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nosmoke44.com keeps spamtexting me, using different phone numbers so I can't block them. BOYCOTT these jerks! "Hey Tom, not sure if you or anyone you know still smokes. But www.etc. is giving away free e-cig trials. - John" ... Jerk. I never smoked cigarettes in the first place.
   GAME Q&A BULLETIN BOARD

WELCOME to the Sloperama Game Q&A Bulletin Board.   It's a place to ask questions about the game industry and game design. You'll get free 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.

Privacy policy: "ALL YOUR EMAIL ARE BELONG TO ME." Questions and answers are handled in this public forum only - I give free answers, but 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. Emailing me, or sending me a PM on any website, with a question or comment on this site's topic constitutes permission for your email to be made public. No information you provide with request for free advice shall be deemed confidential. 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 follow links to read stuff for you. 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, game producing, 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.


  • How long did it take, part 3

    >From: Elwood J
    >Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2012 2:04 PM
    >Subject: thank you
    >Thank you for taking time out of your day in order to answer my questions.

    You're welcome, Elwood. Good luck 2U.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 28, 2012


    How long did it take, part 2

    >From: Elwood J
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 3:48 PM
    >Subject: Information
    > I am currently 21 years old working part time at Goodwill Opportunities in Tyler. I hold a High School Diploma and working on an Associates Degree in Video Game Simulation and Development at Tyler Junior College. After Junior College I plan to study at Texas A&M-Commerce in Business Administration. I am hoping to get experience by working my way up from a Beta Tester in a well established company in the United States and I am willing to relocate if the need arises.
    > What I meant by my question was how many years average does it take to get a business off the ground?

    Hi, Elwood. You wrote:

    I am hoping to get experience by working my way up from a Beta Tester
    There is no such job in the game industry. Read FAQ 5. If you haven't read the FAQs yet, you can get to them by clicking the FAQs link above left.

    I am willing to relocate if the need arises.
    The need will arise, when you are ready to start your first job in games. Read FAQs 24 and 27.

    how many years average does it take to get a business off the ground?
    It's easy to ask that, but the question begs many more questions. In other words, you still haven't painted a narrow target for me to shoot at.
    You have to finish your education, then work in the game industry while studying the industry from the inside. Then you need to write your business plan. Your business plan will tell you how long it will take to get your business "off the ground" (whatever that phrase means to you).
    Besides, since you're still in college and you're planning to work your way up from QA before starting your own company, you have a lot of time before you will be ready to start your own company. Read FAQ 29.
    And please also read FAQ 65.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 28, 2012


    Vectrex

    >From: Mike L
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 10:53 AM
    >Subject: Vectrex Coporation
    >Hi, Tom:
    > I'm doing a little amateur research on the Vectrex Corporation, a prop house that operated out of Santa Monica in the '70s and '80s. From your web site, I see that you worked with Western Technologies/Smith Engineering, and Jay Smith. Did those companies have any connection with Vectrex Corp? From hints I've picked up here and there, it appears that Vectrex Corp may have been a follow-on to The Maxwell Smith Company. It may be pure coincidence that the names Smith (common, I know) and Vectrex pop up in both outfits, in generally the same area.
    > Thanks for any help.
    >Mike L[deleted]
    >Old Technology http://[deleted]

    Hello, Mike.
    I never heard of the Vectrex Corporation. If such an entity ever existed, it might have been an offshoot of GCE, or it might have been formed at the time of the acquisition of the Vectrex by that game company that bought it. I don't know anything about this Maxwell Smith Company, either. Good luck with your amateur research.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 27, 2012


    What things should I be doing now?

    >From: Romello m
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 9:54 AM
    >Subject:
    >Hello my name is Romello M[deleted] I attend [deleted] High
    >School in Detroit,MI I am interested in attending USC my Graduating
    >Year 2015 for Video Game Programming and Development. Please reply
    >with things I Should be doing now so that I'm prepared for breaking
    >into the Game Industry.

    Hi, Romello.
    Learn some basics of programming. Take classes, try your hand at programming. Take it slow, be patient (start small - don't try to program an MMO right off the bat). FAQ 56 might be of some help. You can access the FAQs above left.
    You can also do some of the things in FAQ 12.
    You should probably also join a game development discussion forum. You could try gamedev.net, for instance (but those folks are more focused on indie development than on game careers/jobs).
    Get good grades in school. Work to improve your communication skills. Always type a period at the end of every sentence, for instance.
    Never forget to write a subject line for every email you send. A good subject line should summarize what the email is about.
    Read my FAQs.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 27, 2012

    P.S. Romello, I just realized that you had emailed me at my USC email address. This bulletin board is where I normally reply to questions like yours. I don't usually reply to USC student inquiries here, but in this case it makes sense, since several of the things you asked are answered in my FAQs.
    Also: I noted that the program you mentioned, Video Game Programming and Development, is not one of my department's minors or specializations. Perhaps you just mistyped the name of one of our offerings, or perhaps you were talking about a major in Viterbi. In any case, you said are planning to take a programming-centered course of study in college, thus the advice I gave above stands.


    Website hiccup

    >From: Sarah C
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 6:56 AM
    >Subject: Your Website...
    >Hi!
    >I really enjoyed reading your website, especially the game industry advice sections. Unfortunately, many of the links don't seem to work. I am not sure why. It is rather erratic, sometimes they do work when I google directly for the page.
    >Thanks for sharing your wisdom. ^__^
    >Best Regards.

    Hi, Sarah.
    Thanks for the heads-up. I noticed the problem this morning, too. But it seems to be working okay now. I assume there was some kind of problem at Yahoo, maybe server maintenance or a server migration or something. Maybe they were attacked, I don't know. Maybe they'll let their customers know what was going on. If you see problems again, please let me know the precise location of the problem (for example, the URL of the page that doesn't show up properly). Thanks again.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 26, 2012


    How long did it take?

    >From: Elwood J
    >Sent: Saturday, June 23, 2012 10:59 AM
    >Subject: business
    >how long did it take to start Sloperama Productions?

    Hi, Elwood.
    I'm not sure I know how to answer your question, since you didn't give any context with your question. Like it says above, I can give the best answer if your question is accompanied by this information:

    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 is your REAL question? What is it you really want to know, and why? FAQ 65 discusses how to ask a good question. You can access the FAQs via the FAQs link, above left.

    Since I don't have that background information, I'll have to write a longer answer.

    When I was let go from 12 years at Activision, I knew I needed to set up my own website. I thought about looking for a job, and I also thought about offering my freelance services. I figured the website would be important no matter which way I went. That thought process took some time. Maybe a month or two.

    When I set up the website, I had to think, get creative, come up with a website name. And it had to be a name that nobody else was using. I wanted to be known as "the game guru," but gameguru.com was taken. I bought gameguru.net (or was it the-game-guru.net, I don't remember), and started building a site. It took another couple of months to come up with Sloperama.

    And I started networking immediately; I printed business cards and started going to events.

    If the above doesn't answer your question, please ask again, and give me the context -- help me give you the answer you really need, since the time it took for me to start my solo business may not help you with whatever it is you want to do.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 25, 2012


    Don's dream, part 3 (was: I don't want to work in violent games)

    >From: "Don"
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 2:00 AM
    >Subject: I want to become a legend in game industry
    >Mr. Sloper:
    >Thank you again for your replies. :) I should apologize for not making myself clear enough.
    >After thinking deeper, I think what my problem is I will not be satisfied just by known as an excellent artist or designer. I want to be a legend in game industry. I want to produce my game (or games) and they will be remembered ever. (Don't laugh at me >_<).
    >I read your article about ďHow to success in the games bizĒ and I understand that I should take one step at a time while dreaming big. Just say, Iím already really good at art and I will keep improving and being a top artist. I donít think any company will hire ma as a game artist internship, if Iím not good. Luckily, Iím smart at math and programming, too. In fact, I finished many college level math and science classes in high school and earned credits. Then, I decided my passion for art is greater than programming, so I went into game art. I have some leadership skills developed in high school. I have pretty close connection with professors, other game art students and programming students. I have 3.6 GPA and currently working with two other programmers and a journalist to develop an indie game that we will press in the futureÖ
    >Are those things preparing me to become a legend in game industry or not? What some other possible things that I can do in college to improve my chance of becoming a legend?
    >Thanks for reading my e-mail. Hope to hear from you soon. :)
    >Don

    Hi "Don", you wrote:

    I want to be a legend in game industry.
    I can't tell you how to do that. In my opinion, being happy in your career and your life is more important than being a legend in other people's eyes.

    Are those things preparing me to become a legend in game industry or not?
    They might be. I do not have a crystal ball.

    What some other possible things that I can do in college to improve my chance of becoming a legend?
    Read FAQs 40, 27, 9, 47, and 30. None of them is a magic answer, mind you. You need to follow your passion and you need to be lucky. I think you're focusing too much on appearances. I think you should just go for an enjoyable life.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 13, 2012


    Switching careers, part 2

    >From: s
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 10:48 AM
    >Subject: Re: Career transitioner with learning game design experience
    >Thanks, you're right I hadn't made it all the way to #41 yet. And it is useful. I'll keep working my way through the list.
    >Yes, I realize that some to much of my experience should translate. However, not being "inside the egg", I did not know how someone inside would view it. Therefore, I do appreciate the reinforcement to "go for it".
    >Sorry, if you felt that compliments were a request for brownie points; it wasn't. I mentor folks moving into ID job and, therefore, know what the commitment is and appreciate it.
    >Thanks for sharing.
    >Sharon

    Hi, Sharon.
    If I'd thought you were angling for brownie points, I wouldn't have given you the achievement. Good luck! Oh, btw, you might want to get the book "Serious Games," by Michael and Chen.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 12, 2012


    Switching careers (from non-games to edutainment)

    >From: s
    >Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 9:10 PM
    >Subject: Career transitioner with learning game design experience
    >Tom, how does someone with related experience leverage that experience to transition into the game design and development field?
    >Background on me
    > How old are you? Over 50 (truly!)
    > What's your level of education? Master's degree plus --- M.ED, CPT
    > What's your current occupation? (If student: "student") Life-long learning... Well, actually my job title is Independent Consultant specializing performance improvement and learning -- lots of instructional design and lots of project management; experience in state and local government, non-profits, social service, healthcare, IT-software development, professional services, higher education, elementary education, special education, museums... and a few more things.
    > Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? Learning Game Designer and/or project manager
    > And depending on your question, I may need to know what country you live in (where in the world are you?). USA
    >In addition to being a game player, I've been involved learning games for decades. As a teenager (late '70s), some friends and I created a board game one cold, rainy summer when weather kept us off the lake. As a teacher and instructional designer, I have researched and selected off-the-shelf learning games for training purposes and I have developed games for specific needs when the desired skill-based game was not available off-the shelf. I have worked mainly with learning games for special needs learners in public school and for adult learners in business and government and with games for individuals, groups competing against each other, and for teams collaborating to learn and win against other teams. I have developed classroom games for adult learners in government and business. About 10 years ago, I had the opportunity to lead a learning game project for a drag-an-drop computer-based game that was then CD-based (delivered to over 1500 employees). Eight years ago, I developed a combination board and card game around a business process. Recently, I got to design another board game for international supply chain risk management. I've also done video development. And, been a beta tester for software... and written test design documents for a couple of different kinds of software tests. I have developed design documents (lots of design documents)... and lead project teams developing games as one of many deliverables in a set of learning solutions's deliverables. I have worked with graphic designers to translate concepts into visuals, with technical writers creating specific voices for games and characters or for video characters, with video specialists filming and editing video, and with programmers bringing all the pieces together to create actionable software for users.
    >However, I have not created video games and I'm not a programmer or flash developer.
    >So... where is this going? I'm interested in leveraging my experience into the game development field. What education would you recommend for someone with significant relate education and experience already? (I sort of "picked up" a sense of how gaming should happen but have no formal training in it.) And, are there any points of my past experience that I should highlight (or avoid) when contacting potential employers. Overall, what suggestions come to mind to assist someone with related experience to leverage that experience to transition into the game design and development field?
    >I appreciate the time and commitment you are making to developing game designers and hope you can offer some suggestions to a career transition-er. Thanks in advance your suggestions. And, a second thank you for all the resources provided on your site. I now have lots of good stuff to read and work on for months (and I was happy to see that I had read about 35% of the list already -- nice to know that I found some of the good resources on my own). .
    >Sharon

    Hi Sharon, you wrote:

    how does someone with related experience leverage that experience to transition into the game design and development field?
    I wrote about that in FAQ 41. Click the FAQs/articles link above left.

    Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? Learning Game Designer and/or project manager
    Unclear. You're saying you want to be a designer for edugames? That title is still "game designer." Or "Educational game designer" would be clearer than "Learning game designer." If I am following you. (Note that I am writing these replies as I read through your email for the first time.)

    Eight years ago, I developed a combination board and card game around a business process. Recently, I got to design another board game for international supply chain risk management. I've also done video development. And, been a beta tester for software... and written test design documents for a couple of different kinds of software tests. I have developed design documents (lots of design documents)...
    If you think that's not an obviously excellent background, then there's something wrong with your thinking.

    I'm interested in leveraging my experience into the game development field.
    So go for it. Put together a portfolio, research edugame companies, and start applying.

    What education would you recommend for someone with significant relate education and experience already?
    Why do you think you need "education" at your age? From what you told me, you should be able to just put together a portfolio, research edugame companies, and start applying.

    are there any points of my past experience that I should highlight (or avoid) when contacting potential employers.
    I suppose. You're creative. You figure it out. Your game challenge: you have to get past the trolls in HR and open the magical Interview Gate. Go.

    what suggestions come to mind to assist someone with related experience to leverage that experience to transition into the game design and development field?
    Read FAQ 41, put together a portfolio, research edugame companies, and start applying. Unless you want to take some classes first, in which case, go ahead and do that (somewhere after reading FAQ 41 and before applying).

    thank you for all the resources provided on your site.
    Achievement! I don't have gold stars, just this:


    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 11, 2012


    I don't want to work on violent games, part 2

    >From: Don
    >Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 8:16 PM
    >Subject: why do I need to distinguish myself as an artist or a game designer?
    >Mr. Sloper:
    >Thank you for replying my e-mail! I guest my first question was not a good one to ask.
    >I do have another question: I s there anything wrong with a visual artist who is into stories and game design?
    >I was reading one of your articles. I think you meat that there would be a problem if I clamed myself an artist and real your articles(maybe i'm wrong about what you mean). What I don't get is why do I need to distinguish myself as an artist or a game designer?
    >I get it in sense that they are responsible for different process in making a game. If I join a big company, I will most likely to end up only working on arts or design, not both.
    >The fact that I read mostly game design articles doesn't compomise the fact that I'm a good artist. I guest what I'm trying to ask is: is there really an comflict...
    >Don

    Hi, Don. You wrote:

    I guest my first question was not a good one to ask.
    You mean, should you go for being a producer instead of an artist, so you could have more control over the game contents? (That's the only question you asked last time.) It wasn't that bad of a question. But it does show that you don't really know who the decision makers are in the game industry (not unusual - most people outside the industry don't know that).

    I think you meat that there would be a problem if I clamed myself an artist and real your articles(maybe i'm wrong about what you mean).
    I don't understand what you're saying in that sentence.

    What I don't get is why do I need to distinguish myself as an artist or a game designer?
    I don't understand this question. Can you rephrase it? Think: what is it you really need to know? Then ask a question that will help me understand what you're trying to find out. You need to distinguish yourself because you want to get hired, and only the best will get hired.

    If I join a big company, I will most likely to end up only working on arts or design, not both.
    Yes, but even in a big company, an artist can have some small influence on the design, as long as he's involved early enough and has frequent contact with the design team.

    The fact that I read mostly game design articles doesn't compomise the fact that I'm a good artist.
    The fact that you've mostly been reading game design articles (especially if you've been reading articles on my site) is primarily due to the fact that there are mostly articles about game design. (Because most aspirants are interested in game design, and I know game design, and there's a lot to be said about game design.) I don't see how what you've been reading should be interpreted by anyone as any kind of implications as to how good an artist you are. In other words, I don't understand your thinking. The only way I can understand your thinking is by reading your words, and your words are unclear.

    I guest what I'm trying to ask is: is there really an comflict...
    I don't understand. A conflict between what and what? Think: what is it you really need to know, so that an answer one way or the other can influence your action plan? If I give you answer A, you'll do X, and if I give you answer B, you'll do Y (presumably), but I don't know what X and Y are, and I don't know what A and B are. Give me a clear question!

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 11, 2012


    I don't want to work on violent games

    >From: [deleted]
    >Sent: Friday, June 8, 2012 10:24 PM
    >Subject: Nice to Meet You! I have some question about game culture in the US
    >Dear Mr. Sloper:
    >Thank you so much for your advices, I have been reading you blogs for two years, from a high school student to now a digital media freshman in college. I'm a Chinese and have been studying in US for almost 4 years. I'm working hard on all my projects, actively reaching out for connections and job opportunities. Now I'm almost really to work on my first internship this summer. :)
    >
    >I'm been really lucky to have your words of wisdom to avoid making some stupid mistakes. However, I do encounter a big obstacle: a choice of life style. It's an odd confession to make: I'm gay. It's not an easy thing to get alone with other game students while you do not play the games gamers usually play. It's also hard for me to know that I will work on games that I will not like, for example games with violent graphics. When other gamers are saying "YES!!!!" to those game advertisement with bloods flying around, I feel really really sad, because I deeply believe that violent is never the answer...
    >
    >I want to get into the game industry wishing to make a change in my life and other people life, to remind people of the real important and beauty in life (it's disturbing to see most of the college students' only pleasures are getting drunk and talking about drunk experience or getting drunk next time. Sadly, I see some of my friends step by step turn into those kind of people. I cannot do anything because it's their choice. :( ) I do not want to pretend that I like any of the violent games. I think video games can have much bigger influence on people's life than a shelter for them to be away from reality. I start to think can I end this whole trend of violent games in the US? Or it is a part of the culture that cannot be altered?
    >
    >You may argue that I can learn everything I can in the US and go back to China which violent games have not been a trend...However, back to a point I make earlier, I'm gay and I want to be able to marry an guy and have a family. It's impossible to do so in China in any near future, and I don't think I have a better choose than the US for both my career and my love life. Right now, after an year of college, I'm not even sure if I want to work as an game artist any more. I will hate myself if I will be making models or texturing any violent games, which possibly not upon me to choose what project I'm going to work on. I do find myself having pretty good time management skills and estimation on how long a project will take. Should I going more towards becoming a producer? By this way, do I have more control over the game contents?
    >
    >I will leave my real name, but please, please ONLY refer me as Don. And thank you for reading this e-mail. Hope to hear from you soon. :)
    >[deleted]
    >Game Art & Production major

    Hi Don, you wrote:

    It's not an easy thing to get alon[g] with other game students while you do not play the games gamers usually play.
    [Note I made a change where I thought it matched your intended meaning.] I don't understand what kind of problem you are describing. So those other guys are into violent games, and you're not. I don't see what problem comes from that.

    It's also hard for me to know that I will work on games that I will not like, for example games with violent graphics.
    Not necessarily. Obviously you wouldn't want to work at Sony's Santa Monica studio where they make the God of War games, or the Rockstar studio where they make the Grand Theft Auto games. But you could work at Zynga, where they make nonviolent Facebook games, or at Nintendo or Disney... What you have to do is research the industry, identify companies that make nonviolent games.

    possibly not upon me to choose what project I'm going to work on.
    Well, if you wind up working at Disney, say, and they start assigning you games about dismemberment and disembowelment, I would be surprised. But you can quit and go to another company.

    Should I going more towards becoming a producer? By this way, do I have more control over the game contents?
    No. The producer still has to make what his superiors want him to make. If graphics is what you enjoy, go for graphics.

    By the way, sorry for the delay replying to you. I found your email when I was checking my spam folder.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 10, 2012


    Should I get a degree or should I jump straight into my career?

    >From: Omar David P
    >Sent: Sunday, June 3, 2012 10:29 PM
    >Subject: Starting up
    >Hello Tom,
    >My name is Omar, I'm from Argentina. I know that I wanna spend my life working for the game industry, and so, I have a question.
    >I started a few months ago to study to become an english tranlsator, because thats the only thing I'm good at, and the most game-related career I could think of.
    >A week ago, I went to an interview at Globant (have you heard of it?), for a position as game tester (more specifically, QA), and three days ago they called to ask if I wanted the job. I said that I didn't, because I couldn't fit both study and work in my schedule.
    >Do you think it was a good thing to do?
    >I mean, Globant works for EA, so, with a lot of effort, y might get the chance to get closer to becoming a Game Designer.
    >Or should I stay at college? (by the way, I don't specially like the translating career)
    >Thank you very much
    >PS: your advices are of great help.
    >Omar David P
    >La Plata, Argentina

    >From: Omar David P
    >Sent: Monday, June 4, 2012 12:47 AM
    >Subject: Ahead of myself
    >Hi Tom,
    >I just realized, by reading all the other answers you've already given, what you will probably think about my question.
    >Nevertheless, you can answer it. I'm sure you have a valuable opinion. I myself have been given a lot of thought to my future, and honestly, I'm not ready to pursue my dream just yet.
    >You know, not ready to leave many things behind, I'm 19 after all (I hadn't told you my age, I forgot to do so in my first e-mail).
    >I will keep visiting your page anyways. I've learned a lot from what you write there.
    >Thank you very much
    >Omar David P

    Hi Omar,
    I recommend you get a degree before you join the game industry. That company who wants you to test for them will probably still want you to test for them when you graduate (if they still exist as a company), and you can decide then whether or not you want that job.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 4, 2012


    Are there things I should keep in mind, part 2

    >From: Michael N
    >Sent: Saturday, June 2, 2012 10:02 AM
    >Subject: Re: New Team Members
    >Hello Mr. Sloper,
    > Just wanted to say thank you for answering my queries. I took a look at several more faqs on your site regarding contracts and legal things. I am no law student, nor have I really the finances to pay a lawyer's services to create a collaboration agreement. What do you think would be the best way to go about this then? Should I try and write my own in basic clear terms or bite the bullet and seriously consider hiring an attorney to whip up that paperwork for me? There's also a slight hitch with contracts considering some new members are from different countries than my own, so I assume (or my lawyer) I have to consider that as well. Welll, anyway thank you for your time.
    > Michael N.

    You're welcome, Michael. You've earned a Politeness Achievement. (^_^)

    nor have I really the finances to pay a lawyer's services to create a collaboration agreement. What do you think would be the best way to go about this then?
    Save up your money until you have around $400. Should take a lawyer no more than 1 hour (at $350/hr.) to write. See obscure.co.uk's list of game attorneys, and see thegameattorney.com and charnelaw.com and underdevelopmentlaw.com

    some new members are from different countries than my own, so I assume (or my lawyer) I have to consider that as well.
    The agreement should specify what country's (or state's) laws are applicable, and in what country's (or state's) courts any disputes would be handled. For example: "This Agreement shall be governed by, and construed and enforced in accordance with, the laws of the State of California and the federal laws of the United States. The parties agree that any dispute arising under this Agreement shall be resolved in the state or federal courts within the State of California and expressly consent to jurisdiction therein." It's binding, no matter where the signing party resides.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 2, 2012


    hi, m very confused

    >From: surabhi r
    >Sent: Saturday, June 2, 2012 12:47 AM
    >Subject: hi
    >I am 18years old currently studying SYBA (subjects:psychology, literature, advertising, sociology)
    >i am student not employed anywhere
    >i am good at sketching and pianting
    >I have done diploma in animation and also completed course in web designing
    >what should i do now to get in to game disigning field which course should i join and which institute
    >I would like to know what are further inner fields in game designing like eg; character designing, scene designing etc please let me know its fields
    > I am from MUMBAI (Thane)
    > please do reply me soon m very confused about it
    > Thank you,

    Namaste, Surabhi. You wrote:

    what should i do now to get in to game disigning field
    Read FAQ 12. Click the FAQs link above left.

    which course should i join
    Read FAQ 3.

    and which institute
    Read FAQs 34, 44, and 25.

    I would like to know what are further inner fields in game designing like eg; character designing, scene designing etc please let me know its fields
    Read FAQ 7, FAQ 69, and these:
    http://www.skillset.org/games/careers/profiles/
    http://archives.igda.org/breakingin/career_paths.htm
    http://gamecareerguide.com/getting_started/

    Subject: hi
    Dude. You say you want to be a game designer? Game design is about providing not only fun but also a user-friendly experience. When you send an email, you are providing an experience for the intended recipient. An email whose subject line is just "hi" (unless it's from a recognized email address) is almost always spam. And if you want to be a game designer, you need to work on your written communication skills -- capitalization, punctuation, grammar. Seriously. Good communication skills are vital in the game industry, no matter what career path you take.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 2, 2012


    Are there things I should keep in mind when recruiting and working with new people in my indie team?

    >From: Michael N
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 11:19 PM
    >Subject: New Team Members
    >Hello Mr. Sloper
    > I said I'd come back with a question. So recently I've been recruiting people to join this indie team of mine.The core group is some friends of mine that I've known from two years to 6 years, all of whom I believe I can trust. With an influx of new members and considering that we will be working remotely, do you have any advice for a novice game designer like me on how to approach working with these relative strangers to my group? I assume the trust aspect will come with time after working with these new members, but are there things I should keep in mind when recruiting and working with new people whom I do not know as well? Thank you for your time.
    > Michael N

    Hi Michael,
    You need to treat this like a business. New people should be interviewed by the team lead(s), who should make a determination as to the candidate's worthiness to join the team. And a condition of being accepted into the team has to be to sign the team's collaboration agreement.
    That answers the recruiting question. The last question was about working with the new people. Now rather than interviewing, we're talking about monitoring. Goal-setting, and then watching to see if goals are achieved.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 31, 2012


    School interview project, cont'd.

    I just noticed that Max had written on Monday:

    I want to be a programmer or a game designer(i dont know if thats the same thing Haha)
    Then you need to read FAQs 7, 14, and 15, Max. Sorry I didn't notice before that you'd said this.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 24, 2012


    Thank you

    >From: Bryce E
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 8:39 PM
    >Subject: Thanks for your help
    >Hello, my name is Bryce and i've read many of your lessons. I find all of your lessons to be more of "Life Lessons" if that makes sense. I hope you keep making more Life Lessons, and I wish that everyone had a chance to see what you write about. You have saved me hours of pain and struggling. To put it simply, Thank you.

    Hi Bryce,
    I'm glad my articles have been useful for you!

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 23, 2012


    School interview project

    >From: Max B
    >Sent: Monday, May 21, 2012 8:12 PM
    >Subject: Questions for high school career project
    >1. I am 15 years old
    >2. I am a sophomore at [deleted] High School
    >3. "Student"
    >4.I want to be a programmer or a game designer(i dont know if thats the same thing Haha)
    >5.I live in the U.S, in San Diego, California
    >Interview Questions
    >1. What do you do for a living?
    >2. What duties, responsibilities, etc., does your job entail?
    >3. How many years have you been doing this job?
    >4. What sort of education and training does this job require?
    >5. What other benefits, such as insurance and vacation pay, does this job offer?
    >6. What sort of retirement benefits does this job offer?
    >7. If you could have entered another profession, what would it have been?
    >8. Do you still enjoy this job? Why or why not?
    >9. Do you feel as though your jobís responsibilities are worth the pay?
    >10. What drawbacks do you see to entering this profession?
    >11. Are there opportunities for advancement in your job?
    >12. What sorts of people are well-suited for your job
    >13. Please list three positive aspects of your job.
    >14. Please list three negative aspects of your job.

    Okay, Max. Here we go.
    I teach about video games at a university. On the side, I consult for game companies.
    Teaching, advising, curriculum creation.
    Six at my current university. And I taught for a couple years before that too, but part-time (not full-time).
    It depends. Either a teaching degree or a lot of real-world experience.
    I don't get vacation pay. But why are you asking me all these questions about teaching at university? Wouldn't you rather ask about working in video games?
    There's a tax-deferred investment program, similar to what big video game companies offer.
    Astronomy. Sometimes I wish I'd gotten that job at the planetarium and made a career in astronomy.
    Yes, I enjoy it. I enjoy paying it forward, giving back, sharing my knowledge with students.
    I don't get paid enough.
    Well, the pay is lower than working in games. And if you thought office politics were bad in the game industry, watch out when you get into academia. Whoo! Let me tell you!
    Yes.
    People who can express ideas clearly, people who can think on their feet.
    That question is so boring. Tell you what, instead of giving you three things about my current job, instead I refer you to FAQ 37 (which you've already read, since I asked you to do that when you wrote me on Wednesday) where I answered this question in regards to the career of game designer/producer.
    Same answer as #13 above.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 21, 2012


    School interview project

    >From: Max B
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 5:17 PM
    >Subject: High School career interview
    >Hi my name is Max B and I am a student at [deleted] High School. I am doing a career project and I was wondering if I can interview you via Email. Its just a couple of questions about your job and what you do. It would mean a lot to me If you could help me out.
    >Please contact me back.
    >Sincerly,
    >Max B

    Hi, Max.
    Sure, you can send me your questions. But first you should read FAQ 37 (click the FAQs link above left), and ask me something that I haven't already answered before. My answers to your questions will be posted here on this bulletin board.
    "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.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 16, 2012


    Which do you value more, part 2

    >From: Andre A
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 10:20 AM
    >Subject: Which do you value more? Pt2
    >Hey Tom,
    >>Andre, your numbered questions are unanswerable. They are clearly based on your trying to find out something
    >I'm not trying to find out any but what your opinions are. I was unaware that the Q+A is only for advise-seeking, are we not allowed to simply ask for your opinion?
    >>This question is unclear. There are all kinds of people in the game industry, and in my job as producer or designer, I value them all and I have to get along with them all.
    >You may have misunderstood what i was meaning by 'value'. If i'm making a FPS game, i might be really interactive with the environment designer more than usual simply because in that kind of game i really like the environment design.
    >Surely you're allowed to just speak to someone more because you're interested in their field?
    >>I can't help you if I don't know what it is you're trying to learn.
    >I was just trying to learn your opinion, as a person in the industry, on traits you appreciate in collegues or roles in the industry that you simply have a special interest in.
    >It was a casual question, not intended as advice-seeking or anything of the sort. If that isn't the kind of stuff you're happy investing time in then i'm sorry to have wasted your time.

    Andre, you don't understand that I genuinely don't understand what you're asking. You think I'm unhappy being asked that sort of question, but that isn't it at all. I don't understand what you are asking. You think I dislike being asked my opinion, but that isn't it at all. I don't understand what opinion you are asking for. Let's see if we can make some progress with your latest:

    If i'm making a FPS game, i might be really interactive with the environment designer more than usual simply because in that kind of game i really like the environment design.
    I don't follow your thinking, Andre. When you say "interactive," you might mean "working with" or you might mean "stalking" or you might mean "pestering with questions."

    Surely you're allowed to just speak to someone more because you're interested in their field?
    It sounds to me like you're hoping that an environment artist (for example) could teach you about environment design, on the job? As long as you get your assigned work done, and you don't prevent the environment artist from getting his or her job done, and the "interaction" is not seen as harmful to the workplace, then sure.

    I was just trying to learn your opinion, as a person in the industry, on traits you appreciate in collegues
    I already told you. I value a good work ethic and good communication in my colleagues.

    or roles in the industry that you simply have a special interest in.
    You still aren't specifying what you're trying to find out. You want my opinion on something, but I don't understand what you're asking me. I think the role of lawyer is of interest. I think the role of tester is of interest. I think the role of marketing is not of interest. I think the role of mail clerk is not of interest. I think the role of accounts receivable is not of interest. But my saying those things surely doesn't tell you anything useful.

    You are trying to make a decision or learn something about the industry or I don't know what you are trying to do. Accordingly, I don't know how to answer your question.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 15, 2012


    Which do you value more?

    >From: Andre A
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 7:24 AM
    >Subject: Your opinion on the value of a role/characteristic in the industry
    >Hello Tom,
    >This question is purely to see what your opinion is, rather than me needing some sort of advice.
    >1. Which of the roles in the game design industry would you value more?
    >To be more specific, would you choose the 3D artist (for example) because he creates the 3D assets that build part of the game you like the most?
    >1a. If the roles you value change depending on the style of the game, could you name 3 roles in 3 different genres you've had experience with? If not, disregard this question.
    >2. What kind of personality trait/characteristic in a person would you value more in a game design industry work environment.
    >This question is because i'm interested in which kind of person you get along with better in the work environment or which kinds of traits you would consider valuable in a person you need to work and communicate with.
    >Thanks for taking the time to read, i've numbered the questions to make it a little easier and hopefully i've been as specific as possible.
    >-Andre

    Andre, your numbered questions are unanswerable. They are clearly based on your trying to find out something, but I don't know what. Even your stated reason for the questions (what you say it is you're trying to find out) doesn't help me understand what you're trying to find out. You wrote:

    i'm interested in which kind of person you get along with better in the work environment
    This question is unclear. There are all kinds of people in the game industry, and in my job as producer or designer, I value them all and I have to get along with them all.

    or which kinds of traits you would consider valuable in a person you need to work and communicate with.
    I value a person who does a good job and communicates well.

    Andre, why on earth are you asking these questions? What is it you are trying to find out? Maybe you haven't even figured out what it is you're trying to find out. Are you trying to decide something? Make a decision grid. If you're making a decision grid and trying to solve some unknowns in the grid, just say what it is. I can't help you if I don't know what it is you're trying to learn.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 15, 2012


    Thanks

    >From: Michael N
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 12:46 AM
    >Subject: Just wanted to say thank you for now
    >Hello Mr. Sloper,
    > My name is Michael, I'm a 20 year old student with an A.A. degree in Creative Writing, currently going for my BA in English. My eventual goal would be Lead Designer or Creative Director or whatever the title is in any specific company but I'd also be content with sticking just with the creative writing side of game development. Currently residing in the USA.
    > I don't have a question for you just yet, though I imagine I will as I continue to spend the next few days/weeks reading all the wonderful information you have compiled on your site. So, really, this is just a thank you e-mail from an aspiring game designer. I really appreciate all the insight and knowledge you have publically bestowed; I've sent links to a few of my team members as well because I feel the need to share it. So thank you again, Mr. Sloper, and I'm sure you can expect an actual question from me in the near future.
    > Sincerely,
    >Michael N.

    Thanks for the thanks, Michael.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 15, 2012


    I am not a great student, part 2

    >From: Jeremy H
    >Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2012 11:32 PM
    >Subject: RE: Gaming Industry Questions
    >Thank You for answering my questions. Sorry that I didn't explain everything correctly. I was trying to say that I started school but had to stop because of trying to work two jobs. I will probably go back to school in a few years once I get financially available too. But I do have one more question for you. How you say that everyone has ideas but what if I just want to give my ideas to improve games like Madden, Call of Duty, ect. I tried posting on blogs and discussion boards but it hasn't worked. You have been in the industry so my question is How would I get my ideas out to the designers? Could I try to call or just keep posting and see if I ever get a response or could I tell you more about them and you could relay them on for me.

    Welcome back, Jeremy. You wrote:

    I just want to give my ideas to improve games like Madden, Call of Duty, ect. I tried posting on blogs and discussion boards
    Since you don't work for those companies, that's the best course of action.

    but it hasn't worked.
    I'm sorry, but I don't know what you mean. Do you mean "they haven't made my changes"? Because it's unrealistic to think that fan ideas will automatically find their way into products.

    How would I get my ideas out to the designers?
    The most direct method is to put them on paper, and snailmail them to the game's developer and publisher.

    Could I try to call
    No.

    or just keep posting and see if I ever get a response
    I have no idea what kind of response you expect to get. The most likely response, if any, is "thank you for your suggestions. They are being taken into consideration." Which means "thanks, now go away."

    or could I tell you more about them and you could relay them on for me.
    I'm sorry, but you are under a basic misapprehension. Ideas, suggestions from outsiders (which includes me, since I do not work on those teams) might be considered, but get acted upon only under certain circumstances. Like when those suggestions are heard multiple times, when they are thought of also by team members, when they are in line with trends...

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 13, 2012


    Graphic design skills and no degree, part 2

    >From: Andre A
    >Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2012 8:42 AM
    >Subject: ~Thank you
    >Thanks for taking the time to reply to me email, it was very helpful and i appreciate the effort you've put into the articles you linked me to.

    You're welcome, Andre. Come back anytime.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 13, 2012


    Graphic design skills and no degree

    >From: Andre <midnitedesign
    >Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2012 9:57 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, the first time I write you, you need to know that...
    >My approximate age is: 18
    >The level of education I've completed is: Highschool (UK)
    >My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: Designer (at a print & design business)
    >The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: Game Art
    >The country I live in is: UK (Planning to move to Canada within two years, i'm Canadian)
    >My game biz question is: I don't quite understand how the 'Even if you don't match their needs, apply anyway' method works. Surely applying for a job without matching the needs defeats the point of them stating the needs? I'm trying really hard to make sure this isn't a stupid question here. Nothing is impossible, just improbable, so in the event of actually getting the job having used that method i'd imagine being very ill-equipped to actually fulfil the job. Under which kind of circumstances would an employer actually consider the applicant if he didn't meet all/none of the requirements?
    >The only program i've mastered is Photoshop and graphic design knowledge is the one of the main skills i've spent years improving and trying to excel at, the reason for the question is mostly because i can't see to find a position that seems to fit a graphic design oriented skill set. Therefore, i'd most likely not match EVERY need because of that, since there doesn't seem to be a place for someone who is skilled at graphic design alone (although i am willing to take suggestions on a secondary skill set that would make me better suited to a position in the game design industry).
    >Thanks for taking the time to read, i genuinely hope i haven't just been added to the long list of people who have asked ill-formed questions.

    Hi Andre, you wrote:

    I don't quite understand how the 'Even if you don't match their needs, apply anyway' method works.
    It doesn't work very well, if the opening requires a degree and a portfolio, and the applicant has neither. The fewer the requirements the applicant matches, the lower the probability of getting interviewed and hired.

    Under which kind of circumstances would an employer actually consider the applicant if he didn't meet all/none of the requirements?
    If he had an awesome portfolio, excellent connections... I really can't list every conceivable hypothetical exception for you.

    The only program i've mastered is Photoshop and graphic design knowledge is the one of the main skills i've spent years improving and trying to excel at... i can't see to find a position that seems to fit a graphic design oriented skill set.
    Have you read my article 53? There are game-related graphic design jobs, in packaging and advertising and web design.

    i'd most likely not match EVERY need because of that, since there doesn't seem to be a place for someone who is skilled at graphic design alone
    Right. Not in games, directly.

    i am willing to take suggestions on a secondary skill set that would make me better suited to a position in the game design industry).
    See articles 53, 7, 40, 24, and 27. Get an art degree and build a portfolio.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 2, 2012


    Does my tutoring help, part 2

    >From: Ben N
    >Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2012 2:21 AM
    >Subject: RE: Questions regarding portfolio and job application
    >Hello again, Tom.
    >Just dropping by to thank you for answering my questions. Really appreciate it. Thanks again.
    >Ben

    You're welcome, Ben. I'm always here for follow-up questions.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 12, 2012


    I am not a great student

    >From: Jeremy <jermproductions
    >Sent: Friday, May 11, 2012 5:43 PM
    >Subject: Gaming Industry Questions
    > My name is Jeremy H and I just have a few questions I would like to ask you.
    >1. Can you get a job in the industry without a degree?
    >2. I would like to just write out storyboards, or character profiles. Is their a job in the industry that does that or do you have to know who to program?
    >3. If I had ideas for a game completely written out from characters, storyline, levels, conflicts, multiplayer. Could I use these to help me get into the industry?
    >4. If answered yes to question 3 How would I go about doing that.
    > Those are my questions. I have started going to school but I am not a great student. I really would like to get into the industry but I already have to work two jobs to provide for family so school really isn't an option until I can get a better payong job. I know I can do anything I set my mind too. My idea was to go to E3 in Los Angelous and talk to people about my ideas and maybe getting a job that way but I don't know if it would work.

    Hi Jeremy, you wrote:

    Can you get a job in the industry without a degree?
    [Flippant answer deleted] Anything is possible, but a degree is usually recommended. It depends on what entry path you plan to take and what job you aspire to. You should read my FAQs about types of jobs, and how to prepare for them. Click the FAQs link above left.

    I would like to just write out storyboards, or character profiles. Is their a job in the industry that does that
    Storyboarding is an art job, and no, there isn't a full-time position for that. Character profiles would be written by either a game designer or a story writer, and based on your email, you're unlikely to get either of those jobs.

    or do you have to know who to program?
    [Flippant answer deleted] No, you don't necessarily have to be a programmer. You should read FAQ 5, and you should work to improve your spelling.

    If I had ideas for a game completely written out from characters, storyline, levels, conflicts, multiplayer. Could I use these to help me get into the industry?
    Look up "unsolicited submission" in FAQ 28. And read FAQs 4, 27, and 12 as well.

    I have started going to school but I am not a great student.
    That's a problem! If you're going to go to school you need to be a good student.

    I really would like to get into the industry but I already have to work two jobs to provide for family
    I assume you mean a wife and child(ren). Your family definitely needs to be your #1 priority. Not dreaming about working in games. Focus on the money and stability instead.

    school really isn't an option
    Wow, that's confusing, given that you just said you'd "started going to school"...

    I know I can do anything I set my mind too.
    If you want to work in games, you should set your mind to improving your spelling. Sorry to have to say that more than once.

    My idea was to go to E3 in Los Angelous and talk to people about my ideas and maybe getting a job that way but I don't know if it would work.
    It would not. Read FAQs 6, 46, and 54.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 11, 2012


    Does my tutoring help my résumé? Two choices: 2D or 3D? (3D is too hard)

    >From: Ben N
    >Sent: Friday, May 11, 2012 5:46 AM
    >Subject: Questions regarding portfolio and job application
    >Hey there, Tom.
    >My name is Benedict. I am 26 years old and graduated from college with a BA in Games Art Development (I have been working as a game designer in all related game projects). I live in Malaysia. After graduating, I was hired as a tutor in games development with the very same college. Recently, I quit the job to further pursue my career in the game industry. I would like to ask you a couple of questions today.
    >1. Having worked as a tutor, is it a plus, to include that information when applying for a game designer job in any kind of games company? What benefit would my future employers see in that?
    >2. If I were to work on games project to beef up my game design portfolio using tools such as Game Maker and Multimedia Fusion, will it actually help when I try to apply for a job with companies such as Ubisoft or Lucasart? Or should I forget about using 2D game engines and use 3D game engines instead, such as the UDK or Hammer Editor? The reason I am using Game Maker and Multimedia Fusion is because I am much more comfortable in creating 2D arts.
    >Thank you for answering these questions.
    >Ben.

    Hi, Benedict. You wrote:

    Having worked as a tutor, is it a plus,
    Yes.

    to include that information when applying for a game designer job
    At your young age, you have to list all of your job experience on your résumé.

    What benefit would my future employers see in that?
    You said you'd been tutoring about game development. That must mean you know something about game development.

    If I were to work on games project to beef up my game design portfolio using tools such as Game Maker and Multimedia Fusion, will it actually help
    I cannot foretell the future.

    Or should I forget about using 2D game engines and use 3D game engines instead
    Read FAQ 52 and FAQ 40. Click the FAQs link above left.

    The reason I am using Game Maker and Multimedia Fusion is because I am much more comfortable in creating 2D arts.
    Read FAQ 26.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 11, 2012


    Two Choices: Masters -- or quit my job and emigrate?

    >From: trilok b
    >Sent: Monday, May 7, 2012 3:30 AM
    >Subject: need your advice
    >Hello Tom,
    >My Name Trilok Bhargav,21 years old, pursuing my bachelor's degree in Computer Science,
    >i live in Hyderabad , India.
    >i got selected for as a Jr.Game Programmer at Gameloft Software LTD.located at Hyderabad India a great mobile gaming company,
    >i got this job before completion of my bachelor's degree and i have been working at Gameloft from past 3 months,
    >and i just wrote my last semester examination a few days back and results yet to be announced,
    >my question is
    >is it a better idea to do masters i gaming abroad now ???
    >if so which is the best college you know ???
    >is it possible to get a job abroad as a Game Programmer now ??
    >if so how much experience do i need to have here at Gameloft ???
    >finally my main dilemma is either to apply for jobs abroad as Game programmer or
    >or to apply for masters in gaming abroad....???
    >please suggest me with a good option which includes myself relocating abroad and and keeping my self in Game Industry
    >Regards,
    >Trilok

    Namaste, Trilok. You wrote:

    is it a better idea to do masters i gaming abroad now ???
    It doesn't matter what country you get your Masters degree in.

    which is the best college you know ???
    It doesn't matter which one I think is best. YOU have to decide which one is best for YOU. Read FAQ 25. You can access the FAQs above left.

    is it possible to get a job abroad as a Game Programmer now ??
    Anything is possible. Read FAQ 50.

    how much experience do i need to have here at Gameloft ???
    Minimum two years. Longer is better.

    my main dilemma is either to apply for jobs abroad as Game programmer
    Read FAQ 72.

    or to apply for masters in gaming abroad....???
    Read FAQ 70. And read my June 2011 IGDA column, "The Games Game: A Matter of Degree...I Mean, A Masters Degree." There's a Games Game link above left.

    my main dilemma is either to [quit my present job and] apply for jobs abroad or apply for masters abroad
    Read FAQ 52.

    After you read those FAQs, you're welcome to come back with followup questions, Trilok.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 7, 2012


    Thank you from a fan

    From: bryant k
    Sent: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 5:56 PM
    Subject: Thank you from a fan.
    Dear Tom,
    My name is Bryant and I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the work you've selflessly put into Sloperama. Reading your articles have been a sobering and motivational experience for me about what it's going to take for me to make it in the game biz. Reading it at times made me feel like I was being splashed in the face with a bucket of cold water but I want you to know I appreciate every word you've shared.
    I hope you continue updating and thanks again!
    Yours
    Bryant K

    Bryant, I appreciate your words.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 2, 2012


    If I start in mobile, part 2

    >From: Michael B
    >Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2012 7:08 PM
    >Subject: Re: Advice Q: Is it likely for people to get stuck in one type of market (ie: mobile)?
    >Dear Tom,
    >Thank you so much for your response. I'm grateful that in spite of my
    >terrible question you took the time to dissect it into more useful
    >questions. I also apologize if I seemed to be wasting your time. "I'm
    >curious" was an inappropriate phrase to use, as your answer to my
    >question does matter a lot to me, and I'm sure others would also find
    >value in reading it.
    >Having kindly to answered my question in terms of audio, I was hoping
    >you could also answer in the case of programmers. Is it usual for
    >programmers to have a difficult time transitioning from working on
    >mobile games to AAA games?
    >Thanks so much for your time, I really appreciate it.
    >Best regards,
    >Michael

    Hi Michael,
    I'll cut to the chase. Pigeonholing is definitely a danger, for programmers, designers, and artists. Probably even for producers. But the smart and creative individual can find a way to break out of a pigeonhole.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 28, 2012


    If I start in mobile audio will it be impossible to work my way into AAA audio?

    >From: Michael B
    >Sent: Friday, April 27, 2012 2:42 PM
    >Subject: Advice Q: Is it likely for people to get stuck in one type of market (ie: mobile)?
    >Dear Tom,
    >Thank you for Sloperama's Game Biz Advice page, it contains better
    >advice than I've ever gotten from a school advisor/guidance counselor.
    >I've read and reread it over the past 6-7 years and it has not only
    >helped me prepare to enter the game industry but also been a great
    >guide for general professional development.
    >
    >I am a 22 year old student graduating this semester with a Bachelors
    >degree in Music and a Computer Science Minor. I live in the United
    >States, and my aspiration is to work in AAA game audio--specifically
    >on tools, implementation (the FMOD/Wwise/SCREAM/XACT stuff), and
    >possibly engine programming.
    >
    >---The Core Question---
    >Is it possible to get "stuck" working on mobile/social/casual/other
    >non-AAA types of games?
    >
    >---Some Elaboration---
    >The new markets that have emerged in games (mobile, social, casual,
    >et. al) are wonderful for dumb fresh grads like me in that their quick
    >growth seems to have made it easier to find a job post-graduation. I'm
    >interviewing at such a company now with a good reputation. However, my
    >long term career goal is to be working on those big, expensive "AAA"
    >games. Does starting your career in mobile/social/casual put you in a
    >track such that it would be very difficult or impossible to make
    >future career moves to a larger studio making larger games?
    >
    >This isn't a "Make decision for me plz!" question (I've already made
    >mine), and I will happily work my tail off at this awesome company
    >making the games the best they can be. I'm just curious if there's any
    >sort of bias working against people who would be looking to transition
    >from mobile/casual/social into AAA. This might also sound like a
    >"waste of time" question, but I feel it's different and subtle enough
    >to warrant asking.
    >Thank you for your time and endless useful advice,
    >Michael

    Hi Michael, you wrote:

    Is it possible to get "stuck" working on mobile/social/casual/other
    >non-AAA types of games?
    That's a terrible question, which I'm sure you'll agree given that you already know that pretty much anything (except time travel into the past, and the Star Trek Holodeck) is "possible." A better question to ask would be "is it usual" -- and an even better question would be "as an audio guy, is it usual". But that's not what you asked. My recommendation is that you contemplate the exact question you need answered, including its givens. I'll bet you can figure out the answer. The question you asked plus the two reworded questions I suggest will get you three entirely different answers, some of them actually useful, and some not. Note that I even titled this conversation differently from the way you did. Here, let me rephrase the next compound question you asked, two ways (into two useful non-compound questions):

    Does starting your career in mobile/social/casual [game audio] put you in a
    >track such that it would be very difficult ... to make
    >future career moves to a larger studio making larger games?
    "Very difficult"? As an audio person? No, I don't see how it could.

    Does starting your career in mobile/social/casual [game audio] put you in a
    >track such that it would be ... impossible to make
    >future career moves to a larger studio making larger games?
    No, of course not.

    I'm just curious
    You mean, you were using my oh so valuable time to ask a question that's fairly meaningless to you? It's nothing but idle curiosity?? I like helping people with important questions, but I don't like idle curiosity questions nearly as much.

    if there's any
    >sort of bias working against people who would be looking to transition
    >from mobile/casual/social into AAA.
    Depends. Are we talking audio? Because that's what you told me. A good audio person is a good audio person, IMO.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 27, 2012


    School research project

    >From: daniel k
    >Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2012 4:10 AM
    >Subject: A quick query
    >Hello Tom
    >My name is Daniel K... and Iím a student at ... Secondary College in Adelaide, South Australia. As part of my final year of high school I am doing a research project on The Video Game Crash of 1983. As you were a member of the video game industry at the time, I was wondering if you would be happy to answer a few questions on the topic?
    >1. In your opinion, what was the reason for the game crash?
    >2. What was the impact on you as an individual?
    >3. Do you think the game crash was good for the industry in the long term?
    >Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. If you think there are any of your colleagues who were affected by this event from the time who would be happy to answer these questions please feel free to forward this email message on to them.
    >Thanks once again Tom
    >Daniel K

    G'day, Daniel.
    "Happy" isn't exactly the word that comes to mind. I get this sort of question often enough that any pleasure I might get out of it has gone out of the picture.
    Market glut -- too many games on the store shelves, and too high a ratio of bad games to good games.
    I was out of a game job, and I really liked making games. I had to freelance in toys until the game business heated up again.
    One outcome of the crash was the realization that controls were needed. Whether it's a good thing or not that platform holders now reject a number of game concepts, that's hard to say. We are again seeing a wild west market, this time on the internet rather than on store shelves. And I'm not seeing a negative to that. So: was the crash "good"? I don't know.
    I don't think so. Good luck with your project.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 26 2012


    Why do the interviews always fizzle out, part 2

    >From: Zach L
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 8:58 PM
    >Subject: Re: Game Biz Advice - Obtaining a Production Job
    >Wow thanks for the fast and detailed reply! I wasn't expecting a response until tomorrow ;)
    >I appreciate your feedback on my responses, and I'm resonating with the idea that my impression probably leaves too many open questions. This would also explain why I got positive responses at GDC since I was there to elaborate if necessary, but haven't found as positive of a result from these Taleo standardized applications.
    >>> The past 6 years I've been ...
    >> That is a statement ...
    >I tend to elaborate on all of these things in as much detail as I can. About half of the scenarios are covered by some NDA I've signed with a larger company, although navigating that conversation is another story entirely.
    >>> Every studio I've worked for ...
    >> Another conversation must follow ...
    >In every case I also list the title that shipped, its platform (and a link) , and its estimated unit sales if I have approval to list it. These are details that are found on my portfolio website, but I'm doubting many people look at the portfolio of someone trying to obtain a low/mid level production job.
    >>> I consider all of this professional experience. Am I wrong?
    >> I could not pass judgment on that without ...
    >I haven't read every month but I've read several articles. Were you meaning to refer to a specific month?
    >>> I'm graduating in 2 weeks ...
    >> Oh. So you're really not quite cooked yet.
    >Maybe, maybe not. This is part of the larger question of trying to figure out where I fit in the industry. I'm 26 and put college on hold to work at a financial industry. I thought I wanted to go into big business, but that turned out not to be my cup of tea. I was successful in the endeavor, being promoted and starting new initiatives, but once again talking about this would be significantly adding to my already large list of "conversation starters".
    >>> I have four games from this curriculum; ...
    >> I would say those don't count. ...
    >I'd be interested in hearing what you had to say on this topic. Many people argue that school projects are only valuable if you've taken it to "the next level" outside of the university. I've always started my school projects with the goal of cleaning, upgrading and shipping them on their respective platforms after class ended, and have done so, but I'm still of the mind that this is small potatoes compared to what my competition has typically accomplished.
    >>> (which doesn't matter since it isn't print)
    >> What? Ridiculous! ... I don't know where a Millennial gets the idea that if something ain't in print it don't matter!
    >If I felt it didn't matter I wouldn't have done the interviews in the first place :). It just seems to be on par with your advice on student projects - great for what it is (experience, exposure for the topic you're discussing), but not something that would turn heads on a resume.
    >>> Some AAA companies are giving me the impression that I'm wrong
    >> This "impression" might be wrong.
    >One of the level designers I managed on a previous project interviewed with a AAA company and they told him his indie experiences (which primarily involved what I was also working on) were not real development experiences. They apparently also mocked our project to some degree.
    >But I wasn't at the interview, and this particular developer did tend to get offended quickly, so it could be the stress of finding a job combined with the fact that I can't pin down what I'm doing wrong that has me paranoid.
    >>> I've now also started applying for Associate Producer positions (and have been getting rejected from those equally).
    >> I'm not surprised.
    >Can you elaborate a bit? Is this because it's generally hard to get the job or because you've formed an impression that it would be hard for me to get the job?
    >>> Do I need to settle for Production Assistant/Coordinator?
    >> It sounds like you assume you would be accepted for such positions in the first place. And the fact that you look down your nose at these titles does not say good things about you.
    >I certainly don't look at these positions with disdain, but I've managed two producers from my indie teams who obtained Associate Producer jobs at larger AAA studios - one of which was just promoted to Producer. When joining my team, they knew little about production but were quick learners. I'm not at all going to say I was the sole (or even primary) reason for their success, but I wrote recommendation letters for them as their supervisor and now I'm looking at taking a job for which they'd be managing me. Again, not that I have a problem with this, but combine this with the enthusiasm I received recently at GDC and I'm just coming full circle on that "where do I fit" question. Even so, 'settle' wasn't my best word choice.
    >Thanks again,
    >Zach L.

    Hi Zach.
    I edited your email for brevity (deleting a lot of the quoted portions). You wrote:

    I tend to elaborate on all of these things in as much detail as I can.
    You might possibly be too talkative. Just guessing. I appreciate clarity from potential coworkers, but if they are too talkative, I worry about the time suck.

    I'm doubting many people look at the portfolio of someone trying to obtain a low/mid level production job.
    I'm not.

    Were you meaning to refer to a specific month?
    Yes. The month whose column was entitled "The Experience Experience."

    >>> I'm graduating in 2 weeks ...
    >> Oh. So you're really not quite cooked yet.
    >Maybe, maybe not.
    Okay, so don't take my word for it. You are not fully cooked yet. Not for a Producer position, and not for an Associate Producer position. Oh, wait. You added:

    I'm 26 and put college on hold to work at a financial industry.
    You didn't mention any of that before. But it doesn't change my statement that you aren't yet cooked enough for those positions, but understand that I don't know what companies you've been applying to.

    >>> I've now also started applying for Associate Producer positions (and have been getting rejected from those equally).
    >> I'm not surprised.
    >Can you elaborate a bit?
    I can, but I don't want to (your Q&A is much more wordy than what I usually take on). Maybe if you narrow the question. Oh, wait. You did:

    Is this because it's generally hard to get the job
    Yes. That's why I said that.

    I certainly don't look at these positions with disdain
    That's like the kid who spits out the broccoli, then says he liked the broccoli. You said "settle." That is disdain.

    'settle' wasn't my best word choice.
    Quite the spin artist, aren't you.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 25, 2012


    Why do the interviews always fizzle out?

    >From: Zach L
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 6:00 PM
    >Subject: Game Biz Advice - Obtaining a Production Job
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >I've been following your guide for several years now and attempt to help where I can on GameCareerGuide (user: Zooch) and lurk in the IGDA Production SIG. I really appreciate the service you provide and the time you devote to giving advice freely.
    >I've been working on indie games of varying sizes for 10 years, the first 4 of which were mostly me learning and not being useful. The past 6 years I've been paid by indie studios to fulfill production roles such as Producer, Executive Producer and Production Consultant, as well as some other roles such as Environment Artist and Level Designer. Every studio I've worked for has shipped at least one title, which is a rarity among independent developers.
    >Q1: I consider all of this professional experience. Am I wrong? Some AAA companies are giving me the impression that I'm wrong because they aren't all shipped on consoles with multi-million dollar budgets.
    >I'm graduating in 2 weeks with a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, with a concentration in Game Development. I have four games from this curriculum; one individual and three small team projects.
    >I've attended GDC the past 3 years, 1 of which was to help run expo booths and one was to speak at the conference on Rapid Prototyping and the Iterative Process (a topic that spawned from my work on the Global Game Jam, which I helped found with Susan Gold). I've also been interviewed in various large online forums (which doesn't matter since it isn't print) and have been interviewed by Intel, Design3 and a couple smaller companies.
    >Lastly, I've made many successful business connections at large companies across production and development for the benefit of the companies at which I worked.
    >This past GDC I attended for the sole reason of finding a full time job at a larger company in Los Angeles. I'm currently in NC, but I'll be moving July 1st(ish) as my wife accepted a Ph.D. program at UCLA. I approached 8 companies in the southern California area and 7 of the 8 spoke to me further via an informal interview process. I spoke with Senior Producers and Senior Recruiters, and indicated that I wanted to apply for Producer level positions. The first round of conversations were encouraging. However, somewhere between my first and second round of interviews, the interviewers (usually other Senior Producers or Managers) decided my credentials on paper weren't enough to treat seriously, and most conversations started off with "You don't have the proper experience for the position you applied for, but we can talk anyways."
    >I'm starting to get my first couple rejection letters and I'm wondering what I'm doing wrong. I've now also started applying for Associate Producer positions (and have been getting rejected from those equally).
    >Q2: Without posting my resume/portfolio (as you've indicated you don't want to look at them), where am I going wrong? I'm assuming a Producer position is too high in the food chain for me at this point, but Associate Producer applications aren't being much more successful. Do I need to settle for Production Assistant/Coordinator? Is there something else I'm missing here?
    >I'm going to go ahead and link my portfolio and attach my cover letter/resume in case you feel the urge.
    >Thanks for your time and advice,
    >Zach L...
    >www...

    Hi Zach! Let's see if I can help you with your questions...

    The past 6 years I've been paid by indie studios to fulfill production roles
    That is a statement that will definitely start a conversation with the interviewer. He'll want to know which kind of indie we're talking about, how that indie got money to pay you, and how much money you were paid. (Note: I am not asking you to tell me those things.)

    Every studio I've worked for has shipped at least one title
    Another conversation must follow that statement. The interviewer will need to dig further into what "shipping" constitutes.

    I consider all of this professional experience. Am I wrong?
    I could not pass judgment on that without having the above-referenced conversations. By the way, I assume you have read my IGDA column, "The Games Game: The Experience Experience"?

    Some AAA companies are giving me the impression that I'm wrong
    This "impression" might be wrong. Or are you telling me that they said so in so many words? "That is not what we call professional experience," is that what they said?

    because they aren't all shipped on consoles with multi-million dollar budgets.
    Clearly, in these cases, that is what they were looking for in their applicants.

    I'm graduating in 2 weeks
    Oh. So you're really not quite cooked yet.

    I have four games from this curriculum; one individual and three small team projects.
    I would say those don't count. Student projects do not make a good portfolio. I've been meaning to write an FAQ or a column on that very topic for the longest time. I think it's time to write it now.

    [I've spoken] at [GDC] on Rapid Prototyping and the Iterative Process (a topic that spawned from my work on the Global Game Jam, which I helped found with Susan Gold).
    Wow, very impressive.

    I've also been interviewed in various large online forums
    Interviewed on a forum? I don't understand. (This would be another conversation starter.) (There may be too many "conversation starters" in your statements - a good rule of thumb is to say things that do not immediately raise a lot of questions in the mind of the listener.)

    (which doesn't matter since it isn't print)
    What? Ridiculous! Something that's readily readable online is not necessarily inconsequential. There are very influential websites out there -- being interviewed on an influential website would look good to an interviewer. I don't know where a Millennial gets the idea that if something ain't in print it don't matter!

    and have been interviewed by Intel, Design3 and a couple smaller companies.
    Again, a conversation starter. I don't know what you're saying here.

    I've made many successful business connections at large companies across production and development for the benefit of the companies at which I worked.
    That's par for the course for someone in the position of producer. It's bragworthy if those connections bore fruit that you can mention as part of the brag.

    somewhere between my first and second round of interviews, the interviewers (usually other Senior Producers or Managers) decided my credentials on paper weren't enough to treat seriously, and most conversations started off with "You don't have the proper experience for the position you applied for, but we can talk anyways."
    >I'm starting to get my first couple rejection letters and I'm wondering what I'm doing wrong.
    My guess is that you're shooting too high.

    I've now also started applying for Associate Producer positions (and have been getting rejected from those equally).
    I'm not surprised.

    Do I need to settle for Production Assistant/Coordinator?
    It sounds like you assume you would be accepted for such positions in the first place. And the fact that you look down your nose at these titles does not say good things about you.

    Is there something else I'm missing here?
    Probably. But nothing I can put my finger on.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 25, 2012


    School networking project

    >From: stefan h
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 2:40 PM
    >Subject:
    >Hi Tom,
    >My name is Stefan H and I am attending University of Texas at Dallas and my major is 3D animation and graphic design.
    >One of my class '(Basic Design Principle and Practice) assignment is to get in contact with people that works in my area of interest which is Game Design.
    >I am hoping to be able to get in contact with you and be able to learn more about this game design career.
    >Please let me know if you are willing to do this or if you know someone else that might be willing to assist me with my assignment.
    >Thank you ,
    >Stefan H

    Hi Stefan, you wrote:

    I am hoping to be able to get in contact with you
    Mission accomplished.

    and be able to learn more
    You ARE able to learn more. Trust me on this.

    about this game design career.
    Then you ought to read my website. Check out my FAQs.

    Please let me know if you are willing to do this
    Do what? Your assignment was to get in contact with someone. You did that. How does that translate into me having to do anything?

    or if you know someone else that might be willing to assist me with my assignment.
    Assist you how? You're not being very specific...

    >Subject:
    You should always write a subject line.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 24, 2012


    I owe you a Thank You card

    >From: Sean C
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 12:59 PM
    >Subject: Thank you for your website
    >I am not sure how I ended up on one of your game design lessons, but today I did.
    >I feel that I owe you a Thank You card (well as close as I can come online without sending cheesy eCards). Your thoughts and writings are not just informative, they are inspiring. I am glad you have taken the time to make this website. I feel that I owe you this Thanks because just one of your "lessons of experience" are more valuable than the 10,000 speculated responses I have received to my poorly phrased questions.
    >I knew that the reality of the business would be harsh, and I am glad you didn't pull any punches.
    >Cheers,
    >--
    >Sean C
    >Software Developer (VB.Net, C#.Net, ASP.Net)

    Cool, Sean. I appreciate letters like yours. Best of luck to you.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 24, 2012


    Information on how to have someone create a game, part 3

    >From: jesse p
    >Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2012 8:19 PM
    >Subject:
    >its jesse again i was wondering if you of a game developer we could talk to or someone that could help us get our idea out there?

    Hello, Jesse.
    So, you're saying that you have already (in just nine days since we last talked on Friday the 13th) taken care of all the things I advised:

  • Worked out a detailed goal;
  • Decided whether you're going to self-publish, or license to a publisher;
  • Made a plan for how the game will be offered to the public and make money;
  • Written a business plan;
  • Started networking with potential lenders, potential game developers, and potential partners and lined up travel arrangements to game conferences.
  • Finished writing the game design.

    Personally I find it hard to believe you've really accomplished all that in just nine days.

    Accordingly, I find it hard to take you seriously. I would not feel comfortable putting you in contact with people I know. I mean, you don't even write using proper capitalization and punctuation ("its jesse again i was wondering if you of a game developer we could talk to"). If you want to be taken seriously by others, you have to present yourself more professionally.

    To get in contact with game developers, you should do research. Look up games like yours, find out who developed those games. Decide what criteria you need in a developer -- price? Location? Genre experience? Platform experience?
    Use my Game Biz Links page, use Wikipedia's List of Game Developers. Go to game conferences. Also I guess you could try Channing's site (below).

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 22, 2012


    How can we get honest and objective focus test results?

    >From: "renegade
    >Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2012 9:35 AM
    >Subject: How to objectively value a game or project?
    >Hi Tom,
    >I've always had difficulty finding objective views on projects during development, which seems to be common with small teams. Short of finishing and releasing a game to the world, what are some ways to be sure that the game is "good" (or fun, or simply ready for release)? Asking people to test and give feedback seems to invite replies skewed towards the positives, which isn't always helpful.
    >I apologize in advance if this was covered already and I missed it in your FAQs. Thanks for your time and any insights you can provide,
    >Ben W

    Hi Ben,
    The reason you didn't find this in the FAQs is because it isn't there. I'm not in marketing; I'm a designer and producer, not a marketer.
    That said, I have been involved in some focus tests, some professionally done and some ad hoc (and I suspect one of those latter may have been intended to produce results opposing what I was proposing). And I have also taken careful notes during a talk on video game market research at the IGDA Leadership Forum last fall. So I can share a few tips with you.

    Have a disinterested party conduct the test, and he/she should make it clear to the test subjects that he/she is a disinterested party (in other words: "I do not work on the team that made this game; I am a market researcher, hired by the team to find honest and objective feedback from the game playing public."
    No team members must be seen or heard by the test subjects. But it's okay for the team members to see and hear the testing going on. (In other words: sit behind a two-way mirror, so you can see the test subjects, and have a microphone in the test room so you can hear them.) It's okay for the market researcher to tell the test subjects, "I'm conducting this test for Company X, whose people are behind that mirror over there."
    The test subjects should be polled before they see the game. And they should be polled again after they see the game. (And of course, you should take notes of their reactions during the experience of playing the game.)
    In addition to verbal discussions, the test subjects can be given an anonymous written questionnaire.
    Ask the right questions. Don't just ask, "is it fun?" That's not a good question.

    As difficult as it may be to do steps 1-4, the hardest part is actually step 5. I recommend you buy a book on market research, and learn how to ask the right questions.

    You can also recruit freelance game reviewers from a mix of metacritic sites. You want pro reviewers, and fan reviewers, and magazine reviewers. (Just ask them to write honest reviews of your game.)

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    The Ides of April, 2012


    Information on how to find developers to create a game, part 2

    >From: Channing Smith <channing@findgamedevelopers.com>
    >To: webmaster
    >Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2012 11:19 AM
    >Subject: Add this resource to your site
    >I thought you might also want to add this resource to your site: www.findgamedevelopers.com.
    >It's a new site that allows game publishers to find developers, and developers to promote themselves.
    >Please let me know if you have any questions!
    >My best,
    >Channing
    >Channing Smith
    >Find Game Developers

    Well, Channing, I think that goes beyond the purpose of my site, but it kind of addresses Jesse P's April 12 question (below).
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    The Ides of April, 2012


    Information on how to have someone create a game

    >From: jesse p
    >Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2012 9:52 PM
    >Subject:
    >my name is jesse. id like to get some information on how to have someone create a game. im not trying to sell mine and my friends idea just simply tryin to have someone create the ultimate firefighter game. a lil bit about ourselves we are both firefighters. we sat down one day and talked about firefighter games both came to the conclusion that there have been some made but not the right kind. we have all of our ideas and howd we like to have it but dont know where to start. i have a cousion in bussiness and he said the idea that we have will bring in and impressive profit due to so many in the U.S. like i said im just looking for someone to point us in the right direction. thank you for your time

    Hi Jesse,
    You need to begin by making a business plan. This is going to cost money and time, and if it might make money back, you need to plan how all that will work.

  • Decide what your goal is. Is it to make money? Is it to educate people on firefighting? Do you envision your game selling in the game aisle at Best Buy alongside the likes of Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, or will it be offered online as a public service (earning money through advertising and donations)?
  • If the game is going to make money, who will publish and market it? Are you planning to do that yourself (you are going to become a video game publisher), or are you planning to license the publishing rights to an existing video game publisher?
  • If the game is going to be a serious game instead (a game with a message, rather than a mere entertainment product), make a plan for how the game will be offered to the public, with a detailed plan for how the game will make money, and how the public will be made aware of the game's existence.
  • Once you've figured out your overall plan, write a business plan and start networking. Network with potential lenders, potential game developers, and potential partners (firefighting organizations and awareness groups). Go to game conferences.
  • If you are the one who's designing the game, then start writing the game design. See FAQs 2 and 13 here on my site (link above left). You'll need an elevator pitch (a one-paragraph speech you can deliver anytime at the drop of a hat when you run into any potential partners), a 2-page concept paper, and a 10-20 page treatment. Register the copyright of your documents with the US Copyright office.
  • When you've raised the money to execute your business plan, hire a professional development team to make your game for you. It may be feasible to have them make just a demo (a proof-of-concept demo, a "vertical slice" of the game) that can be used to obtain further funding and publishing for an eventual full game.

    Good luck!
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Friday the 13th, April 2012


    Should we drop out and learn it on our own?

    >From: Priscilla P
    >Sent: Saturday, April 7, 2012 2:22 AM
    >Subject: Emergency Advice
    >Hello Mr. ,
    >Thanks for taking the time to hear me out. I'm in a bit of a dilemma with my school and wondering if I am doing the right thing or what I should do in my situation. So I hope you like long stories. So me and my friend had a dream. I was an aspiring fashion designer, writer, artist, well many things and she was out of high school 2 years and still didn't know what she wanted to do with her life. What I did know was that she loved games and writing stories. She did reviews and research on games, and had 2 large bookshelves full with games, guides, and books. I suggested game design and thats how it all started. I had been a story writer my whole life. I had ideas for games, and what kind of game would be so much fun to play, from every mission, task, move, connection, and detail in the game all the way through but it was just a funny thought. I never took it seriously. Until me and my friend grew in this together.
    >
    >So we signed up for college to study Game Art and Design together and take most of our classes together. We were even room mates. We first started designing our games together, by writing out dialogue, plot line, game play, moves, designing concepts, story boards, power points to now also having a private site between us to develop our games more and future plans. We have currently been in school for about a year and a half and feel a bit stuck. As though we feel like we should be doing more and am quite frankly worried about the school we are in and how much it is doing for us. We are currently enrolled at the Art Institute of Washington. We have heard a lot of bad things about this school and while I do not doubt any of the professors here as they have a lot of experience in the industry according to their resume's I just feel as though I am not learning anything I should be learning or not enough, as though my time and money is being wasted. I have learned a little bit about drawing and a little bit of program knowledge, and I only have about a year or so til graduation.
    >
    >So I am wondering if I should drop and we should just start off as game testers, and move up. Try an internship as well. Buy all the equipment and learn all the programs myself and if needed hire a tutor then when ready and have manuscripts and concepts or demos fully complete start pitching or sending them in. I would never make such a risky move such as dropping school unless I had a definite plan such as a job and/or and internship lined up which I am working on currently. Constantly learning and updating my resume. What I needed from you was just your advice or opinion. In your opinion what do you think about the Art Institute, is it worth it? Should we drop and head out on our own? once we have a course of action to take. What else should we try doing? Our dream job is to become game designers and have our games come to life of course so after hearing everything do you have any tips or advice? I would really appreciate it. I am trying to contact many experts to see if anyone can help us on our journey. So thank you so much for your time, good luck and looking forward to hearing from you!
    >Priscilla P

    Hello Priscilla, you wrote:

    I hope you like long stories.
    You obviously haven't read any of the Q&A below.

    we feel like we should be doing more
    No. While you are in school, your job is to study, to get the best grades you can.

    am quite frankly worried about the school we are in and how much it is doing for us.
    School doesn't do for you. You have to do for yourself.

    I just feel as though I am not learning anything I should be learning or not enough
    Yes, well. You say your friend wants to be a game designer, and you're a writer. Your friend should be studying history, science, literature, acting... the stuff I list in FAQ 3 (you should have read my FAQs before writing me - you can get to the FAQs above left). And if you want to be a writer, you should be studying writing, English, literature, drama... why the two of you chose to go to an art school is beyond me. I would not have advised you to go to art school to be a game designer and a writer. Read FAQ 34, 32, and 3.

    I am wondering if I should drop and we should just start off as game testers
    Dear lord! I would never advise anyone to drop out of school. My recommendation is more education -- but in the proper topics according to your respective interests and passions (read FAQ 40). And although QA is one way into the game industry, it's not for everyone, and it's no guarantee. But if you want to learn more about QA, read FAQ 5.

    Try an internship as well.
    You say that as though you think you can GET an internship. Internships are for students in their junior and senior years of a 4-year degree, not for underclassmen or dropouts.

    Buy all the equipment and learn all the programs myself
    All what programs? I thought you said you're a writer. You just need Word. And that's the primary tool of game designers, too.

    and if needed hire a tutor
    Where on earth will you find a tutor who can teach you all the stuff you think you need to learn?

    start pitching or sending them in
    Read FAQ 11. You really should have read my site before contacting me.

    what do you think about the Art Institute
    I don't give opinions on individual schools. But read my The Games Game columns on "game schools" and read Wikipedia's entry on For Profit Education. Here are some URLs. Just copy and paste.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For-profit_education
    http://www.igda.org/games-game-june-2009
    http://www.igda.org/games-game-july-2009
    http://www.igda.org/games-game-august-2011
    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=for+profit+education+controversy
    http://scientificninja.com/blog/on-game-schools

    is it worth it?
    Read my "Is It Worth It" FAQ. It's FAQ 66.

    Should we drop and head out on our own?
    No. Get an education. I recommend community college, one whose credits are transferable, then finishing up a 4-year degree at a mainstream college, like a state college for instance.

    Our dream job is to become game designers and have our games come to life of course
    Yes, you and everybody else.

    do you have any tips or advice?
    Yes. My site is full of tips and advice. You really should have read my site before contacting me.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 7, 2012


    I need a triple major, part 4

    >From: Tyree G
    >Sent: Saturday, March 31, 2012 4:42 PM
    >Subject: Re: Inquiry on Education
    >Dear Tom,
    >I should rephrase my question. When an employer has something such as "strong traditional skills a plus" or "must have strong traditional skills", do I include my traditional work within my entire portfolio or should I have a separate portfolio?
    >-Tyree G

    You should have one online portfolio, Tyree. If one or more employers have expressed an interest in "traditional skills" (whatever that means exactly), then you should have a section in your online portfolio for your work that demonstrates that.
    If you make a paper or disc portfolio for an interview, then it's always a good idea to tailor your paper or disc portfolio for the company and the position for which you're applying.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 31, 2012


    I need a triple major, part 3

    >From: Tyree G
    >Sent: Saturday, March 31, 2012 8:45 AM
    >Subject: Re: Inquiry on Education
    >Dear Tom,
    > I've been reading through your FAQ/Advice Column and I now have a few more questions.
    >1. You are one of the few people who actually say go to school, I've been on many forums/sites where people are strong advocates of not going to school and just studying at home. Not to sound offensive, but why do you think a degree is more important than just sitting at home going through a book?
    >2. I have been looking at listings for Game Artist jobs, more specifically entry level/internship positions. Some companies are expecting interns to have 1-3 years of industry experience and to have shipped a game title. Is this actually a job for interns or is it a job for more experienced people to get their foot in the door? Why are some companies doing this?
    >3. Now I know art isn't your expertise, but I assume you have seen some art demo reels. Within in a demo, how much should actually be traditional art? Should I put my traditional pieces in a separate demo? Is it advisable to enhance one's 3D Stills with Photoshop?
    >4. Some companies ask for certain years of experience, are projects within college consider "game experience"? If I'm an environment/level artist, should I send a demo of a game that I created the environment for?
    >Thanks in advance.
    >- Tyree G

    Hi Tyree, you wrote:

    You are one of the few people who actually say go to school
    That's not true. The people who say you need a degree are many.

    I've been on many forums/sites where people are strong advocates of not going to school and just studying at home.
    Those forums and those people are interested in indie development or hobby development, not the mainstream job/career route. And it often happens that self-taught people are very outspoken against schooling.

    why do you think a degree is more important than just sitting at home going through a book?
    If you want to be hired for a job in the game industry, and you don't have game industry experience, you need a degree. Read my February, March, and April 2010 columns. ("The Games Game," on IGDA.org - click link above left, then see Archives)

    Some companies are expecting interns to have 1-3 years of industry experience and to have shipped a game title.
    That can't be right. Either you're reading wrongly or somebody did a bad cut-and-paste job. Interns are people who don't have experience yet.

    Within in a demo, how much should actually be traditional art?
    I don't understand your question. If you're going for Environment Art positions, all your portfolio should be environments.

    Is it advisable to enhance one's 3D Stills with Photoshop?
    No. Your snapshots have to be actual snapshots.

    Some companies ask for certain years of experience, are projects within college consider "game experience"?
    Read my Games Game column, "The Experience Experience."

    If I'm an environment/level artist, should I send a demo of a game that I created the environment for?
    If you have one, then put that in your portfolio. Your portfolio has to be online these days. What you send is a link.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 31, 2012


    I need a triple major and a triple minor, part 2

    >From: Tyree G
    >Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2012 11:49 AM
    >Subject: Re: Inquiry on Education
    >First, I would like to state that I thoroughly enjoyed your response, and I had a few awkward looks while I was laughing on the bus ride home.
    >
    >" Jeez! You are an all-or-nothing kind of person who does not believe in the validity of the saying, 'biting off more than you can chew.'"
    >It's not that I'm all-or-nothing, I just had a work ethic built into me. My parents wouldn't let me take art classes unless I had top notch grades in my core classes. So in order to pursue what I love, I had to work harder and I kinda don't mind the extra stress of work.
    >
    >" You are confusing yourself. Your contradictory ideas need a middle ground. Rather than going for quadruple overkill, why don't you just go a more reasonable distance beyond what's usually called for?
    >First you "feel" (read: "guess") that you "need" double-triple what anybody else needs, and then you horriblize, fearing that fulfilling this "need" would make you unhirable!
    >If your shower water was one degree too warm, you would turn the hot water spigot off and shiver in the cold. If your shower water was one degree too cold, you would turn the cold water spigot off and scald your skin red! "
    >
    >YES! I tend to over-complicate simple matters because I think about them too much. I do want to stand out, but many people started telling me that I may begin to over-qualify for my job. Then again, these are the same people who tell me a career in Game Art isn't legitimate, but still, I have no experience of course!
    >
    >"You are saying there is nothing more you can learn about using Unity and Max. I sincerely disbelieve that claim."
    >
    >I can still learn more about Max and Unity, but I have the basics covered and I prefer to work on things directly related to the career I want. The internship I want to grab requires knowledge of Maya (the company has their own engine that is somewhat similar the Unreal). Most MMOs use Unreal or company software that is similar and I just want to have the background for the field I wish to enter.
    >
    >"Jeez again. Dude, you need to dial down a bit. All your settings are redlining. You're an over-achiever's impossibly over-achieving over-achiever."
    >I over-achieve because I wish to succeed! If you don't work hard, you get nothing done! :D
    >
    >"The sweet spot is not only a major and a minor but also a spectacularly awesome portfolio. Multiple majors and minors is not "over-qualified" -- it's 'over-educated.'"
    >
    >So should my question be whether or not it is bad to be "over-educated"? I understand the basics of the portfolio, I just want to get some things under my belt that would propel my application to the top. More and more schools are getting game design degrees, and more and more kids are applying and getting in. Which is why I wanted my BFA in Art, most kids who want to do 3D Graphics say they can't draw/paint but they want to animate (even the school I'm going to only requires you take 2 traditional classes in a 4 year program...). I feel that if we have similar 3D portfolios, my strong traditional arts background would push me further because I can show I have a great understanding of value, anatomy, contrast, etc. But then I need something to push me ahead of the kids with 3D and traditional arts backgrounds, so I want to get the languages, physics and business management under my belt. I just don't want them (being the employers) to just throw my app away because I spend a lot of time working on multiple things. I guess to rephrase my question, how do I stand out in a field of people who all can make 3D models and throw it in a game engine and screen grab it for a demo reel? Maybe my reasons would make me seem less like a person attempting to commit social suicide for 4 years! Once again, I enjoyed your response and thank you very much!
    >-Tyree G

    Hi Tyree, you asked:

    how do I stand out in a field of people who all can make 3D models...
    By making nicer models than they do. Not by having more degrees than they do.

    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 29, 2012


    I need a triple major and a triple minor, but that would make me unhirable

    >From: Tyree G
    >Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2012 2:15 AM
    >Subject: Inquiry on Education
    >Information that is required for newcomers:
    >Age: 18
    >Level of Education: High School Senior
    >Current Occupation: Student
    >Game job I plan on studying on: Game Art more specifically, Environment Art
    >Location: Virginia, United States
    >I've been accepted to several schools in Game Design/Game Art; however, due to my mother, I am forced to go to a state university. The university's program is VERY general, and the generality of the program is bothering me to the point that I feel I need something to add an competitive edge to my resume. Thus, I decided to triple major with a BFA in Game Design, BFA in Art with an emphasis in Painting and a BS in Physics with an emphasis in Computational Physics. I also want to minor in Japanese, French, Business and maybe Programming (or teach myself Python or MaxScript). After looking over the information, I fear that I may end up over-qualifying for my desired job (Environment Art). I tried to talk to the professor about my woes and seeing if I could change up the curriculum for myself. Their program for animation involves 3DS Max and Unity, which I have experience in already, so I wanted to use Maya and Unreal since I'm starting to dabble in those. The response I got was the generic, "There are many ways into game design and just relax and follow the course. If you know it, that's an easy A." I was appalled. My entire goal is to reach my dream career in 10-15 years and it seems as if the professor could care less as long as a pay the $90,000 price tag. Now my question for you is, should I continue with my original plan (triple major, triple minor) or should I go with what the teacher said? Rather, what is the sweet spot where I'm neither over-qualified nor under-qualified?
    >More additional information:
    >After college, I plan on doing applying to an environment art internship with ArenaNet or working with one of the companies near D.C. area (Bioware Mythic or Bethesda). I do want to end up creating interactive and powerful environments for MMOs or RPGs.
    >I would like to thank you in advance for answering my question and I hope my "wall-o-text" wasn't too painful to go through!
    >Sincerely,
    >Tyree G

    Hi Tyree, you wrote:

    Game job I plan on studying on: Environment Art
    I decided to triple major with a BFA in Game Design, BFA in Art with an emphasis in Painting and a BS in Physics with an emphasis in Computational Physics. I also want to minor in Japanese, French, Business and maybe Programming
    Jeez! You are an all-or-nothing kind of person who does not believe in the validity of the saying, "biting off more than you can chew."

    I feel I need something to add an competitive edge
    I fear that I may end up over-qualifying for my desired job
    You are confusing yourself. Your contradictory ideas need a middle ground. Rather than going for quadruple overkill, why don't you just go a more reasonable distance beyond what's usually called for?
    First you "feel" (read: "guess") that you "need" double-triple what anybody else needs, and then you horriblize, fearing that this "need" makes you unhirable!
    If your shower water was one degree too warm, you would turn the hot water spigot off and shiver in the cold. If your shower water was one degree too cold, you would turn the cold water spigot off and scald your skin red!

    Their program for animation involves 3DS Max and Unity, which I have experience in already,
    You are saying there is nothing more you can learn about using Unity and Max. I sincerely disbelieve that claim.

    so I wanted to use Maya and Unreal since I'm starting to dabble in those. The response I got was the generic, "There are many ways into game design and just relax and follow the course. If you know it, that's an easy A." I was appalled.
    Jeez again. Dude, you need to dial down a bit. All your settings are redlining. You're an over-achiever's impossibly over-achieving over-achiever.

    should I continue with my original plan (triple major, triple minor) or should I go with what the teacher said? Rather, what is the sweet spot where I'm neither over-qualified nor under-qualified?
    The sweet spot is not only a major and a minor but also a spectacularly awesome portfolio. Multiple majors and minors is not "over-qualified" -- it's "over-educated."

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 29, 2012


    School interview project, part 2

    >From: shea F
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 7:45 PM
    >Subject: Re: Interview for school
    >Mr Sloper,
    > I apologize for not giving more information and feel I do need to clarify because of my lack of information presented. I'm 26 years old and currently in my first year of school. I was in the military but an injury forced an early release so I chose my passion for video games as an entertainment medium and art as my career pursuit. Game Design at the school I'm going to encompasses most of the things you've listed as courses that should be taken, physics, psychology, writing, drawing, math, and public speaking, but after those classes focuses on the character and level design aspect of video games, we learn using MAYA and Z-Brush. I'm supplementing these courses with others listed that aren't part of my core curriculum but were recommended by your FAQ #3. My goal is to become a game designer, not a character or lever designer although though I'm using that path to work up and laterally to my goal as a game designer at a AAA studio. I understand you're teaching at a university, USC if I remember correctly, but given your previous experience as a game designer and producer I found you to be the person I hoped to answer my questions because you care about the future of the industry and the people entering it and you're brutally honest with your advice. The person we interview doesn't have to currently be in that position but just have held it and have experience in that position. I want to be a game designer and producer in the same capacity that you once were before your current position. The questions I presented were given to us by our professor and weren't of our own choice, but I gotta do the homework if I want to keep the A's up. Is there anyway you could re-answer the same questions but pertaining to your experience as a game designer or producer? It would be highly appreciated and I've got a week to hand the assignment in so just whenever you have the time. Sorry for the long email but I just wanted to clarify myself. Thanks again
    > Shea F

    Shea,
    Good for you, coming back and giving it another shot. But just now I added a new term to FAQ 28, in your honor: "Wall of text." You wrote:

    Sorry for the long email
    I didn't read it all. I just looked for question marks.

    Is there anyway you could re-answer the same questions but pertaining to your experience as a game designer or producer?
    "Anyway" is wrong. You meant "any way." Sure. But you didn't pick one, so now I don't have enough direction from you.

    The questions I presented were given to us by our professor and weren't of our own choice, but I gotta do the homework if I want to keep the A's up.
    In this life, you can actually get into trouble if you slavishly stick exactly to the assigned task, especially when it's off the mark. I slavishly stuck to the questions you asked, knowing it wasn't what you were looking for, to make the point. You could have altered the questions to suit the situation. You could have asked, for instance, "As a producer, what skills do you use to interact and work with others at your job?" Or you could have asked, "What skills does a producer use to interact and work with others on the job?"†† These alterations would NOT have gotten you in trouble with your teacher. I guarantee it.

    I used communication skills, interpersonal skills, and a willingness to adopt others' ideas.
    Spoken and written communication. 90% of the work week.
    Yes. No matter what job you have, you'll need to know how to work with people.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2012


    School interview project

    >From: shea F
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 5:59 PM
    >Subject: Interview for school
    >Mr. Tom Sloper,
    > My name is Shea F and I am currently a student at Hocking Technical College pursuing a digital game design associates degree followed by a bachelors in graphic design. For my Human Relations in Organizations class I have to interview someone who has experience in the position in which I hope to attain. I'm a huge fan of your articles at sloperama.com and have been using your advice given there to mold the path I take to attain my position I hope to achieve. I thought it fitting to attempt to interview you with the three questions we have to ask and would appreciate you taking the time to answer them. The questions are
    >1. What skills do you use to interact and work with others at your job?
    >2. What kinds of communication do you engage in during a typical day or week and how often (be specific, number of hours or percent)?
    >3. If I want to have your job, should I be required to take Human Relations in organizations?
    > Again, I appreciate any time you would take to answer these questions because not only are they for my class but any insight offered by you is appreciated and will be used by myself. I hope to one day be able to work with you in some capacity on a project.
    > Sincerely,
    > Shea F

    Hi Shea,
    Thanks for numbering your questions for me. Unfortunately, though, I don't think your questions quite match with what you're trying to accomplish. You say you have to interview someone with experience in the position you hope to attain. You didn't say what position that is -- but you did say that you're going to get your bachelors degree in graphic design. I am not a graphic designer. And I'm not a game artist. I have been a game producer and designer, but now my primary job is game teacher at a university.
    I use communication skills, game industry experience, and teaching skills.
    I engage in a lot of verbal communication (in front of my classes, and in private conversations with students and faculty). I also engage in a lot of written communication. You asked me to quantify that: just guessing, I would say that during a typical week, I spend 20 hours communicating.
    No. Wait... yes. I suppose so. I mean, no matter what job you have, you'll need to know how to work with people. So yes.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2012


    Should I learn in bite-size chunks, or should I stuff everything into my brain all at one go?

    >From: Dominic K
    >Sent: Monday, March 26, 2012 4:55 PM
    >Subject: Getting into level design
    >Hello again Mr Sloper,
    >It's Dominic again and I just wanted your advice on getting started with level design.
    >Now, I've fiddled around with Source and UDK, but very little. Just made a very very basic maps using the stock assets that are included in the game.
    >My question is this, do you think I should just start out by making small environments, using the stock assets in UDK to get a feel of things first, with little or no scripting, models or textures of my own? Then bit by bit start developing bigger and more complex environments once I have a bit of experience and then begin learning some basic texturing, modelling and scripting so I can slowly implement it into my environments?
    >Or do you think I should do the complete opposite and start learning them all at once?
    >I know it's sort of down to me and my learning style. But I was just wanting your advice and opinion on the matter.
    >Your advice is always appreciated,
    >Dominic

    Hi Dominic,
    I know that if I wanted to learn those things, I would want to learn it gradually. I can't even imagine why anyone would want to try to cram a lot of knowledge into his head all at once.
    I'm a teacher, and I would never try to cram a lot of knowledge into a student's head all at once. Since you are trying to teach yourself something, my advice to you (as the teacher) is to be gentle with your student (you).
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 26, 2012


    Which is better for game dev: scrum or XP?

    >From: Dominic K
    >Sent: Monday, March 26, 2012 5:19 AM
    >Subject: Game Development Cycle question
    >Hey Mr Sloper, first time writing so let me tidbit up first;
    >I am 19 years old
    >Currently in my second year of University
    >Occupation is a student
    >I aspire to be a games designer or level designer someday.
    >I am from the UK
    >Anyways, now that is out of the way, I wanted to ask what is your opinion on the best (software) development cycle (such as SCRUM or XP) for video game development. As I am currently researching them and am struggling to see which one is best suited for video games development. I was hoping you could give your opinion on which one best suits the needs for the process of designing and developing a video game and your reasons for this opinion.
    >Thank you,
    >Dominic

    Hi Dominic,
    Rather than answer "which is more suited," I'll simply tell you what is used. At all the conferences I've been to, and in all the discussion forums and mailing lists I'm on, everyone always discusses the use of scrum. I have not heard of anyone using eXtreme Programming for game development.
    I really couldn't tell you why, since I haven't looked into XP. But if I had to guess, I'd say that scrum is useful across all disciplines (not only programming but also design, art, and audio) -- but XP's name suggests that it's focused on just the programming (I don't know if it really is, but it sounds like it).
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 26, 2012


    My school research project

    >From: Alex A
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 2:59 AM
    >Subject: Research Project - Game Design
    >Hi Mr. Sloper
    >This is my first time contacting you, so I'll get those "tidbits" out of the way: I'm a 16 year old student in year 11 from Australia. I don't have any aspirations for a future in game design, but I would greatly appreciate your opinions/advice on my question: "What are the critical aspects of a video game that game designers focus on in order to make a successful game?" Things like story, game play, multiplayer etc. Not the marketing side of things; purely the content and entertainment value of the game. This question is my topic for a Research Project at school, and I need another primary source. I've been posting in other forums but I either get no reply or sarcastic, smart-ass comments which don't help me at all.
    >The longer your reply, the better. If you have a lot to say about this, don't hold back. The following link is a four-question survey I set up for my project and I'm always needing as much feedback as possible. Keep the link in your reply or get rid of it if you don't want to post it, I'm not fussed. It's just here in case you DO post it and therefore I can get more numbers. Here's the link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RYV92ZL.
    >Cheers,
    >Alex

    Hi Alex, you wrote:

    What are the critical aspects of a video game that game designers focus on in order to make a successful game?
    The single most critical aspect is that the game be fun. And in most cases, the game concept should be kept fairly simple, without a lot of added complications.

    Things like story, game play, multiplayer etc.
    It greatly depends on the game, its genre, its target audience. For instance, story is important in an adventure or RPG; a game that provides a world for the audience to inhabit for extended periods of time. And Sudoku would probably not go well with multiplayer. So you see, what's critical is very much dependent on the particulars of the game.

    I've been posting in other forums but I either get no reply or sarcastic, smart-ass comments which don't help me at all.
    I think the reason for that is that you are asking people to write their deep thoughts for you, while you admittedly are not passionate about a career in the game industry. In other words, you're seen as a taker with no prospects of becoming a giver (a contributor on those forums). Just guessing (since I haven't seen your other posts).

    The longer your reply, the better.
    Sorry. No gots the time.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 20, 2012


    I'm beginning to wonder if I'm studying the wrong thing

    From: John Van E
    Sent: Monday, March 19, 2012 12:44 PM
    Subject: trying to find my place in the industry
    Hey my name is John I'm a freshman at Ringling college of art and design and I'm studying Game art and Design. For this school that means 3-d modeling and texturing, working with UDK, studying environmental storytelling, and light emphasis on scripting within UDK. This program although new is very successful its got people working in Epic, Irrational, and other AAA studios. Despite the success of the program I'm beginning to wonder if I'm studying the wrong thing, the reason I came here is because I've been in love with game mechanics and design since I was little, I started designing worlds, weapons and characters, first with little idea of how making games worked but now with my experience studying and working within the industry as an intern my game designs have become incredibly complex and I am very confident that if turned into an actual game they would be successful. So the logical thing is to go to a game school so I can make it myself, but this path is so linear and my brain is not linear and this school is slowly driving me insane, like more than I am normally. I feel as though the school is training us to work within the way the industry works now, but games as a medium are still in their infancy and I feel like I have a legitimate place in shaping the future of games, egotistical or not, that is my belief. Now I'm really into writing, experience design, world design, music design, creature design, controller design and just seeing the game as a whole before it comes into being. Also my approach to most of these is somewhat non-traditional bordering on what one would consider fine arts. Now I wonder if I would be better off without the limitations of this school and going after what I'm really interested WITHIN games not just going to school for games, and then learning UDK or some SDK on the side. Does this seem legitimate or am I just being impatient?
    Thanks
    John V

    Hi John, you wrote:

    I'm beginning to wonder if I'm studying the wrong thing... this path is so linear [that means 3-d modeling and texturing, working with UDK, studying environmental storytelling, and light emphasis on scripting within UDK] and my brain is not linear and this school is slowly driving me insane
    I don't think the linearity is the problem. Even if your brain isn't linear, you probably know that you have to adapt on occasion, as linear situations require. But you could be right that you aren't studying the right thing (for you). That said, what you're learning in that school could well be very useful in the future.

    the logical thing is to go to a game school so I can make [my game idea] myself,
    I suppose it seems that way, but read FAQ 44. Scroll up and look for the FAQs link at the left.

    I feel as though the school is training us to work within the way the industry works now, but games as a medium are still in their infancy and I feel like I have a legitimate place in shaping the future of games
    While I'm sure your vision of the future is wholly accurate, nobody else but you can see the future like you can. The only way anybody knows to teach people to make games in the future is to teach them to make games now, and let the future happen and change things. Everybody who's currently in the game industry is stuck with the way things are now, and we know things are changing, but since you're the one who knows how the future looks, we're still stuck.
    And yes, games have been in their infancy the whole 30 years I've been making them... (^_^)

    I'm really into writing, experience design, world design, music design, creature design, controller design and just seeing the game as a whole before it comes into being... Now I wonder if I would be better off without the limitations of this school and going after what I'm really interested WITHIN games not just going to school for games, and then learning UDK or some SDK on the side. Does this seem legitimate
    I think you should read FAQ 3.

    or am I just being impatient?
    Maybe you are. I imagine you're learning useful stuff at your present college, but if you'd asked me last year what kind of degree you ought to go for, I would have said, "what topics interest you most?" Read FAQ 40.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 19, 2012


    Casual games will kill hardcore games - or am I being immature?

    >From: Paarth G
    >Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2012 10:06 AM
    >Subject: I got soo many questions?
    >Name: Paarth
    >Occupation: student/Indie game developer
    >Location: India
    >Age: 19
    >Hi Its me again and I think you might know me. So I want to ask some questions that really give a hell out of me. The first thing I want to know is what do you think video games should be these days? By this I mean whether games have to be simple to play or hard to play?
    >Because I feel that making games hard to play will not work out right unless the main target is to focus on hardcore gamers. And seeing that app games are growing higher than ever with real easy games and selling out well, I doubt that hardcore will ever last and besides that, My friend(who btw wants to be a manga artist) and I argued about how games are suppose to be whether hard or simple. By simple I mean like Mario series difficulty from easy to hard.
    >The next thing I want to know is that I'm always called immature mainly because I can't admit that my game is bad or something. Should a game designer be matured all the time? because if that's the case then what's the point being so passionate about making a game idea that people will say that it won't work. I have a game idea once and though I don't hang to it anymore, I still feel that game could do something.
    >Is it wrong being immatured?
    >I'm right now making a game called space void in my free time. And based on some comments from gamedev I'm pleased to say that the beta was good. But enough about my intelligence here(*cough*) the point is is there a way to port my game to android?

    Welcome back, Paarth. You wrote:

    what do you think video games should be these days? By this I mean whether games have to be simple to play or hard to play?
    This is a classic false choice question, Paarth. Haven't you heard the saying, "games must be easy to learn but difficult to master"?

    Because I feel that making games hard to play will not work out right unless the main target is to focus on hardcore gamers.
    Okay, it's a given that hardcore players enjoy challenging games.

    And seeing that app games are growing higher than ever with real easy games and selling out well, I doubt that hardcore will ever last
    You are completely ignoring the possibility that there can be two (or more) types of audience, coexisting and continuing on forward in time from today.

    My friend and I argued about whether games are suppose to be hard or simple. By simple I mean like Mario series difficulty from easy to hard.
    In general, "simple is best," but there are exceptions to every rule (there are even exceptions to the rule that there are exceptions to every rule).

    I'm always called immature mainly because I can't admit that my game is bad or something.
    I have two things to say about that:
    1. You will learn, as you mature, to let other people's opinions and words roll off you (like water off a duck).
    2. Yes, not being able to admit a failing (when the failing is real) is a failing. Whether it's "immaturity" or not is another matter entirely.

    Should a game designer be matured all the time?
    A game designer has to have a sense of fun. Do you think "maturity" and "fun" are incompatible? I don't. But maturity can be defined many ways - I see it as the ability to see the world for what it is, to be able to make wise judgments thereby.

    Is it wrong being immatured?
    Immaturity, too, can be defined many ways. If it means an inability to see the world for what it is, and to be unable to make wise judgments thereby, then yes, that would be bad.

    is there a way to port my game to android?
    Sure.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Saint Patrick's Day, 2012


    I'm one of those idea guys

    >From: The Cutting Edge
    >Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2012 2:26 AM
    >Subject: reading most all of your game career FAQs... :)
    >Hi Tom,
    >I am not some young teen, I'm almost 40 here... a fencing instructor, if you can believe it. I am also not Daisuke Amaya--though I wish I was sometimes... :)
    >However, I've been an avid gamer since games like King's Quest III (Apple IIe!!), and quite naturally a certain game called Ultima IV by none other than Lord British (as you know, it's Richard Garriott) roped me into gaming, and I never looked back. I even "replayed" Ultima V in the form of the "fan game remake" called The Lazarus Project made by a great team of folks... which was nothing short of absolute beauty, and probably the greatest "homage" game I think that has EVER been created.
    >SIDENOTE: If you haven't played Ultima V: Lazarus ... I highly, highly, highly recommend it. It was tremendously moving, and the score is gorgeous.
    >Anyhow...
    >
    >Over the years, it's true... I didn't have passion / talent / understanding for PROGRAMMING--not even after taking C++, Assembly, that sort of thing... all I've ever been good with... was "Psuedocode". :) No matter how hard I tried, I always sucked eggs at programming. I couldn't design a "queue" to save my life (or my grade)... and linked lists & stacks completely befuddled me, I'm afraid.
    >
    >That said... over the years... ever since college (1990's)... I've seen "my" ideas for great games... well... pop up in games... but only YEARS later!! It's happened consistently, and... I'm not the kind of guy sitting here thinking "Hey!! I could have made millions!" HAH! Right. The reason I couldn't / didn't was simply because I lacked the tools, skills, resources, team, etc.
    >But... I am wondering about what you've had to tell people over and over and over... regarding "Hey, I have a great idea!"...
    >Really?? Is there *NO* way of thinking, no type of path that would NOT require me to "become a programmer" (at nearly 40 years of age, no less, lol!) and all that jazz?
    >
    >I mean, I actually would TRULY, very truthfully, LOVE to be able to "make my own games"... but... I honestly don't have talent, skill, passion and understanding in that department. My mind does not operate like a gaming engineer, or as ANY type of engineer for that matter. My talents are elsewhere, and I don't know how else to say it. I have seen languages come down the pipeline, and they still all "don't operate the way my mind does". Python... Flash... Java... man, how I *WISH* I could program in those. Even GAMEMAKER is something I have yet to comprehend, hahahah. "Daniel Remar--please instill your spirit in me! Or... at least, maybe Daisuke's!!!" lol
    >All that said:
    >
    >1. I ABSOLUTELY, without a question of a doubt, know that the game idea / concepts / "hooks" and overall presentation I am thinking of... WOULD WORK. They are marketable to wide audiences... could easily make "extra" dollars after the sale of the initial game... and I am 100% positive that it would change the face of gaming. Maybe much like the way good ol' Lord British changed the face of gaming with Alkalabeth and Ultima. :)
    >
    >2. Now that I've seen--for the past 20+ years--"my" ideas... FINALLY show their faces in games such as Minecraft... Terraria... and even games like Red Faction, old school games like Magic Carpet, Doom, and the like... I'm confident that there is a PATTERN here. My ideas can't be "shit" if they keep popping up in games... especially when they pop up 5+ years after I envision certain things. And no, I'm not saying anyone "stole" my ideas, hahahah. It just makes sense--like you say... good ideas are a dime a dozen sometimes, and great minds think alike.
    >
    >3. As a designer, conceptual artist or "director"... I have a very clear & passionate vision. I have worked on a damn 10 page long description / "psuedocode" type of paper... trying to detail things in a way so that everyone reading would CERTAINLY understand the desired result after looking over the document. And I won't be stopping with that--not even if the game never gets done.
    >
    >So, forgive me for such a long e-mail, but... I'm just looking for a "good way to go". Because, yes, as you can imagine... I have *NO* clout in the big corporate game industry. As luck would have it, too... I don't seem to know much of anyone who works in the game industry--despite living right here in San Jose, CA--smack dab in the goddamn silicon valley!
    >I am wondering... would you have any advice... any that your website does NOT offer? I'm trying to educate myself as much as possible, but... yeah... it seems my poor piddly brain simply CANNOT understand C++, Python, Java, Assembly (heeellll no, lol)... etc.
    >But I wish it DID. I really WISH I was like Daisuke Amaya... the creator of Cave Story--who apparently did EVERYTHING on his own?!?!?!?!? HOLY SHIT... I want that so badly. I only wish I didn't feel "handicapped" by my own skillset... but that is how it is sometimes.
    >So... it's like when your sink fails. You call a plumber. Or when your car needs maintenance. You take it to a shop. MUST I DO *EVERYTHING* myself? No... I would want to put together a team.
    >The difference is... you can't make the kind of video game I'm talking about in 1 hour and turn profit on it. :)
    >Umm... help? :)
    >--Matthew ("Novastar")

    Hi Matthew, you wrote:

    I am... a fencing instructor
    Interesting! I enjoyed fencing in college.

    Really?? Is there *NO* ... type of path that would NOT require me to "become a programmer" ... [to get my game ideas made] ?
    You didn't really complete the question, so I added the portion in reddish italicized brackets. I hope I guessed correctly what you were asking. The answer to that question is, "no.* There ARE paths to getting one's games made that do not require the individual to learn programming."
    * (You asked a question in the negative, to which the answer is a negative, meaning if you'd asked it differently, I wouldn't be confusing you by saying "no" to the question "Is there no..." - No, there is NOT "no type of path".) π

    I ABSOLUTELY, without a question of a doubt, know that the game idea... WOULD WORK.
    Great. Now all you have to do is carry it out. And in the process of doing that, you may also need to convince others* of this certainty.
    * (Investors and/or potential partners and/or publishers.)

    would you have any advice... any that your website does NOT offer?
    No. Why would I be withholding information from my information site? Isn't that a bizarre idea, that I'd go to all the trouble to create an information site, and then withhold information from it?

    Umm... help? :)
    I don't know what you're expecting me to do. I can't change reality for you.
    I mentioned above (π) that there wasn't "no type of path" to get your game ideas made.
    1. Get rich, and pay a developer to make your game for you. Once the game is made, you might be able to get someone to publish it.
    2. Get a job in the game industry, do it well, build up contacts (like I said in FAQ 29), start your own company, and there you go.
    3. It's just barely within the realm of possibility that you might be able to convince someone (not me) to work with you to make your game, but the odds of your being able to do that are very low (that's what I meant by "barely within the realm of possibility"). I only mention this because so many people try to do this, and because it isn't technically "impossible" (like traveling back in time or building the Star Trek Holodeck).

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Saint Patrick's Day, 2012


    Should I go for a Masters?

    >From: Mauro L
    >Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2012 1:17 PM
    >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, the first time I write you, you need to know that...
    >My approximate age is: 23 going on 24
    >The level of education I've completed is: Bachelor in Business Administration and a one-year course in Game Design in Buenos Aires, Argentina
    >My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: Game Designer
    >The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: Game Designer (preferably for a multinational company)
    >The country I live in is: Argentina
    >My game biz question is:
    >Hi Tom,
    >First of all thank you for the faqs you have in your site, they are very useful and have helped me take the plunge and decide to pursue a career in the gaming industry. To give you some insight into my current situation, I finished my bachelor a bit more than a year ago and last year I did a one-year course in Game Design here in Buenos Aires. The course is not a Master but merely a course to teach the game design fundamentals and give us some tools to dive into the game design waters.
    >The problem is that in Argentina that is as far as it goes in Game Design education and I feel that I could use a deeper formation in these matters. This takes me to the first question.
    >1) Do you think it is a good idea to study a Master in Game Design or would it be a waste of time and money and I would be better off simply learning with the work I have now and reading books on game design?
    >2) If so then where would you recommend me to study in the US or Europe? Please, know that I would need financial aid or a scholarship, and I would be willing to work of anything in the Uni to help me pay for the studies and living expenses.
    >Ideally if I had to plan my career path I'd love to work for a big multinational company of the likes of Nintendo, EA, Retro Studios, etc. and once I have the experience and money start my own company.
    >Sorry if it is too long and thank you for this opportunity.
    >Kind regards,
    >Morris

    First of all thank you
    You're welcome. (^_^)

    I finished my bachelor a bit more than a year ago and last year I did a one-year course in Game Design here in Buenos Aires... in Argentina that is as far as it goes in Game Design education and I feel that I could use a deeper formation in these matters.
    I think (I don't "feel") that you have enough education, and that now you need to start doing (building a portfolio).

    Do you think it is a good idea to study a Master in Game Design
    If you want to do it, and you can afford to do it, then I think it's a good idea. Read my June 2011 column. Click The Games Game link, above left, then click Archives.

    or would it be a waste of time
    No.

    and money
    That's hard to say.

    and I would be better off simply learning with the work I have now and reading books on game design?
    I think you need to DO more than you need to READ. Only read as much as you need to supplement the DOING.

    If so then where would you recommend me to study in the US or Europe?
    At the school you choose from doing a Decision Grid (FAQ 25).

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    The Ides of March, 2012


    I thought you might be interested in reading it and I'm curious if you'd like to see it?

    >From: Alanna H
    >Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2012 11:29 AM
    >Subject: Video Game Design Resource for Students
    >Hi Tom,
    >I am curious if you are the person responsible for adding content to the following page: sloperama.com/advice
    >I am a writer and all-around video game enthusiast who contributes to an online project that provides well researched and insightful educational materials for those interested in pursuing a degree or career in a field associated with video game design.
    >I recently produced a resource discussing the vast potential for game designers in online, mobile and social gaming. From your site I thought you might be interested in reading it and I'm curious if you'd like to see it?
    >Thanks for your help and I hope to heard from you soon.
    >Kind Regards,
    >Alanna H
    >Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm -- Earl Nightingale

    Hi Alanna, you wrote:

    I am curious if you are the person responsible for adding content to the following page: sloperama.com/advice
    Why, yes. Yes, I am!

    I recently produced a resource discussing the vast potential for game designers in online, mobile and social gaming. From your site I thought you might be interested in reading it and I'm curious if you'd like to see it?
    No, thanks.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    The Ides of March, 2012


    May I do a redesign of your website for my school project?

    >From: Duncan R
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 6:23 PM
    >Subject: Your website as a choice for student project.
    >I understand that, in order for you to give me the best game career advice suited to my unique situation, the first time I write you, you need to know that...
    >My approximate age is: 25
    >The level of education I've completed is: Diploma of Game Development (Art)
    >My occupation is: Student
    >The type of game job I aspire to is: Creative Director/Game Designer/Artists Positions
    >The country I live in is: Australia
    >My game biz question is: Not really a game design question, Uni project question.
    >Hi Tom,
    >I emailed you previously showing my gratitude to you for creating this website and the lessons within. I have been given an assignment for Typography class to choose a current website and redesign it with a modern style. While your website functions perfectly Iím sure we both agree that it has an older design aesthetic of which it couldnít hurt to speculate on a new look, so I would like ask your permission to choose your Sloperama.com. As a student project, the redesign would not be intended to be functional or made for commercial use and would merely be style mock-up. Most students are not required to seek permission for these projects, but I have seen through experience and your teachings that it is always appropriate to do so when manipulating others IP.
    >Yours Sincerely,
    >Duncan R

    Hi Duncan,
    Sure, go for it. I want to see it when you've done it.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 14, 2012


    Wanna apply for a job

    >From: Marcin M
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 4:37 PM
    >Subject: Portfolio vs experience
    >My approximate age is: 24
    >The level of education I've completed is: Now I'm studying at
    >University (BSc in Information Technology) , I'm on year 3
    >My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: student
    >The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: game designer,
    >cinematic director, animation director
    >The country I live in is: Poland
    >My game biz question is:
    >Hi
    >My questions:
    >1 Can I apply for position when I don't have desired expierience in
    >specific disciplin but I have portofolio for that disciplin and
    >expirience in other discilin? For example, I have 2,5 years
    >expierience in QA (1,5 as lead) and I want to apply for level
    >designer. Expierience is desired but I have portofolio with finished
    >levels using various engines (UDK, cry engine 3)
    >2 In job offers, "requaied industry expierience" means, expierience in
    >any disciplin is enough or they desire it in specific discipclin
    >(speciefied for that job offer)?
    >3 When I want to apply for QA position in some company,will they take
    >it into account if I have "portofolio with found bugs" (recorded and
    >published) in various released games? Is it worth it?
    >4 Does type of game I have exprience in, really matter if I want to
    >apply for QA position to company, who makes different types of games?
    >I work on casual HOPA games and want to work on adventure/FPS console
    >games.
    >Thanks the for answer and all lessons you wrote, there where really helpfull!
    >best

    Halo, Marcin. Thanks for numbering your questions for me!
    Of course you can apply. Anybody can apply. But it's always possible that your résumé could be filtered out (they could look at you, compared to more-qualified candidates, and not call you in for an interview). You have to look objectively at yourself, and see if you are anywhere near what they're looking for.
    "Industry experience" means "you worked for pay at a game company." It does not mean anything else. You should not fool yourself by hoping it means something else.
    Yes, that does count for something. If those bugs were well written and you were paid to write them.
    Good testers are able to work in any genre. But if they are looking for adventure or FPS testers, then they want to know that you really understand those games (that you have played them a lot, and that you can talk intelligently about those games, their UIs, their features, their balance, their audience, etc..

    Good luck!
    Tom Sloper

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    March 13, 2012


    Preparing to immigrate to Canada

    >From: Andre D
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 9:56 AM
    >Subject: Career change / Country change
    >Hello Tom,
    >I'm a big fan of your FAQs and I'd like to ask for your opinion about one complex issue.
    >I'm a 29 years old Brazilian Engineer and my job led me to work with simulation systems, used for training, which got me really interested in Game Design (specially for Serious Games).
    >So I started studying 3D modelling, Game Design, Programming, etc, so that I could develop Simulation Systems for work and Casual Games (for an extra revenue).
    >I recently finished my first game. I developed it totally alone, in Unity3D. I did all the art, programming and designs using free software I had no previous knowledge.
    >http://www.kongregate.com/games/ticked_off_pixel/heli-escape
    >I'd love if you could check it out, in order to be able to answer my questions.
    >Right now I'm in a Immigration process to Canada. And it was really nice to know that Canada's Game Business is growing rapidly.
    >Since it would take me a couple of years to be able to work as an engineer, I thought it would be nice to work in the Game Industry. Also, i'd have no problem investing in the Game Industry, and changing careers, since I'm beggining to love it more than Engineering.
    >So, considering the game I made, the fact that I don't have a gaming degree (but am willing to get one) and that i'd be 30 years old...
    >...How would a company (normally) see me if I applied for a Tester job?
    >...Would my 5 years experience as Engineer, in a big company, help me or make it harder to get a low level starting job?
    >...It's more desirable to focus on improving my indie skills or should I try to get a degree before changing countries?
    >Maybe these weren't good questions, but it's hard to think when one is in such a confusing, life changing place. If so, please disregard this e-mail.
    >That's it. Thank you for your time.
    >Best regards,
    >Andre D.

    OlŠ, Andre. You wrote:

    I recently finished my first game. ...
    >I'd love if you could check it out
    Sorry, Andre, but I don't do that. I believe I can answer people's questions without having to go look at all their websites, games, portfolios, and résumés.

    I'm a 29 years old Brazilian Engineer ...
    >Since it would take me a couple of years to be able to work as an engineer,
    I'm sorry again, but I'm confused by those two sentences!

    considering the game I made, the fact that I don't have a gaming degree (but am willing to get one) and that i'd be 30 years old...
    >...How would a company (normally) see me if I applied for a Tester job?
    Most likely as overqualified in one sense (in that you're more of a programmer/engineer type), and underqualified in another sense (in that neither English nor French is your first language). My recommendation is that you do more work on your portfolio, and go for a game programming job (but be willing to take QA as a backup -- not as a primary inroad).

    Would my 5 years experience as Engineer, in a big company, help me or make it harder to get a low level starting job?
    I imagine it's a plus, but during the interview they would learn more about what you did exactly as an engineer.

    It's more desirable to focus on improving my indie skills or should I try to get a degree before changing countries?
    You don't need a degree. You need a portfolio. The one game you made might (or might not) be a strong enough portfolio. I hope your source code is well-written, neat-looking, with comments, and shows mastery of problem-solving skills.

    Tom Sloper

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    March 13, 2012


    Can I become a game designer despite my disease?

    >From: Aruetii
    >Sent: Friday, March 9, 2012 8:27 PM
    >Subject: Disease and the Game Industry
    >1. How old are you? 18
    >2. What's your level of education? Currently in High School, Junior
    >3. What's your current occupation? (If student: "student") Student
    >4. Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? Game Design
    >5. And depending on your question, I may need to know what country you live in (where in the world are you?). FL, USA.
    >Hello Tom,
    >To preface my question I have to explain my current situation. I suffer from a disease known as Charcot Marie Tooth Syndrome, and it afflicts all aspects of my every day life. I can not hold small objects such as a pencil for very long, my dexterity is horrible, I suffer from frequent muscle spasms in my legs and arms, and I am fatigued very easily. There are others, but that is the main points that have to be said going into this. My question is this, with all of that taken in mind, how different is it for someone suffering from a disease to get a job in the Game Industry in general? I have seen a lot of questions posed, but so far I have not seen one asking this specific question. If there is any advice for what to do differently, it would be greatly appreciated. I realize you may not have enough information on the subject, however I also hope that you may know someone that does have more information on it.
    >Thank you for your time,
    >Andrew "Aruetii" C.

    Hi Andrew,
    Wow. Okay. One point at a time. You wrote:

    how different is it for someone suffering from a disease to get a job in the Game Industry in general?
    That question is much much too broad -- I would have to write more than I have time for tonight. Let me edit your question down a little:
    how different is it for someone suffering from [Charcot Marie Tooth Syndrome] to get a job in the Game Industry in general?
    That's a little better, but it's still too broad and needs to be narrowed down even further. So I edit again:
    how different is it for someone suffering from [Charcot Marie Tooth Syndrome] to get a [game design] job in the Game Industry?
    That's a question I'm a little better able to deal with. To answer THAT question, though, I need to ask YOU some questions:

    Despite your dexterity problem, would you be able to type hundreds of pages of game design documents at a rate comparable to someone not afflicted with your condition?
    Despite your fatigue problem, would you be able to go through the rigors of a four-year college/university degree program?
    Would you be able to excel in Quality Assurance or Level Design or some other game job for 2 to 4 years in order to get promoted into Game Design?
    Are you mobile? That is to say, are you able to commute daily to a game company, and once there, get around within the office to visit different departments and attend meetings and all that?
    Despite your fatigue problem, would you be able to work "crunch time" when the team has to work overtime?
    Are you able to communicate effectively using your voice? Because not only does a game designer have to be able to communicate in writing, he also has to communicate verbally -- create and deliver PowerPoint presentations, and argue design features, deliver pitches, etc.

    I have seen a lot of questions posed, but so far I have not seen one asking this specific question.
    I don't get this kind of question often. Last time I got anything remotely like this was probably two years ago.

    If there is any advice for what to do differently
    Differently from what? If you want to be a game designer, you have to be able to do the game designer's job. So there's no "different" advice to give you.

    Perhaps most importantly, what you did NOT ask (in so many words):

    Can I become a game designer despite my disease?
    I wrote the above subject line for your post here on the board (rather than use the subject line you wrote), because it's the best question I think you should have asked (and that lets me give you the most positive answer):
    Yes, you can... If the answers to all 6 of my questions above are "yes," then you can. That doesn't mean you won't have a harder time of it than anybody else. You'll have to work your butt off... but, so what else is new?

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 9, 2012


    Still looking for that dream job in America

    >From: David R
    >Sent: Thursday, March 8, 2012 7:46 AM
    >Subject: Does experience on big companies matter?
    >Hi again Tom!
    >I'm David, the Spanish guy who wrote you a couple of times before (Want to move out of mobile into PC/Console, and in another country (and part 2) - November 2 (and 3), 2010 (http://www.sloperama.com/advice/bulletinbd-archive11.htm)).
    >Again, I want to thank you for your advise, I focused on the game itself more than the language and I made my way it into a small computer games company, as programmer for an MMO (as I was programming a MMORPG for the mobile when I wrote you) and 3 months ago I joined one of the biggest studios in Europe (in UK) as a Content Developer (Designer / Programmer) for a MMORPG.
    >As I told you in my previous questions, I still want to go to the U.S. and work for one of the big companies (and enjoy the great California weather... because UK's is... well...weather.), but still concerned about the Location thing (Yeah, I read your new FAQs about going to America) so here is my question...
    >What do you think that is more important for a big company when they have to hire someone, experience in other big gaming companies, or location?
    >I'm asking because I think that the experience I'm earning in this company will be really useful to join a small U.S. company that hopefully would see me as a really good candidate because I made my way to a bigger company (Basically, prove myself good enough to make them want to do the paperwork for the working visa), but not sure if I should go to that hypothetical small company just to be "near" the big ones or I should continue earning experience in on of the big companies although I will remain far.
    >I guess that each company will have their own way, but I want to see what you think as your previous advises were useful to me.
    >Reviewing the email, I found another thing to ask... do you think that having already moved to another country (from Spain to UK) would give me any advantage when trying to join a company from abroad? I guess that having adapted to other country before should
    >offset the possible fear of hiring someone that would not fit to a new country...
    >Many thanks!

    Hi David, you wrote:

    What do you think that is more important for [ANY] company when they have to hire someone, experience in ... big gaming companies, or location?
    Experience overcomes location. I'm pretty sure I said that multiple times in multiple places. If I need a highly experienced candidate and I can't fill a position locally, I'll consider distant candidates with awesome experience before a nearby candidate without the good experience I need.

    not sure if I should go to that hypothetical small company just to be "near" the big ones or I should continue earning experience in on of the big companies although I will remain far [from the US]
    I hope the brackets I added completed the thought correctly. I think if you have a good job now, you should stay in that good job. Don't be in too big a hurry to take your barely-long-enough experience you can wave like a trophy and get out.

    do you think that having already moved to another country (from Spain to UK) would give me any advantage when trying to join a company from abroad? I guess that having adapted to other country before should
    >offset the possible fear of hiring someone that would not fit to a new country...
    No. You still have to overcome the stigma of not having the legal work papers for the US. Keep building experience where you are. The more the better. You need all the more better you can get. (I know that's bad grammar, but now that I've said it that way, I like it that way.)

    Cheers!
    Tom Sloper
    San Francisco, California, USA
    March 8, 2012


    Dead links, part 2

    >From: Danny M
    >Sent: Friday, March 2, 2012 2:19 PM
    >Subject: Re: Two dead links on your website
    >My bad, I didn't notice the link on your site was different from where it actually sent the user. Here is the link as it appears on your site:
    >http://www.videogameteam.com/wiki/index.php?title=Limited_Design_Doc
    >It's cited in the sentence:
    >"You can also look at http://www.videogameteam.com/wiki/index.php?title=Limited_Design_Doc. "
    >That link takes you to this URL:
    >http://www.dperry.com/wiki/index.php?title=Limited_Design_Doc
    >This is the one I couldn't find a newer link or archive to. Glad the information on the broken links helped you though.
    >Best regards to you!
    >Danny M
    >Azle, Texas, USA
    >March 2nd, 2012

    Awesome. I fixed it. Thanks, Danny. Appreciate the keen eye.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 2, 2012


    Dead links

    >From: Danny M
    >Sent: Friday, March 2, 2012 4:45 AM
    >Subject: Two dead links on your website
    >Hello Tom;
    >I noticed two dead links on Lesson 2 of your website ( potentially anywhere else in your website that the links are cited ). Here is the page link of lesson two I found the dead links on:
    >http://www.sloperama.com/advice/specs.htm
    >Here are the two dead links:
    >http://www.gamedev.net/reference/list.asp?categoryid=23#21
    >http://www.dperry.com/wiki/index.php?title=Limited_Design_Doc
    >I only found a newer link to the first one, and after searching for about 20 minutes gave up on the second one. Here is the newer link to the first one:
    >http://archive.gamedev.net/archive/reference/list7ae8.html?categoryid=23#121
    >Hope you can have better luck than myself in finding an archive of the second page.
    >Danny M
    >Azle, Texas, USA
    >March 2nd, 2012

    Thanks, Danny!
    I have fixed the gamedev link, thanks to you. But I can't find any dperry.com links anywhere in my advice zone. Looking on David Perry's site, I found a David Perry On Game Design link -- you have to register there, but it's probably got useful information. Thanks again for alerting me to the broken gamedev link.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 2, 2012


    Your FAQs don't tell high schoolers anything useful, part 2

    >From: "AllenYM
    >Sent: Thursday, March 1, 2012 5:23 PM
    >Subject: Re: Re: Advice for High school students
    >1. I'm not too sure, but I'd imagine a lot since I live in the los angeles county (specifically cerritos)
    >2. Well since I plan to intern during my summer break, 40+ is doable.
    >3. I myself can't drive yet, but my father works in los angeles so I could arrange daily rides.
    >As for me trying to make game clones, I have made a basic pong game, but it's very basic. I've made a modified version closer to brick breaker also. Currently I'm working on a chess clone, but that's about it.

    Welcome back, Allen.
    Then what you need to do is go to my Game Biz Links page, check out the lists of game companies -- especially gamedevmap and gameindustrymap. Do your homework (research what companies are near you).
    Then what you're looking for is a summer internship, okay, I get it now.
    Then when you are researching companies, see what companies are along the route between your home and your father's office. And I recommend you talk to him to confirm that he'd really be willing to drive you to and from work every day. What if his hours and your hours don't align nicely? Maybe you'll need to use the bus in the city to get betwixt his employer and your employer. Think out the details.
    Right -- you don't have much of a portfolio. (My clue was when you said you'd "tried" rather than "made.") Well, nobody expects much of a portfolio from a high schooler.
    Read FAQ 27 and FAQ 4. After you've identified some companies that are suitable for your dad's commuting needs, apply. Now's the time to get started. So get cracking!
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 1, 2012


    Your FAQs don't tell high schoolers anything useful!

    >From: Allen M
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 6:00 PM
    >Subject: Advice for High school students
    >Age: 17
    >Education: High school junior
    >Occupation: student
    >Game job: Programmer
    >Country: US
    >Hello I'm a high school junior aspiring to become a game developer. After reading your articles on game career advice, I couldn't find anything suitable for students still in high school, so I was wondering what can someone like I do as a high school student to get a head start. So far I have self studied programming, took the Computer Science course in my school, and tried to make a few copies of some basic games. I've been looking for interns, but I could only find ones for college students. What else can I do? Thanks

    Hi Allen,
    You're already doing everything I would recommend.
    But the reason you can't find internships is that there are no internships for high school kids. Quick questions for you --
    how many game companies are within daily commuting distance from your home?
    how many hours a week are you available to work at a game job (while you are still in school)?
    are you able to commute to a game job? That is to say, do you have a car, or are game companies within reasonable bicycle, bus, or subway/train distance of your home?
    If your answers are (1) lots, (2) 40+, and (3) yes, then maybe you can manage to get an internship, but you're going to have to figure out a way to force yourself down their throats (because they all think the answer to #2 is 10- and the answer to #3 is no). I've seen one or two high schooler interns, and those guys all had connections (their fathers knew someone at the company or something like that).
    But there's one thing you said: "I've tried to make a few copies of some basic games." Are you saying you don't have a portfolio? Because if you don't, you need to (that's what else you can do -- instead of trying, doing). Read FAQ 12 and FAQ 24 and FAQ 27.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Leap Year Day, 2012


    I have decided not to kill you, if you pay me

    >From: doug m
    >To: doug.m......@hotmail.com
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 3:06 AM
    >Subject: Hey
    >Usually i don't do this but this is the only way I could contact you for now, I want you to be very careful about this and keep this secret with you until I make out space for us to see. You have no need of knowing who I am or where i am from. I know this may sound very surprising to you but itís the situation. I have been paid some ransom in advance to terminate you with some reasons listed to me by my employer. Itís someone I believe you call a friend, I have followed you closely for a while now and have seen that you are innocent of the accusations leveled against you. Do not contact the police or try to send a copy of this to them, because if you do, I will know, and I might be pushed to do what I have been paid to do.Besides, this is the first time I turn out to be a betrayer in my job. I took pity on you and your family. That is why I have made up my mind to help you. Reply me as soon as you get this mail or i will be left with no choice than to terminate you.
    >If you are willing to help yourself and not make your family attend your untimely death reply me asap.
    >There is no time to waste..
    > AltaÔr Ibn-La'Ahad..

    Hi there, AltaÔr.
    I didn't see a question in your email, so you'll have to email me again. In order for me to give you the best game career advice that's tailored for your individual situation, I'll need to know these tidbits about you:†
    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?
    Most people who write me ask 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. Thanks!

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Leap Year Day, 2012

    P.S. This story from yesterday's Los Angeles Times is applicable to your question. Perhaps it will be informative for you, AltaÔr.
    P.P.S. Oh, and it's not nice to use a third person's email address for making death threats. You could get Doug M. [last name obscured here] in trouble!


    How do we connect with publishers?

    >From: Alireza
    >Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2012 4:19 AM
    >Subject: please give me some advice
    >hi. i'm so glad to meet you on net... (my mother tongue is not English so sorry for some grammatical mistakes) let me tell the main part without wasting words. this is 2website of my own company. we are working on a game. a tower defense game which we name it Cnep (Cnep has no meaning please don't ask). we want to sell our product in world. our company is in Armenia i have a branch in Tehran too. I'm searching a way to connect to publishers but it is HARD!!! please give me some advice...
    >www.seganx.com (our engine)
    >www.cnep-gam.com (especial for game)
    >Thank for your help

    Hi Alireza,
    The way to connect with publishers is called "networking." You need to put yourself out there not virtually, but actually. Go to conferences, trade shows, game industry events where publishers will be. Read FAQs 6 (that one is old) and read FAQ 46, and read FAQ 54. You can link to my FAQs by scrolling up and clicking the FAQs link at the left. This kind of networking is expensive! Because you have to travel and stay in hotels and pay conference fees, etc. But "it takes money to make money." You must come to L.A. for E3 in June, and you must plan to go to D.I.C.E. next year (this year's event is already past), and there are also events in Europe and southeast Asia.
    If you can't do that, then you can try telephoning the "new business" executives at all the publishers. Just use Wikipedia's list of video game publishers as a starting point, research the companies, find their phone numbers. It's a much lower chance of success than physically getting out to networking events.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 25, 2012


    What are your thoughts on a school like Full Sail University?

    >Game Career Guide Forums > User Control Panel > Private Messages > Inbox
    >Private Message: Question
    > 02-15-2012, 07:49 PM
    >DutchMastah
    >Junior Member
    > Question
    >I see that you are very active in this community, What are your thoughts on a school like Full Sail University?

    You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answer to that question and others, I have compiled them into a series of articles or FAQs ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask newcomers to explore before writing to me. I also write a monthly column on IGDA.org (the site of the International Game Developers Association). So, as regards to your question, I have expressed those particular thoughts in these places:
    http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson44.htm
    http://www.igda.org/games-game-june-2009
    And I have expressed more thoughts about choosing a school here:
    http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson25.htm
    http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson34.htm
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 24, 2012


    GDD organization

    >From: Josh R
    >Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 11:42 PM
    >Subject: GDD questions.
    >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: 20
    >The level of education I've completed is: High school. I was home schooled
    >My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: At this time nothing. But will be going to college soon, if I can afford it that is.
    >The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: I'm interested in being either an Artist, Designer, or a Writer.
    >The country I live in is: USA
    >My game biz question is: I have a few more questions about writing a GDD. Iíll number them so it will be easier for you to know what they all are.
    >1. When organizing a GDD should the story sections be first or should the gameplay sections be first?
    >2. I read that it's a good idea to incorporate a walkthrough of a level that would be in the game, in the GDD but I was wondering. Is it a good idea to put the dialogue that would be in the level in the walkthrough as well? Or should I put all of the dialogue in a separate text document? Or use a program such as Xmind to organize all of the dialogue? (Xmind is a program that I found useful for mapping all of the dialogue trees but that is about all I can do with it, I canít write the walkthrough in it so I would have have two separate documents, one for the walkthrough and the other for the dialogue)
    >3. I can come up with some good story ideas but when it comes to writing them down, I seem to forget or not be able to write them down correctly or sometimes clearly explain them. Do you have any advice on how I can fix or improve that problem?
    >4. And lastly. This is probably going to sound like an odd or even a dumb request, but could you rate this message (on a scale of 1-10 and 10 being perfect) based on grammar and readability for me? It helps me improve when I know what my mistakes are.

    Hi Josh, you wrote:

    will be going to college soon, if I can afford it that is.
    Can you afford community college? Then transfer to state college for the last 2 years? Have you looked into the cost of that option?

    I'm interested in being either an Artist, Designer, or a Writer.
    Then you could major in art and minor in writing (or major in writing and minor in art).

    When organizing a GDD should the story sections be first or should the gameplay sections be first?
    Neither. First you should give an overview of the game so the reader knows what's going on. Basically, the 2-page concept paper, followed by the other 8-18 pages of the game treatment (as per FAQ 13).

    I have two rules of GDD organization:
    1. Most interesting to least interesting. All the stuff that someone will enjoy reading should be as close to the front of the document as possible, and the most boring stuff should be at the end.
    2. Need to know. If you tell me something but I won't understand it until I've read farther into the document, then you've violated the "need to know" rule. Give me stuff I need to know first, so when I get to a part that refers to that stuff, I understand the context.

    The challenge for the writer of the GDD is to find the optimal balance between those two rules.

    Is it a good idea to put the dialogue that would be in the level in the walkthrough as well?
    Of course. Don't you think the dialogue would increase (1) the ability of the reader to visualize the game, and (2) the enjoyability of the reading?

    Or should I put all of the dialogue in a separate text document?
    Yes.

    Or use a program such as Xmind to organize all of the dialogue?
    You can use whatever program you want. But consider the needs of the team -- will they have to have that program too, in order to access the contents of the dialogue file?

    I would have have two separate documents, one for the walkthrough and the other for the dialogue)
    You can make more than two separate documents. Voice dialogue will definitely need to be a separate document. You can also storyboard the design, since you are artistic.

    I can come up with some good story ideas but when it comes to writing them down, I seem to forget or not be able to write them down correctly or sometimes clearly explain them. Do you have any advice on how I can fix or improve that problem?
    Read a lot. Write a lot. Have a lot of verbal conversations. Listen to a lot of talk radio. Get a writing degree.

    rate this message (on a scale of 1-10 and 10 being perfect) based on grammar and readability
    Professor Tom did not find any errors. Not knocking off any points from 10, then, it scored 10. Please don't ask me for any more validations/reassurances. I don't like that kind of question.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 18, 2012


    Tell me the path to my dream job

    >From: Sasha G
    >Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 3:39 AM
    >Subject:
    >Hello my name is Sasha. I am 21 years of age. I am out of school and working.The two game companies that i would dream to work for is either Valve or Infinity Ward those two games i am inspired by.(i am from South Africa) My question to you is..what method of approach can i take to working for those companies. I can offer them my talent and knowledge of art and the knowledge of art history.I also have a deep knowledge of games they have released.If you could please help me with a path i can take to be able to work for these Game companies one day.

    Hello Sasha,
    You say you are "from" South Africa, but you didn't say if you are IN South Africa. Where you are FROM is unimportant. Where you live NOW is all that matters. "Location, location, location." Read FAQs 24 and 27 (you can link to the FAQs above left). And read my July 2010 IGDA column, "The Games Game: Location, Location, Location" (you can link to my column above left). I can't tell you precise steps to your dream job -- everybody has to blaze his own unique path. After you've read my articles, you're welcome to ask follow-up questions.

    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 17, 2012


    Legal questions about pitching game ideas

    >From: Carla B
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 4:46 PM
    >Subject: question about game idea
    >Hello,
    >I was reading over the information on your website about selling a game idea, and I have a few questions.
    >1) If I am wanting to sell my idea to a company, do I need a patent on it first? Or can I just create the game and rules and take it to the company to attempt to sell?
    >2) If the name that I want to use for my game is already the name of a toy (not another game, a childs toy) can I still use it for my game?
    >Any advice you can offer will be appreciated. Thanks so much!
    >Carla B.

    Hi Carla,
    Thanks for numbering your questions for me.
    No. You do not need a patent. But you should register your copyright.
    Toys are near enough to games that there's probably a good chance that a lawsuit could result. A game called "Kleenex" would probably also not be a good idea. Your lawyer can explain this better than I can. But essentially...
    If it's just an accident that some dumb toy company happened to name their toy the same thing you named your game, then you should change the name of your game. If it's not an accident, then the only party to whom you can pitch your game-about-that-toy is the toy's manufacturer or the game company who's got the rights to make games based on that toy.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 15, 2012


    How does a Renaissance man get a job in the game industry?

    >From: David L
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 6:59 PM
    >Subject: Music and art in a game design portfolio?
    >Hello Tom,
    >I'm 19 years old, from Denmark, and my highest completed degree would probably correspond to high school. I'm currently studying digital media, and part time employed in an indie startup, developing iOS games.
    >I'm an aspiring game designer, and my question is: when writing a game design portfolio, should everything in it strictly relate to game design, or could it be a good idea to include work from other disciplines?
    >I'm a generalist, doing everything from art and 3D to sound design and music, and I do have several pieces of work from each discipline that are production quality. I would like to show that I'm multi disciplinary and have hands-on experience with all the major aspects of the pipeline, but I'm worried it might just be irrelevant noise to a recruiter reading my portfolio, since it doesn't technically have anything to do with game design.
    >Thanks for taking your time to write this huge FAQ. It has helped me tremendously in my on-going quest to join the game industry :-).
    >Sincerely,
    >David

    Hi David,
    I've been wracking my brain looking for a topic for this month's column, so when I got your email I decided to make this the column. It should be posted at http://www.igda.org/games-game within a couple of days (but I'll email you the reply so you don't have to wait). I'm titling it "Renaissance Man."
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    V.D., 2012


    Frequently Asked Question #21

    >From: Eric B
    >Sent: Saturday, February 11, 2012 3:34 PM
    >Subject: game design info
    >Hello, I am 25 yrs old and have a masters degree in Occupational Therapy, and I also have a team member this his degree in gaming/design. We have a design ready and want to develop a video game and would like to know how to pitch the idea to a gaming company (such as SONY) how should we go about this or contact them about it to set up a presentation and pitch?

    Hi Eric,
    This question has been asked many times before. You can find the answer to this question, and many other often-asked questions, in the "Frequently Asked Questions" ("FAQs"). 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. You have asked Frequently Asked Question #21. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 11, 2012


    Startup troubles

    >Start up help...
    >[DELETED]
    >Member
    >Members
    >Reputation: 0
    >Warn Status
    >Sent Yesterday, 05:44 PM
    >Hi Tom,
    >I own a start up game company and I'm having some trouble managing my Team and I have some issues with funding. The company is called [DELETED], here is our current site, [DELETED]
    >As far as managing my team goes, could you suggest anything for finding a solid no pay manager? Where can I find a business manager? So, managers for the game project and managers for the company/business side of it.
    >There is a local company that does work for hire and I am working on getting their help, but I need to pay them as they probably wont put their own money in the game. Should I pursue an established companies help or dig in and build my own company with angels and VCs?
    >Lastly, should I risk using something like Kickstarter to get start up money? I don't want to reveal my idea so what could I do in that instance? I need about $20,000 right now....
    >Any advice would be golden!
    >Thanks,
    >Robert [DELETED]
    >[DELETED]
    >[DELETED]

    Hello Robert,
    I know you PM'd me on GameDev, probably thinking you could get some free private advice. But I don't give free private advice. I do give free advice -- in public forums. My private advice has to be paid for. My GameDev sig asks people not to PM me, and lists my web address; my privacy policy is stated here on my website. Now for that free advice. You wrote:

    I own a start up game company and I'm having some trouble managing my Team and I have some issues with funding.
    That makes me wonder whether (a) you are ready to run a company, and (b) whether your definition of "company" squares with mine.

    could you suggest anything for finding a solid no pay manager?
    This question is so wrong on many levels. A "solid manager" will not work for no pay. And the fact that you have no money indicates to me that you are not ready to start a company.

    Where can I find ... managers for the game project and managers for the company/business side of it.
    (1) Through networking. Read FAQ 54. (2) By working in the game industry (as opposed to starting a company without previous industry experience) and making contacts. Read FAQ 29.

    Should I pursue an established companies help
    Get money before trying that route.

    or dig in and build my own company with angels and VCs?
    Do you have game industry experience? Do you have a solid business plan? Do you have seed capital of your own? Angels and VCs will require all those things.

    should I risk using something like Kickstarter to get start up money? I don't want to reveal my idea
    "I don't want to reveal my idea" is a killer. It means you can never move forward unless you learn how to make the game all by yourself. Ideas are inherently worthless -- what has value is execution.
    As for whether or not to try Kickstarter, that's a decision for you to make. I recommend you use a decision grid. See FAQ 70.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 11, 2012


    What does it take to make a PS3 game?

    >From: Abdalluh A
    >Sent: Sunday, February 5, 2012 4:24 AM
    >Subject:
    > Hi I am sending this message to you asking about what skill of programming, designing and animation should I have Like in the programming you should be good at the C++..., and what it take to created on the platform PS3, I am now creating a game on the PS3 (Still in the writing) and I need to know the right skill I should have in order to create a demo or a part of the game on the PS3.
    > Please answer my question and thank you for the lessons.

    Hello Abdalluh, you wrote:

    what it take to created on the platform PS3... I need to know the right skill I should have in order to create a demo or a part of the game on the PS3.
    Sony won't let you have the SDK to develop on the PS3 unless you're a very experienced game programmer. So first, you have to have a computer science degree, then you need to build a portfolio of PC game demos, then you have to get a job at a game company, then you have to work as a game programmer for several years, then you can go off and start your own company and become a licensed PS3 developer.

    My recommendation, though, is that you make your game for personal computers or mobile devices instead of the PS3, since you had to ask this question. Read FAQ 56 -- you can access the FAQs above left.

    And if you're interested in game development, you should consider a career in games. Read FAQ 7, FAQ 34, FAQ 44, and FAQ 70 for starters.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 5, 2012


    Be my career coach

    >Career Coach
    >[DELETED]
    >Member
    >GDNet+
    >Reputation: 0
    >Warn Status
    >Sent Today, 01:53 AM
    >Hi Tom,
    >I'm Jeff and like most people here, I'm an aspiring game developer specializing in game design and QA. I'm in my last semester of school, going to [DELETED] about to graduate with a degree in Computer Science BA. I'm a high level competitive gamer in League of Legends, World of Warcraft and Starcraft 2.
    >
    >In terms of game industry experience, I don't really have much. I made some connections with some employees at [DELETED], one most notably [DELETED] who is the Design Director of [DELETED]. He tells me he sees a lot of potential in me, but that I need more experience before he'd be willing to make an associate game designer offer to me. He then helped fast track my resume through Quality Assurance in [DELETED]. I flew to LA for the interview but ultimately was rejected.. it was a very hard interview for me since I barely had any experience interviewing
    >
    >Anyway, he suggested I make a high quality iOS game or any type of game to gain experience with design. He told me I could apply for [DELETED] (which is my hometown) as an Associate Platform Engineer. I immediately started networking with one of the platform engineers to gain insight on the position, and he provided me with a ton of useful information that I needed to know in preparation for the interview/position.
    >
    >I'm learning all that I need to now. It is mostly programming. As a CS BA student, I never got into math so much and never liked coding all that much, but I'm going really hard on coding just for this opportunity.
    >
    >I would like your help, and by help I mean a reliable consultant. I know your time is very valuable and you have much to do, but I'm even willing to pay if that is what will get me the right amount of consulting done. Basically I need someone to guide me through all the material that I've been given, give me great advice to excel my career, and weigh in on decisions in regards to game development. Game development goes into a lot of grey area for me sometimes because there is just so much to know but the information is so spread out. This is why I'm seeking help.
    >
    >Please let me know if there are terms we can come to. If there is anything specific you do for pay or anything, please let me know and I'll try to work something out.
    >Thanks for your time!
    >Jeff [DELETED]

    Hi Jeff,
    Your request makes me feel uncomfortable and awkward. Both because of what it is, and the fact that you sent it as a PM on gamedev where I'm a moderator.

    I coach my students at USC, that's part of my job there. I consult for game developers when they need my expertise. I give free career coaching here on my site, and on forums like gamedev, where you PM'd me. But I never heard of paid career coaching by email. And I am not comfortable with charging students the kind of fee I charge professional developers.

    My gamedev sig used to include a request that folks not PM me, but after I became a moderator I wasn't able to find wording that was both suitably short and unobtrusive, and also clear as to my intent and my privacy policy. For a while, I had PMs disabled on that site, but since I am a mod, it was seen as inappropriate, so I recently reenabled PMs. Just now after receiving your PM, I rewrote my gamedev sig to ask people not to PM me (it's probably still woefully inadequate as to my intent and my privacy policy). I've sanitized your PM above because this (this public board) is where I reply to requests like yours when they are not posted on other public boards, and you apparently didn't know that. But there's no way I'd spend as much time on this reply if it was going to be private. If it was meant to be a private reply, it would just say "I don't do that. Email me and I'll reply on my bulletin board." Your email clearly needs more of a reply than that.

    To reply to some of the things you wrote:

    I'm an aspiring game developer specializing in game design and QA... about to graduate with a degree in Computer Science BA... As a CS BA student, I never got into math so much and never liked coding all that much,
    I think it's odd that you pursued a degree in something you don't like all that much, when another degree (one that you liked) would have done as well (or even better); see FAQ 3. However, since you're so close to the degree, of course you should stick with it.

    I need someone to guide me
    I won't be your personal career coach. I'm everybody's impersonal career coach.

    through all the material that I've been given,
    I certainly can't do that!

    give me great advice to excel my career
    I have already done that. Just look through the articles on this site. Click the link above left.

    and weigh in on decisions in regards to game development.
    I won't do that. You've already made your first difficult adult decision (choosing a degree and a college). From here on out, you'll be making a lot of decisions. That's what adult life is all about. I absolutely will not make your decisions for you. My recommendation: the decision grid. See FAQ 70.

    Game development goes into a lot of grey area for me sometimes because there is just so much to know but the information is so spread out.
    I've got it all concentrated right here. And you are welcome to ask questions. I'll answer them on this board.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 4, 2012


    Thank$!

    >From: Steve G
    >Sent: Thursday, February 2, 2012 10:24 AM
    >Subject: Donation Link not working for me...
    >Hi Tom
    >I've tried to donate a little money and the Donate buttons open up
    >blank pages for me :(
    >Figured you should know...
    >(Firefox, latest version, Windows)
    >peace
    >Steve
    >PS:
    >How old are you? 45
    >What's your level of education? Doctor of Design and Communication
    >What's your current occupation? (If student: "student") Teacher - Game
    >Design -100% Online...
    >Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? Teacher
    >in Virtual World (in beta now)
    >And depending on your question, I may need to know what country you
    >live in (where in the world are you?). US, Rural NY, on mountain
    >overlooking a dairy farm...
    >.... and thank you for keeping your site going, my students need more
    >than my advice and your honest views are great...

    Hi Steve,
    I just tested the button in Firefox, latest version, and Windows, latest version. It worked fine. Earlier today, I also tested it in Firefox, latest version, and MacOS, latest version. It worked fine.
    But I appreciate your giving it a try, and I appreciate your kind email. Getting two of these in one day is rare indeed!
    I was raised in Upstate NY, so I nostalgically envy you the view! If you do write me again, I'd love to know where in Upstate U R...

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Groundhog Day, 2012


    Thanks!

    >From: Duncan R
    >Sent: Thursday, February 2, 2012 5:55 PM
    >Subject: Game Industry Q+A - Thanks
    >I understand that, in order for you to give me the best game career advice suited to my unique situation, the first time I write you, you need to know that...
    >My approximate age is: 25
    >The level of education I've completed is: Diploma of Game Development (Art)
    >My occupation is: Student
    >The type of game job I aspire to is: Creative Director/Game Designer/Artists Positions
    >The country I live in is: Australia
    >My game biz question is: Not really a question but a another thanks.
    >Hello Tom,
    >Iím not sure how many thanks messages you receive or if you have time to read or care for them, but I feel compelled to send you one in goodwill for the time and effort to put in to helping aspiring game developers to clear the confusion and find direction in their career goals.
    >Years ago, I was (or maybe still are) a game design wannabe sulking on one of the gamedev or gamecareerguide forums and you showed up and helpfully gave me a verbal slapping. I was intrigued by your attitude and professionalism, and followed a link to your website. I read all of your nicely detailed lessons and it completely changed my outlook. Your advice brought me to the conclusion that I should go back to university, and receive the life-experiences and qualifications it could provide. I already had training at one of those private game design schools, and although I value what I learned there, I was a young and naÔve wannabe who only did Ďenoughí to pass. Now I am glad to say I am one year into my Degree in Communication Design (a fancy way to say Graphic Design) and although it feels distant from my games passions; I want to stick with it.
    >This email was meant to have questions in it but as I thought about them I realised that they were either bad questions, or that I already knew the answer from your lessons, or I could guess what you might have answered, showing that I really already knew the answer. So really this is just a thanks for the things you do.
    >Yours Sincerely,
    >Duncan R

    Hi Duncan,
    I don't receive nearly enough of these. Thanks for asking!

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Tutu, 2012


    Where do I fit in?

    >From: Tom S
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:48 PM
    >Subject: Ad Agency Art Director With a Pipe Dream?
    >Hi Tom,
    >How old are you? 30
    >What's your level of education? High School
    >What's your current occupation? Art Director
    >Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? Whatever
    >fits.
    >And depending on your question, I may need to know what country you live in
    >(where in the world are you?). I live in Canada
    >This may read a bit like a resume and I apologize in advance if it ends up
    >coming across a little long winded but I want to give you as much
    >information to work with as possible.
    >Currently I hold the position of art director for a local advertising
    >agency, we're no DDB but we hold our own locally doing about a million a
    >year with only seven employees.
    >My job entails everything from print and web design to writing for TV and
    >radio commercials, directing video and voice talent and pitching to
    >potential clients.
    >I've also worked as lead designer for an incredibly successful Canadian surf
    >company that distributes clothing and hard goods internationally and has
    >stores in Victoria, Vancouver and New Zealand.
    >Last (and under the circumstances very possibly least) I worked for a local
    >print/postering company designing gig posters and album artwork, I also ran
    >the wide format printer.
    >Not sure if it makes a difference but in all the above fields I'm self
    >taught.
    >Now on to the dirt:
    >A former colleague of mine runs a team of about 30 people at Zynga, he's
    >been doing his best to get me hired, as according to him "no one knows or
    >talks video games like you, we need you here". Unfortunately, due to the
    >headaches involved with hiring someone from Canada, it's been next to
    >impossible for him to follow through.
    >Microsoft recently opened a new game design studio in my local city, they're
    >currently running a skeleton crew but hope to have numbers up to 75 by years
    >end and, with a goal of 150 employees within three years.
    >I feel I have a good shot at some sort of job with them but I'm not entirely
    >sure where I might fit in. I have no experience working in 3D and most of my
    >design work has been on the print end of the spectrum. I've written some
    >great copy and have even voiced some of my own spots.
    >I feel my most valuable asset is that I view and understand video games from
    >both an artistic perspective and a consumer perspective and I understand the
    >strategic mindset needed when creating a consumer product.
    >So where the hell do I stand? Does the video game industry have a place for
    >someone like me or am I destined to forever sit on the sidelines daydreaming
    >of lost contributions?
    >Where (if anywhere) do I fit in?
    >Thanks for your time.
    >~Tom

    Hi Tom. Your email is extremely long, so rather than read the whole thing, I'm just scanning it for question marks.

    Does the video game industry have a place for
    >someone like me or am I destined to forever sit on the sidelines daydreaming
    >of lost contributions?
    That's a false dichotomy. And stop horriblizing the world. You always exaggerate everything so much, the entire universe is going to explode! You need to read some of my FAQs: FAQ 41, FAQ 52, FAQ 47.

    Where (if anywhere) do I fit in?
    Read FAQ 7, FAQ 54, FAQ 65, FAQ 70, FAQ 12, FAQ 40, FAQ 27. Pick what you'd like to do, and just start doing it. The doing can be used to build a portfolio, which can get you a job. After you've done the reading you should have done before contacting me, you can contact me again with follow-up questions. But please keep it brief - I don't need your whole life story. And I won't do your thinking for you.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 26, 2012


    Whoa there Bessie, do I need another major?

    >From: Caleb R
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:39 AM
    >Subject: Psychology student, storyline writer, conflicted heart and conflicted mind.
    > How old are you? I'm 23
    >What's your level of education? over 70 credit hours of college.
    >What's your current occupation? (If student: "student") Student
    >Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? Assuming it is a legitimate position, something in the storyline area as I have been told that I maintain a decent knack for writing despite my overwhelming hatred for reading. I've published a couple things, but they're just piddly poems in scarcely credible books, but I do enjoy the actual process of writing and coming up with stories. I am very much into the details of my stories (usually to a fault) but because of my 'visual-centric' tendencies I think my current project is best suited to a game or movie. I stumbled upon your FAQs while seeking advice on what I could do if I were to get serious about this and I was hoping you could shed some more light on my particular situation, which I will elaborate further below. P.S. I'm particularly (neigh exclusively) interested in the RPG circle of storyline writing.
    >And depending on your question, I may need to know what country you live in (where in the world are you?) U.S.A
    >My question in detail is this: My heart belongs to the video game industry, but my brain belongs to psychology. Is there any way I could potentially bring the 'wife' (psychology) and 'mistress' (video games) into a professional menage a trois where I could maintain my psychology studies but work in the gaming industry? I believe I could apply the psychological principals I learn to enrich my video game designs, but I'm not entirely certain that will be typically feasible with most companies. Also, I have no talent for art and no history in programming--can I get in the door without being artistic (unless you count writing artistic)? With some effort I'm sure I could learn to program, but I can't create a straight line with a ruler. I intend to complete my schooling with the absolute minimum of a masters with the specific intent of a PhD in Psychology if that is at all relevant. Do you recommend I attempt a double major or shall I be doomed to choose between gaming and psychology?

    Hi Caleb, you wrote:

    I'm particularly (neigh exclusively) interested in the RPG circle of storyline writing.
    Then you should read FAQ 32. You can access the FAQs by clicking the FAQs link above left. And it's "nay," not "neigh." "Neigh" is for horses.

    I believe I could apply the psychological principals I learn to enrich my video game designs, but I'm not entirely certain that will be typically feasible with most companies.
    Psychology is very important in both storytelling (writing) and in game design.

    Do you recommend I attempt a double major
    If you want to. Seriously -- major in whatever you want to (read FAQ 40). You can get a job in games, if you just pursue your passions and don't do any of the dumb things listed in FAQ 24. I'm getting the idea that you haven't read many of my articles yet...?

    or shall I be doomed to choose between gaming and psychology?
    That's a false dichotomy. Read FAQ 52.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 24, 2012


    High School Interview

    >From: cole w
    >Sent: Monday, January 23, 2012 3:35 PM
    >Subject:
    >Hello, my name is Cole.
    >I have a few questions I would like to ask you. Thank you for your time.
    >1. Why did you choose to get int video game designing?
    >2. What schools did you attend?
    >3. How difficult was college for you?
    >4. What are the pros and cons of video game designing?
    >5. How long have you been involved in video game designing?
    >6. Are there any intern possibilities for video game designing?
    >7. Where did you start off with video game designing?
    >Thank you for your time.
    >Sincerely,
    >Cole

    Thanks for numbering your questions, Cole.
    Read FAQ 18. You can get to the FAQs by clicking the FAQs link (above left).
    SUNY Fredonia and the University of Cincinnati.
    It wasn't difficult at all; I thrived on college life.
    Read FAQ 37 and FAQ 14.
    Thirty years.
    Rarely. Read FAQ 50.
    Santa Monica, California. Western Technologies.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 23, 2012


    Protecting my IP, part 2

    >From: Josh R
    >Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2012 10:11 AM
    >Subject: Protecting my IP 2
    >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: 20
    >The level of education I've completed is: High school.
    >My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: At this time nothing. but will be going to college soon, if I can afford it that is.
    >The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: I'm unsure at this time but most likely Artist/Designer/Writer.
    >The country I live in is: USA
    >My game biz question is: Okay so since it is a star wars game I can't put any kind of protection I understand this it makes sense. but how do company's (like BioWare for instance who just made a Star Wars MMO) get permission to make those games?
    >Do I need permission to continue to write this GDD? and if I do how would I get it?
    >And my end goal for this GDD is to not make the game until I am actually working for a game company like BioWare for instance.

    Hello Josh, you wrote:

    how do company's (like BioWare for instance who just made a Star Wars MMO) get permission to make those games?
    They contact the IP owner and negotiate for a license. Read that FAQ I pointed you to earlier.

    Do I need permission to continue to write this GDD?
    You don't need permission to write the GDD, but the GDD is never going to go anywhere, and you must never go public with it. Read FAQ 61.

    how would I get [permission]?
    You won't. Read Mona Ibrahim's article on fan fiction (link is in FAQ 61).

    my end goal for this GDD is to not make the game until I am actually working for a game company like BioWare for instance.
    So is your end goal to use the design as a portfolio piece? Because nobody is ever going to make this game you're designing, since it depends on somebody else's IP. Read all the FAQs I pointed you to earlier. And how are you expecting to get a job at BioWare (for instance) without a degree? Read FAQ 24.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    1/22/12


    Protecting my IP

    From: Josh R
    Sent: Saturday, January 21, 2012 10:10 PM
    Subject: Protecting my GDD
    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: 20
    The level of education I've completed is: High school.
    My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: At this time nothing.
    The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: I'm unsure at this time but most likely Artist/Designer/Writer.
    The country I live in is: USA
    My game biz question is: Is it possible to put some kind of protection on my GDD? such as owning the copyright to my GDD and it's story? It's a star wars game if that changes anything but the story and characters are mine. oh and this is off topic but what do I do with my GDD when I'm finished with it?
    Thanks in advance.

    Hello Josh, you wrote:

    My approximate age is: 20
    The level of education I've completed is: High school.
    My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: At this time nothing.
    The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: I'm unsure at this time but most likely Artist/Designer/Writer.
    And you're not in college? Seriously??

    Is it possible to put some kind of protection on my GDD?
    A better question than "is it possible" would be "how do I." Read FAQs 39, 65, and 50. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    It's a star wars game if that changes anything
    Are you kidding? It changes EVERYTHING. You have nothing to protect -- you don't own anything -- if you've written a fan game design. In addition to FAQ 39, read FAQ 61.

    oh and this is off topic but what do I do with my GDD when I'm finished with it?
    This isn't off-topic at all. But you haven't given me the basis of your question (you haven't told me what you plan to do with your design - you haven't told me your end goal). So the best answer I can give you is, "nothing." Put it away, then write another one, and this time write something original instead of using somebody else's IP. Read FAQs 1 and 11. I'm getting the idea that you haven't read any of my FAQs yet - and I'm thinking you might want to.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    1/22/12


    I don't want a career in games - I just want them to make my game idea - part 2

    >From: Patrick R
    >Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2012 9:43 PM
    >Subject: Re: I've read your articles and my query hasn't been answered.
    >Wow. You are very prompt. Thank you very much for answering this quickly. I am typing this during a brief hiatus from rereading your articles. Perhaps I am simply unobservant but I have still yet to find that answer. Do not be concerned, however, as I am sure you are correct and that I am simply in error. I'll go through the articles again and examine each one thoroughly. As a matter of fact I also intend on finding out how marketable my idea may be through your test. Again, I greatly appreciate your swift reply and will continue to follow your advice. Have a good one.

    Wow. You are very polite! Don't skip over section VIII in FAQ 11. It very specifically addresses what you asked. Good luck with whatever non-game career you choose. And although nobody will make your game idea, you should continue coming up with ideas. Creativity is its own reward.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 19, 2012


    I don't want a career in games - I just want them to make my game idea - and your articles do not address this question in the slightest

    >From: Patrick R
    >Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2012 8:46 PM
    >Subject: I've read your articles and my query hasn't been answered.
    >How old are you? 18.
    > What's your level of education? High School.
    > What's your current occupation? (If student: "student") Student.
    > Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? Honestly, I little aspiration for that world.
    > And depending on your question, I may need to know what country you live in (where in the world are you?). USA
    >As aforementioned I've read your articles and none have directly answered my question. My understanding is that the gaming industry is very rigid and unbending when it comes to ideas and concepts for video games. Now, with that in mind, you only seemed to write about scenarios when money was relevant. What if you pitch your idea with absolutely no interest in collecting a profit (I don't care who gets it) but instead try to publish your game only wishing for recognition? I guess I'm an anomaly but truth be told I couldn't care less about getting a share of the money my theoretical game may yield. I'd be content with my name as one of the creative spearheads in the credits and nothing more. Am I to jump through the same amount of hoops and input the same amount of work as someone entering the field looking for a profit? Would doing that just be so unorthodox that it's bound for failure? Thank you. You're welcome to tear me apart.

    Hi Patrick!
    I don't need to tear you apart for writing:

    Honestly, I [have] little aspiration for that world [of game jobs].
    Whoa.

    What if you pitch your idea with absolutely no interest in collecting a profit (I don't care who gets it) but instead try to publish your game only wishing for recognition? I guess I'm an anomaly but truth be told I couldn't care less about getting a share of the money my theoretical game may yield. I'd be content with my name as one of the creative spearheads in the credits and nothing more.
    I absolutely did already answer this in the FAQs. Go look again. Read FAQ 11.VIII. I thought you said you read my articles? (I assume that includes #1 as well? Because I also answered this exact question in there.) (Not tearing you apart. Just saying that your query was is directly answered in my articles.)

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 19, 2012


    A new term for FAQ 28, part 2

    >From: David B
    >Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2012 10:25 AM
    >Subject: Re: New Glossary Term
    >Hi Tom,
    >Well I noticed on the page it said that you didn't mention any games or game companies, so I thought I'd follow suit. I guess I could have made the information available and let you determine what to include.
    >Yeah, it's been a running joke around our school ever since the Youtube videos started surfacing. Now, whenever something goes wrong, FUS-RO-DAH seems to be the thing they say. Gotta admit, it's a better alternative to the expletives that are normally said. Even had an "arrow to the knee" excuse come at me the other day from a student who didn't have his homework ready. Ahhh, gotta love the creativity of some of these students.
    >Well, keep it in mind. Oh, and the glossary is supplemental reading for my students in the Game Art program. Keep it live! =)
    >--
    >Dave Baer

    Hi Dave,
    The disclaimer is mainly intended for thinly disguised marketing attempts, and potentially libelous diatribes, things like that. If you come up with more terms I should add, do let me know!
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 12, 2012


    Tools for the portfolio, part 2

    >From: George R
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 3:14 PM
    >Subject: Thankyou
    >Hello,
    >Thankyou for your response; your answer is very insightful. Your comment about level design makes sense, since mastery of toolsets would be a skill more proper to the level designer than the game designer.
    >- George Ramirez

    You're welcome, George. (^_^)

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    1/11/ 2012


    A new term for FAQ 28

    >From: David Baer
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 2:50 PM
    >Subject: New Glossary Term
    >Hello Sloperama!
    >I think this should be officially added to the glossary now considering its popularity. I know we use it quite often around the office, which is how I came up with the definition.
    >FUS RO DAH - Words from a popular game that summons a powerful force from the speakerís throat. This term is commonly used to show frustration towards an offending piece of hardware, a software crash, or co-worker.
    >--
    >Dave Baer
    >Professor of Digital Media Arts
    >Digital Media Arts College
    >CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: The information contained in this email and any document attached hereto is intended only for the named recipient(s). It is the property of... etc.

    Hi Dave,
    Cool, nice to hear from a fellow professor. You know, you could've said it was from Skyrim, no need to be so circumspect. I haven't gotten that far into the game myself. Or maybe you have to be playing as a certain class/race of character? I chose to adopt the form of a cat-person (I forgot what they're called in Skyrim). But then I got hooked on L.A. Noire. I'll add the term to the glossary when I hear somebody say it here during lab or something. You can tell your students and coworkers you tried. (^_^)
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    1/11/2012
    "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. Etcetera.


    Tools for the portfolio

    >From: George R
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 2:48 PM
    >Subject: Modding for Portfolio Building
    >George Ramirez, 21, University Student Working on Bachelor's
    >Student,
    >Desires to be Game Designer
    >Lives in United States
    >Hello,
    >I have been reading many of your articles and am particularly interested in the portions on building a portfolio before entering the industry. In my spare time I like to work on indepedent projects (mostly modding with the Warcraft 3 editor, sometimes Flash). My goal is to make better use of my time by setting priority to more productive work--work that I could use in a portfolio. I seem to have a tendency to start one project and then moving onto another shortly after; my intuition tells me this would not produce decent portfolio material, especially in light of your emphasis on presenting something that is "eye-popping". Should it be a full game or could a well crafted and polished demo do just as well? Since I cannot expect the employer to have the necessary programs to run some of these mods, would it be a good idea to make a video capturing gameplay? Does it make any impression on the employer what tools one works with, or are all of these things largely unimportant? What is your professional opinion on these matters? Are there any details that an employer looks for in portfolios of prospective game designers that an applicant could easily forget in his work?
    >Thankyou,
    >George R

    Hi George, you wrote:

    Should it be a full game or could a well crafted and polished demo do just as well?
    Quality is more impressive than massive quantity. Show that you can do the job and do it well.

    Since I cannot expect the employer to have the necessary programs to run some of these mods, would it be a good idea to make a video capturing gameplay?
    Yes, if you can't make a fully executable.

    Does it make any impression on the employer what tools one works with
    Yes.

    or are [what tools one works with] largely unimportant?
    Sort of, but no. You can only get access to the tools you can afford to get access to. And to a certain extent when you know how to use one set of tools you can probably easily adapt to other tools, but sometimes they can be picky, and will favor the candidate familiar with the tools they use. But you said you aspire to game design - are you really talking about level design?

    Are there any details that an employer looks for in portfolios of prospective game designers that an applicant could easily forget in his work?
    Yes, I suppose so. But I can't think of any at present.


    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 10, 2012


    I want to intern in audio, part 3

    >From: "vanya66
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 6:13 AM
    >Subject: thanks!
    >Thanks Tom! Now i have goal and 2-3 year plan for accomplishing it, i don`t think that you`re interested in it but i think that i am going e-mail you from time-to-time if i have any questions. You`re site is great! I am going to donate you half of a money from my first work as composer (it`s will be for about 2 years).
    > With best wishes Ivan M


    I want to intern in audio, part 2

    >From: "vanya66
    >Sent: Monday, January 9, 2012 7:55 PM
    >Subject: Question
    >I have another question.
    > 1. If i have plenty of charters, commidents and thanks(i don`t know how it`s called right on english. I am saying about some kind of thanks for volunteer works in kind of big colored sheet of paper with rubber stamp and signed by a principle) from my years in school and others organization does i need to put them into my resume?
    > 2 If needed so where?
    > 3. Is it a good if i were in student asset and were elder of my group in college?
    > Ivan Matkowzky

    Welcome back, Ivan.
    "Commendations" is what I'd call those. I think it would be a good idea to list them.
    In your résumé. I would make a section and title the section "Commendations" or "Recognition" or something like that.
    Of course it is. A student résumé needs all the help it can get, since you can't put professional experience on it.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 9, 2012


    Switching careers

    >From: Will S
    >Sent: Monday, January 9, 2012 7:38 AM
    >Subject: Should I switch to a gaming career?...
    >How old are you? 42
    > What's your level of education? BFA in Communication Design (Advertising & Design)
    > What's your current occupation? (If student: "student") Professional 15 year veteran - Senior Art Director
    > Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? Production Director
    > And depending on your question, I may need to know what country you live in (where in the world are you?). Currently in Dallas, TX - it's my original home, but I have a house in NC and would love to go back.
    >Hi,
    >My name is Will S and I originally got into advertising because it allowed me to vent my creativity in a way that also promised to be very profitable. After doing this for more than 15 years, I have grown tired of an industry that has fizzled since the recent two recessions and is delivering very little these days. I started to go the web route, but find coding to be very boring - and I need to know about 5 different types of coding to be really good.
    >I recently decided to look into a Masters degree in Game Design and Development, in hopes of moving towards becoming a Production Director or Producer (not quite sure what the title is called). My wife's fear is that I will spend 2 years and a lot of money and not have much of a salary hike.
    >My question is: What do you think? Is this a good path to follow? And what is your estimation of what I could expect to make Year 1, Year 2, etc.?
    >I appreciate any feedback you can provide!
    >Best,
    >Will S

    Hi Will, you wrote:

    Should I switch to a gaming career?...
    Personally, I abhor the whole Las Vegas scene myself. But hey, whatever floats your boat.

    current occupation? (If student: "student") Professional 15 year veteran - Senior Art Director... I recently decided to look into a Masters degree
    Dude, you really don't need one. But if you want, do it for the learning -- not for the piece of paper.

    hopes of moving towards becoming a Production Director or Producer (not quite sure what the title is called).
    Read FAQ 42. You can get to the FAQs above left.

    My wife's fear
    Is it a "fear" really? Or would she prefer that you refer to it as a "point raised as a potential con"?

    is that I will spend 2 years and a lot of money and not have much of a salary hike... what is your estimation of what I could expect to make Year 1, Year 2, etc.?
    Read the 2011 Game Industry Salary Survey. I have a link to the latest salary survey in my Game Biz Links page, or you can just Google it using the exact words I used here.

    Is this a good path to follow?
    Not if it will cause marital discord! Maybe you can break in to the game industry (note: not "gaming" industry) without the masters degree. Read FAQ 41.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 9, 2012


    I want to intern in audio

    >From: "vanya66
    >Sent: Sunday, January 8, 2012 12:53 PM
    >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: 17
    >The level of education I've completed is: high school
    >My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: studen of College of music and arts
    >The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: sound artist
    >The country I live in is: Ukraine
    >My game biz question is: I want to get internship to some company after my graduating from college as an sound artist . Is it possible if I studing now for such specializations:
    >- conductor of traditional instruments orchestra
    >- classical guitar player
    >- guitar teacher
    >- maker of culture events
    >I am studing on my own composition, work with programs and can speak freely on english. Or maybe it`s bad idea with internship, but i still want to work in such direction and i working now for achieve that. I hope that You could answer this question and i realy appreciate Your work on your site it`s opened my eyes on some topics, but not on all.
    > Matkovcky I

    Hello Matkovcky, you wrote:

    I want to get internship to some company after my graduating from college as an sound artist . Is it possible
    Yes. Look on the game company map sites (see my Game Biz Links, above left) and see if there are any game companies in Ukraine. Then research their games, their credits. Learn everything you can learn about nearby companies.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 8, 2012


    Need contract templates

    >From: Juan [DELETED]
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 7:08 AM
    >Subject: Game consulting question
    >Dear Tom,
    >After learning from your website and creating games for about 11 years, I turned a game consultant, specially on game design and usability. Not pretending to be as "big" and exerienced as you, I am asking you a question that may be a bit difficult to answer. I started my own initiative and can legally work as consultant, freelance work now. But I am haing a lot of problems finding contract models for consultancy services like mine, for the game industries. I am afraid I have not much money for paying a lawayer for now until I get paid by clients -I have one now, or can have it if I write an appropiate contract-, so I am stuck now. So, my question is: is there any place where to download a standard contract for consultancy services for the game industry. Maybe you had the same problem back in the early days, but the problem is money now for me -bad times in my country with this-.
    >What can I do?
    >I really appreciate your help and always recommend your site.
    >Thanks!
    > Any advice would be appreciated!
    >Juan [DELETED]
    >Twitter: [DELETED]
    >--
    >This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which they are addressed. [DELETED]

    Hi Juan,
    I'm having the same trouble finding work as you. And as inadvisable as it is to write your own contracts, I have some sample templates at http://sloperama.com/downlode/contracts/
    Sorry if you intended this to be a private communication.
    Good luck to you.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 4, 2012

    --
    "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. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes permission for your email to be made public.


      Color key


        Blue = an FAQ, a question that's been asked frequently or is answered with a frequently given answer.
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        Black = none of the above. Regular question or comment.

    CLICK HERE to read older Q&A postings!


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