colleges to play it. Fighter four, ha-ha.
    > Sincerely.
    >AByn

    Hi AByn, you wrote:

    i appreciate you so much for that.
    You're welcome. 别客气

    what my English-level is in your opinion
    I'm sorry, but it's not very good. Not good enough for design and not good enough for QA, if you have to design or report bugs for English speakers.

    what advice you can give to me to improve my written and oral English.
    Take classes, get a tutor, work very hard.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 2, 2011


    Aspiring designer

    >From: AByn (spira14)
    >Sent: Fri, April 1, 2011 3:41:00 AM
    >Subject: a letter from a dizzy man, key word: game industry, china
    >Mr. Sloper:
    > I'm a chinese boy, 25 years old. My english is not so good as western people, maybe this letter's some mistakes will make you dizzy, please not too mention it, ^_^
    > I will introduce myself first.
    > I graduated form a chinese key university 2 years ago, and obtained a bachelor's degree of computer science. I aimed to get in a game-company after my graduation at first, so i took the CS as my major. BUT, i found progamming is so boring, i could not make too much intresting in it actualy.
    > And i gradully realized that what i wanted to be was Game-desiner, who made the game from none to existence, not the programmer, who made the game into reality with the computer language just according to the designer's plan. I think the programmer like a doll more or less, just working with the designer's plan, which is not so creative as the designer.
    > Here is my working sutiation below.
    > I living in beijing now, and working in a network security company as a networking engineer. It's only a earning my living's work. I still want to get in a game conpany, to be a designer sooner or later, and start a game-company of mine if possible in the future.
    > And now, i think i need some advice given by professional and kind-hearted person like you, hehe.
    > In beijing, even china, there are a lot of network game or mobile-phone game company. It can be said video-game or similar company is none. But i have decided to vote myself to chinese game industry. Although i am a CS degree colleger, but i think my programming ability will not competent to the level of game company. And i want to interview the designer job, not the tester just as you said in the sloperama, hehe.
    >So, what do you think about my decision. If i want to change my career from networking engineer to game designer, what's more should i learn, and what i can do now for prepare as my changing to game designer.
    > It's my first time to write to a foreigner for advicing. And today is April fool's day, i suppose my questions will not make you think i am a foolish, hehe.
    > Sincerely.
    >AByn
    >Fri, 1 april 2011

    Niihau AByn, you wrote:

    what's more should i learn, and what i can do now for prepare as my changing to game designer.
    You can't become a game designer if you don't work at a game company and you don't design games. I think you should get a job at one of those network game companies or mobile phone game companies. If you don't do that, at the very least you should design games and build a portfolio. Preferably you should do both.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April Fool's Day, 2011


    Student interview project

    >From: Augusto d
    >Subject: Thanks a lot
    >Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2011 07:41:38 +1000
    >Thanks a lot mate, your answers are just what I needed. Yeah, I should have typed "would" instead of "will". As for the bearable thing... it was kind off the research question :).
    >Again, thanks.
    >Augusto
    You're welcome, Augusto.

    Put a congrio on the barbie for me, mate! G'day!
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 31, 2011


    Aspiring flashy producer, part 2

    >Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2011 12:42:14 -0500
    >Subject: Re: Leadership and team building.
    >From: James B
    >Mr. Sloper,
    >Can you identify some, if any, situations (real examples or hypothetically) in the Game Industry in which having a Secret level security clearance would be beneficial or advantageous?
    >Your insight on the board is appreciated by all, myself included.
    >Respectfully,
    >J. B

    Hi James, you wrote:

    Can you identify some, if any, situations (real examples or hypothetically) in the Game Industry in which having a Secret level security clearance would be beneficial or advantageous?
    Absolutely. About 15 years ago I was tangentially involved with a game called "Spycraft." I was working the Activision booth at a trade show in London, and someone from one of the embassies came to me, wanting to check the game's features out. He'd heard that it was very true to reality (actually, the company had had former KGB and CIA consultants informing the design). Knowing how covert agencies operate, and how the military operates, can be an advantage if you find yourself working on a military game, be it an entertainment product or a serious training simulation or anything like that. Of course, you'd need to familiarize yourself with that type of game currently in the marketplace and currently in development, and what companies are involved, and target your applications accordingly.

    Your insight on the board is appreciated by all, myself included.
    Why thank you! (^_^)

    As you were!
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 2, 2011


    School interview project

    >From: Augusto d
    >Sent: Thu, March 31, 2011 4:31:17 AM
    >Subject: Questions for my paper
    >Thanks a ton for answering s quickly. My teacher insisted I do it all formal and stuff and ask first, so now I can get on to the important thing: the questions about game design. You'll notice most questions will be about doing stuff I don't want to do, and if the job can get boring.
    >-Is it true that one of the most important requirements is to really want to be a game designer? To be interested?
    >-If that's true, will the job still be bearable if I loose interest?
    >-I am good at drawing, creative writing and music, but don't have that much knowledge about how computer games work besides some basic 3d editing, will that be a setback?
    >-Do I need to take any computation related classes during high school? Or is that just recommended?
    >-If I'm only interested in one genre of games, for example, fantasy, will that be a setback?
    >-If they ask you to propose ideas for a game about a subject that doesn't interest you, is it bearable?
    >-Is the job very time consuming?
    >-Would you recommend working out and exercise to balance out all the time spent sitting down?
    >-Is it a very serious job? or does the work environment allow you to "fool around"?
    >-If I quit the job, will the skills I learned help me on other careers?
    >-Why are there so many online game design schools?
    >I realize I may have asked slightly too many questions, but I'm really interested and my teacher... well you know the drill.
    >Thank you very much! hope my questions help others too.
    >Sincerely,
    >Augusto

    Hi Augusto, you asked:

    Is it true that one of the most important requirements is to really want to be a game designer? To be interested?
    If you don't have a great desire to become a game designer, it's unlikely you would become one. If you appear to be reluctant to take on the design duties (I'm trying to imagine how this could possibly work), the only way you would have to take on the design duties is if everybody else flatly refuses to take them on. Any project without an enthusiastic designer is likely to fail.

    If that's true, will the job still be bearable if I loose [sic] interest?
    You used the word "will" in your question -- you asked me to foretell the future, if a certain strange thing happened. Well, I can't do that. I can only speak to probabilities. First, like I said above, it's unlikely you would be "forced" to do game design against your will. Second, if you don't like what you do, then it's likely you wouldn't find it "bearable" as you say.

    I am good at drawing, creative writing and music, but don't have that much knowledge about how computer games work besides some basic 3d editing, will that be a setback?
    You are not qualified to be a game designer, based on your description of yourself. But if you get a job at a game company, you will gain much "knowledge about how computer games work" by dint of experience, and then you might become qualified.

    Do I need to take any computation related classes during high school? Or is that just recommended?
    It's just recommended (the likelihood of becoming a game designer is increased thereby). But I don't understand why you wouldn't want to take them.

    If I'm only interested in one genre of games, for example, fantasy, will that be a setback?
    Again, I can only speak to probabilities. You limit your options if you limit your availability. You can only get work at companies that specialize in fantasy games, if that's all you want to do.

    If they ask you to propose ideas for a game about a subject that doesn't interest you, is it bearable?
    Another strange question! "Is it bearable?" It's difficult to answer that question (it's hard for me to imagine the hypothetical situation you propose and to imagine it being unbearable), so I'll say what needs to be said, instead. If your areas of interest are that limited, it's unlikely you will become a game designer in the first place.

    Is the job very time consuming?
    All jobs are very time consuming.

    Would you recommend working out and exercise to balance out all the time spent sitting down?
    Okay: "You should get exercise."

    Is it a very serious job? or does the work environment allow you to "fool around"?
    All work and no play makes Jack Augusto a dull boy. A game company that's productive and gets its product made is usually also a fun place to work; moments of levity break up the monotony of work. If you compare a game company to, say, a company that makes tax programs, I think you'll find that the game company is less serious.

    If I quit the [game designer] job, will the skills I learned help me on other careers?
    The skills of the game designer are user interface design and team collaboration and vision communication. I think those skills are useful in other careers. But it could be difficult breaking through the resistance (hirers outside the game industry won't know what skills you have, unless you tell them).

    Why are there so many online game design schools?
    Because a lot of people are all too willing to give money to online game design schools.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 31, 2011


    Dark times in Japan

      Dark times in Japan
      Even so, natsukashii!
      I wish I was there.

    Tom Sloper
    March 30, 2011


    Aspiring flashy producer

    >Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2011 17:41:39 -0500
    >Subject: Leadership and team building.
    >From: James B
    > How old are you? 23
    > What's your level of education? Roughly 1 year of mixed college, various colleges, and military training
    > What's your current occupation? (If student: "student") Prospective DigiPen student/United States Air Force, Mental Health Services worker
    > Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? Ultimately, perhaps Producer, but life has a way of changing things. Until that time, whatever job I am skilled at and I enjoy most along the way. Going for a BA in Game Design.
    > What country do you live in (where in the world are you)? (OK, so that's 5.) The United States.
    >Mr. Sloper,
    > First, thanks for all you do and all the effort you put forth in educating the masses. Secondly, my question; or rather a statement followed by a question. It's all related though.
    >Let's presume that I have mediocre to good background in the game community, things like writing reviews for games, working on mods here and there, and that I could be described generally being interested in the process for years but never embarking on an elaborate project.
    >I have a military background, and a big part of what I bring to the table is leadership and team building. It is a strain to state that without sounding arrogant. I am also a Mental Health worker, so a great deal of my skills are in dealing with difficult personalities, managing crisis life-or-death situations, cooling people down and counseling/therapy and the like. We'll go ahead and throw "Good Administrative skills" in there as well. So I have a lot of background in the military in dealing with people as a leader, co-worker, advisor and counselor in different situations. Identifying how military skills translate into the civilian world in any job can be a challenge, and I can identify a few I can transfer here. However, given some one who has these skills listed on their resume with some evidence to back it up, how do you think these skills would be best transferred and utilized in the video game industry?
    >Note: Not to break in based on these skills alone, but let us assume that in this situation I have gained an entry level education and have a year or two experience in the industry.
    >As a follow up, I can think of a few roles where these skills could be used, but how could I make these skills marketable and desirable to a prospective employer?
    >Thank you for your time,
    >Respectfully,
    >James B.
    >P.S. As an aside, between Wally West, Bart Allen, Barry Allen, and Jay Garrick, which Flash do you most identify with or favor?

    Hello James, you wrote:

    I have a military background, and a big part of what I bring to the table is leadership and team building.
    Are you saying you're an officer? Or are you a noncom?

    how do you think these skills would be best transferred and utilized in the video game industry?
    Producing, like you said up front in your email.

    how could I make these skills marketable and desirable to a prospective employer?
    Do what you said you're planning to do -- get a degree. Then after you've done that, make a portfolio, and do the things outlined in FAQ 27.

    between Wally West, Bart Allen, Barry Allen, and Jay Garrick, which Flash do you most identify with or favor?
    Sean Connery. He's the ONLY James Bond. Just as George Reeves is the ONLY Superman.


    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 30, 2011


    Could I ask you a few questions for my research paper?

    >From: Augusto d
    >Subject: Questions
    >Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2011 06:55:20 +1000
    >Dear Mr. Sloper:
    >My name is Augusto, I am a tenth grade student going to an American school in Chile. For English, we were asked to do a research paper about a career we are interested in. I chose game design. I'm not sure if it's what I want to do, but I believe it combines my passions: drawing, writing, music and, off course, games.
    >I wanted to know if I could ask you a few questions about working as a game designer. Please, do post them publicly, since it would help others. I would gladly put some of the questions that are in your page, but my teacher wants me to personally ask you the questions, or as personal as I can through the Internet.
    >If you allow me to ask you these questions, I will use them on my paper. Not many questions really, just to fill one typed page. This part of my project is due on Monday 4th of April, so I would really appreciate it if you could reply as soon as possible.
    >I have read almost all the articles, but I may ask a few that are already answered there, just to please my teacher.
    >Thank you very much.
    >Sincerely,
    >Augusto

    >From: Augusto d
    >Subject: Questions for my research paper
    >Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2011 07:02:38 +1000
    >Dear Mr. Sloper:
    >My name is Augusto, I am a tenth grade student going to an American school in Chile. For English, we were asked to do a research paper about a career we are interested in. I chose game design. I'm not sure if it's what I want to do, but I believe it combines my passions: drawing, writing, music and, off course, games.
    >I wanted to know if I could ask you a few questions about working as a game designer. Please, do post them publicly, since it would help others. I would gladly put some of the questions that are in your page, but my teacher wants me to personally ask you the questions, or as personal as I can through the Internet.
    >If you allow me to ask you these questions, I will use them on my paper. Not many questions really, just to fill one typed page. This part of my project is due on Monday 4th of April, so I would really appreciate it if you could reply as soon as possible.I have read almost all the articles, but I may ask a few that are already answered there, just to please my teacher.
    >Thank you very much.
    >Sincerely,
    >Augusto
    >PS: I realized I had used an inappropriate subject line for my email, so I sent this one. I'm sorry if I bothered you. I thought you might think an email "Questions" unimportant.
    >Thanks a lot.

    Hello Augusto,
    Why ask me if you can ask me? Why not just ask me? It takes a LOT longer if you first ask me if you can ask me, then wait for me to answer, then ask me, then wait a second time for me to answer! You wrote:

    I have read almost all the articles, but I may ask a few that are already answered there, just to please my teacher.
    If you do ask me something that's answered in one of my articles, I will just say "read the article." How much will that please your teacher? (^_^)

    I realized I had used an inappropriate subject line for my email, so I sent this one.
    Nicely done, Grasshopper! Your second subject line definitely is better than your first. (It could have been even better, but I appreciate the effort!)


    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 30, 2011


    you've got some handsome and charm in you!

    >Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2011 15:48:45 -0400
    >Subject: Dear Tom
    >From: Georgi H
    >For the last year, I have re-visited your website and articles, and advice.
    >I am taking a break from 4-year colleges and attempting to pick a game design school for some online training.
    >I could not believe I hadn't checked your About Me page before this very day, and I have to say, you've got some handsome and charm in you!
    >Have a great one :)
    >Geo
    >--
    >Georgi H[DELETED]
    >College of Arts & Sciences '11, [SCHOOL DELETED]
    >[PHONE DELETED]
    >[EMAIL DELETED]

    Yep, that's me all over! (^_^)

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 26, 2011


    Die Hard SNES, part 4

    >From: Facebook notification+ostc6s26@facebookmail.com
    >Sent: Sun, March 20, 2011 11:55:55 PM
    >Subject: Nick Kalata sent you a message on Facebook...
    >facebook
    >Nick sent you a message.
    >Nick Kalata
    >Nick KalataMarch 20, 2011 at 11:55pm
    >Subject: Question
    >Hey there,
    >So are the credits to Die Hard in the game or in the manual? Only the US developers are in the US manual, I'm looking for the Japanese credits because I want to find the musician.
    >Thanks,
    >-Nick
    >You have 166 new notifications. Visit Facebook now to see what's happening with your friends.
    >To reply to this message, follow the link below:
    >http://www.facebook.com
    >The message was sent to tomster. If you don't want to receive these emails from Facebook in the future, please follow the link below to unsubscribe. http://www.facebook.com Facebook, Inc. P.O. Box 10005, Palo Alto, CA 94303

    Wow, you don't die easy, do you, Nick! Look, I have told you everything I know. You're on your own. Happy spring to you.
    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 21, 2011


    Needed help 3 months ago

    >Game Career Guide Forums > User Control Panel > Private Messages > Inbox
    >Private Message: Need help with getting started
    >01-10-2011, 11:17 AM
    >xilos
    >Junior Member
    >Default Need help with getting started
    >Hi tsloper,
    >I've been checking the forums since 2 years ago and I've noticed that you've been active and that you know a lot about the industry. Which is why I am asking for your help..
    >I'm an aspiring game programmer from the Philippines but already a graduate with a degree on management information systems(unrelated to game programming). I was wondering how to get started if I want to get into the industry through game programming. I've been reading a lot through forums and such and have realized that the gaming industry is really a tough industry to get into. I've tried applying for work here but the market for gaming isn't that big and no success there. However, I'm determined that I want to be part of the industry and am willing to do whatever it takes to get in.
    >These past few days, I've been thinking of enrolling to Digipen Singapore. I've looked around their site and noticed that none of their faculty are "deep" in the industry and because of this I'm having doubts to actually push through. My reasons for enrolling would be because:
    >1. school recognition - Digipen SG being a "branch" of the one in the us might be recognized more by studios/companies.
    >2. programming foundation - I've bought and read some books on c++ and have learned a bit about it but I was thinking that an education would give me better foundation for programming.
    >I'm really lost as to what I should be doing now.. should I continue with Digipen or should I be doing something else?
    >Thanks in advance.. I really hope to hear from you.

    Hello xilos,
    I just discovered that you PM'd me on gamecareerguide 3 months ago. I don't know if you still need answers, but here goes...
    Yes, I suppose so. Why are you going to Digipen? You already have a degree. Have you tried programming games on your own?
    You should make a decision grid. Weigh the pros and cons of Digipen versus the pros and cons of building a portfolio on your own. FAQ 70 shows you how to make a decision grid. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 21, 2011

    P.S. This is an actual screenshot of my GameCareerGuide sig:


    I read article 24 last November

    >Game Career Guide Forums > User Control Panel > Private Messages > Inbox
    >Private Message: Direction to head after grDUting college?
    > 11-15-2010, 09:48 PM
    >NateTheGreat22
    >Junior Member
    > Direction to head after grDUting college?
    >Hey I just finished reading lesson #24 on http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson24.htm. This article was VERY helpful.
    >My questions to you are:
    >1. What are the best states to move to after I graduate to get into the game industry as a programmer?
    >2. Is it possible to land a job before I even graduate? Reason for asking is because on my spare time I put in at least 4-5 hours a day learning C++ on my own and I'm really starting to love and get the hang off it.
    >Thanks bro!

    Hello GrateNate,
    "Grduting"?? "Bro"??? I just discovered that you PM'd me on GameCareerGuide 5 months ago, so I don't know if you still need an answer, but here goes:
    Use gamedevmap or gameindustrymap (see my Game Biz Links page, you can link to it above).
    Read FAQ 50. You can link to my FAQs above left.

    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 21, 2011

    P.S. This is an actual screenshot of my GameCareerGuide sig:


    I started a website devoted to visitors' video game ideas

    >Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2011 15:15:42 -0400
    >From: Jeff Ingalls
    >Subject: Video Game Idea Box
    >Hi Tom,
    > My name is Jeff Ingalls. My partner and I run a video production company but that is not the reason for me emailing you. I am a huge video game lover and in my free time I started a website devoted just to video game ideas. The site is an outlet for people to voice their idea's, suggestions and feedback about video games. I am a huge fan of your articles and think you have provided great information. This site is not here to make money. It is just a hobby of mine and hopefully it will help further the dreams of aspiring game designers. I was emailing you to see if you would be at all interested in joining the community. Maybe just to register and be a voice with some knowledge behind it here and there to give some people some feedback or point them in the right direction. The website is fairly new and has only been online for about a week now so there's not much happening just yet. But I would love to have you along for the ride as this grows. Let me know what you think.
    > Thanks Tom.
    >http://videogameideabox.com
    >-Jeff

    Hi Jeff,
    I don't really get the point of making a site like that. There are sites about taking game ideas and making them into reality, and there are sites about the business of turning ideas into products. But a site where people can post and discuss their game ideas? I don't get the point. People can post their ideas and get feedback at sites like gamedev.net, but at gamedev they can also get a lot of useful information about what to do with their ideas after polishing them. I took a look at your site, and was surprised that there was no introduction explaining the purpose of the site, or pointing new visitors to which page to visit depending on what they wanted to do.
    Good luck with your site.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 18, 2011


    Do I have a shot in hell?

    Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2011 10:05:41 -0700 (PDT)
    From: Travis M
    Subject: Ambitious Entrepreneur
    >Name: Travis M
    >Age-Ed-Occ: 21, Graduating in May with a BS in Business Administration, Former iPhone Game Designer for Artificial Life, Inc.
    >Date: March 16, 2010
    >Hey Tom,
    >I just came across your website for silly dreamers like myself and I wanted to get your opinion on if I have any shot in hell of making my dream become a reality.
    >To begin, I came up with a game idea back when I was working as a game designer for Artificial Life, Inc. I attempted to hire a programmer and a few artists to make an iphone game that I would independently publish. I ended up about 50% of the way complete before my programmer bailed on me because I did not have alot of money at the time. However in that time I had many pieces of promo art created that I can still use.
    >Its been 2 years since then and I've decided to redesign my game for one of the major console Arcade stores (Xbox Live Arcade, WiiWare, PSN Network). Currently I'm planning on completing a full 30-50 page game design document detailing every aspect of the game, and providing art examples of all the characters, levels, and items in the game. After that is done, I have an investor who I know I can get to give me the money required to develop the game. (My game is a fairly simple 2D beat em' up game)
    >I then plan on hiring a game company to develop my game at whatever cost it takes and once that is done I plan on finding a publisher, or having the game developer publish it themselves.
    >I know for certain I will complete the full GDD. Now lets say my investor comes through. Do I have a good shot at getting it developed and published? And how much would you say it costs to develop a 2D beat em' up game such as Castle Crashers?
    >Thank you,
    >Travis M

    Hi Travis, you wrote:

    I came up with a game idea
    Just one?

    I've decided to redesign my game for one of the major console Arcade stores (Xbox Live Arcade, WiiWare, PSN Network
    Just one?

    Currently I'm planning on completing a full 30-50 page game design document
    Only 30-50 pages? Are you sure that's long enough?

    Currently I'm planning on completing a full 30-50 page game design document
    Why do you need a full GDD at this stage?

    After that is done, I have an investor
    Doesn't he need a business plan, rather than a GDD?

    Do I have a good shot at getting it developed and published?
    Well, let's take a look at that success rate grid from FAQ 11:

    So when you get the game completed, you're in the top row:

    And once you've gotten that game completed, it's just a question of who are you. Are you a professional developer? No (you hired one). Are you a professional in the industry? Let's say no (since you've only made one game, and it hasn't been published yet).

    Which means according to the totally bogus Sloper Success Rate Formula, you have an 8% chance of getting it published, once you get it developed. Is that in hell or not? I don't know.

    And how much would you say it costs to develop a 2D beat em' up game such as Castle Crashers?
    Half a million. More for a hot developer, less for an overseas (non-western-European) developer.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    St. Patrick's Day, 2011


    Do I have what it takes? (part 2)

    >From: Paarth G
    >Subject: How am I doing so far?
    >Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 17:39:22 +0000
    >Name:Paarth
    >Country:India
    >Occupation:Student
    >Game job:Game designer
    >Thank you for replying me.I just want to ask you another thing if you don't mind.Can you tell me how the progress of my projects are?
    >I'll give you just one so you can tell me what I'm missing.
    > To Heaven or Hell?
    >Story:Once upoun a time a kid named Phill Deworld was born with a happy family.He was bullied During Highschool and he befriended a girl named Verden.But one day he gets hit by a car and gets a coma.Suddenly he wakes up and finally realises that he's dead and finds himself in the afterlife universe.Two conciences argued where this kid has to end up whether in Heaven or Hell.Soon they made a decision.Phill has to become a concience and help others.If the kid's personality matches his path will be matched as well.Will Phill get back to earth and get his true love Verden?Or will he get the ticket to Heaven or to Hell?
    >Gameplay:You control a kid named Phill Deworld who after his death is stuck in the afterlife universe.Your mission is to find out whether he goes to Heaven or Hell by helping him complete missions.These missions are divided into two types,The Good and The Bad.The player must complete both of these.If the player chooses good,Phill transforms into a Robotic cupid.As a cupid,he can fly,jump and use his gun which can hypnotise people to command them to do something else.On the otherhand if he chooses bad he turns into a madwolf.As a wolf Phill can run really fast,attack and can go inside a person and control it.Either way the player must complete both of them.Once done Phill is sent to the real world.Here he is invisible which means no one can hear him or see him.However Phill can control them and change their lives.Once a mission is complete the player is awarded a badge which comes seperately for each goal.If the player gets 3 badges of that same goal he will be awarded with a Golden diploma.This diploma gives the player more features that are required for most missions.For example Robotcupid can now have cupid arrows for finding a couple.Another example Madwolf can now make a person say harsh words.In some missions a person will have a different concience.The player must defeat or help the concience inorder to complete that mission.
    >Oh and here is some of my portfolio.
    >[IMG]http://i759.photobucket.com/albums/xx234/Jackwriter/Untitled-1-1.png[/IMG]
    >I have interest in developing game ideas, writing stories, do voice acting for characters(Saves money too), do a little music composing with assistance of course and finally though I'm not sure if I could do it, level designing.
    >Oh and I have one more question? Is it too late to think of a game idea?Because whenever I feel that games are evolving I feel that it might become late for most categories to still make global hits.Like scrolling shooters for instance.I'm just worried if that four year course will have horrible effects for my future.
    >Thank you for your kindness.

    Hello Paarth, you wrote:

    Subject: How am I doing so far?
    Are you enjoying your creative activities? Do you learn from them, and do your skills get better when you do them? If you are, then you're doing fine.

    Can you tell me how the progress of my projects are?
    I told you before, I don't do that. There are people who'll gladly give you feedback, on gamedev.net. Make sure you post in the appropriate forum. And thicken your skin, like I told you before.
    Look, I'm not the right guy to look to for validation. If you want somebody to pat your widdle head and say "good boy, you're doing fine," well, first, that's not a very grownup thing to want, and secondly, I'm not the guy to go to.

    Is it too late to think of a game idea?
    Read FAQ 71.

    I feel
    Read FAQ 40, there's a section on "feelings." "Trust your feelings, Luke" is just a movie line. Stop going around "feeling" your way through the world. Learn, then know, or at least believe.

    it might become late for most categories to still make global hits.
    So what? Design new ones.

    I'm just worried
    Stop "feeling," and stop worrying! Research! Learn! Find out! Make informed decisions! Follow your passions!

    that four year course will have horrible effects for my future.
    Unlikely. Study what you WANT to study. Your life will be better for it.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 16, 2011


    Do I have what it takes?

    >From: Paarth (games_ville)
    >Subject: Hi.
    >Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2011 15:58:59 +0000
    >Hi my name is Paarth.I'm 18 yrs old and i'm gonna be 19 next week.I'm from India and my current occupation is student.Sir I have a lot of problems.Whenever I see a lot of game designers making games and get fame out of it it makes me feel so bad that I can't be like them.Even some indie game designers are so great by making old school games like cave story and Braid.I want to be just like every well known game designer out there.I really want to.Opps! sorry wrong subject.*sigh* anyways I want to be a game designer and so far the only thing I am doing is writing game ideas and plots for each and every one of them.Feel free to read them if you like.Oh and you don't have to review them.As you can see I have passion in making games but the thing is my brother pushed me into programming and I am not so good at it just like you.Some how I manage to do well(But I still hate it!).I also have created my characters for each and every game idea of mine.The picture is just the beginning.But if you had noticed though I hate to say it, I'm an untrained artist.With all these in my mind my heart pains like as if I want to accomplish something and everyone even people who aren't experienced in gaming are out there but I'm not.My point is do I ever have a future in game designing? And don't say it just because I asked you.Say what you want.Positive or negative.And no sarcasm.I've posted my ideas and artwork to a lot of forums I know and they all mocked at me or don't reply at all(although some of them are very kind to cheer me up at times).
    >So my point is do I have what it takes to be a game designer other than college graduation(I forgot to tell you that I'm still in high school)
    >Attachment: Ideas.doc
    >Attachment: Untitled-1.png

    Namaste, Paarth. You wrote:

    Feel free to read them if you like.
    It's not my intention to be rude to you, Paarth. It's just that I don't read unsolicited submissions. This is explained above. Don't feel badly, okay? You are not getting any different treatment than anyone else who writes me.

    do I ever have a future in game designing?
    I haven't a clue, Paarth. All I know is that you do not have a college degree yet, and you do not yet have a portfolio.

    And no sarcasm.
    Sarcasm is part of what I do, Paarth. When someone says a dumb thing, I have to call him on it.

    I've posted my ideas and artwork to a lot of forums I know and they all mocked at me
    You have to have a thick skin, Paarth. You've heard the sayings: let it roll off your back. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you...

    Read my articles, Paarth. Get a degree in whatever subject interests you. And do projects that interest you. I'm always here if you have a question I can help you with.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Pi Day (3.14), 2011


    Help with school project!! PLZ READ AND REPLY ASAP!! NOT SPAM!!!

    >From: Jason L
    >Sent: Sun, March 13, 2011 11:25:15 PM
    >Subject: Help with school project!! PLZ READ AND REPLY ASAP!! NOT SPAM!!!
    >Hello Mr Sloper, my name is Jason. The reason I am writing to you is because I am doing a research project base on Newton's Laws and whether it helps and how it is implemented into the game Call of Duty: Black Ops. I just want to hear your honest opinion about the physics (just Newton's Laws) in this game and since you are a game designer, you might know something about this sort of physics in this game. If possible please provide a articulate and detail explanation of the process needed to implement it into the game. Here is my question: How is Newton's Laws implemented in ìCall of Duty: Black Opsî and is it accurate compared to real life?. Please emphasize on the implementation and the accuracy (can be based on your opinion.) To make it easier, I provided a few questions for you to answer. Please treat it like an interview.
    >Questions:
    >Do you think Newton's Laws is the primary physics in Black Ops and if it is, why?
    >Ans:
    >Do Newton's Laws help make Black Ops better? (more interactive in ways?)
    >Ans:
    >If Newton's Laws were not use in Black Ops, would it make the game any different?
    >Ans:
    >How is it implemented and is it accurate compared to real life?
    >Ans:
    >If possible, please reply me ASAP!
    >Thanks,
    >Jason
    >PS: I am not asking for any game design help, just a normal interview.

    Hello Jason, you wrote:

    Subject: Help with school project!! PLZ READ AND REPLY ASAP!! NOT SPAM!!!
    Kid, you must absolutely never use multiple exclamation marks and all capital letters in an email subject line. That's a good way to make sure your email goes unread.

    I am doing a research project base on Newton's Laws and whether it helps and how it is implemented into the game Call of Duty: Black Ops.
    Sorry to disappoint you, but I haven't played that game, and even if I did, I wouldn't know what techniques the physics programmer used. You'd have to ask the physics programmer himself.

    please provide a articulate and detail explanation of the process needed to implement it into the game... Please emphasize on the implementation and the accuracy...
    Wow, you aren't asking for much!

    PS: I am not asking for any game design help,
    And your point is what? That I should not post this on the board? You earlier wrote, "Please treat it like an interview." Well, I post all school project interviews right here on this board.

    just a normal interview.
    There is nothing normal about it. Sounds to me like you're trying to get me to write your school essay for you.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Pi Day (3.14), 2011


    I'm not looking to sell the game, part 2

    >Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2011 11:06:13 +0800
    >Subject: Re: Game Design Enquiry
    >From: Ryan O
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for the quick response!
    >And to be clear, I don't mind my messages being public at all :)
    >Okay, so I realize I've been a little vague. I'll rephrase exactly
    >what I aim to do!
    >
    >1) My goal is to design a video game. This isn't to act as a third
    >game for distribution; my main goal is to design a video game that
    >will go on shelves in game stores. Something I can point to and go "I
    >did that!" and something that people will skip lunch and dinner to
    >play.
    >The money is secondary to that.
    >
    >2) Because all I can do is write, I usually form a band of people to
    >work with me on the game. You're right that they're not really a
    >"team" because I don't pay them; it's a co-operative effort. I find an
    >artist who wants to join the industry, a coder, etc. and we get
    >together and make a prototype. But I gather now that some of these
    >people will be cut.
    >
    >3) I'm taking your advice on the GDD. I'll drop it to a 2 page
    >document; I got fuddled and thought I had to start with one. Thanks
    >for the heads up!
    >
    >4) I know about the concept statement now, because I've got some sleep
    >and now... *I've just seen your sample outline that I've missed the
    >whole time*. Gah. Sorry about that. *Weeps*
    >
    >5) I forgot to ask...I notice that your games are both NES and SEGA.
    >Were you at all affected by the competition between platforms?
    >
    >6) Mahjong in Singapore would cost someone about $70 a week. Or so my
    >aunt insists, but she's terrible at it. Even my 12 year old cousin
    >pwns her.
    >Thanks for the help!

    Hi Ryan, you wrote:

    My goal is to design a video game. This isn't to act as a third
    >game for distribution; my main goal is to design a video game that
    >will go on shelves in game stores. Something I can point to and go "I
    >did that!" and something that people will skip lunch and dinner to
    >play.
    >The money is secondary to that.
    Seriously? Your raison d'Ítre for doing this is solely for ego gratification, and nothing else? And you don't even care if you get paid or not? That is totally weird. You might want to seek psychiatric help! Seriously.

    I'm taking your advice on the GDD. I'll drop it to a 2 page
    >document; I got fuddled and thought I had to start with one. Thanks
    >for the heads up!
    Dude. You will NOT get a deal with nothing more than a 2-page concept. You need a full pitch, which means not only a 2-page concept but also a full treatment, including information about the team and the business plan. How much your project will cost, how it will make money, and how long it will take to develop (and by whom). Stop dreaming and get with the real world of the business of games! Read FAQs 13, 11, 21, and 35.

    I forgot to ask...I notice that your games are both NES and SEGA.
    >Were you at all affected by the competition between platforms?
    The NES was over 20 years ago. Sega dropped out of the platform-holder business maybe 10 years ago or so. Why are you asking about ancient platforms? Today's platforms are Xbox 360 (Xbox Live), Playstation 3, Wii, 3ds, Facebook, and iPhone. Get with the times! Competition between platforms is ALWAYS a factor. Geez!

    Look -- I'm giving you a hard time for a reason. You're in dreamland. You need to wake up, get realistic goals, and make a realistic plan. I can advise you, but only if you get real.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 13, 2011


    I'm not looking to sell the game, I want to *make* the game.

    >Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2011 01:58:03 +0800
    >Subject: Game Design Enquiry
    >From: Ryan O
    >Hi Tom,
    >My name is Ryan, and I live in Singapore. I'm 30 this year, I have a
    >degree from UoL (University of London), and I'm a freelance writer /
    >writing coach.I've also played lead designer for two board games, one
    >of which hit local stores last year. The second is due in August this
    >year. You can see the first one here:
    >http://www.journalsingapore.com
    >Right now the only sets sold overseas were sold at conventions;
    >distributors will not carry if we have just one title. It's in the
    >clear once the second is out.
    >I've sold a lot of short fiction over the years, along with feature
    >articles. This is mostly in local and overseas fantasy magazines
    >(Albedo One, The Lantern, etc). My first story I sold when I was 14,
    >and a publisher is (finally) considering an anthology this year. (Yeah
    >a decade of rejection letters for that anthology) I also have an agent
    >for two novel manuscripts, which have yet to be sold. A third, for an
    >indie graphic novel, is past the first stage of funding (local artist
    >support scheme).
    >
    >I have a full-time job as a creative writing instructor. It pays most
    >of the bills.
    >I read obsessively; my gaming experience dates back to the Knights of
    >Krynn era, stretches through Sierra's reign in the 90's, and most
    >recently rotates around Bioware RPGs. As a teenager I worked in a game
    >store, dealing with paper & pencil RPGs and wargames.
    >So far the funds for my games have been earned by begging, and then
    >more begging. I even got government help by writing a trillion
    >proposals and making mock sets. The art was my big break, I got it for
    >free; I started by posting messages in the local art colleges, and
    >some students agreed to work just for publicity.
    >I have a few questions to ask, and I'd appreciate your advice.
    >
    >1) Artists - The only way I can get free art is by promising
    >publicity. In the publishing industry I could never do this, because
    >they never pair two unknowns (it's unknown writer + established
    >illustrator, or vice versa). Is this the same in the game industry?
    >Will a game company accede to using at least some of the freebie art
    >from "my" illustrators? Or is it like a publishing house where there's
    >just no negotiation here?
    >Basically, if I get help from forming a team, will anyone get left
    >behind if the publishers gives the nod?
    >
    >2) If the art in my GDD is going to be a hodge-podge, is it better to
    >drop the visuals altogether?
    >
    >3) I can write a query letter to sell stories. But is it at all
    >similar to the "concept statement" in a GDD?
    >
    >4) I'm not looking to sell the game, I want to *make* the game. I want
    >to have some say in the plot and character work. So if my game is
    >accepted (I'm ambitious) how much control, frankly, will I have over
    >its direction? I'm not a control freak, I've had editors pull my
    >strings for a long time. But I lose interest when I'm all but replaced
    >as a writer. I have no problems with technical changes, or changes to
    >game mechanics.
    >
    >5) If I quit my job, I can last about 2 years. Okay, maybe 4 if I can
    >sell more stories and live like a hermit.Am I playing Mahjong with my
    >last dollar here? Any chance I can make a game without quitting my day
    >job?
    >
    >Thanks in advance for reading this!
    >I apologize if I ask anything you've already covered; I haven't gone
    >through all the lessons yet (there's a lot of them!)
    >Best Regards,
    >Ryan

    Hello Ryan,
    I'm sorry to treat a fellow instructor like "everybody else" who asks me for advice, but the questions you asked need to be shared widely. You wrote:

    The only way I can get free art is by promising
    >publicity.
    I doubt that's really the only way. And I don't know what you need art for (I am replying while I read your email in detail for the first time). If you can't get free art, then you'll have to find a way to pay for it -- if you really need art.

    In the publishing industry I could never do this, because
    >they never pair two unknowns (it's unknown writer + established
    >illustrator, or vice versa). Is this the same in the game industry?
    Well, yes, sure. We don't even want one unknown! But I still don't know what it is you're trying to do. Just guessing: you need to make a third board game so you can at least start up a product line? I am hopeful that the reason for these questions of yours will become clearer as I read and respond farther...

    Will a game company accede to using at least some of the freebie art
    >from "my" illustrators? Or is it like a publishing house where there's
    >just no negotiation here?
    I'm still not following you. But let's just say that video game publishers would require you to sign a contract that states that you own everything you're selling them, with no encumbrances on the rights.

    if I get help
    With what? A board game? A video game? A computer game?

    from forming a team, will anyone get left
    >behind if the publishers gives the nod?
    I'm scratching my head trying to imagine what you are picturing, and I'm coming up short. If you have a "team" of people whom you've never paid, then you do NOT really have a team, in the accepted sense of the word. So the "if" in your question is so huge that it would swallow up the whole earth and much of the orbit out beyond Mars. The odds against you getting a greenlight with such a "team" are, to put it bluntly, astronomical. But on the wild chance that your concept actually did get a nod from a publisher, it's extremely unlikely that your "team" would survive the cut.

    If the art in my GDD
    Why are you writing a GDD at this stage? You need pitch documents instead, don't you? A 2-page concept paper, a longer treatment, probably also a Powerpoint.

    is going to be a hodge-podge, is it better to
    >drop the visuals altogether?
    I don't know what you are envisioning with this "hodge-podge." But you do need professional-looking imagery in your pitch documents. You won't get funding (since that's what it sounds like what you're going for) with amateurish chicken scratches. Nor will you get it without any imagery at all.

    I can write a query letter to sell stories. But is it at all
    >similar to the "concept statement" in a GDD?
    I don't know if story query letters are similar to game pitch documents. You're welcome to rephrase if necessary.

    I'm not looking to sell the game,
    What? That's not what you said before. You said you wanted a "nod" from a publisher. If that isn't selling a lot of rights in the game's moneymaking potential to a publisher, then I don't know what you're envisioning.

    I want to *make* the game.
    Why? What is your ultimate purpose? The REASON for making the game? I don't understand how you expect me to help you when you have incomprehensible goals. You told me a lot of stuff about your passions as you were growing up, but you have not told me what your ultimate goal is. You can't assume that I know what it is.

    if my game is
    >accepted (I'm ambitious) how much control, frankly, will I have over
    >its direction?
    IF you were a game developer (the owner of a company that was in the business of making games), you might get a publishing deal with an original concept. The publisher's contract would specify how much control you would have, and you would OF COURSE get to negotiate that contract.

    If I quit my job, I can last about 2 years. Okay, maybe 4 if I can
    >sell more stories and live like a hermit.Am I playing Mahjong with my
    >last dollar here? Any chance I can make a game without quitting my day
    >job?
    I do not recommend you quit your day job until you have started bringing in substantial money from your night job. I had to give up playing Japanese mahjong because I'm not making enough money from my own day job. I can play American mahjong, though, since that never costs more than $5 a week. (^_^) The stakes are a lot higher with Japanese mahjong. I don't know what stakes Singapore mahjong players play for. But now I've veered into my other area of expertise...

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 13, 2011


    Choosing my educational path

    >From: Dean S
    >Sent: Sat, March 12, 2011 11:33:54 PM
    >Subject: The perfect BA in Games Design
    >Age: 26
    >Education: Currently studying UK BTEC National Diploma in Video Game Development (2 years)
    >Occupation: Student bum who should have done this earlier (lost my job)
    >Career Hope: Games Designer
    >Location: UK
    >Thought I'd put the information first to get that out of the way.
    >I'll get straight to the point as I'm sure you probably get a little peeved with rambling. In lesson #44 you explain how precious few establishments (if any) do correct BA Games Design degrees. I would like your take if this degree, that I have found at a well established UK Univeristy (Teesside), is a good choice as it claims to be a fully versed Games Design Bachelors in the correct context. Is this actually a recommended course to proceed with? If so then perhaps it could be a good example for you to use.
    >Degree URL:
    >http://www.tees.ac.uk/undergraduate_courses/Animation_Games_&_Computer_Graphics/BA_(Hons)_Computer_Games_Design.cfm
    >Having read your work and many others, I am torn between following my passion alongside a more technical based course or this one as it seems best to follow you DIFTI foot in the door option. I fully grasp the requirement to self educate, and prepare whilst studying applicable skills, but it worries me that this course seems too specific and not practical enough to earn recognition from developers as they are already gonna have hardcore designers. Again with the "How many kids want to actually be a designer?". I have done the decision grids by the way.
    >With that said I saved this till last as I'm sure you get it alot. You are one awesome SOAB and you have my colossal amounts of thanks. What you have done is a rare thing and I am greatly in your debt, as is the future industry from those that have listened. Thank you.
    >:D
    >Dean S

    Hello Dean, you wrote:

    Currently studying UK BTEC National Diploma in Video Game Development (2 years)
    A four-year degree is recommended, so after you finish that program, you do need to take at least two more years.

    In lesson #44 you explain how precious few establishments (if any) do correct BA Games Design degrees.
    Since the time I wrote that, several schools (including the one where I teach) have been recognized for their excellence in preparing students for game careers. That said, there's the matter of a degree in "game design." Everyone's idea of "game design" differs somewhat from each other, and I've come to accept that. So I may need to go into #44 soon and make some updates.

    Is this actually a recommended course to proceed with?
    I do not analyze curriculums or courses for you.

    I am torn between following my passion alongside a more technical based course or this one
    This is a decision you have to make for yourself. You are not finished with decision grids.

    it worries me that this course seems too specific and not practical enough to earn recognition from developers
    Two points I have to make about this statement. Maybe three.
    My philosophy is that "worries" are counterproductive. My philosophy is: instead of worrying, you need to analyze, break it down, investigate. Then on the other hand, I recently heard that worriers actually live longer for some weird reason.
    Everyone's idea of "game design" differs. You have to blaze your own path, follow your own muse. Learn for the sake of learning. Do for the sake of learning. What you learn will inform you as you make your path.
    You cannot guide your life based on the expectation or "recognition" of hypothetical other people. It is YOUR life. Go the way you WANT to go.

    You are one awesome SOAB and you have my colossal amounts of thanks. What you have done is a rare thing...
    Aw, shucks. (^_^)
    For you.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 13, 2011


    Thank you!

    >gamedev.net > Messenger > My Conversations > Thank you!
    >User is offline swilkewitz
    >* Member
    >* Add as Friend
    > * PM this member
    >* Group: Members
    > * Posts: 59
    > * Joined: 16-January 11
    >AddMinus Warn Status
    >Warning level: 0%
    >Sent Today, 05:06 PM
    >At first I didn't "like" your advice (due to my stubborn nature), but I slowly allowed my opinion to change and now I am in a much better position.
    >I ended up applying to Purdue University, and I was accepted into their Computer Science program. I visited the campus last Monday and now I am pumped to meet the other CS students and expand my knowledge of programming and computers.
    >I have realized that Digipen was an extremely bad option, and now I am glad you helped me make a better decision. I am sorry for being so stubborn.

    Hi swil,
    I dug around and found that you were talking about http://www.gamedev.net/topic/593601-accepted-to-digipen-money-concerns/page__st__20__p__4765862__fromsearch__1#entry4765862 -- then I read a bit and found that you're the guy who said, "Tom Sloper, you should really stop posting only links to faqs, it comes across as lazy and apathetic, regardless of the content"
    So: now I know what you're apologizing for. (^_^)
    And for the thanks and the hat-in-hand, you have earned an achievement!

    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    3/11/2011


    Korean Go-Stop, part 2

    >Date: Tue, 9 Mar 2011
    >Subject: Re: Heungdahn, Chungdahn
    >From: Evan M
    >There's also a phrase they would use when things were going in their favor. "Kurochi" cooruhchee. Which loosely translatea to "hell yeah!"
    >Not in any official sense part of the game but fun to add in for some gusto.
    >Sent from my Samsung Captivate(tm) on AT&T

    Cool, thanks.
    May the cards be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 10, 2011


    Korean Go-Stop

    >Date: Tue, 8 Mar 2011 02:22:13 -0800
    >Subject: Heungdahn, Chungdahn
    >From: Evan M
    >I spent almost half a year with Koreans in HI and traveling in northern China, needless to say we had a lot of time we spent together and our favorite time passer was Go-Stop. Those are the correct names for the flags and I can add, that they called the third flag family "Chodahn" Cho as in row, show et cetra, no idea what it means though.
    >Also the all the names for the flag familes
    >JANUARY ñ PINE (Sol)
    >JULY ñ BUSH CLOVER (HungSaRi)
    >FEBRUARY ñ PLUM BLOSSOM (MaeJo)
    >AUGUST ñ MOON (PalGong)
    >MARCH ñ CHERRY BLOSSOM (Sakura)
    >SEPTEMBER ñ CHRYSANTHEMUM (GukHwa)
    >APRIL ñ WISTERIA (HukSaRi)
    >OCTOBER ñ MAPLE (Pung)
    >MAY ñ IRIS (NanCho)
    >NOVEMBER ñ PAULOWNIA (Dung)
    >JUNE ñ PEONY (MokDan)
    >DECEMBER ñ RAIN (Bi)

    Great stuff, Evan! Thanks!-- I'll add this info to the site.
    May the cards be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 9, 2011


    Student dissertation questions

    >From: Xuan P
    >Sent: Mon, March 7, 2011 4:56:34 PM
    >Subject: Hi Tom
    >Hello Tom,
    >I know that you do not give out free games or games advice, and this is not what I am here for. I am a BA aniamtion student and I am currently under taking a unit on disseration and I have decided to write up a topic on video games. I am here just to ask you if it's okay with you to help me answer some of the questions regarding video games? if you can, please can you email me and let me know if you have any time in your hand to answer some video games questions.
    >Many thanks,
    >Xuan P

    Hi Xuan,
    Just ask me your questions. Since you are not my student, you are not my paying client, you are not buying me lunch, and you are not an old beloved friend or relative, I will answer your questions here on this board. Simple and easy!
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 7, 2011


    Switching, part 2

    >From: Eugene Goh
    >Sent: Mon, March 7, 2011 7:08:04 PM
    >Subject: Re: Switching from Programming to Design
    >Yay, achievements!
    > > 2 Are recruiting agencies... worth using?
    > > A Read FAQ 66. Then stop asking bad questions and just get the job,
    >however and wherever you can.
    >BAM! I deserved that. I've received word from a different source that
    >recruiters would steer me more towards programming jobs because the
    >salary and hence their cut is higher. But I like the simplicity of your
    >answer because it makes that irrelevant.
    > > 3 Have you experienced any differences working in America vs Europe
    >vs Asia?
    > > A Yes. What is it you're really trying to find out? I can't tell
    >what it is you want me to say here.
    >I am interested in knowing more about the work culture and lifestyle. In
    >what ways do companies and people operate differently? Do they have
    >different outlooks on life in general? Do they have different
    >expectations of potential employees?
    >Cheers,
    >Eugene

    Hi Eugene,
    I'm glad you appreciated getting an Achievement. (^_^) Today you wrote:

    I've received word from a different source that
    >recruiters would steer me more towards programming jobs because the
    >salary and hence their cut is higher.
    Sounds right.

    In
    >what ways do companies and people operate differently?
    It depends on the country. It would be easier for me to answer if you were more specific. For example: in Japan, whole books have been written on this subject!

    Do they have
    >different outlooks on life in general?
    Yes. In particular, I've had a lot of experience with Japan (but not recently). Again: a subject for many books.

    Do they have different
    >expectations of potential employees?
    No. Everybody wants the same thing: do you know how to do the job, and will you fit in seamlessly with the team.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 7, 2011


    Switching

    >Date: Sun, 06 Mar 2011 22:18:59 +0800
    >From: Eugene Goh
    >Organization: e-Goh
    >Subject: Switching from Programming to Design
    >1. How old? 35
    >2. Education? B.A.Sc. Computer Engineering
    >3. Current Occupation? Freelance Game Programmer for 5 years, industry experience for a couple more years than that. IT experience for a few more years than that.
    >4. Which game job? Game Design
    >5. Which Country? Singapore
    >Hi Tom,
    >It tickles me to write this to you because I stumbled upon your site many many many years ago when I was in school and your FAQs helped me heaps. After discovering that it is still alive and running, I just had to write in, even if mine may not be your usual let-me-into-the-industry questions. Kudos to you for educating the masses all these years.
    >I've been doing games programming for a while on a freelance basis. I've recently decided that a) I want to switch to game design. b) I want to do it in another country for a change of scenery. If you are interested in the long-winded mildly amusing sob-story, it's at http://www.e-goh.com/?p=341 but for now let's just label it as mid-life crisis.
    >I've only just started sending feelers through my network of contacts, so here are the questions:
    >1. Is it more advisable to apply for junior design positions, or for programming positions and hope to shift over laterally? Short-term salary isn't too much of a factor for me.
    >2. Are recruiting agencies such as http://www.interactiveselection.com/ worth using? I've seen them posting ads on various professional networks.
    >3. Have you experienced any differences working in America vs Europe vs Asia? Most of my business thus far has been local or regional.
    >Thanks and Best Regards,
    >Eugene

    Hi Eugene, you wrote:

    Kudos to you for educating the masses all these years.
    I love kudos! (^_^)

    I've been doing games programming for a while on a freelance basis.
    Awesome. To be doing that from Singapore is not a trivial feat.

    let's just label it as mid-life crisis.
    Let's not. You're too young for that.

    Is it more advisable to apply for junior design positions, or for programming positions and hope to shift over laterally?
    You're a successful freelance programmer. Get a full-time job, however and wherever you can. Then work to move laterally into design. Read my August 2003 IGDA column, "The Games Game: The Path to Designer." Click the Games Game link above left.

    Are recruiting agencies... worth using?
    Read FAQ 66. Then stop asking bad questions and just get the job, however and wherever you can.

    Have you experienced any differences working in America vs Europe vs Asia?
    Yes. What is it you're really trying to find out? I can't tell what it is you want me to say here.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 6, 2011


    Internships

    >Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2011 20:37:09 -0800 (PST)
    >From: Kathrine
    >Subject: Insight into or advice on internships in the game industry
    >Hello, Tom! My name is Trina, and I have a few questions I hope you might be able to help me with. I'm going to apologize in advance for the length. Here it goes:
    >First, that general information:
    >I'm 19
    >In my second semester of college/occupation: student
    >I'd love to become a concept artist (character design, specifically)
    >I live smack-dab in the middle of the US of A
    >My game biz question(s):
    >These first few questions have to do with gaining an internship in the game industry. I only found your site a few weeks ago, so forgive me if I've missed some information (and please point me to it if I have), but I haven't really seen any Q's or A's dealing with internships as a good "foot-in-door" experience booster.
    >Have you dealt with interns or do you know of any of your students getting internships within the industry and sharing their experiences with you? If so could you maybe give some insight on that? (I guess I'm just fishing for general observations here)
    >If you have ever dealt with or been around interns, what might some of their responsibilities be? Or maybe what kind of experience might an intern expect at, lets say, a larger company vs a smaller company? Also, how are people with internship experience in the industry looked at, as in, is it a big deal/rarity to see a young potential with this kind of experience, or does it tend to be brushed off more than anything? (I'm not asking this to find out if its 'worth' it, I'd just like to be informed.)
    >What (in general) would a developer look for in an intern who's still in college? I understand you have to stand above the rest, but what qualities might be best to expand on? And since I really have no experience outside of my schooling, what kind of things might I be able to to to be proactive about landing an internship? (If you could relate it to art, I would be grateful, but I realize what you do is completely different from what I aspire to be :) )
    >I have some time before I plan to apply for an internship; do you know where or how I could go about researching companies and their internships, or perhaps people's experiences of being with a certain company? I've been to a few companies' websites, but there really isn't much information that I could find.
    >And one more question about being looked at as a prospective employee in general; it might seem a tad bit off topic: I just changed my major to art and I think that I want to have a BFA degree in 'Drawing' where I can focus on illustration. What I would like to know is if you think that graduates with Graphic design degrees might be viewed as more valuable due to the incredible scale of technology that is used within this or any other industry, or is old-fashioned 2-d, paper and pencil drawing skills seen a being just as valued within the industry?
    >That turned out a whole lot longer than I anticipated. I really appreciate you reading this and taking your time to answer me and everyone else who sends you questions. I think its great that you take the time to do because we both know you don't have to, so I believe a big hearty thank you is in order!
    >Thank you!
    >sincerely, Trina
    >p.s. if my email shows up anywhere, could you please remove the entire thing? Thanks ^_^

    Hi Trina, you wrote:

    Have you dealt with interns or do you know of any of your students getting internships within the industry and sharing their experiences with you?
    Yes, sure.

    If so could you maybe give some insight on that? (I guess I'm just fishing for general observations here)
    I can only answer specific questions. Such as the following:

    what might some of their responsibilities be?
    It depends on the specialty. For YOU: it would be "design some characters." And learn about the processes and people in the art department and the design department.

    what kind of experience might an intern expect at, lets say, a larger company vs a smaller company?
    At a larger company you would see a much more finite level of specialization (people have narrower specialties), and at a smaller company you would see that lots of people wear different hats. So you might be asked if there's anything else you can do besides design characters.

    how are people with internship experience in the industry looked at, as in, is it a big deal/rarity to see a young potential with this kind of experience, or does it tend to be brushed off
    Your question is unclear, so if this misses the mark, it's not my fault. In the industry, we don't care so much about "potential." We care a lot more about what you can do for us right now.

    What (in general) would a developer look for in an intern who's still in college? I understand you have to stand above the rest, but what qualities might be best to expand on? And since I really have no experience outside of my schooling, what kind of things might I be able to to to be proactive about landing an internship?
    As regards to YOU, we would look for you to give us excellent characters, and to be capable of doing more than just character design.

    do you know where or how I could go about researching companies and their internships
    Same places as for full-time jobs. Read credits from your favorite games, read companies' job pages, focus on companies that do the type of stuff you do.

    I think that I want to have a BFA degree in 'Drawing' where I can focus on illustration. What I would like to know is if you think that graduates with Graphic design degrees might be viewed as more valuable due to the incredible scale of technology that is used within this or any other industry, or is old-fashioned 2-d, paper and pencil drawing skills seen a being just as valued within the industry?
    The specialty you aspire to, character design, is historically a 2D discipline. But if you want to maximize your chances, you need to be able to design characters in 3D.

    I think its great that you take the time to do because we both know you don't have to, so I believe a big hearty thank you is in order!
    >Thank you!
    >sincerely,
    You are welcome, Trina. (^_^)

    if my email shows up anywhere
    Huh? I don't understand.

    could you please remove the entire thing?
    I'm confused. You knew you were asking a question that would be posted publicly...? Your email is staying here on this board. That's the price of the answers.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 6, 2011


    May I friend you on Facebook?

    >Date: Sun, 6 Mar 2011 09:37:35 -0800
    >From: Facebook <notification+ostc6s26@facebookmail.com>
    >Reply-to: noreply <noreply@facebookmail.com>
    >Subject: Omid Nemati sent you a message on Facebook...
    >facebook
    >Omid sent you a message.
    >Omid N[DELETED]
    >Omid N[DELETED] March 2011 at 01:37
    >Subject: Dear Mr Sloper
    >I'm Omid N[DELETED] student at game industry , after reading your website " http://www.facebook.com/l/d74e9ruuqeZH72TUwUVuKJM4d-g/sloperama.com " become curious to get to know you more so where better than facebook,,, May i ?
    >Truly appreciated,,
    >Omid
    >You have 164 new notifications. Visit Facebook now to see what's happening with your friends.
    >To reply to this message, follow the link below:
    >http://www.facebook.com/n/?inbox%2Freadmessage.php&t=1922503229118&mid=[DELETED]code=e0ijH&n_m=tomster%40sloperama.com
    >The message was sent to tomster@sloperama.com. If you don't want to receive these emails from Facebook in the future, please follow the link below to unsubscribe. http://www.facebook.com/o.php?k=48ee1f&u=649826768&mid=[DELETED]Facebook, Inc. P.O. Box 10005, Palo Alto, CA 94303

    Hello Omid, you wrote:
    become curious to get to know you more so where better than facebook,,, May i ?
    No. If you want to get to know me better, read more of my articles. Not only here but also on GameDev.net and IGDA.org. Talk to me at GDC or E3. Or take my classes. Or come to Los Angeles and buy me lunch. You're always welcome to email questions to me and get answers here on this board, same as anybody else.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 6, 2011


    Piercings

    >From: Etta ♥ paperxxflowers
    >Sent: Fri, March 4, 2011 12:42:32 PM
    >Subject: Hi Tom. Looking presentable when approaching a professional?
    >How old are you? 23
    >What's your level of education? College, second year.
    >What's your current occupation? (If student: "student") Student
    >Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? Game design. World creation.
    >What country do you live in (where in the world are you)? (OK, so that's 5.) Virginia.
    >This may seem like a silly question, but it's always better to know than to be sorry. My question is on looking professional. Now I understand when to look professional. I understand that when you go for an interview, you dress nice. Now my question is this. I hold 4 facial piercings. Eyebrow, Monroe (above lip) and two at the base of my lip. When approaching a professional in the gaming business, for network..say at a convention, should I approach them without any piercings? Will this make them look away? What about in the business field? Or is it always safest to remove them and ask how the company feels towards them?
    >Thanks for the help.

    Hi Etta & # 9829 ;
    "Presentable" is sort of subjective, I guess. If you apply for a position at a tattoo company, then having tattoos and piercings would be de rigeur. If you apply for a position at a fashion company, then one piercing would be a fashion statement, and might seem presentable (depending on which one you were wearing). If the game interviewer is a young guy who has one or more piercings himself, then you might look "presentable" to him, but if you interview with an old guy like me, I'm gonna take your 4 piercings as a "screw you, old guy" statement.
    I have worked with plenty of people in games who had tattoos and piercings, and maybe I don't even know who they all are. 4 piercings, all on the front of your face, is some kind of statement, and you have to figure that most people (be they in the game biz or not) are going to take that as a kind of statement that you may not consciously intend. The larger and more in-your-face (sorry) the piercings, the stronger the statement. Tiny jewel-like piercings are another matter entirely.
    As a general rule, you should not only dress nice but also limit your facial piercings, for an interview. Some people might still notice that you have holes, and guess that you'd left the piercings out for the interview. But that's okay.
    The best thing is to gauge your attire and accoutrements to the attire and accoutrements of your peers. If you go to GDC, you'll see how everybody dresses, and you can gauge your appearance accordingly. If you get hired, it's not a good idea to show up the first day of work with 2" chain links or Bowie knives through 4 parts of your face.
    I imagine there are people who wear their visible piercings only during non-business hours.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Now March Forth, 2011


    How beneficial is it, part 2

    >Tom,
    >James here again. Sorry I didn't fully clarify what I was asking.
    >I was referring to people like SeaNanners and such. If you're not familiar with their line of work, they record, edit and upload gameplay footage ñ commentaries mainly. Others do comedy series and montages. Some like SeaNanners mentioned above have a massive following and earn their living off of it.
    >I was wondering how good a gateway into the industry is the route of creating gameplays/montages uploading them on YouTube becoming well known is? Obviously it wont get you a top job but how much weight would it carry on a CV to be ëX' Director with a few thousand subscriptions and a Machinima contract?
    >Thanks again,
    >James

    Hi James
    Commented gameplay is pretty much akin to journalism. And machinima is usually parody/comedy, entertainment that walks a fine line as regards to copyright law. I don't know what the monetization method is, but I assume it's probably advertising. These kinds of things are popular and get lots of eyeballs, including from game makers, but it's not a way into being a game creator. Game reviewers/journalists don't become game designers. Video makers don't become game designers.
    But why ask "how good a gateway" it is? If it's what you want to do, then you should do it.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 3, 2011

    This topic is expanded in my March 2011 IGDA column, The Games Game!


    How beneficial is it?

    >From: "James"
    >Subject: Game Industry Q+A
    >Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2011 19:08:00 -0000
    >I understand that, in order for you to give me the best game career advice suited to my unique situation, you need to know that...
    >My approximate age is: 15
    >The level of education I've completed is: 2 years left in Secondary School (High School)
    >My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: Student
    >The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: Game Designer / Producer
    >The country I live in is: Ireland
    >My game biz question is:
    >Hey Tom,
    >Thanks for doing this FAQ and giving back to the community at large. It's really helped me learn about the industry and ways to approach getting into it. There's just one thing I've seen no mention of.
    >Now with YouTube, capture cards and live streaming there's a whole new area in the games industry spectrum. I'm thinking about getting into all this and was wondering how beneficial is it towards my getting into the industry, in general and in relation to other techniques (Beta testing, Customer Service etc.)?
    >Thanks in advance,
    >James
    >(Beginning the bunny slope of the industry)

    Hi James, you wrote:

    Now with YouTube, capture cards and live streaming there's a whole new area in the games industry spectrum. I'm thinking about getting into all this and was wondering how beneficial is it towards my getting into the industry
    I'm sorry, James. Your question is unclear. How beneficial is what? What is it you're thinking of doing exactly? I don't know what it is you're trying to find out, or why.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 3, 2011


    Tool for making a digital prototype of a paper prototype

    >From: Niyaz M
    >Sent: Tue, March 1, 2011 11:04:53 PM
    >Subject: Hi Tom, I just read article #38 on your site and I'd like to suggest something for people to use.
    >Hi Tom,
    >Like the subject says, after reading the article, it reminded me of something called Vassal, which is a game engine for board/card/whatever games that lets you play with people over the internet.
    >One would use Vassal to design a module (that is, a game of their own design) and then distribute that module via the Vassal Wiki. Many people have already made modules for existing games and the site seems to be pretty good about taking the ones down that people who have made games aren't happy about, if you were wondering about copying games.
    >The module design process isn't done by magic (just like anything worth doing) but I feel like it's a viable alternative to printing out cards or boards.
    >Niyaz

    Hi Niyaz,
    The point of FAQ 38 is how to make paper cards. The point of making paper cards is either because paper cards are just fun to play with around a table, or because one's board game design calls for paper cards, or because it's easier and faster to make paper cards than it is to program or learn how to program, so someone who has an idea for a digital game might not have programming ability can make a paper game instead, or someone who does have programming ability can make a paper prototype to fine-tune the game rules before starting programming.

    So I'm not that crazy about putting a Vassal link in FAQ 38, because that totally flies against the whole purpose of FAQ 38! "Hey, if you like making paper cards but you're no good with scissors or printers, then you can make a digital prototype of your paper card game"? I don't think I need to add that to FAQ 38. Somebody who's no good with making paper cards or has no interest in making paper cards just won't even read FAQ 38.

    And the point of FAQ 20 is how to make your own board game. One would make a board game either because board games are just fun to play around a table, or because one wants to make a paper prototype of one's digital game concept to fine-tune the gameplay before commencing programming it. So I don't think it makes any sense to add a Vassal link to FAQ 20, either. "Hey, if you like making board games but you're no good with scissors, glue, or printers, then you can make a digital prototype of your board game"? I don't think I need to add that to FAQ 20. Somebody who wants to make a digital game ("board/card/whatever") wouldn't even bother reading FAQ 20 in the first place.

    The FAQ where it would make sense to put a Vassal link is FAQ 56. The wanna-program (rather than the unable-to-program) would be a more likely person to want to take advantage of a digital tool like Vassal. So, thanks for the tip, I'll add it to FAQ 56.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 2, 2011


    Thank you for your website.

    >From: Christian L
    >Sent: Tue, March 1, 2011 4:28:44 AM
    >Subject: Thank you for your website.
    >I'm a 22 year old College drop out (from confusion) and I really appreciate your site. Being a "kid with no dreams" is really unsettling but the information that your site has helped me a great deal. I'm still uncertain about what I'm going to do but one of the many questions has been answered via your site. I just thought you should know that I appreciate what you've done.
    >Thanks,
    >Christian.

    Christian, it's always nice to get an email like yours.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 1, 2011


      Color key


        Blue = an FAQ, a question that's been asked frequently or is answered with a frequently given answer.
        Purple = an unhappy email from a dissatisfied reader.
        Green = a happy email from a grateful reader.
        Red = a career interview from a student (usually but not always high school).
        Orange = a strange, weird, unusual, or off-topic email.
        Black = none of the above. Regular question or comment.

    CLICK HERE to read older Q&A postings!


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