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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.


  • About dress codes, hairstyles, etc.

    > From: Armada H
    > Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2013 1:08 PM
    > Subject: Question-Apperance-ChrisHobbs
    > Hi Tom, my name is Chris and this will be the first time I've emailed you, so here are the answers to your 5 questions
    > Age: 23 years
    > Education: Bachelor of Fine Art
    > Current OCC: In-House Artist for parents publishing and consulting firm(because I actually can improve their commercial appearance and have proved it several times)
    > Game Writer, Concept Artist, or any other creative part. Really enjoy storytelling, through any medium.
    > Alberta-Canada/Midlands-England-Have 2 passports so can live anywhere in either and I am willing to move out of my own pocket.
    > So I have read all your FAQ's and I finally have come up with a question that I don't believe you have answered anywhere, and that is about appearance. From what I've learned about business from my parents appearance is key in an interview, as you need to convince the interviewer that they can work with you, and that you'd be a productive member of their team. The problem is that this changes from industry to industry, and while in high level business you need to dress in suits and look like "a boring office worker" other industry's are less strict. And young people who are hiring are more accepting of strange or liberal attitudes than older people.
    > I have tried to find a nice middle ground, and I wear shirts and pants that are high quality, and look professional when tucked in, the only liberal part of my appearance being my shoulder length curly hair (Unusual on a male), In school I tended to be called conservative, but I was surrounded by extremely liberal artists who went all out with pink hair, piercings, tattoos, and extremely unusual clothes
    > So my question is what is the level of appearance that Game Design Company's would be more likely to hire, so that I, and the others who read this, have an idea as to how to dress. In my case my parents insist that I cut my hair short, but from the photo's I've seen of those already in the industry there is a good mix from every appearance, and I don't think that hair length will be an issue as long as I show up clean well kept.
    > Thanks for giving so much useful information.
    > Chris Hobbs BFA

    Hi Chris,
    You described how you dress day-to-day normally, but nobody cares about that in the game industry. I wrote about how to dress for a game job interview in FAQ 4. Did you miss that, or were you only asking whether your usual mode of dress, hairstyle, tattoos, and piercings (or absence thereof) are going to be a problem? What matters is how you dress at the interview (or whenever you make your first impression on a hirer); how you dress day-to-day on the job...? Nobody cares.

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

    March 28, 2013
    Game Developers Conference, San Francisco, California, USA


    Some GameDev.net thankyous

    >Thank you so much!
    >0ri0n83
    >Member
    >Reputation: 101
    >0 warning points
    >Sent Today, 09:51 PM
    >I know you're probably wondering;
    >1. Who on god's Earth is this person?
    >2. Why is she thanking me? What did I do?
    >To answer your question: You wrote. You wrote about what it's like in the gaming industry objectively, with an open mind, and with a ton of passion. I was all geared up to write an eight paragraph long thing in the "Breaking into the Industry" forum tab question about my troubles and woes, but then I thought about what you had written as it finally began to sink in. It's well written, and very comprehensive. It's helped me a lot in thinking about what do "I" really want out of the industry, and more importantly how am I going to be able to make my dreams that much more a reality. I will continue to peruse your site, since it is well made and I am already a member to help current and future generations with their video game industry needs and questions. Have a wonderful night, and good day. Thanks! smile.png


    >A gentlemen, and a scholar.
    >iGoogleThis
    >Member
    >Reputation: 170
    >0 warning points
    >Sent 20 March 2013 - 07:55 PM
    >Has anyone ever mentioned that you give awesome advice? They're wrong. You give THE BEST advice! Just saying, thanks.
    >Chris L

    I appreciate that. Both of you deserve a politeness achievement. Here's one for each of you.


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

    Game Developers Conference - San Francisco, California, USA
    March 27, 2013


    Please jump in on my GameDev thread

    > From: Sarunas S
    > Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2013 4:42 PM
    > Subject: Very sorry to disturb, advice would be highly appreciated
    > Hi, I know that you have way better things to do , but could you please take a look at this thread at GameDev if you have a spare minute: http://www.gamedev.net/topic/640589-cant-figure-out-an-unique-and-exciting-idea-for-a-computing-project/
    > I really need some help and advice on this from an expert, if you could drop down a couple words, I would be really grateful .
    > Sorry again for bothering and Thank You

    Sarunas,
    The forums I frequent on GameDev are Game Design, Business and Law, Production and Management, Breaking into the Industry, and I occasionally look in on For Beginners, Writing, or the Lounge. If your post wasn't in one of those forums, I'm probably not going to be interested in participating in the discussion. Even when a post is in one of my usual forums, I always reserve the right to pick and choose which ones to participate in. And as I wrote in my stock reply email, when someone PMs or EMs me, this board is where I reply.
    Based on the subject line of your thread, you're having either a decision-making problem or a creativity problem. If the problem is you can't decide, then make a decision grid (FAQ 70 here on my site). If the problem is you can't think of anything, get a Roger Von Oech book (see FAQ 8) and get creative. Good luck with your project.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 21, 2013


    Board game project for school

    > From: Risha F
    > Sent: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 1:00 PM
    > Subject: School work
    > Hello my name is Risha and I was wondering if you could give me any advice when it comes to game boards and there design for a school project?

    Sure, Risha.
    I wrote an article about board game design and another article about making game cards. For the most part, the articles assume you already have an idea, and want to go ahead and make a copy of the game. If you don't already have an idea for what you want to do, let me know and I'll talk about that. The articles you want to read are number 20 (board games) and 38 (card games). Click the FAQs link above left, or go to http://sloperama.com/advice.html and click #20 or #38.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 19, 2013


    School interview project, rev 2.0

    > From: Brandon F
    > Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 11:22 PM
    > Subject: RE: Contact with Game Designer
    > Thank you for your reply it really helped me out with my project.

    You're welcome, Brandon. It's somewhat rare to actually get a thank-you back from student interviewers. You earned an achievement.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 13, 2013


    School interview project

    > From: Brandon F
    > To: tomster at sloperama
    > Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 9:29 PM
    > Subject: Contact with Game Designer
    > From: brandonf
    > To: contact at bioware
    > Subject: Contact withGame Designers
    > Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2013 21:44:08 -0600
    > Hi my name is Brandon F I am currently enrolled in the third year of the Motion Picture Arts Program at Red Deer College in Red Deer Alberta. For one of my assignments I must research imaging technologies related to film. I have taken on Game design and I was wondering if there is any way to get into contact with you and ask few questions mainly:
    > How has technology affected your work?
    > How did you get your start?
    > What do you see as major trends in the future?
    > Thank you and I hope I can get a response soon.
    > Brandon F

    Hello, Brandon. You asked:

    How has technology affected your work?
    Seriously? I use computers to write my game designs, to research my game designs, to write my game budgets, for communicating with clients and game developers... pretty much everything!

    How did you get your start?
    Read http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson18.htm

    What do you see as major trends in the future?
    Increasing sales via downloads rather than brick-and-mortar stores. No surprise there. Increasing platforms (not fewer platforms), including wearable platforms akin to Google Glass and the work Valve is doing.

    Good luck with your project. Has Bioshock replied to you yet? Not a good idea to have let me see that you weren't asking only me -- not very flattering to me.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 12, 2013


    Two choices: India and California

    > From: Paarth G
    > Sent: Monday, March 11, 2013 1:46 AM
    > Subject: What to do?
    > Name : Paarth
    > Age : 20
    > Occupation : student
    > Location : India
    > Which place would you recommend me to work? India or California? Because I feel that California gives me a variety of companies to go to whereas in India, All the video game companies have shutdown and many employees were left unpaid.
    > I know this is up to me to decide about this but people keep telling that America is a land of opportunity and so I'm confused.

    Paarth, the only way I could give you an opinion would be to make your decision grid for you - to do your life research for you. Even if I wanted to, I wouldn't be able to.
    Also, you asked a classic Two-Choices question, ignoring other lands of opportunity, like China for instance, and Europe. You say India is not a land of opportunity? I do not believe that.
    You say every Indian game company has failed and shut down. I find that hard to believe. If I encounter anybody from an Indian game company at GDC later this month, I will know you were lying to me and to yourself. I think it's likely that after one company fails, another sprouts up, smarter and stronger.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 11, 2013


    Should I get a Bachelors?

    > From: N K
    > Sent: Sunday, March 3, 2013 9:33 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: 19
    > The level of education I've completed is: Associates in Game Art/Design at Community College
    > My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: Student
    > The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: Level Designer/Future Producer roles
    > The country I live in is: USA
    > My Name: Nick
    > My game biz question is:
    > Hello,
    > I graduate with my associates in Game Art/Design in May. I am now at a crossroads and need to decide where to go next. As you have stated in your articles, a 4-year degree is critical. I have considered going to a "Game School" but as you also have said, going into massive debt just for the game school is not wise. I have been weighing my options and I'm now thinking about getting a Bachelors in Business or another discipline at a traditional 4-year college (Transfer). Is this a good decision? What do you think I should do next? I appreciate any and all advice you can give me.
    > Thanks,
    > Nick

    Hi, Nick.
    I love this question! Yes, you should get a bachelors degree, transferring credits from your associates degree. You already have an associates in a game-related topic, so now you can get your bachelors degree in any topic you like. Business would be fine.
    And in your spare time, you can start working on a game portfolio. But never forget that while you are in school, your studies are job 1. The portfolio has to be job 2, until you get a job (then the job becomes job 1). But I suppose I'm rambling now.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 3, 2013


    Click my suspicious link and get some sushi

    > From: John C
    > Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2013 10:56 AM
    > Subject: Will trade sushi for advice
    > Hi Tom
    >If you must post this feel free. Who knows someone may get a good laugh out of it.
    >Thanks for taking a moment to read the attached.
    >John C
    > John has a file to share with you on SkyDrive. To view it, click the link below.
    > tom sloper letter.pdf

    I like sushi, John, but not enough to follow a suspicious link and/or open a suspicious PDF.
    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 28, 2013


    I don't know what to do once I graduate

    > From: Paarth G
    > Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 5:25 AM
    > Subject: Any companies you know I can work in california?
    > Name : Paarth
    > Age : 20
    > Location : India
    > Occupation : Student
    > I know this is odd to ask but do you know any game companies in California. The thing is I want to start where its quite simple instead of making HD graphics and stuff and I thought that small companies that can't afford high quality graphics at the moment might be a best place for me. I tried asking Nintendo but Nintendo instead tells me to find some other companies because they already have tons of games to make and employment in Nintendo of America is limited.
    > I currently don't know what skills I have. I'm basically average and while I know its something that is unlucky to be, I really don't know what to do once my graduation is complete.

    Paarth, you wrote:

    do you know any game companies in California.
    http://gamedevmap.com/
    http://gameindustrymap.com/
    http://sloperama.com/advice/m72.htm

    I thought that small companies that can't afford high quality graphics at the moment might be a best place for me... I'm basically average
    Then you aren't ready to look for a job yet. You need to polish your skills and build a portfolio. FAQ 12.
    http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson12.htm

    I currently don't know what skills I have.
    Then you cannot sell yourself. FAQ 27.
    http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson27.htm

    I tried asking Nintendo
    That's "stupid overreaching." FAQ 24.
    http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson24.htm

    I really don't know what to do once my graduation is complete.
    It's as if you have forgotten that this website has more than just this Q&A board. I have a lot of articles that answer questions you're asking. You should read some more, and start thinking, and make a decision grid. Consider seeking a job in India. Consider that maybe Indian game companies will want to see a stronger portfolio. Consider that maybe you need to take a job to earn an income and gain work experience while continuing to polish your portfolio in your spare time. Consider several different options, their pros and cons, and your thinking process will become clearer as you analyze your options in a systematic manner.
    http://sloperama.com/advice/m70.htm

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 27, 2013


    I don't want to play games outside of my taste

    > From: Paarth G
    > Sent: Monday, February 25, 2013 4:11 AM
    > Subject: Do I need to play all video game genres?
    > Name: Paarth
    > Location : India
    > Occupation : Student
    > Age : 20
    > Do I need to play/know all video game genres to be a game designer? Because today my teacher told me that if I only think about making games only for Nintendo and nothing else, I can't be a game designer. Why is that? For something that I don't know how to play but should get used to it and later on start hating it is worse than atleast liking what genre to make that I love mostly.

    Namaste, Paarth. Long time no see.
    Imaginary scenario: you're working as a game designer, and there's a design problem (let's say it's the best way to allow users to fire a targeted projectile while also steering a vehicle), and one of your team members says "what's the problem? Why don't you just use the scheme they used in Roly Gralo?" You wouldn't know thing one about that game, because Roly Gralo (a made-up title) was never developed for any Nintendo platform. You would need to go check it out and see how its control scheme could be applied to the Nintendo.

    Your teacher is right. You can't skip learning about areas outside your narrow interest. Music students are required to learn about classical music and early American jazz, and unusual musical scales, even if they only want to become the next Lady Gaga or Adele. Art students are required to learn about classical painting and impressionism, and working in chalk and stone - even if they just want to become masters of 3D printing or video game art.

    Instead of regarding your teacher as a clueless backwoods dolt, you should open your mind and learn the good things he has to teach you. You should widen your vision, check out games on other game consoles, and also play mobile games and Facebook games. You don't need to be a Starcraft II addict; you just need to expand your repertoire. The good craftsman has a lot more tools than just a hammer.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 25, 2013


    School interview project

    > From: Allison G
    > Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 1:38 PM
    > Subject: 8th Grade Career Project: Interview questions
    > Hello Mr. Sloper,
    > How old are you? 14 years old
    > What's your level of education? 8th grade
    > What's your current occupation? (If student: "student") student
    > Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? Video Game Art & Design
    > And depending on your question, I may need to know what country you live in (where in the world are you?). US of A
    > I am in 8th grade working on a career project. With deep thought I have chosen Video Game Art & Design. The basic questions like; How much can you make? What are the hours? What is the potential growth of the career in 5-10 years? Those I researched and answered through the web but there are those questions that just can not be answered. Unless you ask someone that is there and doing it. This is how I found you and hope that you can help in completing with answering my questions below. Thank you so much for your time and look forward to your response.
    > Q&A (opinion seeking)
    > 1. In your opinion what game genre has the best graphic's?
    > 2. In a strategy game should the characters complement/represent the world/ landscape or differ from it? Example: Command & Conquer Red Alert 3; The Russian's looked Russian
    > 3. Is appearance important for a characters personality?
    > 4. Should a games graphics be as good as the game play? Do you ever feel there is a suitable compromise?
    > Thanks,
    > Logan

    Hi, Logan.
    I don't think this question is answerable. Genres and graphic quality cannot be correlated that way. And besides, "best" is subjective.
    Of course the characters should "fit" in the game's universe. It would be jarring to have your C&C Russians as characters in Super Mario Smash Brothers or in Little Big Planet. The art director of a game always strives to have a unified style for the characters, the objects and vehicles, and the universe's landscape or environments.
    Yes. Humans are largely visually oriented.
    I don't understand this correlation between graphics and gameplay that you're drawing, and I don't know what you mean about compromising between the two. Here's why I say that. The #1 most important aspect of a game is that it absolutely MUST be fun. Running a very close second, a game must also look great.
    [Added an hour or so later] No game designer should ever settle for a not-so-fun game. No art director should ever settle for a not-so-good-looking game. And I cannot think of any reason why one should have to yield to, or depend on, the other.
    Good luck with your project.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 21, 2013


    Looking 4 advice 2

    > From: Joshua B
    > Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 7:47 AM
    > Subject: Re: Heading Into College and Looking For Advice -Joshua B
    > Tom,
    > Thanks again for answering my questions, I really appreciate it!
    > I just had a few more questions and wanted to clarify one of my last questions.
    > For my last question number 7 by "researching" I meant playing games and analyzing their strong and weak points, reading books on game design, reading experiences/advice from professionals (such as yourself), and watching actual development teams working on a project.
    > As such, my better questions is:
    > 1. How much time do you think I should spend learning and gaining advice from professionals in the industry compared to actually working on developing my skills? I know that they are both important, but I tend to spend more time reading/watching rather than doing.
    > 2. Do you know of any sites other than IGDA and Gamasutra where I can obtain advice and experiences from professionals? I have been watching the Double Fine livestreams as well keeping up with the development process of Obsidian's "Project Eternity" but I am looking for any places full of professionals that I may have missed.
    > 3. Adding on to the one above, do you know of any places where I can find the firsthand experiences of Indie Devs? I want to try and learn from their experiences so that I know what some common problems and challenges they face are. Indie Game: The Movie was only marginally helpful.
    > Another question about Kickstarter.
    > 4. How do you see Kickstarter affecting the industry in the long run?
    > Thanks,
    > Joshua B

    Good morning, Joshua.
    School studies are your job #1 until you have your degree. Priority #2 is building a portfolio (through application of your time in building games, or, alternatively, specialized portions of games). Networking is priority #3 until you have a portfolio, when networking must vie with portfolio-building for top honors.
    Yes. I do.
    Yes. I do.
    I suppose some successful products will come out of Kickstarter beginnings.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    2/13/13


    Looking 4 advice

    > From: Joshua B
    > Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 5:51 PM
    > Subject: Heading Into College and Looking For Advice -Joshua B
    > Name: Joshua B
    > Age: 17
    > Occupation: Student
    > Desired Career: Graphic/ 2-Dimensional Designer, for games preferably.
    > Fantasy Dream Job: Aforementioned career but with a lot of creative control AKA Owner of an indie studio or part of a flat-model team like at Valve.
    > Location: The jackpot of locations, Bay Area California.
    > Tom,
    > I am currently finishing up high-school and am going to move into a four year university one year earlier than normal and I am currently trying to make the most of this opportunity. I currently have plans to meet several people in the games industry and have even practiced writing a GDD. I have also obtained work experience and am even working as a background designer for a small fan-made game in development. My family has a decent income, though money is still an issue, and I have peripheral passions in biology and philosophy. The college I am looking to attend is the California College of the Arts.
    > My Questions:
    > 1. Do you believe that the opportunities presented at a private art school are worth putting oneself into a moderate (50K - 100k) amount of debt for?
    > 2. How will debt this affect me if I don't get a good job out of college and how would I go about recovering?
    > 3. Does a state university usually offer less opportunities (Jobs, internships, connections, etc.) than a private university or is that just a myth?
    > Kickstarter has been very popular recently and I have several questions relating to it as I am planning on potentially funding some games through it in the distant future. You haven't talked about it in any of your Q&A's and I would love to hear your opinion on it.
    > 3. What do you believe are the necessary prerequisites that a team of developers/game must have in order to get funded on Kickstarter?
    > 4. Do you believe Kickstarter is a reliable way to fund games?
    > 5. If I form together a makeshift team during college and make a prototype of a game, do you believe Kickstarter would be a smart way for us to fund our game?
    > 6. How would you rank Connections, Skill, and Money, in importance when trying to land a good job in the game business?
    > 7. Once in a while I begin to think that I don't practice art enough and spend too much time "researching" instead of actually doing. Do you have any idea of how I should balance research with practice?
    > 8. I also have a problem of not always finishing the projects I start. What are some motivational tips you use to help you finish projects?
    > 9. What are some common pitfalls that trap wannabes like me during their college years?
    > 10. Should I attend GDC as early and as often as possible? Or should I wait until I am in college and have a decent resume to show people?
    > 10. What exactly happened to you when you wore a necktie to GDC?
    > Thanks,
    > Joshua B

    Hi, Joshua. Thanks for numbering your questions for me.
    "Worth" is subjective. Read FAQ 66.
    I can't answer those questions.
    No.
    Yes.
    Experience, reliability, a great pitch, and a solid business plan.
    It can be, depending on the pitch and the plan.
    Probably not.
    You don't need money to get a job. You need a great resume and portfolio first, then connections can help once you've taken care of the essentials first.
    No, because I don't know what you "mean."
    "I need to eat."
    "I'll just do a half-assed job on this assignment."
    "Early" isn't essential. "Often" means "every year," and "yes."
    You can do that. But not many people will want to look at your resume if you're still a student.
    I was not greeted with smiles and warm handshakes. This was 1987, the conference was very small then. It was called CGDC then (add "Computer" in front of "GDC"), and it was mostly a conference of programmers of computer games who looked down their noses at video games. Besides that, it said "Atari Corp." on my badge, and these programmers were very indy-minded, and no fans of the Tramiel family. So I can't really lay it all on my necktie.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 12, 2013


    How to get clients?

    > From: Ciei D
    > Sent: Friday, February 8, 2013 5:07 AM
    > Subject: Question for Tom Sloper
    > 1. I'm 27 years old.
    > 2. Self taught
    > 3. Designer
    > 4. I want to work in the cg-industry, doing what I love to do. Working
    > this area and to give all mytime. The issue is that I do not know how
    > to attract the attention of the customer to start to move forward.
    > 5. I live in Russia.
    >
    > Hi Tom. My name is Roman, I'm left-handed ^ _ ^ I'm 27 by a regular
    > designer. My profession is Manager of hotel service. My hobby while
    > studying was drawing. I have no art education. My mom is an artist and
    > my love in the art of conveying what Mom. I drew everything that comes
    > to my mind, and even drew a doujinshi manga Kodansha competition which
    > failed. I was obsessed with drawing in the anime style. Then worked
    > for a year on television, Video Editing. After beginning to make their
    > short film on its mini manga style Makoto Shinkai, but gave up because
    > they do not know the details on the size of the pictures and in what
    > resolution do that then bring in the desired resolution.
    > Since 2010, became interested in 3d. Independently mastered software
    > for modeling and sculpting, engaged in the development in this
    > direction. In my free time from work, I dedicate all the time to his
    > favorite cause. I decided to dedicate himself to the game industry.
    > Sometimes i worked as a freelancer in printing. But finding something
    > worth while related to 3D and even with the focus on the game
    > characters and design could not. I had only one request from Germany
    > and allrights to the character I gave the customer. In order to
    > express myself. We have found the programmer who wrote to us site. But
    > after a while we had some piece of histransform itself, as it does not
    > suit us engine. My girlfriend had studied the language for writing
    > site. After she wrote the site by making it as partfolio our works.
    > Naturally every job and signed up a logo to us could tell the
    > difference.) Since I learned the program in which I'm now working. I
    > wrote the 13 lessons on ZBrush. I wrote about that are not online,
    > that what is not said and not discussed in the video lessons. The
    > forum opened ZBrush post first works. Post the new work there and on
    > their website. I also write a blog in Blogger to attract attention. My
    > wish and dream remained. Work for myself and do what I like and does
    > not sit in an office where I do not shape up, but only degrade in
    > design.
    >
    > I apologize for the long letter.
    > Thank you for taking the time this letter.
    > Thank you for your site and become an experience that you give
    > everyone who came here.
    > Regards Roman.

    Здравствуйте, Roman. You wrote:

    The issue is that I do not know how
    > to attract the attention of the customer to start to move forward.
    You described a lot of things that you have done; I think you are doing the right things. You should always keep a sample of the work that you do, so you can include a sample in your portfolio. It's not unusual that it is going slowly. You just have to keep building your portfolio, and you need to network. I don't know if there is an IGDA chapter in your area -- the IGDA Chapters forum is semi-dormant. If there is no game developers networking group in your area, you should start one. Read my article on Networking, and subscribe to Gamasutra and GamesIndustry International. Start planning to attend game industry events in Europe. Good luck!

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 8, 2013


    School interview project, part 2

    > From: Jeremy H
    > Sent: Friday, February 1, 2013 7:03 PM
    > Subject: Questions
    > Thanks for allowing me to interview you for my assignment. Here are the questions and I might have more once I get the answers.
    > 1). When you were a producer did you have any input on the designs or did you just follow the instructions and managed the design and production?
    > 2). Since they didn't have the degree's for video games 30 years ago. What was your major and how did it help you get into the gaming [sic] industry?
    > 3). What projects were you involved in when you were working in the industry?
    > 4). What were your actually responsibilities or your every day workload when you were a designer and producer?
    > 5). How many different companies have you worked for or with? Were there certain environments you preferred to work in?

    Hi, Jeremy. You wrote:

    and I might have more once I get the answers.
    Yay. To respond to your numbered questions:

    I think you misspoke when you used the phrase "follow the instructions" (the phrase has no bearing on a producer's job). There were times when there was an existing design, or the developer created the design and I didn't need to interfere. Some examples are "Tombs and Treasure" for the Nintendo Entertainment System (ported from the original Japanese game), and "Sargon V" for personal computers (a design that had been written before I took over the project). And then there were times when I needed to get involved with the design. Some examples are "Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2" for the PC (a very funny graphical adventure game designed by Steve Meretzky -- the company was in bad financial condition and the script needed to be shortened, so I edited it), and "Shanghai II: Dragon's Eye" for the SNES (a Japanese company had created the game before I took over the project, and the UI was inconsistent between the two major play modes). And there were times when I was both the designer and producer: mainly I'm speaking of "Shanghai: Great Moments," "Shanghai: Dynasty," and "Shanghai: Second Dynasty."
    I majored in Speech & Drama (theater). It didn't exactly "help" get me into the game industry. I took a very indirect path after graduation, that eventually and asymptotically led me into games a decade later.
    It's a very long list. I'm not going to paste it into this reply for you. You can do that yourself. Please click the link to "List of Tom's Games" above left, or go to http://sloperama.com/business/prodlist.htm. (Note that the page was recently infected by a Trojan horse virus, but I have cleaned it. So if you get a warning and the warning is bypassable, just bypass it.)
    There were meetings, job candidate interviews, a lot of writing, and a lot of playing games. Read FAQs 14 and 42 (the links are above left).
    I worked for Western Technologies, Sega, Rudell Design, Atari, and Activision. I also consulted for Mastiff, Yahoo, and Naked Sky.
    I preferred to produce external developers.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 3, 2013


    School interview project, part 6

    > From: "alexise1999
    > Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2013 5:13 PM
    > Subject: sorry for bugging you
    > sorry fro bugging you again but its the pearson that interview you and i need your help my teacher said we need something to bring in related to our topic and i dont know what to bring in for game designning do you have any suggestions?

    I suggest you print out a game design document (GDD) to take to class. If I recall correctly, you're not very good at using the internet (if I remember wrongly, please accept my apology), so here - I'm handing you some links right here:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/53563149/Grand-Theft-Auto-Design-Document
    http://gamasutra.com/features/20070220/bateman_01.shtml
    http://tiny.cc/5b8tf
    Good luck, Alexis.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    1/31/13


    Deep thought about level design

    > From: Dane W
    > Cc: Dane W
    > Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2013 7:32 AM
    > Subject: Game Design Bulletin Board Questions
    > 1. I am 32 years old.
    > 2. I am in my 4th year of College. I have one year left on a B.A. in Game, Art, and Design.
    > 3. I am a Father, a Student, a Level Designer on a Mod Team, and I work in a warehouse. Those are my jobs.
    > 4. I aspire to be a Level Designer. I have devoted much of my schooling and personal time to focus as much as possible on honing skills in this area. The Mod Team I am on is attempting to become an Indie company so it might be a way to get grandfathered into the Industry.
    > 5. I am in Dallas, TX.
    > Hello Tom,
    > First, let me say thank you for being available to ask questions to. I normally would not ask and I would do my own research or ask someone I know. However, I have to do an Interview for school and a friend of mine in the Industry does not check his Emails very often and time is running out. In other words, I need someone to conduct this interview on. Either way, I just wanted to say Thank You and let you know that I would just look up the answers myself if it was not needed for me to ask them.
    > One more thing, Since I aspire to be a Level Designer I have tailored my questions to focus on that. I hope this is acceptable for you.
    > Q1. We want our consumers to enjoy what we produce, with that said, what would you consider to be the most important aspect for creating fun Levels (Level layout, Pacing, Flow. please explain why it is so vital to the fun factor)?
    > Q2. Enemy encounters are one of the most rewarding elements of game play, how would you utilize the environment to pull the player out into a confrontation with bots (maybe bait them, or make them feel comfortable going into the area)?
    > Q3. If multiple Routes exist in a Level how do you help guide the player to their destination?
    > Q4. What do you consider the most rewarding part of the job in Game or Level Design?
    > Q5. The audiences needs are always first and since I have blown through my share of Graphics cards what would be your suggestions on economizing the performance impact upon the user PC while still delivering gorgeous work?
    > Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions.
    > Sincerely,
    > Dane

    Hi, Dane.
    I admire the gumption of someone who finally buckles down to get that degree a bit later in life. Good on you. But I'm afraid that you've asked me a bunch of questions outside my area of expertise. I'm not a level designer, and I can't help but wonder if your Q5 might be just an in-my-face because I'm an old guy. [Edit] On the other hand, maybe you're simply asking, "What minimum graphics card specs should I expect from my end users?" [/edit]
    I can make a stab at a couple of your questions, though:

    what would you consider to be the most important aspect for creating fun Levels (Level layout, Pacing, Flow.
    By way of parable, let me turn it around and ask you a question. What would you consider to be the most important aspect of an automobile windshield: that it be transparent, or that it keep wind, rain, snow, hail, and occasional bits of flying gravel out of your face?

    The point: It may be that one of those is a tad more "important" than the other. But the other is not to be given short shrift.

    If multiple Routes exist in a Level how do you help guide the player to their destination?
    I'm not a level designer. But I've played a lot of games. You should, too. Look carefully at how the game guides you to the next place. In the current crop of games, take a look at Assassin's Creed III, Epic Mickey 2, Skyrim, Spec Ops, Unfinished Swan, and Dishonored.

    What do you consider the most rewarding part of the job in Game or Level Design?
    It's a tough call between (a) the fun of making a game that others can enjoy, and seeing them enjoy it, and (b) the sheer delight of working with programmers, artists, producers, testers, and other designers.

    All the best to you and your mod team, Dane.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 31, 2013


    Hey admin,

    > From: "james@intelligentguys.com"
    > Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2013 2:55 AM
    > Subject: Found Broken Link in your site
    > Hey admin,
    > I was browsing your website and I noticed you have a broken link. You can find it on http://www.sloperama.com/advice/faq61.html and it?s the gamedailybiz link.
    > As an avid reader of http://www.sloperama.com/, I love reading anything you write about and anything you link out to. Sadly I couldn?t find the article you were trying to link to, but I did happen to find another good webpage on the same topic? http://www.bgames.com/. You should check it out and if you like it, you probably want to switch out the links.
    > I know you are busy and probably get millions of emails a day, but hopefully this one was helpful. I just wanted to help you out for once as your site is quite interesting.
    > Cheers,
    > James Wilson
    > james@intelligentguys.com

    James,
    I appreciate the chance to fix a broken link. That article on the old gamedaily site is still archived at the Wayback Machine, so I was able to swap out the old link for information on how to find the article that way.
    But seriously -- the link you suggested I substitute for the broken link? bgames.com is just some game aggregator site you want me to direct traffic to. Like you thought I would just substitute your link without looking at it first to see if there really was a useful article on "Intellectual Property in the Brave New World of User-Created Games" there? You SEO scammer spammer guys make me sick.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 24, 2013


    Thanks for the interview

    > From: Aileen K
    > To: zack; paul; tom
    > Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 7:43 PM
    > Subject: Thank You :)
    > Hello again!
    > I just wanted to say thank you once more for allowing me to interview you. With the information you provided for me I was able to pass my project with flying colors!
    > Thanks for all the help,
    > Aileen M

    You're welcome, Aileen... I guess? Looking below, I see interview questions from Jeremy and Alexis. I don't have a record of any interview with someone named Aileen in the last few months. But I appreciate your politeness! And I'm glad you passed your project.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 23, 2013


    Grad school advice

    > From: Emilio L
    > Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2013 6:52 AM
    > Subject: Public Domain Career Advice
    > Hi Tom,
    > My name is Emilio L, I've been thinking of writing an e-mail for some time, although I wasn't exactly sure if I should, mainly because most things are well explained in your FAQs, but also because you don't take answers to your questions lightly, and I wanted a thorough one. I couldn't shake off the impulse, though, so here are my thoughts.
    > I'll start off by saying I'm 24 years old, I recently finished a 5-year Telecommunications Engineering degree at the Polytechnic School of Madrid, I live in Madrid and I want to be a game programmer. I feel like I'm a talented person, by no means the smartest, but I like programming, challenges, math, and pulling my hair late at night.
    > Because Spain has such a small local videogame industry, and is pretty endogamic, moving to the United States and studying something like a Master of Science course is a very attractive option, especially if it has a focus on videogames. Naturally, it's an expensive option, and I'm looking for scholarships to finance this project. This is not a question about scholarships, there are some here and I'm applying to them, I'm working hard to get one (last year I didn't, so I'm trying again).
    > What I'm doing in the meantime is develop a small videogame for Android with a friend (screenshot attached for curiosity - no need to shred, NDA or nuke anything, it's no secret).

    >We're already some months into development, we're obviously not earning any money with it at this stage, I'm learning a lot from the experience, we're trying to make it as professional as possible by setting objectives and goals, and it actually sounds a lot like the DIY alternative you mention in Lesson 1 of your FAQs. I don't reckon we'll make much money from it - it's just two inexperienced people doing the game after all, there are many mistakes we'll probably be aware of in the future.
    > The problem I see with the Indie approach is 1) I'm spending an awful lot of time learning things I would probably learn faster by being with other, more experienced people 2) Although I believe in my idea for the game, I can't help but feel so many people are doing exactly the same thing (games for mobile devices), and I'm just another tiny fish in the ocean. The point is it's starting to support the fact that I need better formal education in the form of a Master's Course or similar in the US, where videogame production is commonplace.
    > Sorry if I seem overly complicated, I'm getting to my question(s). I submitted the scholarship application last year, and I got to phase 2 of the application process, where I got to do an interview. During the interview, they asked me all sorts of questions, though most revolved around why I had selected the universities where I wanted to study the Master's Course. (Just for the record, I had selected DigiPen, SMU Guildhall and DePaul University) The fact is, I couldn't exactly answer those questions. I had reviewed their websites, reviewed many opinions, read Gamasutra, GameCareerGuide - you name it - but I didn't have any solid, reasonable, explainable reasons for choosing them. Worse, they mentioned some schools I hadn't reviewed, which made me look like I had chosen the first three (a member of the jury even made a funny remark about DigiPen having a name similar to Digimon - that didn't help either I'm sure). I believe it played a huge part in me not getting the scholarship.
    > Now, I believe it wasn't me being lazy, but rather being ignorant. I think I should have 1) made a decision grid like you recommend (already did that for this year's scholarships) 2) approached people in the universities apart from delving deep into the caves of their websites. Researching websites wasn't a bad thing, but it got me incomplete information, because all websites advertise their product as best. The actual question (many questions) is:
    > - For a foreigner like me, what do you think is the best approach to researching information on universities? Which people should I approach? What questions will give me more information? How do professors take these kinds of questions?
    > In my decision grid, I take into account factors like teachers' previous experience in the industry, student work, whether students do many projects or not along the course, industry connections... these are qualitative factors, very hard to take into account but very important. Because sometimes information is scarce, I even try to factor in things like web-page design, for instance the Curriculum Map of the [Rochester School] (delete this from your BB if you think it's bad press) has Word corrections all over it! How unprofessional is that? I was really surprised and let down by this small detail (other things let me down too, but thy're unrelated).
    > Anyhow, for your answer you could take for instance you as a teacher in the UCSC, and what kind of information you would give regarding the Viterbi School for a student, as it also helps me in my decision grid (which currently only has data from the official websites except for Carnegie Mellon UCT where I've spoken to a fellow Spaniard who is studying there). Any suggestion on you part will be greatly appreciated. Phew, that was long (sorry!).
    > Thank you very much for your time (I really value it),
    > --
    > - Emilio -
    > エミリオ

    Bueno dias, Emilio. You wrote:

    a member of the jury even made a funny remark about DigiPen having a name similar to Digimon
    That was unkind and unfair. You should be glad that school turned you down - you don't want to go to a school like that.

    For a foreigner like me, what do you think is the best approach to researching information on universities? Which people should I approach? What questions will give me more information? How do professors take these kinds of questions?
    The answers (if I knew them) would surely be the same as the answers that would be given to non-foreign students. I cannot answer your questions. Your having gone through the process once already has prepared you well for doing it better a second time. I think you can figure this one out.

    I think that the decision grid for which program (which school) is important. I'm not convinced that the masters degree is essential, but that too is a decision for you to make. ¡Buena suerte, Emilio.

    Tom Sloper

    Santa Clara, California, USA
    January 20, 2013


    Website attacked a second time

    This website was hacked and infected again early the morning of January 15. The malicious code that was injected into the pages is (as I understand it) code that could redirect a visitor to another site where bad things could happen. I don't know more than that at present. Maybe it was one of the haters (in purple text below) who decided to hurt the site -- no way to know.
    I took steps to clean the malicious code off the site, so it's now safe to be here (as of 5:30 PM January 15th).
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 15, 2013


    I have designed a board game

    > From: Steven A
    > Sent: Monday, January 14, 2013 11:47 PM
    > Subject: Game Industry Q+A
    > Getting a boardgame onto the shelves
    > Hi, my names Steven A or my music name synthoea, and I have designed and almost done a ultimate boardgame thats a must have, but my questions are 1. which publisher should I choose?, the game is posibly 3 or 6 or maybe infinity which is good hours long and not kidish, 2. this should maybe go before 1 but how do I get my boardgame on every shelf-forever-just how I know it should be-including the material and design? 3 will any logos or symbols or name have to be on it?-can it be without any of that stuff?
    > 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: _
    > The level of education I've completed is: _
    > My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: _self digital musician digital artist and boardgame creator
    > The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: _
    > The country I live in is: _Canada
    > My game biz question is: _

    Hi, Steven.
    You have to do your own research. Choose potential publishers based on whether your game would fit with their product lineup. So in your research you need to study their product lineups, and you also need to collect information about their location, address, phone numbers, business policies... Start with their websites, but don't stop there. Look up their business listings too. You should also consider going through an agent. I assume you've already read my article #20 on board game design.
    I'm not sure I understand your question. What goes into the package is something that the publisher will determine, if and when a publisher takes your game. Your job is to make it look attractive and fun. Let the publisher worry about manufacturing and marketing aspects (that's what they're for).
    Let the publisher worry about that.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 15, 2013


    School interview project

    > From: Jeremy H
    > Sent: Monday, January 14, 2013 9:32 PM
    > Subject: Questions
    > Hi Tom I haven't talked to you since September of last year so I'm just going to start over with my information.
    > Name - Jeremy H
    > Age - 22
    > Current Occupation - Full-time Retail Job/ Student after almost two years off.
    > Game Job - Design and Development
    > Location - Iowa
    > Questions -
    > 1). What did you actually do when you worked in the gaming field?
    > 2). Can I ask you career related questions for an interviewing assignment for school?
    > 3). How long have your been linked to the gaming careers?
    > 4). What degrees do you have for these fields if any?
    > You might have answers for these questions on your site but I need it in a interviewing kind of format for my paper. These are some of the questions we were supposed to answer for finding an expert to interview. If I can use you for the assignment I will have more questions later on in the week. Thank You

    Hi Jeremy.
    Designer and producer
    You are asking questions now, and I am answering them
    Over thirty years
    They didn't have degrees in games thirty years ago. My degree is not directly related to my field.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 14, 2013


    A letter of gratitude

    >www.gamedev.net/ Messenger » My Conversations » A letter of gratitude.
    >Sent Today, 02:38 AM
    >Hello.
    >My name is Arseniy, I live in far-away cold Russia.
    >The thing is, two years ago I had a really mean job and a desire to become a game designer. I have found sloperama.com site and one year ago I managed to find a game designer job.
    >Your advice had changed my life and I can never thank you enough for this.
    >Best regards,
    >Arseniy.

    Congratulations on your success, Arseniy. And best wishes for your career. It's "cold" here in Los Angeles this morning (outside, it's almost but not quite to freezing).
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 14, 2013


    Thanks Tom

    > From: David O
    > Sent: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 8:29 AM
    > Subject: Thanks Tom.
    > 1. 26
    > 2. High School
    > 3. Programmer
    > 4. Programmer
    > 5. Australia
    > Hi Tom,
    > I think I first saw your Games 101 website 10 years ago and had always come back to it whenever I decided I wanted to make a video game; this usually happened every friday night when I didn't have plans to go out but the project always got cancelled before the weekend finished.
    > Three years ago I decided to commit to a project with an artist (my brother), I learnt to program in C# (I already knew VB.NET), we took a business course together... we launched in december, it's doing well and we are now working on our second game.
    > Firstly, Thanks for making this site available to everyone! Secondly, I didn't take onboard much of your advice (I'm sure I did subconsciously) but I did take your attitude with me, if you want to make a video game you have to stop telling yourself "I'll get to it tomorrow" and just say "bugger this, I'm making a game today!".
    > Regards,
    > David

    David, I appreciate your writing. I get enough hate mail (shown in purple below) that discourage me from continuing, that when I get appreciation... well, it means a lot!
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 8, 2013


    I'm in the wrong country

    > From: Abdullah O
    > Sent: Monday, January 7, 2013 9:30 AM
    > Subject: How to get in the game industry from my location??
    > Age: 20
    > Education: High school and currently attending a bachelor's degree in game development
    > Occupation: Student
    > Game Job: Game Programming
    > Location: Malaysia
    > Dear Mr.Sloper,
    > I am currently finishing a bachelor of science degree in game development in Malaysia.
    > My nationality is Syrian, and I basically want to find work as a game programmer.
    > In Malaysia, there aren't a lot of game companies (mostly flash developers, which I don't really want), and I am already a foreigner here in Malaysia.
    > I know it won't be applicable if I just apply for a job in Canada, USA, or Australia from my current location. They won't spend money to make a visa for a fresh graduate.
    > I was thinking about attending a masters degree in one of those countries as my entry point, and then from there I can search for a job in the industry while attending a masters degree.
    > My question is, Do you think it is reasonable to do that, or is there an easier way to enter the game industry from my position??
    > One last thing, I was hoping you might suggest what masters degree should i go into(math, physics, psychology, .....) because I don't think there are a lot of masters degrees dedicated to game development.
    > Thanks for the help in advance :)
    > Yours sincerly,
    > Abdullah O

    Hi, Abdullah. I'm very sorry about the turmoil your home country is going through, and I hope your family is safe. You wrote:

    I was thinking about attending a masters degree in one of those countries as my entry point, and then from there I can search for a job in the industry while attending a masters degree.
    > My question is, Do you think it is reasonable to do that,
    Yes, it's reasonable.

    is there an easier way to enter the game industry from my position??
    I don't know.

    I was hoping you might suggest what masters degree should i go into
    Sorry. I never do that. You have a decision to make. I suggest you make a decision grid based on the criteria that are important to you. See FAQ 70.

    (math, physics, psychology, .....) because I don't think there are a lot of masters degrees dedicated to game development.
    Not a lot, perhaps, but there are some. Make a short list of subjects you are interested in (including games), research the associated degrees, and make a decision grid.

    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 7, 2013


    School interview project, part 5

    > From: "alexise
    > Sent: Saturday, January 5, 2013 8:48 AM
    > Subject: Re: school project
    > ok thank you again


    School interview project, part 4

    > From: "alexise
    > Sent: Friday, January 4, 2013 8:02 PM
    > Subject: Re: school project
    > thank you so much for all the help. i am filled with joy that i found you to interveiw you thank you again.


    >From: "alexise
    >Sent: Friday, January 4, 2013 8:36 PM
    >Subject: Re: school project
    >sorry to bug you again but in question 5 i ask what skills are needed to be in this career? and you say you need to be a excellent writer, speaker, and collkaborator, with extensive experience in the game industry. what do you mean by "game industy"?

    Alexis, the "game industry" (also called the "game business") is made up of companies and individuals that create games, companies and individuals that publish games, and companies that make game hardware. You said you were interested in the career of "game design." Game design is a job in the "game industry," just like working in movies is having a job in the "film industry," or working on cars or making cars is having a job in the "automotive industry."
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 4, 2013


    School interview project, part 3

    > From: "alexise1999
    > Sent: Friday, January 4, 2013 6:36 PM
    > Subject: Re: school project
    > sorry but you thing on the website didnt work so im going to send you the question because i have to get this project done.
    > 1. What type of degree is needed for this career?
    > 2. How many years of schooling is involved in this degree?
    > 3. What does a day in this career look like?
    > 4. What is the highest rank of this position?
    > 5. What skills are needed to be in this career
    > 6. Do you work inside or outside?
    > 7. Is there a dress code for this career?
    > 8. What equipment is needed for this career?
    > 9. Do you have to provide your own materials?
    > 10. Do you need your own computer?
    > 11. What is the average amount of money they get in this career?
    > 12. What collage would you think would be best to take classes for this career? (collage classes)
    > 13. How many different materials do you use daily?
    > 14. How much money do you get if you make a successful game?
    > 15. What is your favorite video game?

    Hi, Alexis. I don't know what problem you are having seeing my website. I'm emailing a copy of this reply to you, but you will still need to go to my website to get some of your answers.
    To clarify: you are asking specifically about the career of a "game designer." Not a game programmer, not a game artist, not a game tester, not a game producer... but a game designer (that's all I know as to what career you are asking me about -- so that is the specific career I am talking about below).

    Any degree you like. Read FAQ 3 on my website (http://sloperama.com/advice/designprep.htm).
    A four-year degree is recommended.
    It's mostly writing and meetings, with a little bit of game playing in between. For more about a game designer's job, read FAQ 14 on my website: http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson14.htm
    A game designer can rise as high as "design director" or even CEO (Chief Executive Officer).
    A game designer has to be an excellent writer, speaker, and collaborator, with extensive experience in the game industry. See FAQ 14 on my site.
    Inside.
    No.
    A computer and several types of video game console hardware.
    No.
    Everybody should have his own computer. But to do the job: no. The employer should supply the equipment for the designer to use. Of course, if the designer is freelance, then he or she does have to buy his or her own computer to work on.
    Male game designers average $74,180 per year, and female game designers (11% of the design force) average $62,000 per year. Source: http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/1108/game_developer_salary_survey_2012.php?page=2
    I believe that choosing a college is the responsibility of the individual. Accordingly, I have a policy against recommending specific colleges. Besides, I teach college myself, and it would be a conflict of interest (that's a legal term; you can look it up) to recommend colleges to the people who ask me for advice.
    Just paper and electrons.
    Most designers just get a salary, plus benefits (and sometimes bonuses). Read FAQ 14.
    I don't have just one favorite. I like L.A. Noire, the Professor Layton games, Walking Dead, and Brain Age.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 4, 2013


    School interview project, part 2

    >From: "alexise
    >Sent: Friday, January 4, 2013 5:39 PM
    >Subject: Re: school project
    >so can i ask you qusestions or not

    Alexis, as I told you yesterday, I will answer your questions on my bulletin board. My bulletin board is at http://sloperama.com/advice/bulletinbd.htm
    I answer game career questions only on my bulletin board. Please go to http://sloperama.com/advice/bulletinbd.htm and have a look.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 4, 2012


    School interview project

    > From: "alexise
    > Sent: Thursday, January 3, 2013 6:13 PM
    > Subject: school project
    > hi, my name is Alexis and i was wondering if I could ask you a couple of questions on game designing for a school project. Please write back ASAP i need to have these questions by monday january 7, 2013.
    > From Alexis

    Sure, Alexis. Go ahead and ask me a couple of questions. I'll post the responses here, and you can show this to your teacher. As it states above, questions and answers are given only in this public forum, for the education of all readers.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 3, 2013


    Virus warning

    This website was hacked and infected with what might be a virus at around 12PM Pacific Time today, December 30. I discovered the infection about 4:30, and took immediate action and replaced every infected file with a clean version from backup.
    If you visited this site between 12:00 PM and 5:00 PM Pacific Time, on Sunday December 30, 2012, I urge you to run a virus scan on your computer. You could try Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (free, from Malwarebytes.org) or Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, aka MSRT (also free, from Microsoft). Just Google those, download one, and run it to see if anything is found on your computer.

    The code I found in the webpages (every .htm or .html file) was a javascript called "336988". I have no idea what the script does, but I do know that I did not put it there. I do not know if a visitor would be infected by viewing a web page with that javascript running. But it's better to be safe than sorry. Again: you should do the smart thing, download a virus checker, and make sure your computer is not infected. You should do that in any case, and you should run the check every week at least. I named two virus checkers; there are others too. And of course you should be running some kind of anti-virus software as well.

    If your computer was infected with a virus between 12 and 5 today, it was not my doing. Somebody hacked my site. I have taken steps to clean the site; you should take steps to clean your computer. The miscreant is not me; it is some unknown party.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 30, 2012


    Christmas greetings

    >From: XuTian T
    >Sent: Monday, December 24, 2012 11:31 AM
    >Subject: Marry Christmas!
    >Hi Mr. Sloper,
    >Thank you for all your awsome posts and advices & Merry Christmas!
    >Don

    Merry Christmas to you too, Don. Here's hoping the coming year will bring good things for us all.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Christmas Eve, 2012


    I would like to learn from someone better than you

    >From: Siam Squares (siamiisquares@gmail.com)
    >Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2012 12:33 PM
    >Subject: Your credentials
    >Hi Tom,
    >I was reading your tutorials which are great. I myself recently graduated from college and was thinking about game design as a career.
    >However, when I looked at the games you were involved in, I couldn't help but notice that many of them are regarded as the worst games of all time. To name a few: Ghostbusters 2, Predator, Alien vs Predator... etc. Also I noticed you were involved in Yahoo Games Chess where there is minimal game design involved since all the rules are already determined. In addition, there is a general lack of any substantial and popular titles in your portfolio.
    >All this really made me question your authority with regard to giving out advice that I could accept as a trusted source of valid information that helps me make good decisions on my career, since it seems you yourself haven't made it really successful in the game biz world. As a student, I would like to learn from the best, not from the mediocre. Anyway, I still appriciate that you made all the information public on your site.
    >Best,
    >Siam

    "What a nice fellow," as George Harrison said.
    Siam, I wish you well in your quest for knowledge and your career in games.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 20, 2012


    Have I shot myself in the foot, or do I still have a shot?

    >From: Stephen S
    >Sent: Sunday, December 9, 2012 4:40 AM
    >Subject: Thank you and please advise
    >I read the information on your web site and your success rate chart crushed me. You hit the nail right on the head and I like your honest and direct style of responses to people. I truly believe I have come up with something special and unique for game gamers, a game platform for social networks and a game revenue engine model. I am an engineer but have no love for internet games. I had a revelation relative to that industry in the middle of the night, drew flow charts, wrote an overly complicated business plan and proceeded from there to here. Below is an example of letter I posted to several important people in the industry that probably never got read. How bad is the damage and should I just let this thing go? This is a winner in the right hands but those hands are not mine.
    >IGC understands that reach-out to you and Yahoo!, Inc. in this manner is a very long-shot but I had to somehow take my shot so here it is and thank you for listening. I am requesting an opportunity to discuss the on-line game revenue generating process the InterGame Corporation, Inc. (IGC) has conceived and partially developed. I also have one new game concept that is a perfect fit into your fantasy sports line-up. IGC is a Commonwealth of Massachusetts corporation established in 2011 that has developed an on-line game play “revenue engine” process that we believe is unprecedented in its concept and will impact the industry on a global scale.
    >The reality of IGC is that the whole thing is one 51 year-old Environmental Engineer (me). All that IGC is has been conceived and developed in the small hours of the night at my kitchen table over the last two years. IGC has no relationships in the industry and needs help to take this to the places it can and should be taken. Yahoo!, Inc. has the resources to do this and do it right. I do not; so here I am before you reaching out for help the only way I know how.
    >This is the future of the industry and not a re-working of the past. In a perfect world, Yahoo!, Inc. would purchase what I have developed so far and further retain me to continue with it in a way that I can keep my day job (which I am happy with) and work with Yahoo!, Inc. on this and future projects.
    >I can be reached by telephone at 781-635-3996 or by e-mail at igcorp@hotmail.com or at the address on the logo. I look forward to your response to this letter.
    >Stephen

    Hi, Stephen. You wrote:

    How bad is the damage
    Don't worry about that. You can simply start over and do it right.

    and should I just let this thing go?
    Not if you believe in it and have the passion and drive to see it through.

    This is a winner in the right hands but those hands are not mine.
    So you're saying you've invented a new type of planetary/orbital liftoff and outer space propulsion but you don't have the chops to sell it to space agencies and companies. Yeah, then that is a problem. Need chops to sell an idea. I'll come back to this concept (but without the outer space parable), but first to address the wording in the letter you sent around. Oh, and by the way: you shouldn't have sent a letter. You should have gone to meet people in person.

    reach-out to you and Yahoo!, Inc. in this manner is a very long-shot but I had to somehow take my shot so here it is and thank you for listening.
    That is not a businesslike, salesmanlike, approach. You don't approach hat in hand on your knees. You approach with confidence, on your feet, with a hand outstretched in the handshake posture. Also, Yahoo is not a good choice to approach with this. You need to do research on the right companies to approach.

    I am requesting an opportunity to discuss the on-line game revenue generating process the InterGame Corporation, Inc. (IGC) has conceived and partially developed.
    "Partially"? This opens up a whole lotta doubt in the mind of the reader.

    I also have one new game concept that is a perfect fit into your fantasy sports line-up.
    One thing at a time. A new game monetization process is one thing; a game idea is a whole 'nother animal, requiring a different approach and a decision-making process on a whole different level.

    All that IGC is has been conceived and developed in the small hours of the night at my kitchen table... IGC has no relationships in the industry and needs help to take this to the places it can and should be taken.
    TMI, dude. TMI.

    In a perfect world, Yahoo!, Inc. would purchase what I have developed so far and further retain me to continue with it in a way that I can keep my day job (which I am happy with) and work with Yahoo!, Inc. on this and future projects.
    I dispute that such a world would be "perfect," but how realistic is it that you could change the world of game monetization while keeping the job you like? Answer: not very. You would need to make this vision of yours your new occupation. Okay, now we have come back to what I was saying before - but without the space travel parallel. You have a vision. If you believe in it, and if your passion for this vision exceeds your passion for your current job (which apparently it doesn't), then the thing to do is to pursue it yourself. And that means moving it beyond your kitchen table, to networking events where you can woo partners and investors. You might also need to patent your new process. So now it all comes down to how much of your life you're willing to put into your brainchild. Either you believe in it and plan to make it your calling for the next several years, or you don't believe in it that much. You can't simply sell the idea and make a nice bundle on it while continuing at your safe job - the world doesn't work that way. And I don't know if it would be a "perfect" world if it did.

    P.S. I would have replied sooner, but your email wound up in my spam folder, which I decided to clean out today. So something in your email must have sounded like spam to Yahoo's (!) mail filtering software.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 11, 2012


    Since FAQ 32 is outdated, what's the scoop nowadays?

    >From: darell d
    >Sent: Friday, December 7, 2012 5:27 PM
    >Subject: Opportunities for writing in the game industry.
    >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: _ 17
    >The level of education I've completed is: _ High school
    >My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: _ Student
    >The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: _ Writer
    >The country I live in is: _ America
    >My game biz question is: _ Is it possible to get a full-time writing job in the game industry?
    > Hello, Mr. Sloper. First, I would like to thank you for your patience and the endless advice you have given us starry-eyed "wannabes." I will try to keep my question concise and to the point. In FAQ#32 you wrote that getting a job in the industry is difficult and that getting a job writing for a game company is even more difficult; however this FAQ was written in 2003 and from my understanding there is more of a demand for writers in today's industry (BioWare for example). I am attending college next fall and am hoping to earn my bachelor's degree in English (concentration in writing). So this is my question: Are there more opportunities in today's industry to get a full-time writing job for a game company? Or is it still an incredibly difficult/near impossible endeavor? Any advice on how to prepare for a career in writing would be MUCH appreciated. Thank you for all of your hard work!
    >-- Dakota
    >PS -- When I say "writer" I mean one who writes dialogue for characters or contributes to the story of the game.

    Hi there, Dakota. You wrote:

    In FAQ#32 you wrote that getting a job in the industry is difficult and that getting a job writing for a game company is even more difficult; however this FAQ was written in 2003 and from my understanding there is more of a demand for writers in today's industry
    Your understanding seems to be making you think that what I said in FAQ 32 is no longer true. So your understanding is wrong in that respect. There might be more of a need for writers today, but even if there is, it is still darned difficult, and you still have to do the stuff I said nine years ago.

    Are there more opportunities in today's industry to get a full-time writing job for a game company?
    I don't think so. Not until iPhone/iPad games start using a lot more dialogue. Look at all the games on all the platforms, and notice that it's mainly console games and some PC games (only a portion of all games) that use story dialogue.

    Or is it still an incredibly difficult/near impossible endeavor?
    Still difficult, but hey. Everything is. I would not categorize it as "near impossible," though.

    Any advice on how to prepare for a career in writing would be MUCH appreciated.
    Read FAQ 32 again. This time don't imagine that its age means that it's no longer valid.

    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Pearl Harbor Day, 2012


    Heading into college

    >From: Elizabeth W
    >Sent: Monday, December 3, 2012 1:50 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: 18
    >The level of education I've completed is: High School
    >My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: Student/Programmer
    >The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: Programmer
    >The country I live in is: America
    >My game biz question is:
    >Here I am at the crossroads, trying to write an essay for my college application to Georgia Tech. If all goes as planned I should get in and move forward in life. Thank you for all the help you have provided me personally and through your website. I may be a programmer not a game designer, and I may not even want to go into games after these next four years; but your website has still helped me.
    >I have a lot of friends who are going to sub-par schools that offer game design degree's. My question is: Is this a good idea? From your experience how reliable are these degrees?
    >Also: In your experience, how much say does the programmer get in the design of a game? I understand there may be more than one answer depending the company, but I want to try to answer to the best of *your knowledge.
    >Thanks
    >-Ryan W

    Hi, Ryan. I'm glad you've found my website helpful. You wrote:

    I have a lot of friends who are going to sub-par schools that offer game design degree's. My question is: Is this a good idea?
    It should be obvious that going to a "sub-par school" is a bad idea. But there can be good reasons for going for a game design degree. (I wrote about them in the FAQs here on this site, and in my June and July 2009 IGDA columns and my September 2007 column (http://www.igda.org/games-game-archives). If your friends read all the articles about game degrees, made decision grids, and are going into their schooling with eyes wide open, then, that's a good idea.

    how much say does the programmer get in the design of a game?
    Every member of the team has input on the design of a game. When you get onto a game team, make friends with the game designer, and don't be afraid to exchange ideas with him or her.

    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 3, 2012


    I need hand-holding

    >www.gamedev.net > Messenger » My Conversations » Guidance in development
    >From whtemple
    >Sent Today, 05:46 AM
    >Sir,
    >I hope I do not offend you by making direct contact. But from your posts here and your website I feel you aay be understanding.
    >I wan to build an educational game for my 3 year old son and yes I do see how it could become a much larger project. To be honest I hope it does.
    >But, not being a programmer I am having difficulty understanding why I cannot get things to work.
    >My you or sssome one you know can find the time to hold my hand as I work through the issues I have.
    >I look forward to hearing from you.
    >Thanks,
    >Bill

    Hello, Bill.
    Like you, I am not a programmer. If I was, I wouldn't be your free private hand-holder, and I don't know if anyone is willing to do that. Free hand-holding is available on the gamedev forums and other forums. If you want a private mentor or tutor, that's likely to be hard to find, and will likely not be free.
    Good luck!

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 2, 2012


    How to leverage mods to showcase my talents?

    >From: John
    >Sent: Monday, November 26, 2012 7:23 AM
    >Subject: concept and design questions
    >Good day to you Mr. Sloper
    >My name is John V, Im 20 years of age, currently a Sophomore in the Game Art and Design program at Ringling College of Art and Design but I am on the verge of switching to their Illustration program for reasons which I will elaborate on as they pertain to my question. The lofty goal I am aiming for is a career in what the industry deems a creative director, but I am also very interested in game design, the reason I am considering switching is because I believe I would do quite well as a concept artist and that's much more in line with where I want to have the biggest impact on games, besides game design. My question however has more to do with the fact that now that I have enough skills to be able to make game assets I want to get into modding and use that as a way of honing my 3d skills and I'm wondering how something like that would be incorporated into a portfolio. Obviously you have mods like counter strike where they gain so much fame that the developers can't help but notice them, but I'm not going to set a goal so high as to make the next counter strike. So I'm wondering if that is the only way you can get attention using mods, or whether they can find some way into a professional portfolio, I want to show off my ability to use the pre-existing framework and use it create memorable experiences to show that I can indeed pull off such a thing. Excuse me if this question is a bit confusing, I'm a bit confused myself.
    >Thank you
    >John V

    Hi there, John. You wrote:

    The lofty goal I am aiming for is ... creative director... the reason I am considering switching [from Game Art and Design to Illustration] is because I believe I would do quite well as a concept artist and that's much more in line with where I want to [be]...
    You must be an exceptional artist, then. One problem with aspiring to concept art: most companies do not have a full-time concept art job. Only the largest studios can manage to find enough work to justify the position. Concept art is really only needed when a new game is being conceptualized, and then there's nothing for the concept artist to do for the remaining two years or so that the game is being developed.
    As a result, most concept artists are freelance. And being a freelancer doesn't lead neatly to being employed full-time, which can lead to being the creative director.

    I want to get into modding and use that as a way of honing my 3d skills and I'm wondering how something like that would be incorporated into a portfolio.
    Make the mod into a self-contained demo. And make it available for download on your online portfolio site.

    I'm wondering if that is the only way you can get attention using mods
    No, that's not the only way. You can also submit them to indie competitions. Hope I've answered your questions.

    One last thing. Please take this as teacherly advice, not criticism. You need to put periods between discrete thoughts, not commas, you need to break up large paragraphs (aka "walls of text") into discrete thoughts. (Can you find the place in my previous "sentence" where I should have put a period instead of a comma?) Also, if you can work harder at narrowing down your questions, and state them succinctly, with question marks at the end, that would be a useful skill and would help you get good answers.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 26, 2012


    You don't not know anything, part 3

    >From: Death Ray (death.ray.32@gmail.com)
    >Sent: Saturday, November 24, 2012 1:35 AM
    >Subject:
    >Please mind the spelling errors and incorrect syntax, I was in a hurry and could not rectify my mistakes


    You don't not know anything, part 2

    >From: Death Ray (death.ray.32@gmail.com)
    >Sent: Friday, November 23, 2012 8:38 AM
    >Subject:
    >I won't bother looking at the links, because I use the internet to verify a topic, not to research a topic.
    >I also made $200000000000.99 last week on a shipment. I created microsoft and bill gates is my employee. It's very easy to be behind a computer and blind people with information.
    >To be a game designer, you atleast need to have a diploma or B.A multimedia design. You don't need to have programming (object-oriented)(but it is highly recommended) but you must have visual programming skills. I have countless friends who are game designers and they certainly did not take physics or nuclear physics or karate to become game designers (lol!).
    >You my friend are confused. Take on a simple anology. I can read tons of books on mechanical engineering, but would that make me a mechanical engineer? Think about it.
    >I'm currently a part time computer engineering student, I love to design stuff and use my creativity, I even create music as a part time hobby. I grew so much of a liking towards it that I wanted to become a producer, but I was rejected. why? because I don't have a qualification towards that field. Before I took up computer engineering I tried to design simple games. I found it very hard to use my creativity, without using my a computer or any programming languages(despite the fact tha I had so many I.T friends).
    >Also game designing requires alot of interaction (verbally), so you need to take a course on english (included with the course mentioned above), business management (also included) and other courses enhancing your creativity and the way you think about creativity.
    >So I hope you get the point, you are not a game designer, stick it in your head, and stop being ignorant. You can call it whatever you want to, but your not a game designer, so you shouldn't be giving advice to people.


    Learning about passions

    >From: IGDA
    >Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2012 11:28 AM
    >Subject: Form submission from: Ask Tom
    >Submitted on Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 14:28
    >Submitted by user: carlos.c
    >Submitted values are:
    >Question:
    >Dear Tom,
    >I red your post of "feelings & passion" (very interesting) and I decided to make a retrospective analysis. My result : My passion for game development is a fact. I'm a Software Engineer, my thesis projects was a Serious Game product and I was the project manager, I must admit was the most stressful 5 months in my life!! but believe me I really enjoy. The process how an idea turn into a product is amazing, is painfull and stresfull,ok but still being amazing!!.
    >
    >While I was making my thesis project I realise that I love learn, everything about game development kept my attention. For example in the conception stage I was very exciting about Scrum for Game Development(I was the project manager, so what can be expected), in prototype stage, 3D art, texturing and color theory was awsome (even I took Cine courses and 3DMax certificate 6 months before the project to get a background) on implement stage, programming using software patterns and techniques was my main focus, and so on. My first thought was: " learn differents topics will help me to manage the project better" and was true, my project was a success. but how truly is this in real life?
    >
    >Exist a popular proverb "If you want everything , you will get nothing" I'm afraid of this because I feel confortable in different topics project management, art, and programming and I love learn but is a good idea to learn different topics? ,is my profile common? how is the Game Industry reception with this kind of profile? sometimes I think I should specialize in one topic(Usually the job post are for specialist), but my curiosity want to learn more and seriously can't imagine working in one topic the rest of my life. As you can see I'm in a battle with myself.
    >I will appreciate your comments
    >CARLOS
    >PD:Sorry my english, I hope you can understand the message.
    >Name: Carlos

    Hi, Carlos.
    First off, my apologies that your question went unanswered for so long. My column on IGDA.org used to run monthly (so it could have taken a month even then), but the IGDA website has not been supported by the IGDA of late, and all the columns have ground to a halt. "Culture Clash" last ran in August. "Famous Last Words" last ran in July. My last "The Games Game" also ran in July. So I am responding (belatedly - my bad) here on my bulletin board.
    Your primary question seems to be, "if I know lots of things, I'll be a better producer, but is it really possible to learn everything I need to learn?" If I have misstated your question, you are welcome to email me directly (rather than submitting a topic via IGDA.org) and I'll post the reply here.

    Yes, there is a lot to learn. That's why hirers want experienced people to produce their projects. There is learning you get in school (and that is important), and there is learning you get from experience. But nobody expects you to experience and learn everything "right now." Experiencing and learning will continue your entire life. You'll never be done.

    You also asked (a) if your profile is common and (b) if you are supposed to specialize in just one thing.
    A. Everybody's profile is common. Everyone's profile is unique. It's irrelevant whether or not yours is "common." It's uncommon to want to be common!
    B. In a small company, nobody can ever do just one thing. In a small company, everybody has to handle tasks in fields outside their specialty. Specialization is common in large companies, and sometimes it can rise to ridiculous heights. I heard of a guy who specialized in grass, and a woman who specialized in hair. And I'm sure they got very tired of being pigeonholed into such narrow specialties.

    Don't wish to fit somebody else's preconceived notions. Follow your interests, and you'll find yourself in interesting places.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 19, 2012


    You don't not know anything about game designing

    >From: Death Ray (death.ray.32@gmail.com)
    >Sent: Saturday, November 17, 2012 6:41 AM
    >Subject: wrong information!!!
    >Dude, you don't not know anything about game designing. Your misleading people with the wrong information. The courses you have mentioned does not relate to game designing. You need to study visual programming and other object oriented programming, such as C++. You such an asshole, conjuring up facts purely based on assumptions! Do me a favour and get educated!

    "What a nice fellow," as George Harrison said. You wrote:

    Dude, you don't not know anything about game designing.
    Somehow I managed to design 16 video games that sold an estimated 935,600 units for an estimated $35.5 million in sales. How many shipped video games have you designed?

    Your misleading people with the wrong information. The courses you have mentioned does not relate to game designing. You need to study visual programming and other object oriented programming, such as C++.
    Would you please cite me the source of this information, young bloke? You have probably misunderstood something somewhere along the line. Perhaps you read someone's blog where he describes how to program games (and you thought he was talking about game design when he wasn't), or you simply don't know what "game design" means.

    Do me a favour and get educated!
    Actually, I was about to suggest some other websites you might be interested in having a look at:
    http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/so-you-want-to-be-a-game-designer
    http://www.gamespot.com/features/so-you-wanna-be-a-game-designer-6129276/
    http://www.technewsworld.com/story/66418.html

    After you have watched the Penny Arcade video and read the GameSpot and TechNewsWorld articles, you are welcome to come back and elevate the discussion to a less vituperative level.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 17, 2012


    The game industry process needs to change.

    >From: Jason D
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 5:04 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: mid-30s
    >The level of education I've completed is: Master’s of Science
    >My occupation (if student, enter 'student') is: Budget Officer
    >The type of game job I aspire to (if applicable) is: None
    >The country I live in is: United States
    >My game biz question comment is: I am sure that all of the information contained in your “Lesson #1” is accurate and true. However, I think the game industry process needs to change. If Frank Herbert was right (ideas are easy, writing is hard), then why are all of the best-selling video games exactly the same? GTA=Assassins Creed=Red Dead Redemption. CoD=every other FPS. WoW=every not-WoW MMO. Why are video game sales decreasing steadily as related to population? I have a truly original game idea, as I am sure many do. I have no illusions about it – perhaps it stinks. But there should exist a way to pitch it without developing it. If ideas are easy and developing is hard, then developers must be completely out of ideas. As a gamer, I bored stiff. I will not be purchasing Mass Effect 3 because I can’t wait for it. I will be purchasing it because ME3 is the best of what’s out there, and it’s “good enough” for a purchase that I will quickly sell back to Gamestop. I believe a lot of other gamers feel the same way.
    >Thank you for your website. Have a great day.

    Jason, I agree with you that the industry ought to change. I'm too old to take charge of it and change it, but how about you? You could create a game business that does things the way you think they ought to be done. Then when everybody else sees you showing them the way, they can follow. Pitch your business idea on Kickstarter. You could be the change you want to make.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 14, 2012

    P.S. Did you notice FAQ 21? It discusses how to pitch a concept. (It's not impossible.)


    Death notice/warning

    >From: brotherhood f
    >Email: noreply@blumail.org
    >To:
    >Sent: Monday, November 12, 2012 9:49 PM
    >Subject: your death notice/warning!!!
    >You have been betrayed!!! It’s a pity that this how your life is going to come to an end as your death had already been paid for and this person is someone who is very close to you from all my investigations.
    >I have ordered 3 of my men to monitor every move of you and make sure you are not out of reach until the day of your death.
    >According to the report I gets, you seem to be innocent about what you accuse but I have no business with that, so that’s why am contacting you to know if truly you are innocent and how much you value your life.
    >Get back to me if you sure want to live on, ignore this mail only if you feel it’s a joke or you been smart.
    >Don’t forget your days on earth are numbered, so you have the chance to live if only you will comply with me.
    >warning: Tell no one about this mail to you because he or she might just be the person who wants you dead, and if that happens, I will be aware and am going to make sure you die instantly.
    >I will give you every detail of where to be and how to take any actions be it legal or illegal, that’s only when I read from you.
    >You need to stay calm and act as if you are not aware of what is about to happen to you and also act fast because any move you make that is suspicious, you will die as your days are numbered.
    >Lucky You
    >Toodle Pip!
    >Dai .T
    >International Assassin

    Hello Dai,
    "Shouting" is not permitted on this site, so I converted your all-uppercase words to lowercase. I don't see a question in your email. I recommend that you peruse the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and see if you can find your answer therein. Standing by...
    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
    11/13/12


    Apology

    >From: Alice B
    >Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2012 11:11 PM
    >Subject: Re:
    >Ah, I'm very sorry that email I sent was really rude and immature. Poor excuses but it was very late and I barely looked at you site past the disclaimers of charging for advice before sending it.
    >Anyway, having looked closer at your website I can see there's a lot of very useful advice on there, and I just wanted to apologize for being a moron.

    Apology accepted, Alice. When you wrote yesterday, I wasn't sure which part of my site you'd been writing about (game career advice or mah-jongg). But now I infer you were talking about this game career advice board, where it says, in part:

      WELCOME to the Sloperama Game Design Bulletin Board. It's a place to ask questions about designing games (videogames, board games, table games, computer games, handheld games...). You'll get answers, here on this board. ...
      Questions and answers are handled in this public forum only - I don't give free private answers.

    On behalf of future bleary-eyed sleepyhead visitors, I will consider how I can make it clearer that I do give free advice, but that it just won't be private. Anyway, your apology earned you this:

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11/12/12


    You ripoff, your website hurts my eyes!

    >From: Alice Bowman
    >Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2012 4:29 PM
    >Subject:
    >Wow.
    >For someone who claims to be a Game Designer and therefore inherently know the first thing about computers... damn your website hurts my eyes.
    >Ugh, if you're going to rip people off at least do it with style, amateur.

    Hi, Alice. Sorry my website hurts your eyes. If I was a programmer and a graphic designer/web designer (neither of which I claim to be), I suppose I could manage to make a website that's less eye-hurty. And as for ripping people off, I don't know what you mean.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    11/11/12


    Collaboration agreements - dead link

    >www.gamedev.net Messenger » My Conversations » Hi
    >From: blade55555
    >Sent Today, 03:31 PM
    >I was reading some of your posts in the production and management section and you linked to something about a collaberation agreement between teams and how it's essential.
    >I clicked the link because I wanted to see what you were talking about but unfortunately the site either died or is down. Do you have any other links I could look at? Thanks in advance!

    Hello, blade.
    My gamedev signature asks people to please not PM me. I do not engage in private advice discussions. I don't know why you couldn't have simply asked this question on one of the public gamedev forums.
    Mona's website is down, and I do not know when it might go online again. I wrote a little bit about collaboration agreements on this site - see the Contracts FAQ. Click the FAQs link above left and look for the one on Contracts.
    Until such time as Mona's website goes back online, I don't have any additional information for you about collaboration agreements.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 10, 2012


    Fan mail from Texas, part 2

    >From: robert h
    >Sent: Friday, November 9, 2012 8:44 AM
    >Subject: Thanks for the advice (response)
    >That was one thing that did worry me, but it's a part time testing job. I have 2 scheduled days out of the week, with the option to work more hours when needed, and my test lead told me that they've had students before who had crazy semesters, and he said if I got overwhelmed with my classes I could take time off, and the job will be waiting for me if I still want it. So it seems to be the perfect college job.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 9, 2012


    Fan mail from Texas

    >From: robert h
    >Sent: Friday, November 9, 2012 7:55 AM
    >Subject: Thanks for the advice
    >I am 22 years old.
    >I am a college sophomore.
    >Hello Mr. Sloper. I just wanted to thank you for your REAL advice about the game industry. The amount of advice with such detail is very few and far between, or its some kind of scam that costs money. I landed an interview here in Austin with Twisted Pixel Games for a testing job, and without your advice I wouldn't have been able to convey to them that I would be great for the job. Long story short, I got the job, and I have you to thank. I'm also registering here at ACC to start their Game Design Associates Degree program. I used to view getting into the video game industry as a far off pipe dream which is why I never considered it. But now I know that determination, and passion can really get me there. So thanks again.
    >Kind regards,
    >Robert H

    I'm glad my advice served you well, Robert. It can be tough to hold down a job while going to school; I hope you won't let your grades suffer from trying to do both things at once.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 9, 2012


    Fan mail from some flounder*

    >www.gamedev.net » Messenger » My Conversations » Your lessons
    >From: d█████.p████
    >Sent Today, 01:08 AM
    >Hello, Tom.
    >Before I head to bed at this ungodly hour, I wanted to thank you for your website of lessons. I was on the "Breaking Into the Industry" board and stumbled across them for the first time. They may have saved me from a couple of stupid questions, not because they were stupid but because I already knew the answer and refused to acknowledge it.
    >I hope we have more collaborations in the future so I can learn from you and many of the others here on gamedev.net.

    I'm glad you found my articles helpful, d█████.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 8, 2012

    * For those too young to know: this is a literary reference (Rocky & Bullwinkle).


    Questions about my approaches to employment

    >www.linkedin.com/inbox/messages/
    >Oct. 27, 2012
    >Hi Tom, I'm currently seeking employment into the game industry, and was wondering if I could ask you some questions about my approaches to employment. I thank you for your time and hope that we can speak soon. Thanks, Doug W

    Hello, Doug.
    I answer career questions over lunch (your dime) or on my bulletin board (no charge) -- exception: students at my university can simply come to my office.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 4, 2012


    The industry? Computer majors? (part 2)

    >From: Napoleon M
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 8:17 PM
    >Subject: That's All Folks
    >I didn't know if you'd have knowledge regarding those majors but I thought I might as well ask. Thanks anyways for your time and replies. Til next time!


    The industry? Computer majors?

    >From: Napoleon M
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 3:49 PM
    >Subject: The Industry and Majors
    >Hello, Napoleon here again. I've just been occupied with my college search and the regular spiels of study and recreation but I did have a couple questions I had thought of.
    >With a game industry career in mind as a possible future I was wondering if you could provide some insight into the industry. The first question is pretty broad but I would like to know what your take on the gaming industry as a whole is. Do you feel positively about the gaming industry today or negatively, and how so?
    >And as far as college goes, what do you think about computer science and computer engineering as majors? By this I do not mean which do you recommend, rather what do you think of each in general as they are two of the majors I am looking into during my college search.

    Hello Napoleon, you wrote:

    I would like to know what your take on the gaming industry as a whole is. Do you feel positively about the gaming industry today or negatively, and how so?
    If I had a negative feeling about the industry, why would I have this website and give the advice that I do? What I'm saying is, it should be obvious that I regard my beloved industry in a positive way. If you're trying to get me to write an essay in response to your question, I'm sorry to disappoint you.

    what do you think about computer science and computer engineering as majors? By this I do not mean which do you recommend, rather what do you think of each in general
    I'm not a programmer, and I know nothing about the difference between those two degrees. If you want to be a programmer, it's fairly unanimous that CS is the way to go.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 2, 2012


    Breaking directly into production

    >From: K J
    >Sent: Friday, October 26, 2012 11:07 PM
    >Subject: Is it probable to transition directly into a production job from my current experience?
    >1. I am 21.
    >2. I will graduate with a 4-year degree in May of 2013.
    >3. I am a student. I also work full time in event management.
    >4. Production/Project Management.
    >5. United States.
    >Dear Tom,
    >I am currently a senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Fine Arts. I have five and a half years of work experience split between technical support and event management (marketing, planning, and execution). My goal is to have a career in Production/Project Management in video games. In my reading on the internet and what I have received from a few people I contacted for advice, it seems like everyone has transitioned into production from some other industry position.
    >I feel like my job experience gives me very strong qualifications for production work. Though I am an intern I have been deeply involved in my department's work and have received a promotion for the last three years in salary and responsibilities. I have worked on over one hundred programs (with thousands of participants) assisting our clients in planning for their events and serving as one of two people to coordinate all of their needs (housing accommodations, space rentals, dining and catering, participant registration, on-call emergency response, concierge services, etc). It was my main responsibility to collect, process, and communicate all the information for our clients to external departments so that clients only have to speak with me. I communicated with clients and participants directly on a day to day basis.
    >Though I have a reasonable knowledge of programing and am studying art, I really want to get to production as fast as I can. I also feel my talents in those other areas are not as strong as what I can bring to production. With my experience, would it be feasible for me to land an entry production job right out of school, or would I need to get there by other means? (I plan on moving to California immediately after graduation.)
    >--
    >Karissa J

    Hi, Karissa. You wrote:

    Is it probable to transition directly into a production job from my current experience?
    No. The world is very very random. Probability says that you will have a difficult time going directly into production. It can happen, of course, because in any random system, anything is possible. And what you do to try to get directly into production also matters. But no, it isn't "probable."

    I feel like my job experience gives me very strong qualifications for production work.
    "Feel" is a word college kids use instead of "guess." And your guess, that you have "very strong qualifications," is wrong. What you've described to me about your resume sounds like a good start, but as you already noted...

    it seems like everyone has transitioned into production from some other industry position.
    Yes. You have an interesting background that indicates you might be suited for a production role, but you have not worked in games. You're a planner and organizer, but you don't know the needs of a development team or what it takes to release a game.

    I have five and a half years of work experience
    You have been paid to work 40 hours a week ever since you were fifteen and a half?? And you managed 40 hours a week while also going to high school and college?? This is the kind of incredulous question you can expect to hear when you use the word "experience." So you should either prepare answers for those questions, or find another way to describe what you have been doing that does not prompt that sort of question.

    would it be feasible for me to land an entry production job right out of school
    It isn't out of the realm of the possible. Producers need willing assistants. But they often want them to have experience (there's that word again) in the development of games.

    or would I need to get there by other means?
    You should probably volunteer for an indie project or two. You might consider working in QA for a while, or get a non-game job while working indie projects.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 27, 2012


    Thanks

    >From: Cathe J
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 7:33 PM
    >Subject: Thank YOU
    >Hi Tom,
    >You have no reason to know me, and I haven't posted to your boards, but I've gained an amazing education thanks to you. I just wanted you to know that you're important, your work matters, and some random stranger is better for it. (at least my games are! comicz too)
    >Cathe aka ratmando
    >"It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand."
    >- Mark Twain
    >I am patient with stupidity, but not with those who are proud of it.- Anonymous

    I'm glad my site has been helpful for you, Cathe. Keep working on those parts that Mark Twain can't understand!

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 16, 2012


    Could you send the template?

    >From: "gregvet
    >Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2012 2:37 PM
    >Subject: Template for card box
    >Tom,
    >Could you send the template for you card box to me? Also, Have you found another program that will allow you to print card boxes?
    >Please let me know,
    >Greg C

    Hello, Greg. You wrote:

    Could you send the template for you card box to me?
    I assume you mean the box in FAQ 38. You can just use the image on the web page.
    1. Go to http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson38.htm
    2. Scroll down until the card box graphic is visible.
    3. Right-click the graphic.
    4. Select "Save Image As..."
    5. Choose a location on your hard drive where you want to save the image.
    6. Remember where you saved the image.
    7. Navigate to the location of the image.
    8. Open the image with your preferred graphics utility.
    9. Edit to suit (remove the camouflage, remove the card image, put in your desired imagery).
    10. Print the image so as to fill the page. You may have to fiddle with your printer settings, or resize the image to fit your cards.

    Have you found another program that will allow you to print card boxes?
    I do not know of any such program. I unfolded a card box, scanned it, then used Paint to make that box.

    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    10/11/12


    Should I take, part 2

    >From: XuTian T
    >Sent: Monday, October 8, 2012 4:23 PM
    >Subject: Reply on your advices
    >Hi, Mr Sloper:
    >Sorry for taking too long to reply on your advices [September 9]. School works took a while to get used to again. I made a decision grid. After positive things and negative things counter each other, the only thing matters are working hours and paying.
    >With some back and forward between my boss and me, he agreed to with me around project/pieces-based. That makes this part-time so much easier to handle. :)
    >By the way, are you attending any of the shows/conferences next year(like Siggraph, Gamer Developer's Conference, E3)? I really want to go to at least one show next year and thank you in person~
    >Don
    >
    >From: XuTian T
    >Sent: Monday, October 8, 2012 4:39 PM
    >Subject: FW: Reply on your advices
    >Woops, it should be "he agreed to keep me around project/pieces-based." That might mean I get paid by each advertising idea executed. I'm not sure how much money I would make this way, but I will quite this part-time if he pays too low. :p

    Good. Good luck, Don.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 9, 2012


    Please validate my educational path (v3.0)

    >From: Simon B
    >Sent: Monday, October 8, 2012 8:49 AM
    >Subject: Re: Career advising (actually, education advising)
    >Tom,
    >Hello. Thanks for the reply [September 29]. What I meant by media art is things include graphic design, illustration, product design, things like that (at least those are categorized as media art in my school). I didn't thought that was career advising, I just wanted to know will game companies accept applicants like me in my status. Sorry if it seems like so to you. So allow me to ask it differently: how will an economics major benefit video game development ? I am interested in art and design department but what about as a a whole ? Thanks again.
    >-Simon

    Hello, Simon. You wrote:

    how will an economics major benefit video game development ? I am interested in art and design department but what about as a a whole ?
    Your question is unclear. I told you last time that to get a game job, all you have to do is get a degree [in whatever subject you want], make a great portfolio, do all [or many] of the things in FAQ 27, and... be lucky.
    [Edit] Are you asking about the applicability of an econ degree to the game industry? If so, it's very applicable if you go into production or management eventually. And it's very applicable if you wind up starting your own company eventually.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 8, 2012


    In trouble at my first industry job

    >From: Tomasz W
    >Sent: Saturday, October 6, 2012 11:43 AM
    >Subject: Problem with teamwork at my first industry job.
    >Dear Mr Sloper,
    >let me first express my thanks to you for putting up all those great tutorials about game design and getting a job in the industry. Thanks to your great advice I got a job as a level designer and I'm happier than ever... or I would have been if it weren't for some problems I recently encountered at my new workplace.
    >Its not my first job (I'm 27) and I'm well accustomed with working in a team (but then again, maybe not) and with different people, but at this first industry job of mine I have serious trouble getting along with the team. Everyone is so much more experienced than me and everyone seem to knows what should they be doing and who is responsible for what.
    >I really expected (for some reason) that someone will guide me through the workflow and tell me exactly what they do expect from me, but after the first month I got a "talk" from the manager who said he is not pleased with the way I work with other members of the team. He said to me that it is I who should come out to the senior members with my work and ask them about what they think about it and what should I do next, what to improve or change.
    >I really thought it is my seniors responsibility at the very first weeks of my employment in the industry, to check what I'm actually doing and... you know, make sure that I'm not just sitting in my cubicle playing some games.
    >Of course, now I know how to tackle this particular issue, but I'm really afraid whats next. What else do I not know about working as designer in team I should know about? I feel it is expected from me to know what to do and no one is really trying to tell me: "this is how we do it here".
    >I imagine its because the company I work in is known as a place for industry veterans tired of all the corporate bullsh**t. We don't have managers per se, no one cares about titles and chain of command, there are no meeting or official announcements. I don't even know what kind of questions I could ask about the way the team works.
    >Please help me Tom Sloper, you are my only hope:D
    >Thank you.
    >Sincerely,
    >Tomasz W

    Hi, Tomasz. I don't think you have a teamwork problem; I think you have a communication problem. You aren't talking to your teammates. Instead of asking me what to do, you should be asking them.
    But don't ask them, "what should I be doing so I don't get fired," instead you should ask other things, depending on who the person is and what his role is. Perhaps, "what can I do to make your life easier," or "any ideas how I can improve on this level," or "any tips on how I can make that guy's job easier?"
    As soon as you have a playable level, how about "who wants to try out this level and tell me which parts suck?"
    They hired you, so they must see something good in you. You should not be intimidated by the others who've been making games longer than you. Don't be afraid to talk to them.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 6, 2012

    [Update 10/11/12] To put it another way, Tomasz: find out what their expectations are. Then live up to, or better, exceed their expectations. Another thing you can do is manage their expectations: tell them what they can realistically expect from you (and then exceed those).


    What are my options?

    >From: spencer t
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 10:45 AM
    >Subject: What are my potential career options in the video game industry with a legal degree?
    >Hello Mr. Sloper,
    >I am 25 years old.
    >I am in my third and final year of law school.
    >I am currently a student.
    >I am unsure about which game career/job path to pursue and thus I am writing this email to you in the hopes that you can enlighten me on my options.
    >I live in the United States, and I go to law school in Michigan. However I am from Los Angeles and will more than likely be moving back there upon graduation, (or wherever I can get a job... especially if a career opportunity in the video game industry opens up for me I'll be pretty open to moving anywhere).
    >
    > A little background on me... Video games have been a passion of mine for a long time, but I have never known how to approach working in the industry. My undergraduate major was political science with an emphasis in legal studies. Now I am currently in my final year of law school and I have been searching on many game publisher's websites looking for a potential niche that my qualifications might fit into. However I have had issues knowing what exactly to look for in this regard.
    > Many of the job postings revolve around game design, level design, engineers etc. I am not interested in those particular career paths. At the same time however I am not necessarily only interested in working in legal matters. (especially since in-house counsel at most of the major companies require10+ years of experience). I am pretty open to any opportunities that could come forth for me, and many of the career paths I am interested in don't necessarily have anything to do with a degree in law. In addition to legal careers, I am also interested in legislation and policy making (including special interest groups/lobbyists... and whether there are positions within companies that push for particular legislation). I was hoping maybe you knew if companies have their own positions that advocate for policy change and what the names of special interest groups/lobbyists that deal specifically with the video game industry? (I've searched for them online but I have only found a few).
    > The main thrust of the question that I am looking for however lie with opportunities with video game publishers. What career opportunities other than those in the legal departments at these companies do you think would be available to someone with a legal degree? Human Resources, administration, producing, community management, licensing, corporate development, etc? (and not to limit the list to those particular fields)...
    > Any help that you could give on this subject would be greatly appreciated. I have been frustrated for a long time trying to search the internet for opportunities that I might be suitable for.
    > It has been a dream of mine to work in the video game industry for a long time, but I'm not great with math... I've always been more proficient in English. One company I would particularly love to work for is Blizzard Entertainment. I have been loyally playing Blizzard games for over 14 years.
    >
    >Thank you again in advance for any help that you can give.
    >Sincerely,
    >Spencer

    Hi, Spencer.
    Your email is a bit long and I'm tired at the moment. But your subject line contains a clear question I can easily answer. If you really think there's something else in your email that I need to address, you're welcome to send me a short email with that question. If you need me to read some part of your email above that doesn't say "I've always loved video games ever since I was a kid" (which EVERYBODY ALWAYS SAYS, thus is not informative and is not a selling point), then tell me which paragraph to read. Your clear question is:

    Subject: What are my potential career options in the video game industry with a legal degree? ... I am writing this email to you in the hopes that you can enlighten me on my options.
    Your law degree is an excellent entrance pathway. You'll work on contracts, be involved in lawsuits, and learn a ton about the game industry. After you've worked in the legal department for a couple years, you can wangle a move into production or studio management, and become a vice president. I've seen it happen more than once.
    You'll be a decision maker. That's what most wannabes wanna be -- one of the guys who decides what games get made (among other things).

    But if you don't want to start in legal, you'll have to look to your interests and abilities, and read about game jobs, and make a decision. Read FAQ 7 and FAQ 70, and come back with questions anytime.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 2, 2012


      Color key


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

    CLICK HERE to read older Q&A postings!


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