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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

Hi. My name is Tom Sloper. Welcome to my Game Industry 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 / terms of service: "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.


Feel free to ask Tom a question!

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:

  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.


  • I wanted to thank you for Sloperama.com!

    >From: Jonathan S
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2016 12:48 AM
    >To: Tom Sloper
    >Subject: Thanks from a fan!
    >Hi Tom,
    >You don't know me at all but I wanted to thank you for all the work you put into sloperama.com! It was a key ingredient for guiding me into the game industry.
    >
    >A little background:
    >Ever since I was a kid, I've wanted to make video games so that I could help to inspire others in the same way games like Actraiser, Megaman X and Zelda inspired me. I also did a lot of drawing as a kid and knew art was somewhere in my future. When it came to figuring out how to get into the industry, though, I had some ideas but no solid plan.
    >
    >I started looking for ways to get into the game industry when I was about 15 (13 years ago) and ultimately found your site in around 2003. I read pretty much all of the content, specifically when it came to the art track and planning my future: what skills were common, how to get them and then how to present those skills. I remember you emphasizing to go to college and get a degree in SOMETHING as much of the knowledge from a degree program could be applied in creative ways.
    >
    >You also mentioned that as an artist in the video game industry, a digital art degree was not necessary and a fine art degree could serve as a good foundation. Being the indecisive teenager that I was, this really helped me make the decision to become an art major, feeling confident that I could later utilize my artistic background to learn all of the applied skills. There's actually a really interesting story about how I later accomplished this but long-story short, I eventually got admitted to a Master's program down here in Florida which really prepared me for what was to come. The year in that program was one of the best years of my life!
    >
    >After graduating, I landed a great job at a local company doing what I love: using art and technology to develop games. I've been in the industry for 3 years strong and have had the pleasure of shipping 1 game so far! Over the past decade, I've been mentioning your site to others so much and really felt the need to personally thank you. Thanks for sharing the knowledge, experience and especially for being a guide in an industry that was not always as mainstream as it it is today.
    >
    >Although it has grown tremendously, it's still a small industry and I would not be surprised if we crossed paths in the future. Until then, thanks again and take care!
    >Cheers
    >Jonathan S
    >Technical Artist

    Jonathan,
    I'm so glad my site was helpful for you. Here at GDC, a couple of people have said something similar to me. It never gets old. If you are here at GDC now, our paths might cross sooner than you think! Here, you earned an achievement:



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

    San Francisco, California, USA
    3/16/16


    Aspiring game designers in Cuba

    >From: "cdeemc
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2016 6:57 AM
    >Subject: Videogame designer
    >Dear Tom: First of all, thanks for all the information and guidance
    >you give to us all(platonic game designers) and please..pardon my
    >english.
    >OK.. I´m cuban, yeah!!!! from Cuba, great country and full of players,
    >seriously, we play here A LOT!!! but....(there is always a but) the
    >extremely bad thing: WE BORN PIRATES!!! ARRRRGGGG! so..that´s the only
    >way we can use videogames..BUT(here is another but...) Currently, the
    >next gen consoles and high performance gaming PC opened a door..the
    >door of paid products, original games, hoping piracy never touch this
    >gen..and that means we are paying for games...GREAT YEAH!!!!!!!! Well
    >this is my introduction..
    >
    >To the point..A friend and I, started with the idea of creating a
    >videogame, we don´t have the ¨ultimate idea¨, we don´t even know if
    >what we are doing is GOOD, or barely GOOD or(why not??) a piece
    >of....!!!
    >
    >I read your advices and i´m happy i did it. Our main goal is to get in
    >the game designer business. We are creating a portfolio of ideas,
    >prototypes, scenes, levels, storyboards and other stuff. I think
    >videogames are on their summit(personal criteria as a gamer) We have
    >an avalanche of indies, handheld, AAA and the ¨range¨ of players have
    >expanded..an example, my mom plays Candy Crush like crazy now and
    >yeras ago she always said that´s stupid.
    >
    >So, do you think, a mini company(not even a company, two guys who work
    >together) from a poor country, barely without internet(slow and
    >inaccesible)can enter this dinamic industry? Any ideas on How to
    >start? Your experience in my context?? Websites to visit(to save
    >internet time)??
    >OK, thanks again, and now for listening to me. Thanks for your time.
    >May the force be with you!
    >████ from Cuba

    Hello, cdeemc.
    I don't really want to start with explaining why I am not calling you by the name you signed, but names are important so I must. The name you signed in all capital letters -- is that your given name (did your parents give you that name when you were born, and is that the name that's on all official documents in Cuba)? Or is that your nickname? Unfortunately, that is an ethnic slur here in America. You should use a small portion of your valuable internet time to look it up ("what does ████ mean?"). If that is your real name, then my apologies. But it's best if you write it with only the first letter capitalized, and add your last name as well, so as to reduce misunderstandings from correspondents.
    Now, to get to your email. First, you say you want to "get into the game designer business," that you want to create a videogame. There is no "game designer business," so I don't know what you mean by that. If you want to create a videogame, that is much more than just designing it. It's also full development - programming, art, audio, and then if you want to make it available to players, you have to get it published (either publish it yourself, or get someone else to publish it). So, because I don't know exactly what it is that you have in mind, I don't know for sure how to answer your questions, which are:

    do you think, a mini company(not even a company, two guys who work
    >together) from a poor country, barely without internet(slow and
    >inaccesible)can enter this dinamic industry?
    Yes, absolutely. I said so in FAQ 50.

    Any ideas on How to
    >start?
    Start small.

    Your experience in my context??
    I do not have experience in your context.

    Websites to visit(to save
    >internet time)??
    Read more of my website, and visit gamedev.net.

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

    San Francisco, California, USA
    3/16/16


    Technical writing for class project

    >From: Anthony C
    >Sent: Sunday, February 28, 2016 9:06 PM
    >Subject: Software Development Questionnaire
    >Dear Tom Sloper,
    >One of my school projects asks for an email interview about technical writing. My goal is to see the significance of writing in software development and engineering.
    >Will you be able to answer the following questions, preferably by March 3?
    >-What do you personally define as technical writing?
    >-On average, how much time do you spend writing per week?
    >-What is the significance of writing to your occupation?
    >-Would you say that writing is an enjoyable experience for your occupation?
    >-What kind of documents do you write?
    >-What is the process that goes on in writing? Who considers the audience, purpose, and topic, and how do they consider it?
    >-Are there any difficulties in writing, including technical problems, time, and frustrations?
    >If you have any concerns, please let me know.
    >Sincerely,
    >Anthony C

    Hi, Anthony. I'm numbering my answers. A good technical writer numbers his or her steps.
    Yes.
    I define it as writing about something technical. It could be specifications for a product (to be read by technicians, designers, manufacturers, or technical support), or it could be instructions about using a product (to be read by consumers).
    I am currently not designing or producing games full time. Currently my primary job is university lecturer, but I consult in the game industry (reviewing/analyzing game designs and business plans and contracts) occasionally. Rather than answer your questions as you phrase them, I will answer them as though I was still working full time as a producer/designer (assuming that's the intent of your questions).
    A game designer spends well over 50% of his/her time writing, because the job is primarily to communicate. It's that first type of technical writing I mentioned above: specifications for a product in development. A game producer also spends a considerable percentage of his/her time writing, but mostly it's business writing (communicating with project stakeholders and developers).
    Writing is hugely significant to both game designers and producers. The designer's very purpose is to communicate. Yes, he or she has to envision the best way for the game to work, but that vision has to be communicated to the other members of the development team, and also to marketing, sales, and publishing executives. And that is essentially technical writing. The producer's job is to facilitate, and in order to do that, the producer has to communicate with the development team, executives, marketing, sales, platform holders, and IP owners. A big part of the producer's communications is to manage expectations (to tell stakeholders what they can expect, and then to deliver).
    Yes, mostly. I've been accused of enjoying it too much, actually.
    As I've already mentioned, there are design documents and business emails, but there's also marketing information, policy memos, meeting notes, and lots of forms. Not to mention schedules and budgets. And another kind of technical writing is when there need to be communications about bugs and game features.
    The first part of your question is too broad.
    All writers must consider those things.
    Those considerations inform the wording of the writing. If you're describing the "jump" control for the game character, you describe it entirely differently when writing development specifications as opposed to user instructions.
    Specs: "Instantly upon the press of the A button (without waiting for the button to be released), the character performs a jump. The jump outprioritizes any running or walking animation that may be in progress. Overhead space permitting, the character jumps until the bottom of its feet are level with where the top of its head had been, prior to beginning the jump, and then falls back down. If an obstacle prevents a full jump, the character falls back when its head collides with the obstruction. No damage is inflicted upon the character thereby."
    Instructions: "To make the character jump, press A."
    Yes. There are.
    Good luck with your assignment, Anthony.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    Leap Year Day, 2016


    Please explain what you said, part 3

    >From: Skye
    >Sent: Friday, February 26, 2016 1:28 PM
    >Subject: Thanks [RE: Question Regarding Age vs. Education]
    >Dear Tom,
    >Reading FAQ 71 answered my question, as well as highlighting how dumb the question was. Thanks for taking the time to reply in spite of that, and I'll make sure to hold any other questions until after I finish reading through the FAQ list.
    >Sincerely,
    >Travis F

    You're welcome, Travis.


    Please explain what you said, part 2

    >From: Skye
    >Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2016 6:23 PM
    >Subject: Clarification [RE: Question Regarding Age vs. Education]
    >Dear Tom,
    >I'd be happy to play again. =)
    >My question is simply this: How much does one's age play a role in breaking into the games industry?
    >I was specifically curious what you meant by the line: "Get a college degree, if you haven't already and if you are not past your early twenties yet," which happened to be in that FAQ, as it seemed to imply that if you are past your early twenties, it's too late. Sorry for obfuscating the question in my last email!
    >Sincerely,
    >Travis F

    Hi, Travis. You've now given me two entirely different questions, and one of them is based on a misunderstanding. So I'm only going to answer one.

    How much does one's age play a role in breaking into the games industry?
    That question is based on a misunderstanding, and it's too big a question for me to try to answer after a night out with fellow USC faculty (involving more wine than I've had in quite a while, and considering that I have a class to teach in the morning), other than to suggest that you read FAQ 71. So let's jump ahead to the (real?) question:

    I was specifically curious what you meant by the line: "Get a college degree, if you haven't already and if you are not past your early twenties yet," which happened to be in that FAQ,
    Most people get a college degree when they're in their early twenties. There are rare individuals who decide to pursue a degree "later in life," so (because that's rare) it's not at all expected that someone would go for a degree after one's early twenties. Now that you've read the previous two sentences, do you see where I was coming from when I wrote that line in FAQ 11?

    as it seemed to imply that if you are past your early twenties, it's too late.
    That's not at all what I was "implying" with that. Are you feeling a little sensitive about your age, and not having gotten a degree? If so, I'm sorry for rubbing unintentional salt in that wound. Once an individual is beyond his/her middle twenties, nobody expects him/her to go back to college to get a degree. An individual of such advanced years need merely present himself or herself as someone with a bit of understanding of the working world... AND, of course, a very interesting portfolio of work. Now, then -- Have you read FAQ 71 yet?

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    February 25, 2016


    Please explain what you said in FAQ 11

    >From: Skye
    >Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2016 9:42 AM
    >Subject: Question Regarding Age vs. Education
    >Dear Tom,
    >Here's the requested info before I get into my question:
    >How old are you? 26
    >What's your level of education? 2 years of college
    >What's your current occupation? Starbucks Barista
    >Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? Designer. Not necessarily Lead Designer, but I don't know enough about the industry yet. I enjoy crunching out system details.
    >And depending on your question, I may need to know what country you live in (where in the world are you?). USA.
    >My question is pretty brief. I've been reading through your FAQs and came across one line I'd like elaborated on, for obvious reasons.
    >FAQ 11, Section IV:
    >"4. Get a college degree, if you haven't already and if you are not past your early twenties yet."
    >At 26, I missed the train on this one, if only barely. And I'm not planning on going to school until next year. I've been trying to push through the worry, but am I at a disadvantage due to my age already? It seems a little early yet, but I'm not sure what you meant by this.
    >Thanks for your time,
    >Travis F
    >(aka SkyeVeran on the Gamedev.net forums - http://www.gamedev.net/topic/676210-game-design-education/ )

    Hi, Travis. Your questions:

    I'd like elaborated on, for obvious reasons. FAQ 11, Section IV:
    FAQ 11 is "More about what to do with your original game concept." It's " Lesson 1 Redux," meaning "So, You Have A Game Idea And You Want To Sell It." Section IV is "What To Do With A Completed Design Document If You Are Not A Game Industry Professional." The obvious conclusion is that you have a completed game design document and you hope to sell it.

    am I at a disadvantage due to my age already? It seems a little early yet, but I'm not sure what you meant by this.
    Did you read farther in FAQ 11 to see the rejection rates matrix? Your column is "Not in industry; not professional." And your row (making the obvious conclusion from your question, just an assumption since you didn't say) is "Written presentation."

    REJECTION RATES

    Professional game developer

    Industry professional

    Professional but not in industry

    Not in industry; not professional

    Complete game

    90%

    91%

    92%

    93%

    2/3 complete game

    93%

    94%

    95%

    96%

    1/3 complete game

    95%

    96%

    97%

    98%

    Small interactive demo

    96%

    97%

    98%

    99%

    Non-interactive animation

    97%

    98%

    99%

    100%

    Written presentation

    98%

    99%

    100%

    100%

    Verbal presentation

    99%

    100%

    100%

    100%

    Idea in your head

    100%

    100%

    100%

    100%

    The point is that the chances of selling your GDD are very low, given your current situation. You increase your chances of selling your game idea if you build it into a fully interactive demo (or, better, a finished working game). But why don't you go for a job in the game industry instead of trying to sell your game idea? By the way, the subject line of your email was "Question Regarding Age vs. Education," but you never asked me anything about that. If I've missed your REAL question, it's because you didn't ask it. Want to play again? But first, maybe it'd be good to read the next Q&A below, from Sushobhan. Unless you aren't asking a question about selling your game idea at all...

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    February 25, 2016


    I have an idea for a game but don't know where to begin

    >From: Sushobhan P
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 5:30 AM
    >Subject: Help regarding android game development
    >Hello,
    >I have this idea for an android game but don't know where to begin. I'm almost done with the wireframe. I wanna know what softwares ketchapp developers use 'cause I want my game just to look like one of those games as I have it pictured in my mind, just a simple, arcade, minimalist game.
    >I'll begin to learn game designing on my own. I'd like you to suggest me on how to get started.
    >Thank you,
    >Sushobhan P ??

    Hi, Sushobhan. You wrote:

    I have this idea for an android game but don't know where to begin.
    That's like saying, "I have an idea for a new kind of automobile but don't know where to begin." Imagine for a moment that that's what you opened with. How could I reply?
    a. I could say, "at the beginning. Study mechanical engineering, or take apart some cars and study what each part does, then get hold of some machining equipment and start building," and so on. What that would get you is an automobile that you built yourself. Then your problem is getting it recognized as roadworthy so you could drive it.
    b. I could say, "at the end. What do you want to do with your idea? If you don't want to make just one car but rather see your invention driving by the thousands on the roads of the world, that's an entirely different question than how to make a car."

    So you see, you haven't actually told me what it is you want to accomplish with your Android game idea. And I can't assume, because that makes an ass of u and me (I give the answer based on my assumption, but it doesn't answer the question you wanted answered, and we have to go around again).

    I'm almost done with the wireframe.
    Okay, I don't know why you mentioned that. But all I can say is, "finish the wireframe, and write a GDD while you figure out what it is you want to accomplish with your Android game idea."

    I wanna know what softwares ketchapp developers use
    You should probably ask an app developer. I'm a producer and designer myself, and I haven't worked on any mobile games. I understand that Unity supports multiple platforms and is relatively friendly.

    I want my game just to look like one of those games as I have it pictured in my mind, just a simple, arcade, minimalist game.
    Okay, that's nice.

    I'll begin to learn game designing on my own. I'd like you to suggest me on how to get started.
    Well, we went off on a big tangent there! If you want to learn about game design, you should start by watching the Extra Credit video (on Youtube) titled "So you want to be a game designer" and read FAQ 3 (about preparing for a career in game design). This goes back to what I said in response to your wireframe comment - designing the game is an important step prior to actually starting development. Read FAQ 2 and FAQ 13 for some tips on how to write GDDs. You can link to the FAQs above left.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    January 6, 2016


    My parents versus my design career

    >From: Paarth G
    >Sent: Sunday, December 20, 2015 7:56 PM
    >Subject: Game designer Salary
    >Age: 23
    >Location: India
    >Occupation: Junior Game designer
    >I have been working as a junior for about nine months now. I don't know whether game designers are paid well or not but unless i'm wrong, I don't think its well paid.
    >Now based on this game industry, when someone like Miyamoto-san wants to be paid better, he/she needs work experience and needs to get a promotion inorder to be paid more. My dad thinks that simply quitting this job I'm doing right now and going elsewhere will get me better pay.
    >I've made up my mind that if I can't get this job and if my parents are gonna keep bossing me around, I will quit my dream job and work as a garbage boy simply because I'm not able to put up with my parents and I can't even afford basic cost of living because the economy in India is below average. I know you made a statement about whining vs whiners but the fact that I don't have flexibility whenever I stick with my parents makes me feel that I can't do this job.

    Hi, Paarth.
    I did not see a single question mark anywhere in your email. So since I can't answer any question, I'll have to instead reply to your comments.

    I don't know whether game designers are paid well or not but unless i'm wrong, I don't think its well paid.
    Well, you can look at the latest game industry salary survey, but I imagine Indian salaries are lower. Because the "game designer" title is sought after, the pay doesn't need to be high (from the employer's point of view). And of course a junior designer would be paid less than a senior one.

    when someone like Miyamoto-san wants to be paid better, he/she needs work experience and needs to get a promotion inorder to be paid more.
    Miyamoto-san has created many many million-seller hits. He is very well compensated by Nintendo so that he doesn't get hired away by some other company. Bad example.

    My dad thinks that simply quitting this job I'm doing right now and going elsewhere will get me better pay.
    The principle "quit and go somewhere else to get more money" doesn't work after only nine months. Wait another 15 months. If you quit after 9 months, the next employers you interview with will think you don't have enough experience and that you don't have stick-to-itiveness. And if they understand that you quit that job so you can ask for more money, they'll see you as just out for money. Employers value loyalty and dedication, as well as passion for the work.

    if I can't get this job and if my parents are gonna keep bossing me around, I will quit my dream job and work as a garbage boy simply because I'm not able to put up with my parents and I can't even afford basic cost of living because the economy in India is below average.
    Yes, a garbage boy surely has a lot of freedom, wears nice-smelling clothes, lives in a nice home, eats at nice restaurants, and gets lots of dates with good-looking women.

    but the fact that I don't have flexibility whenever I stick with my parents makes me feel that I can't do this job.
    I don't see a connection between your ability to do your job and the stuff your parents say. I don't believe there really is a connection between the two. I understand that Indian parents hold considerable power over their offspring, and I sympathize with your situation. I can't tell you how to deal with your parents. And now I have responded to all your statements.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    December 20, 2015


    Is the combination of Masters degree in Computer Science and game development useful?

    >From: Shashank B
    >Sent: Monday, December 18, 2015
    >Subject: Regd. Master's degree in Computer Science with game dev
    >Hi there,
    >I am 20 years old and am currently pursuing my Bachelors degree in Computer Science and Engineering (Third year). I am from India and have been immensely interested in Game development. I like doing Game programming and have done some small projects in noob engines like Game maker studio. (I know it isn't much :P) . Now I understand that solo game development is kinda difficult.
    >I have been through your other posts on this issue.I can surely say that I am indeed interested in this field, and have been striving to develop myself in the game development.I do have some doubts though:
    >Is the combination of Masters degree in Computer Science and game development useful/prospective?
    >Will it provide me with a better experience to be a game developer?
    >Are there any institutions that you might suggest for this?

    Namaste, Shashank. My apologies. You emailed me this question four days ago, and I started to write a reply but never posted it. It nagged at me, "what happened with the guy who wanted to know about Masters degrees? Where was that?" When I saw your email just now, I went digging and I found the reply I started but regretfully never finished. Now I have a chance to fulfill my purpose! Your questions:

    Is the combination of Masters degree in Computer Science and game development useful/prospective?
    I am unclear on your question. You're saying there are two things being combined: (a) Masters degree in CS, and (b) something about game development, but I'm not sure what.
    Since I am unclear on what you're asking, I'll respond (to this and all your questions) as if your question is "should I get a Masters degree?"

    Will it provide me with a better experience to be a game developer?
    I can't foretell your future, but there is a high probability that it would!

    Are there any institutions that you might suggest for this?
    I don't recommend universities, since I am biased and since it is every student's duty to choose his own. You should read FAQ 25 and FAQ 76 and FAQ 27 and FAQ 89. You can link to the FAQs above left.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    December 18, 2015


    Found some broken links, if you want to know about them

    >From: Stanley Tan at owlguru
    >Sent: Thursday, December 17, 2015 5:40 AM
    >Subject: Found some broken links on your site
    >Hi (this isn't a spam),
    >I came across your site http://www.sloperama.com and found some great
    >info but some broken links.
    >Is the site still being updated? If yes, I will be happy to let you
    >know where these broken links are.
    >Regards,
    >Stan

    Of course it isn't a spam, Stan. And of course I want to know about broken links. And I can hardly wait to see what kind of replacement links you suggest. (But of course I won't include that last sentence in the email I send you.)
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    December 17, 2015

    P.S. Stan told me where to find those broken links, and of course (because he works in SEO) he offered me more links I could put up. Not gonna.


    Do I have to be good at art to be a game designer?

    >From: shivam k
    >Sent: Wednesday, December 16, 2015 7:43 AM
    >Subject: art in gam designing
    >My name is Shivam
    >I am 15 years old.
    >I am in 10th standard.
    >I am from India.
    >I want to ask that is art necessary for game designing?I am not good at it.Kindly give me some suggestions....plzzz...

    Namaste, Shivam.
    When you wrote to me last May, I suggested that you read my articles. Article 14 talks about the job of the game designer - it doesn't mention art, because that's not necessarily a requirement to be a game designer. Article 3 talks about preparing for a career as a game designer. You really ought to read it. Although article 3 recommends that you take classes in art so you know how it's done, it doesn't say you have to become Michelangelo -- because you don't.
    Good luck, and have fun!
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    December 16, 2015


    Unreleased 7800 games, and the inner workings of Atari Corp.

    >From: Mark R
    >Sent: Sunday, December 6, 2015 12:56 PM
    >Subject: Nice site
    >Hi there,
    >I discovered your site, listening to the Atari 7800 game-by-game podcast. I was a huge Atari 7800 nut as a kid and I like to think my fascination with the inner workings of Atari Corp and the stuff you worked on helped influence me to go into a career in high tech, where I’ve been a product manager for about 15 years. Thanks for that.
    >Hope someday you might have a section on unreleased projects you’ve worked on. Unreleased 7800 games are a bit of a holy grail for Atari fans.
    >Cheers and thanks again!
    >Mark

    Hi, Mark.
    I checked my records, and although I was apparently working on many 7800 titles when Mike Katz fired me from Atari Corp., I only know of two that never got finished: Gato and an unnamed Bruce Williams game. If you'd asked me this 29 years ago, I might be able to name more unreleased projects!
    The problem with Gato was that the developer had no in-house artist, and wasn't being paid enough to hire one. I tried creating a main game screen for them. But the original game included a circular sonar screen or periscope view, and because the 7800's pixels weren't square, it was difficult to replicate. I used a grid paper created by Western Technologies to try to create the circle, and it wasn't until they implemented what I sent them that I could see that it wasn't circular on screen. I didn't have time to redo it before I was terminated. Bruce Williams was unhappy about something I'd done, and after he wrote a letter to my boss about it, I was fired. The funny thing was, I advised Bruce to write that letter!
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    December 6, 2015


    Questions about women in games and the job of the designer

    >From: Alyssa
    >Sent: Sunday, November 22, 2015 10:35 PM
    >Subject: [No subject]
    >Hi Mr. Sloper,
    >I am a 16 year old girl, currently in high-school as a student, and I live in New Zealand. Small country that I'll probably have to move far, far away from... but that a whole other can of worms. As for what position I actually want to go in, I'm still not sure if this is the industry I want to work in, but probably writing(also as a general career), art or Game Design.
    >The questions I have for you are... hopefully not ones with the answer sitting in plain sight and I apologize if they are.
    >
    > So, anyway, I just found your site and have been browsing through all this endless information. I noticed that when you posted the salary in Lesson #14, female salary is smaller than that of men, and there is also very small numbers of female representation. Looking into from the link you posted, 2014 shows that the amount of women working in the industry is still substantially smaller, with smaller salaries. I was wondering, as somebody who has actually worked in the industry, if you could say if you noticed it was harder for female colleagues?
    > I mean both with work-place relationships (did the gender make her an outcast or difficult to accept) and if you noticed any bias either way of her climbing the ladder. Will it be as awkward as my Digital class where all these nerdy boys either get too close or won't talk to me at all? Are these guys the same white-knighting guys you see in the internet? I realize you might not have much to say on this question, but I though as somebody who has actual industry experience and welcomes questions, it was worth an ask. =)
    >
    >The second question I have for you is more about the actual job of game design. So I know design is in the name, but I am kind of getting mixed emotions throughout all the different articles/lessons. When you design a game, are you knee-deep and nosy in all of the art and story? Or are you just planning the outline for the game, nothing more? Do you do any programming, or art, do you help with the story - How much do you boss people around? If it's not you, (who bosses people) then who does? And when you write the game design (in the outline you've provided), does that start before the writers have started to write, or just after you've been told what the idea is? Do you add the changes in the design to go with what, say, the programmers do(without any talking between the two), or do you and the programmers discuss and all that and then it's added in? Am I getting this job mixed up with another?
    >
    >Sorry, I know I ramble, but I hope I still got the point across.
    >Thanks for your time and although I guess it seems I got none of it, I really do appreciate your site. As somebody with no friends even remotely interested in video games and a career's lady who thinks I should go into medicine (urg!) it's really nice to have a bit of a 'guide' to a potential career that I want to know more about.
    >Okay, enough.
    >Thanks for your time
    >Alyssa

    Hi, Alyssa. You wrote:

    I live in New Zealand. Small country that I'll probably have to move far, far away from
    Well, you don't need to move to work in games. Gamedevmap lists 17 companies in 4 cities of New Zealand.

    I was wondering, as somebody who has actually worked in the industry, if you could say if you noticed it was harder for female colleagues?
    It can be, but it depends on the person (you) and also on the company and its people. I have worked with several women who had successful careers, and I never noticed or heard of any "outcast" treatment for any of them. I know two or three who married coworkers. Come in with mad skills and a good attitude, and you can kick butt! It's unfair about the pay discrepancy, but here in California, there's movement to equalize gender pay (I have no idea how they plan to enforce that).

    Will it be as awkward as my Digital class where all these nerdy boys either get too close or won't talk to me at all?
    I can't foretell your future. Sure, some are nerdy and shy. But familiarity breeds comfort.

    Are these guys the same white-knighting guys you see in the internet?
    Sorry, you lost me there.

    I realize you might not have much to say on this question
    Au contraire! I just lectured my students on "bro gamer culture" today! I speak on this to my students every semester. I encourage female students to enter the game industry. We need more women, to civilize us, make us more aware of how games portray women, and to make us more responsible with spending money.

    When you design a game, are you knee-deep and nosy in all of the art and story? Or are you just planning the outline for the game, nothing more?
    The designer probably sets forth the story elements (the game's world, the main characters, the situation and backstory), but a writer will write the dialog and also consult with the designer to jointly determine how the story works itself out throughout the game. The lead designer will probably consult with the art director to jointly determine the overall look and tone of the art.

    Do you do any programming, or art, do you help with the story
    The more the designer is capable of, the better. It may be desirable to have the designer do some of the scripting, which is essentially programming - and the more artistic the designer is, the better able she is to communicate her ideas to the art team.

    How much do you boss people around? If it's not you, (who bosses people) then who does?
    The designer is not the boss of anybody. The designer communicates the vision. The boss of the programmers is the technical director or lead programmer. The boss of the artists is the art director or lead artist. And so on. The tech director and art director cooperate with the producer, who coordinates and facilitates. The real "boss" is the client (the party who's paying the money) - that might be a publisher or an investor or an owner. Read FAQ 7 and FAQ 10.

    And when you write the game design (in the outline you've provided), does that start before the writers have started to write, or just after you've been told what the idea is?
    That's astute of you to realize that the designer isn't necessarily the person who came up with the idea. The designer has to start figuring out what the vision is - the heart of the gameplay, the game world, etc. Most games are not based on what the story is - most game stories are based upon what the game is.

    Do you add the changes in the design to go with what, say, the programmers do(without any talking between the two), or do you and the programmers discuss and all that and then it's added in?
    Nothing can get done without talking and collaborating and cooperating. In many projects, once the initial design has been written, it doesn't necessarily get updated and keep up to date with the actual game. It's primarily a planning document. Sometimes an up-to-date design might be needed, to accompany a submission with a console owner or something. And if the game is going to be ported to another platform, then it might be desirable to keep the document in line with the actual game. When a design is being updated, it would probably require discussion and collaboration.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    November 23, 2015


    How closely can I copy something and get away with it?

    >From: Jon G
    >Sent: Saturday, November 21, 2015 3:59 PM
    >Subject: Another copyright question
    >Hey tomster. I would first like to apologize for being another random person asking another question about IP and copyright issues. I am in the process of making a game very similar that a company made and was published by Nintendo. The game had a story mode, but mine will not. What will be the same is the mechanics with extra added. The art work will be totally different. For example, if I wanted to make a game that was very similar to Metroid Prime, could I just change the way Samus looks, change the way the gun looks, but keep the same physics and mechanics plus extra added? And also change the layout and UI of the game and then publish the game to the public for sales? I would just make it into a MMO game with 0 RPG.
    >Thanks in advance,
    >-Jon

    Hi, Jon. I am not a lawyer. The answer I give you is not to be construed as legal advice. If you get into legal trouble based on what I say, that's your decision alone; I am not responsible.
    I assume you have already read my FAQ 61, "So You Wanna Clone Somebody's IP."
    So you are copying the game mechanics and the physics of a famous game, and nothing else. If someone who's played that famous game plays your game, he or she will say, "how about that - this plays just like Game X, and the physics are just like in Game X, but it doesn't look anything like Game X." I don't think (just from the sound of that description) that the owner of the Game X IP is going to sue you. Of course, if that IP owner does challenge you on the legality of your game, it'll usually be a cease-and-desist request rather than an outright summons to court. If that happens, you can just take your game offline, and maybe the IP owner won't ask you for all the money your game earned. Sounds like fun! Good luck with your game.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    November 21, 2015


    Dropout entrepreneur wannabe

    >From: "jarod
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2015 6:47 PM
    >Subject: I need your advice on starting my own Independent Game Development team.
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >I am seventeen-years-old and aspiring to become a video game director/designer. I know it will take some time to get there, especially since I am a high school drop-out (for personal reasons) who cannot afford to attend college, but I already have some video game development experience. I have taken classes on 2D and 3D game development where I have learned: how a game engine works, how to program within certain game engines (Unity, GameMaker), how to create 3D models (building a mesh, mapping out UVs, laying textures, sculpting), how to rig and animate a 3D model, how to create sprite animations (ripping sprites from sprite sheets, putting set sprites into a correct sequence), how to create scripts and codes for objects (both 3D and 2D), and how to create environments. Besides technical skills, I am also considered creative, a critical thinker, and a good leader (only heard those traits from teachers and my parents).
    >From those classes I obtained an understanding of the work-flow of video game development and how video game development should be organized, but I need advice on forming my own team. I understand I cannot start a business by myself or get accepted into a game company immediately. And I know I will not get instant recognition with one game. I just need your advice with recruiting and starting my own Indie Game Development team. I have read FAQ #16 and I feel it does not inform me well enough, I want to know if sites like GameDev can provide suitable members. Since I cannot afford a lot, I plan on starting a small team while working on small projects (I already know some free software and have tested their ability).
    > Sincerely,
    > Jarod
    >P.S.: This is my first time E-mailing to someone for advice.
    > I also live in California if that helps with anything.

    Hi, Jarod. You asked:

    I am seventeen-years-old and aspiring to become a video game director/designer.
    Cool.

    I am a high school drop-out
    Not cool. That can hamper your life, and therefore you will want to get that high school equivalency diploma at some point.

    who cannot afford to attend college
    Well, after you make a great game that earns some money, maybe you'll be able to afford it and maybe you'll want to get a degree after all. This is less crucial than the high school thing, though.

    I understand I cannot start a business by myself
    Right. So you'll need an adult who's willing to be your signatory for your business registration and your business bank account and your contracts (collaboration agreements, publishing deals, everything) -- until you turn eighteen, anyway.

    or get accepted into a game company immediately.
    It's going to be extremely difficult to get hired by a game company without at least a high school equivalency diploma. Even with a couple of games under your belt. But anything is possible (except time travel to the past and the Star Trek holodeck).

    I need advice on forming my own team. ... I just need your advice with recruiting and starting my own Indie Game Development team.
    The best way to recruit people is to pay them a wage. If you're going to try to get people to work for you for free, I can't help you. I don't know how to do that.

    I have read FAQ #16 and I feel it does not inform me well enough
    Turn the number 16 upside down, and what do you get? You get the number 91. Read FAQ #91. My recommendation is that you finish high school for starters. No American who wants to go into the game industry should try to do it without benefit of at least a high school diploma. That's un-American!

    I want to know if sites like GameDev can provide suitable members.
    Anything is possible (except those two things I said before). You have to use the Classifieds section there. You say you're a good leader; a good leader knows that one secret to leading people is to understand what motivates them. People who join your team don't necessarily do it for the reason(s) you think they do. People who join your team won't necessarily stay on it until the game is done.

    I plan on starting a small team while working on small projects
    Well, I think it's a good idea to make some small projects, and I think it's a good idea to practice working together with other people. You'll learn a lot that way, and some of the lessons will be hard. Like if you succeed in finishing a game and try to make money from it, you'll find out how hard it is to make money that way. And if you do succeed in making money from a game you made with other people, you'll discover the importance of collaboration agreements (see FAQ 58). People who help you make your game will expect a chunk of that money.

    Anyway, to wrap this up - it's not an easy thing you're trying to do, and I can't tell you how to do it all. I'm honored to be the first one you asked for advice, and I wish you well. (And I wish you'd finish high school.) P.S. sorry if you don't like the title I gave this thread, but it does kinda sum it up, you'll have to agree.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    November 10, 2015


    What I need to know about being a tester

    >From: giorgos s
    >Sent: Monday, November 9, 2015 5:35 PM
    >Subject:
    >hello mr.Sloper
    >i am george 26 y.o. i have high school education,currently unnempoyed living in greece
    >and if u have the time i have some questions.
    >i keep it simple in 3 questions
    > What i need to become a game tester;
    >1st what knowledge is required. (i searched on the net and i get comfused a bit)
    >2nd can i work from home as a tester.
    >3rd how fast can one locate bugs and depends on what.
    > ''i appreciate your discretion many regards''

    χαιρετίσματα, George (I googled that). You wrote:

    What i need to become a game tester;
    You need to be a good communicator, to be good with computers, and you need to live near a game company that hires testers.

    what knowledge is required. (i searched on the net and i get comfused a bit)
    Read FAQ 5. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    can i work from home as a tester.
    No. Read FAQ 5.

    how fast can one locate bugs and depends on what.
    There's no easy answer to that. Some bugs jump right out at you when you playtest a game. Some bugs hide in obscure places and are hard to find.

    ''i appreciate your discretion many regards''
    Discretion? I don't give private answers (as it says above). But I didn't reveal your last name or your email address. Many regards to you as well!

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    November 9, 2015


    Is your website defunct?

    >From: Diane
    >Sent: Monday, November 9, 2015 11:12 AM
    >Subject: website
    >I only see postings up until 2012. Is your website defunct?
    >Diane

    Hi, Diane. I don't know which part of my website is giving you that impression. I assure you, I'm right here and actively posting. Here on the Game Design board, I posted just this weekend. And over on the Mah-Jongg board, I've answered a couple of questions today and yesterday. If there's something I can help you with, a game industry question or a mah-jongg question, go ahead and ask.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    November 9, 2015


    Wow, thanks for your great site/advice!

    >From: Jenni S
    >Sent: Saturday, November 7, 2015 7:47 PM
    >Subject: Wow, thanks for your great site/advice! Really helpful for my HS aged, creative-writing son who's interested in game design in his college search.
    >Mr. Sloper,
    >I just came across your incredibly helpful website & wanted to thank you for taking the time to write & maintain it. This contains so much great info for my son, who’s a creative writer interested in video game design. Thanks!
    >Best,
    >Jenni

    You're welcome, Jenni. I appreciate your taking the time to email me.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    November 7, 2015


    Interview request, part 2

    >From: Troy T
    >Sent: Saturday, October 31, 2015 4:53 PM
    >Subject: Interview
    >Good day Mr. Sloper, as the subject states I'm here about the interview. I took the liberty to read through some of the questions that you already answered, which made the list a bit smaller. The interview is for a formal report that I'll be writing and the questions are broken into two groups, one more towards game development and the other regarding the formal report so I may compare your answers to what I've already written down as an outline.
    >1. What sparked the ideas for games you made? You can give two examples. (Ex. How did Mr. Toru Iwatani come up with Pacman?)
    >2. How do you determine whether or not your idea for a game is good?
    >3. What drives you to finish a game that you think is no longer a good idea? If an instance like this have occurred.
    >4. What is the most difficult part of designing a game? What's the easiest?
    >5. What is meant by the term "crunch time" and what activities take place?
    >6. What are the intentions of developers adding in hidden detail or "easter eggs" in a game? Are there any feelings when knowing its gone unnoticed?
    >(Did it feel like a waste of time or there was some satisfaction since it was suppose to be hidden.)
    >Regarding the Formal Report
    >1. Since my report is on Game Dev, what points do you think should be included in the background details (Introduction)?
    >2. What problems are to be addressed? This question confused me a bit, but possible problems I stated were that some people think that video games are a waste of time and that they don't understand the time and money it takes to make them. Also that there are some misconceptions within Game Dev (the roles of the developers).
    >3. What are some recommendations for these problems?
    >I must say your website is a great place for information and I'll be sure to reference it in my report, but do you have any other articles or books that you would recommend to help me with my report?
    >Thanks so much!
    >Troy

    Hi, Troy. Let me preface this with some background. Many of your questions could be answered very differently depending on who you're interviewing. An indie solo game designer would be designer, programmer, artist, marketer, tester, producer, and publisher all in one. In most of my career, I worked for an employer (either a game development company or a game platform holder or a game publisher). As an employee, one does not have nearly the amount of freedom autonomy that an indie solo game designer does. Also, the majority of my career was spent producing rather than designing the games I worked on.
    Okay, here goes:

    Most of the games I made were not made from "ideas" of my own. Spike (Vectrex) was a game I designed based on "orders from above." My boss wanted me to design a vector-graphic game that looked 3D without using a 3D Imager (which was only in development then). And the game modes in Shanghai: Great Moments clearly needed to be played using mah-jongg tiles, so I used the classic Shanghai gameplay as my starting point.

    Many people assume that there is such a thing as a bad game "idea." I disagree. I think any idea can be made into a good game - it's all about execution and polish. That said, let's consider Shanghai: Great Moments and its different game modes. I was able to playtest "Beijing" and "Great Wall" with actual mah-jongg tiles. But I could not do the same with "Action Shanghai." It wasn't until the developer delivered the first playable version that I was able to play my idea. When I played it, I felt a sinking feeling that I'd designed something that wasn't fun. But then my tester came to my office and told me "Action Shanghai" was his favorite game mode. Then I realized that it was a matter of "different strokes for different folks." The three modes had appeal to three different kinds of players.

    If the boss tells me to finish it, I finish it.

    Two things that are difficult about designing a game are the necessary but boring parts and the artificial intelligence.
    - Specifying how the UI and the controls and the menus work is necessary but boring.
    - When designing A.I., it's hard to foresee every possible situation that the A.I. can encounter.

    The easiest part is coming up with ideas. But most of the time, all you're really doing is solving design problems.

    When a project is running behind schedule and the publisher needs the game to be finished by a certain date, the development team is asked to work overtime. It happens most of the time. People working crunch don't have free time for the duration. People have lost sleep, gotten sick, and even gotten divorced because of crunch.

    I suppose it's ego, playfulness, and a rebellious spirit that inspires people to put hidden things into a game.

    I don't know, since I never did it. But in my writing and my teaching, I often throw in little hidden references and puns and double-entendres. Most of the time, those are not caught by my readers or students. I don't mind - I know those were there.

    Most people outside the industry make erroneous assumptions, and your report should address those up front. Not everything is "game design." Not everybody in the game industry is a programmer. There are a lot of jobs in game development, and many of them are unsung and unappreciated.

    There are two main problems I can think of at the moment.
    - The industry is heading into unknown territory, along with movies and music and book/magazine publishing. The internet is changing everything, and the game industry hasn't yet figured out how it's all supposed to work in "the future."
    - The industry is rife with bro-gamer culture. Males in the industry often make sexist games and the workplace is also sexist.

    I have no idea how to solve the marketplace problem. The best solution I can think of for the sexism problem is for more women to work in game development.

    Good questions. Good luck with your report, Troy.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    November 1, 2015


    Will my business degree prevent me from getting a career in games?

    >From: Ruan P
    >Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2015 4:19 AM
    >Subject: Business degree and the gaming industry :)
    >Dear Mr. Sloper
    >My name is Ruan and I am a final year student doing my Bachelors of Commerce Supply Chain Management (everything from procurement to delivery of a product or service). I am enrolling for my honours degree next year specializing in business management which includes strategy, international business and supply chain as core modules.
    >I read your article on gaming and the business industry, and was wondering if you could tell me if my degree will allow me to have a career in the gaming industry that I am so passionate about? I live for gaming, and have much more business sense than coding sense that is why I chose a business degree.
    >I am not asking for free advice, simply thought you would have the answers :)
    >Kind regards

    Hello, Ruan. You asked:

    if my degree will allow me to have a career in the gaming industry
    Your degree will not prevent you from having a career in the games industry, or the gaming industry (casinos etc.) either, for that matter.

    I am not asking for free advice
    If you aren't offering to pay me for it, then certainly you are asking for free advice. I love giving free advice (that's why this board exists) - I just don't give free private advice in response to emailed requests for advice/answers.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    October 18,, 2015


    Interview request

    >gamedev.net » Home » Messenger » My Conversations » Interview
    >Interview
    >LeNinja
    >Member
    >Members
    >Reputation: 114
    >0 warning points
    >Sent Yesterday, 08:38 PM
    >Good day Mr. Sloper, my name is Troy and I'm a college student. I have a technical report writing class that requires me to interview someone with expertise in my topic, which is video gaming. I did some looking around on your website and I decided to pick you. So I was wondering, if it's not too much trouble, can we arrange an interview anywhere between the 16th and 31st of this month? If you're not too busy.

    Hi, Troy.
    I'd prefer we do the interview by email, so I can publish it here on this bulletin board for the benefit of others besides yourself. Please read FAQ 37 first, and ask me questions not already answered in the FAQ (since I've already answered all those many times before).

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    Columbus Day, 2015


    Do I need more education? How do I make a design portfolio? Is my location stupid? Should I change my name?

    >From: Clever Azevedo Cruz Júnior
    >Sent: Sunday, October 4, 2015 8:01 PM
    >Subject: Questions from a reader of Sloperama.com - Bulletin Board.
    >My name is Clever Azevedo Cruz Junior, I'm from Brazil - Rio de Janeiro, I'm 22 and I want to be a Game Designer!
    >High School concluded - in the middle of a 'full-complete' 3d artist/animator technician/technologist course - not Bachelor degree, it's a lower tier of degree (I don't know how it's called in the USA). And by 'full-complete' I mean I'm studying character and scenario design, character sculpting, character retopology, rigging, texturing and animating. (Universidade Veiga de Almeida - Design Gráfico < search it for any info about the course if you feel like for whatever reason)
    >Student.
    >== END OF IMPORTANT INFO ==
    >Hi Tom! Nice that you are willing to share all the experience you gathered through years and help aspiring guys like me! The way you write it all is nice, it's 'warm', looks like a friend is talking to me, I never get tired of reading it! Also, the content you bring is awesome. Congratulations and thank you for all the time spent for us!
    >I'm currently at Lesson 11, but couldn't keep on reading since I only could think about the questions I was planning to send to you. Sorry for any english mistakes, english isn't my native language.
    >Ok, here I go!
    >== QUESTIONS BELOW ==
    >I want to start saying that I'm horrible on "Asking good questions".
    >I'm kinda unsure on what is the best way for me to insert myself on the game industry. Should I build up an 3d art portfolio with character, animations, scenarios even if I'm loooking for a Game Designer job?
    >Or should I build up a Game Design Portfolio?
    >If yes, I'm kinda unsure of what a Game Design Portfolio is made of. GDDs of my ideas and of existing games? Protoypes?
    >About the Bachelor/4 years degree - should I still get one in order to increase the sucess rate of inserting myself on the game industry even If I'm going to conclude that 3d art course I mentioned above? Or are there other courses/things I should study that would increase my chances even more than a Bachelor/4 year degree?
    >Do you recommend studying programming in order to increase my insertion sucess rate or isn't it needed to aspire a Game Designer job?
    >I was curious about Lesson 24 and couldn't contain my will to read it, despite I'm currently at lesson 11 ~.~
    >As you can see, Stupid Location is a reality for me at the moment. Can you say how stupid my location is? And if I have to move/should have moved (if it's an emergency or not).
    >By the way, If I move to USA or any other country that had english as it's main language, should I change my name? You know, I don't want people to think that I'm doing the 'Stupid Arrogance' trick when I present myself. "Wtf, he is so arrogant that he even named himself Clever >_>''.

    Hello, Clever. You asked or wrote:

    in the middle of a 'full-complete' 3d artist/animator technician/technologist course - not Bachelor degree, it's a lower tier of degree (I don't know how it's called in the USA).
    We usually call a 2-year degree an Associates degree.

    I'm studying character and scenario design, character sculpting, character retopology, rigging, texturing and animating.
    That's good.

    Should I build up an 3d art portfolio with character, animations, scenarios even if I'm loooking for a Game Designer job?
    If that's the best kind of portfolio you can make, that's what you should make. It won't get you a job as a game designer, but no portfolio or degree will get you a job as a game designer anyway. Read FAQ 85 for how to become a game designer, after you've gotten into the game industry in any role.

    Or should I build up a Game Design Portfolio?
    Sure, do that too.

    I'm kinda unsure of what a Game Design Portfolio is made of. GDDs of my ideas and of existing games? Protoypes?
    Read FAQ 12.

    About the Bachelor/4 years degree - should I still get one in order to increase the sucess rate of inserting myself on the game industry even If I'm going to conclude that 3d art course I mentioned above?
    I don't know what Brazilian game developers want to see in their applications. But more education will better prepare you, and will show a higher degree of stick-to-it-iveness (aka perseverance).

    Do you recommend studying programming
    Yes.

    or isn't it needed to aspire a Game Designer job?
    It isn't. But it wouldn't hurt.

    As you can see, Stupid Location is a reality for me at the moment. Can you say how stupid my location is?
    I don't know if your location is stupid. I don't know where in Brazil you live, relative to the location of Brazilian game companies. Have you checked gamedevmap.com or gameindustrymap.com?

    By the way, If I move to USA or any other country that had english as it's main language, should I change my name?
    No. Your name is your name.

    I don't want people to think that I'm doing the 'Stupid Arrogance' trick when I present myself. "Wtf, he is so arrogant that he even named himself Clever >_>''.
    I assume it is or was your father's name, since you are a Junior.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    October 4, 2015


    Arcade Time Watch

    >From: John B
    >Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 12:00 AM
    >Subject: GCE Arcade Time Watch
    >Tom,
    >I am the proud owner of one of your labors of love, the ARCADE-TIME Watch.
    >I won the watch in a Taco Bell contest when I was a kid back in the 80's.
    >At the time it was the most expensive watch I had owned, so I played with gently until the batteries wore out. When my mom couldn't figure out how to open it to change the batteries, it got packed away until I found it again last week.
    >I still have the box, wrist straps that were never used and even the battery cut-off tab.
    >I was happy to read the story of how my watch came to be.
    >It was really great going over old memories and now I have new ones knowing it's humble start.
    >Thank you again,
    >John

    Thanks for sharing, John. You're lucky your old batteries didn't leak inside the watch. If you're interested, that size battery is still available - but there isn't one common name for that size. I don't recall offhand whether the watch uses LR43 or LR44 (the watches use the thinner one, the calculators use the thicker one). LR43 is now called 301 or 386 or D301 or D386, the LR44 is now called the 303 or 367 or A76 or 76A. You can get them at the drugstore.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    9/11, 2015


    I want a career in games and need some guidance

    >From: Rishi S
    >Sent: Monday, August 31, 2015 2:33 AM
    >Subject: Request for guidance
    >Hello Tom,
    >I am a undergrad student pursuing Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering.I want to make my career in Gaming Industry. But the problem is that I have no prior experience of any game design or development tools. So, if you could guide me in the right direction I would be really grateful to you. Could you please tell me the possible ways to enter the gaming industry. Please suggest the jobs and their requirements in all possible fields of gaming. I am also open to ideas of learning new software or language if required.
    >Even the smallest help will be appreciated.
    >Thanking you in anticipation.
    >Rishi

    Hello, Rishi.
    These questions have been asked many times before. You can find the answer to these questions, and many other often-asked questions, in the "Frequently Asked Questions" ("FAQs") here on this site. Please scroll up and find the links to the FAQs, above left (they're easy to find since they're indicated by a blue and yellow flashing arrow, emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Bookmark the FAQs page for your future reference. You should first read FAQ 7. Then read FAQ 27. Those two are just for starters - you may find that a lot of the other articles' titles are also of interest to you. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking a question. After you've read and still have questions, I'm happy to answer.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    August 31, 2015


    Broken link in FAQ 5

    >From: Jessica
    >Sent: Saturday, August 29, 2015 6:48 PM
    >Subject: Broken link
    >Hello :)
    >Thank you for sharing your experience in the video game industry!
    >I just wanted to let you know about a bad link:
    >Sloperama page: http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson5.htm
    >Near the bottom of the page, after In Conclusion, is the bad link: https://parabellumgames.wordpress.com/how-to-be-a-games-tester
    >I really appreciate you taking the time to help the rest of us learn more about the video game industry.
    >Thanks again,
    >Jessica

    Thanks for letting me know, Jessica. I tried Googling to find a newer address for that article, and turned up one of those test-from-home scams, so I just deleted it. You were helpful!

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    August 29, 2015


    Remember Classic Gaming Expo 2003?

    >From: "hd
    >Sent: Saturday, August 22, 2015 11:55 PM
    >Subject: Fun pic from CGE 2k3
    >Hi Tom,
    >This is pretty random (and who knows if you still even use this email address), but my wife was sorting through old pics we found on a long-retired backup drive, and she came across this pic from (as best I can remember) Classic Gaming Expo 2003 in Las Vegas. I very distinctly remember you taking the time to chat with me and my wife (then-girlfriend) before you graciously signed my Vectrex controller.
    >As I said, pretty random, but I thought you might get a kick out of seeing this!
    >Many best wishes,
    >Huxley D

    Hi, Huxley.
    I have to say, time is moving in a rather [to coin a Kurt Vonnegut Jr. phrase] chronosynclastic infundibulum manner, when we find ourselves reminiscing about an event that was itself a reminiscence! I suppose today comes eight years early, though. 2003 was the 20th anniversary of the Vectrex, and this email exchange is only the 12th anniversary of the 20th anniversary of the Vectrex. It's undeniable proof that time really is accelerating! That's something I'd assumed was only my perception of time.
    Thanks for the photo. Looking closer at it, I recognize the shirt I wore; it's hanging in my closet now, and this inspires me to wear it to Patrick King's birthday party today. (He designed Web Wars.) And I see you're holding your Vectrex controller and wearing an Apple shirt. None of us had iPhones yet then, back in ought-ought-three... But I digress (that's what we do when time speeds up this much!). My pose seemed odd to me, until I realized that I was showing off my Game Time watch.

    That's the yellow-button watch. Tomorrow when I introduce myself to two new university classes, I'll be wearing the black-button watch. It's less noticeable, less toylike.

    Thanks for writing, Huxley. I'm giving you the "politeness" achievement because, well, it's the only animated achievement I have lying around. I suppose a more apropos achievement would be a "thanks for the memories" achievement or something.

    P.S. I'm sharing this on my Game Design Q&A bulletin board.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    August 23, 2015


    Came across my old Game Time watch

    >From: Stephen J. S
    >Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2015 4:00 AM
    >Subject: The Game Time Watch
    >I recently cleaned out my basement and found my Game Time watch that I have not played for about 33 years. I remember playing games on it in math class to pass the time. I ordered some batteries for it and it still works! I am very excited to be able to play these games again! This is one of my favorite watches and game machines of all time!
    >Steve S

    Cool story, Steve! Thanks. I always put on my Game Time at the beginning of each semester, to show my students. A tip I learned from another Game Time fan: to keep the band from breaking, don't snake the band through the buckle the way you did when it was supple and new. Put the band through the first opening, and put the tongue through one of the holes, but then don't snake the band through the second opening - hold it in place with the loop instead.
    Have a great day!
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    August 13, 2015


    Look at my portfolio?

    >From: Kaan C
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 1:13 PM
    >Subject: Portfolio Feedback
    >Hello Tom,
    >I was wondering, do you, by any chance, provide feedback to portfolios?
    >I'm an architect who is currently trying to venture into game business, as, in the past four years, I've noticed that I have tremendous fun contributing to the development of games.
    >(those games being mods and smaller indie game projects - that never got released - yet).
    >I find it really hard to judge my work, most people say things like "awesome", "good job" and all that stuff
    >but I kind of get the feeling that it's not honest or maybe I'm just not very confident in myself.
    >I want to take that leap of faith and apply to a position in a games studio. I don't care what really, I just want to gather some experience and eventually do my own thing.
    >My work spans from level design over 3d modelling and drawing to sound/music design with the occassional coding here and there.
    >I guess you could say that I'm one of those guys who can do a lot of things but is not perfect in any of those areas.
    >You probably have more important things to do but i thought i should give it a shot.
    >Regards,
    >C

    Hello, C.
    If you want to apply with some studios, just go ahead and do it. It'll be a great learning experience either way.
    I suppose I could look at your portfolio, but my readers would also have to see your portfolio, and my feedback would be right here on this board. If someone wants a private portfolio critique, I do that only over lunch or for pay. And since I'm only a producer and designer (not an artist), and I'm only one guy, you might get much better and more varied feedback if you request a critique at gamedev.net or another forum like that. Standing by...
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    August 11, 2015


    Should I learn more now that I'm working?

    >From: Paarth G
    >Sent: Thursday, August 6, 2015 12:16 PM
    >Subject: Should I get more skills or just stick to what I'm good at?
    >Name: Paarth Gururajan
    >Age: 23
    >Location: India, Chennai
    >Occupation : Fresher in Game Design
    >Education: Completed College
    >I got something that's bothering me. So I'm right now being hired as a fresher game designer designing educational games by pitching the ideas and writing the entire document of each and every one of them. After some plans are made, I have been doing night-shift work and I've sometimes work more than regular hours. I don't want to brag that I'm a hardworker and all so don't mistake me on that. its just to explain what I'm currently doing right now.
    >
    >But I feel and wonder whether what I'm doing right now is adequate for about a year or two that can allow me to go to other companies for work. I'm not saying like Nintendo and all those big companies but the ones that are small and independent like Treasure, Sora or Wayforward. Because at this point, I'm just doing what they are telling me to do like pitching ideas and designing them and sometimes additional work like finding loyalty music and such. And other times, I slack off a bit and play phone games or watch youtube videos when I get free time. But to go to these companies would have some expectations and such. Should I either wait and see how this goes or try developing other types of skills?
    >
    >The thing is I suck at various skills like 3D Modelling, Animation, Art etc and I'm a bit paranoid if what experience I have in here is adequate enough to move to other companies or not.
    >But I'm very happy that I got this job position. The best part of this is that its just two blocks away from my home. :)

    Hi, Paarth.
    These are the questions I identified in your post:

    Should I either wait and see how this goes or try developing other types of skills?
    You should do the best job you can for your present employer. Make your employer value you so much that if you ever said "I'm leaving for a better job," he'll offer to pay you more to keep you. What you do in your spare time (you need to have spare time) is up to you. If you WANT to learn a little about modelling or art, take an evening class. Why not? The more skills you have, the more value you can bring to your work. Maybe your present employer will even pay for classes. Doesn't hurt to ask.

    I'm a bit paranoid if what experience I have in here is adequate enough to move to other companies or not.
    Nothing is ever "enough" (adequate) - FAQ 49. Keep improving yourself.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    August 6, 2015

    P.S. -- NEVER stop learning!
    August 11


    Getting a game job in Canada (from India)

    >From: tabrez
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 4, 2015 11:25 PM
    >Subject: game design
    >hie sir , i am tabrez from india , and am working as a game designer from lat one year and i am planing to move to canada , but i dont have any idea about the industry in canada and the way to get job there , i thought you will be helpful so please if you can i would like to have a talk with you about the game design and jobs .
    >thank you

    Namaste, Tabrez.
    Go ahead and ask me your questions (by return email). I don't know how much help I can be, since I have never worked in Canada. I don't know anything about Canadian immigration law. Maybe your best bet is to ask your questions at GameDev.net's Game Industry Job Advice forum (http://www.gamedev.net/forum/101-game-industry-job-advice/). There are Canadians who participate in discussions there.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    August 5, 2015


    Consulting? Steve Meretzky?

    >From: Charles K
    >Sent: Monday, August 3, 2015 12:12 AM
    >Subject: Question About Your Freelance Consulting Job Details
    >How old are you? 18
    > What's your level of education? Earning my Bachelor Degree
    > What's your current occupation? (If student: "student") Student
    > Which game job, if any, do you aspire to or plan to study for? I'd love to be an idea guy but that's highly unlikely it'll ever happen. So let's just say Producer.
    > And depending on your question, I may need to know what country you live in (where in the world are you?). United States
    >Hi there Mr. Sloper! I'm Charles. I've finally finished your articles in Game Design. It took a lot longer than I originally planned to take. By the way, has anyone who emailed you about game design called you mean before? A lot of the things you write seem to have this really harsh undertone to it. I personally find it endearing.
    >Anyways to my real question. So you say you do freelance consulting ... what does that mean you do? Do you look at other people's designs and help them make it better?
    >If you don't end up answering that question, which you sometimes do, answer this one instead. Why do you find Steve Meretzky one of your heroes in game design? I briefly did about 20 min of research and couldn't find anything particularly amazing about him.
    >Thanks for reading my email out of the dozen of other ones you probably get.
    >- Charles K

    Hi, Charles. You wrote:

    has anyone who emailed you about game design called you mean before?
    Absolutely.

    you say you do freelance consulting ... what does that mean you do? Do you look at other people's designs and help them make it better?
    That's one of the services I offer. Steve Meretzky calls that "design doc-toring."

    Why do you find Steve Meretzky one of your heroes in game design? I briefly did about 20 min of research and couldn't find anything particularly amazing about him.
    In your 20 minutes, you didn't play any of his games or work with him. He has a great sense of humor, and he's still working full time in games. "Hero" is a bit overblown. Better to say that I admire the work he's done and appreciate him as a fellow designer.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    August 3, 2015


    Where do I get a Game Time watch? How do I get my idea made into a working game?

    >From: Ethan A
    >Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2015 12:48 PM
    >Subject: The Game Time Watch
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    > I am a young vintage videogame fanatic (Which may sound weird, but believe me I love them) and I don't care for the new Smart Watches. I have always admired the Game Time Watch. However, I can not seem to find any on the market and I was wondering if you game tell me where my best chance to find one at a reasonable price would be. Also, I have read the entirety of your "Game Design 101" and I loved it. So, I have a gaming idea of my own, but I do not have the skill or the funds to make it happen and I have been rejected contact with the developers of Electronic Arts, Konami, Microsoft, and PlayStation. I do not want to reveal my idea to them because in their automated response emails they say that if you tell them your idea then they are not responsible if their company makes a similar game. I just fear it being stolen and I would have put the idea in this email, but on your website it states that you own this email and you will post it on a public bulletin board. So, how do I make this happen, who do I talk to, how to I reach them or the companies I have tried to contact already, and I would appreciate if you added any other elements of game developing that I am missing. Thank you for your time.
    >Sincerely,
    >Ethan A

    Hi, Ethan. Nice to hear from you. You wrote:

    I was wondering if you [can] tell me where my best chance to find [a Game Time watch for sale?]
    You could try eBay. Or maybe Packrat Video Games (Google it). Good luck!

    I have a gaming idea of my own, but I do not have the skill or the funds to make it happen
    But what is it you want to do with your idea? I mean, after your game has been made, then what? What is your business idea? How do you plan for the game to be disseminated to the game playing public, and how do you figure the game will make back its cost of development?
    Have you written a business plan? You say you've read the entirety of my "Game Design 101," so you should have read FAQs 1, 11, 21, 29, and 60 already. Or are you only talking about FAQ 1? Maybe you should re-read FAQ 1, and read FAQ 60.
    If you have no skills useful in the making of a game, the only way to get a game made is to pay people to make it for you. End of story. If at the end of that story you have no way to get the funds (either by friends, family, fools, or crowdfunding), then what some people do is try to convince skilled people to make the game in anticipation of getting paid back when the game earns money, but in order to convince people to do that, you'd have to show them a solid business plan, and you'd have to look like someone with some industry chops or at least some useful game dev skills.

    I have been rejected contact with the developers of Electronic Arts, Konami, Microsoft, and PlayStation. I do not want to reveal my idea to them because in their automated response emails they say that if you tell them your idea then they are not responsible if their company makes a similar game.
    Yes. I said that much, did I not, in FAQs 11 and 21? I stand by what I wrote in FAQ 1 - you sound to me like you are fairly young (and in fact, you started your email by saying you are young), and if you want to make video games, why don't you go for a career making video games? Read more of my FAQs.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    June 16, 2015


    I was given a pretty unique opportunity

    >From: Don X
    >Sent: Monday, June 8, 2015 12:25 PM
    >Subject: Re: Just some quick thoughts
    >Lol. Thanks, Tom. Glad that you did find that email.
    >I find myself having some strange luck lately. I was given a pretty unique opportunity from the school to push one of my games to the mobile market. Not get just getting the game in the stores, but doing all the a/b testing it needs to prove the game worth spending advertising money. I have a vertical splice of a puzzle game, and I try to expand the game into a full game like Puzzle Craft. I am given $2,000 dollars and the office space for 6 months. The amount of money is not huge, but it's a lot for a student. My thought is spending most of those money on testing, legal work of the company and maybe paying a artist intern, if there are money left. Well, I guess it will be hard for you to give advice on this, since I can't tell you everything I need in one short email... Anyway, that's what I'm up to.
    >Talk to you soon~
    >Don

    I don't know what to tell you, Don. If the money has no strings attached, you can spend it on whatever you need to. Congrats.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    June 8, 2015


    Apple Watch games

    >From: Don X
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 6, 2015 11:22 PM
    >Subject: Just some quick thoughts
    >Hey Tom,
    >Just a quick thought. For a while, I was looking into Apple Watch as a rising platform for micro gaming, which I think it's the extension of the trend in one-button games. But what if the future of this micro gaming is just the re-imagination of old watch games with the social games elements now? Since you have some watch games down your belt, what do you think of it?
    >Best,
    >Tiantong (Don) X

    Don, my apologies. I was "slammed" with overwork a month ago, and your email fell through the cracks. I just found it now. My belated reply:
    I don't know what resolution the watch is capable of... oh bother, I'd better just look it up. I found diagrams on the Apple developer site, and I cut holes in the display area to reduce the clutter that was in the Apple diagrams:

    The watch comes in 2 sizes: 38mm and 42mm high. As to your question: re-imagining old watch games isn't the way to go, since old watch games had nowhere near the pixel resolution of the Apple Watch. And since the screen is portrait aspect ratio rather than landscape, old Atari 2600 video games wouldn't work on it either. Designers could conceivably go back to old arcade games (vector-display games would look good) and even Vectrex games. And sure, social makes sense.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    6/6/2015


    I want to be a game designer

    >From: shivam k
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 11:38 PM
    >Subject:
    >Hi, I am 15 yrs. old and read in class 10th. I want to be a game
    >designer. I wish to take admission in FULL SAIL University. How do I
    >get admission in it. And I what should I do now? I am from India.

    Hi, Shivam.
    I can't tell you how to apply to a school - that is not what my website is about. Look at the Admissions page of the school's website. Every school has an Admissions page.
    When you say you want to be a game designer, I don't know how you are using the term. Perhaps you are using the phrase "game design" as a catch-all term for every job in the process of game creation. Design is a specific job in game creation, and it's the "sexy" job title that everybody wants to have but only a special few can have. And the specialized focus of game design does not have wide applicability to other fields. You should read two of my articles (FAQs, or Frequently Asked Questions) - numbers 7 and 3 for starters (#7 talks about the different job roles in games, and #3 talks about the sort of education a game designer should get). You can link to my articles/FAQs above left.
    To get a job as a game designer, you do not necessarily have to have a degree in game design. And you do not necessarily have to go to a game school. If you want to program games, you should get a CS (computer science) degree, from any accredited school. A CS degree would have wide applicability to other fields, and would probably also meet with your parents' approval. (Did I mention that your Indian parents are unlikely to approve of your going for a game design degree at a game school?) Read FAQ 34 and FAQ 89. And FAQ 85 and 44 and 77.
    What should you do now? Spend some time reading some of my articles. And start actively pursuing your interest in game design (if design is really the focus of your goal). Write some game concepts. Sketch some level designs. Try your hand at GameMaker. Do stuff, make stuff - find out if your stated goal really fits.
    When you write an email, you should always write a subject line that summarizes what your email is about.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    May 20, 2015


    Should I go for a bachelors or a masters? Is an online school fine? Are my career aspirations easy? Are my career aspirations unrealistic?

    >From: Tahu v
    >Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2015 1:16 PM
    >Subject: How should I go about pursuing 3D modeling
    >1. Age: 16
    >2. Level of education: High school
    >3. Current occupation: Student
    >4. Future goals: Level Design/Level Architecture
    >5. Location: Washington (United States)
    >So I would like to pursue a career in making 3D models. Making stuff for video games sounds like it would be more fun. But I wouldn't mind making 3D models for cars, or buildings (architecture) or really whatever. I just really make things in computer programs like autocad, solidworks, maya, and other things.
    >That was just some information here are my questions:
    >Q1 - Should i go for a bachelor or masters
    >Q2 - What should i get the bachelor or masters in specifically?
    >Q3 - Would there be a difference between doing online as apposed to on campus
    >Q4 - Do you think it will be very hard to find work in this career? (I am not doing this because it seems easy or anything. I have an interest in this because it seems fun and constantly changing and just making things i think of into full scenes just feels amazing. But if it is an unrealistic career to make a living off of i would not like to pursue it)

    Hi, Tahu. Sorry it took me a long time to reply - I have been VERY busy lately! To reply to your numbered questions:
    You have to have a bachelor's degree to get a master's degree. So go for a bachelor's degree as your short-term goal. Then you can decide LATER whether to go for a master's or not!
    That's for YOU to decide! Choose a college/university that offers courses you want to take. Please read some of my FAQs - see FAQ 25, FAQ 34, FAQ 53. You can link to the articles/FAQs/lessons above left.
    VERY different. Go to real school. It's MUCH better than an online school.
    You're asking if it's hard? YES - EVERYTHING WORTH DOING IS HARD. What are you going to do, give up and look for an easy career? Become a garbage picker. You don't need ANY training. It's REAL easy. But it's dangerous and pays really lousy. DON'T ASK IF SOMETHING IS HARD. If you want to do something, go for it.
    You're asking if it's "unrealistic"?? No. It is not unrealistic. Read FAQ 40, and follow your passions. Let your heart guide you.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    May 1, 2015


    Degree decision

    >From: Sina S
    >Sent: Friday, April 10, 2015 11:42 AM
    >Subject: Different degree paths viability
    >1. Age: 22
    >2. Level of education: Some College
    >3. Current occupation: Student
    >4. Future goals: Game Designer/Producer
    >5. Location: Iran
    >Dear Mr.Sloper,
    >Before I start I would like to commend you for your efforts on creating and maintaining your helpful website.
    >I am studying Materials Science and Engineering at Sharif University of Technology and I'm near the end of the program; I'll hopefully graduate by the end of next Summer. I would as stated, wish to have a career in game development. Unfortunately, as you've already noticed, I have 2 big problems which make my situation rather rare. First, I'm not studying something helpful; second, I'm living in a country where it's hard to emigrate from and doesn't have a viable game industry either.
    >
    >I don't know what my options really are. I thought that perhaps I could apply for a master's in CS at DigiPen (or any other good university actually) but realized that I won't be able to qualify since there are a lot of topics that I'm uneducated in such as operating systems and design algorithm. Going for an MBA or any other business/management degree is also not exactly easy either and most universities have minimum requirements of job experiences for them, but it's still a possible path. After speaking to a student in my university who's studying Software Engineering and a veteran in Iran's own small game industry, I was told by both of them to go to the Iran Game Development Institute which is sort of part-time game school and study design there, however it would still not teach me the computer science I'd need to be able to apply for a masters abroad, at least I don't think so.
    >
    >I would very much appreciate any help regarding my situation.
    >Thank you very much for your time.

    Hi, Sina. You wrote:

    I'll hopefully graduate by the end of next Summer.
    By all means, work hard and make that happen! It's important.

    I don't know what my options really are.
    Yet you list several of them! I do not think you are really as clueless as you say.

    perhaps I could apply for a master's in CS at DigiPen (or any other good university actually)
    Why CS? You say you want to be a designer or producer. I'm a designer and producer, and I don't have a CS degree (I don't have recent programming experience, either). And do you really think you need to go to an expensive game school?

    I'm uneducated in such as operating systems
    You don't need to know how to create an operating system, to be a designer or producer. Just how to use them (and you probably already do).

    and design algorithm.
    I don't even know what that is - and I'm a designer and producer.

    Going for an MBA or any other business/management degree is also not exactly easy either
    None of it is easy. Forget easy. Coincidentally, I know an Iranian MBA student here in L.A. (we took a class together).

    a student in my university who's studying Software Engineering and a veteran in Iran's own small game industry, I was told by both of them to go to the Iran Game Development Institute
    That is not bad advice!

    however it would still not teach me the computer science I'd need to be able to apply for a masters abroad,
    Why do you need CS? Are you sure you want to be a designer or producer? Do you really want to be a game programmer, is that what's going on? I recommend you make a decision grid. See FAQ 70 - you can link to my FAQs above left. I also recommend you read FAQ 3 and FAQ 42 and FAQ 7 and FAQ 34 and FAQ 76 and 74, and 77. (Note: I used to refer to the FAQs as "lessons" and I've also referred to them as "articles".)

    I suppose that list is confusing because it's out of numerical order. I listed them in recommended reading order. But if you want numerical: 3, 7, 34, 42, 70, 74, 76, 77.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    April 11, 2015


    Going to GDC as a conference associate, part 2

    >From: Don Xu
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 4:11 AM
    >Subject: The first day to the rest of my life - updates from me :)
    >Hi Tom,
    >GDC was great and the CA program was fantastic! I wouldn't believe how great the CA program would be until I was there, lol. I re-write this email a couple of time, as I was still figure out what I really wanted to say. I think I know it now.
    >Shortly after GDC, I was was contacting people, sending resumes like crazy, and thought that I would drop out of the grad program if I get a job in the game industry. I was still planning to graduate with my bachelor though. I guess a part of me eager to break free from an academic environment, the other part of me were insecure about coming up something unique for my master thesis. While the job hunting has been fruitless, I received so many validation and encouragement of me pursuing a musical game idea that I have. If I learned anything from my past that would be knowing that there are people out there who will go out their way to help my success, and I should take on those help whenever I see one (even that means there will be more work and more uncertainties in front of me). So, I guess will be finishing my thesis first then. And I already found some wonderful people who would be my thesis committees!
    >I think another reason that I would move full speed head with my thesis is also because of the diversity of the talks at GDC this year, where diversity doesn't just mean the size of the company or new mechanics but interactive experience that rooted in different origins. Some of the most memorable talks are about the same thing - caring. That's the future I would like to see. I hope to do something that I will be proud of. It's definitely easier when I don't have to think about the monetization from the beginning (another thing that I learned this year. o_O) .
    >It's kind of scary and exciting to be a part a industry that is still growing. I'm not naturally a decisive person, but I'm glad that I make it this far.
    >I hope everything is good with you. Talk to you soon. :)
    >Tiantong (Don) Xu

    I knew you'd get a lot out of it, Don. I think finishing your degree is a good idea.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 31, 2015


    Previously overlooked

    >https://twitter.com/i/notifications
    >Bedroom Developer ?@OUSEGames Mar 11
    >@tomsloper Hello! There's a typo on item 11, FAQ #24: "Spend your time and energy following your your passions" in http://www.sloperama.com/advice/

    >Simon Cutajar ?@scutajar Feb 21
    >@tomsloper Thank you for your blog on the game industry. Fully prepared me for getting into gamedev. http://simon.com.mt/thoughts/thankacreator/ … #thankACreator

    I'd previously missed these tweets. I've now fixed the typo. And here's a politeness achievement for Simon:

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    March 21, 2015


    Choosing a school

    >From: Latha N
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 4, 2015 7:43 AM
    >Subject: need advice reg choosing gaming school
    >Hi
    >Sorry to bother you with this mail. But I am really looking for good advice for my gaming career. I got admission for doing MS in gaming both in Digipen and UCF. I am confused which one to choose.I am seeing in the net that seattlle seems to be having more jobs for gamers. Could you pl give me your valuable advise reg this pl. Thanks a lot.
    >Thanks and best regards
    >Sai N

    Hello, Sai.
    My advice is to make a decision grid. Read FAQs 25 and 70. You can link to the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions / Articles / Lessons) above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the 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
    Now March Forth, 2015


    You need to pick up on this (part 2)

    >From: Antonio M
    >To: Tom Sloper
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 1:04 AM
    >Subject: Re: TOM!!!
    >What was your response I can't read it
    >
    >>On Nov 21, 2014 12:05 AM, "Tom Sloper" wrote:
    >>Thank you for your game industry question or comment! (^_^)
    >> A response has been posted on the Sloperama Game Design bulletin board (http://www.sloperama.com/advice/bulletinbd.htm). Wait for the page to load completely, then scroll down to see your answer. The bulletin board is organized with the most recent posts at the top (just beneath the area where you write your own message), and oldest posts at the bottom.
    [remainder of boilerplate response omitted]

    Antonio,
    At first when I got your email today, I went on the BB and started scrolling down, looking for "Antonio." When I didn't find it, I went back to your email to look at the date of my response. November! You waited almost 3 months to come back and look for my reply? Then on the BB I tried using control-F to look for "Antonio" and it wasn't found, so next I used control-F to look for "TOM!!!" and that way I found your November Q and my A. I had deleted your name to give you maximum identity protection, since I thought your question was not serious. Now that you've come back, please do scroll down to November 20 and read what I wrote you. If you want to clarify what this "big opportunity" is, I'm still here.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    February 10, 2015


    Finance jobs, part 2

    >From: Simon.C
    >Sent: Friday, February 6, 2015 4:40 PM
    >Subject: Re: How demanding is a business(finance) degree in the video game industry?
    >Tom,
    >Thanks for the reply. For following up to the question " is it ideal to think about getting a finance/accounting job within a game company ? " Basically I wanna ask is a finance related position exist in video game company. Sorry if it a dumb question but I really couldn't find much about it. Usually finance majors love going into big financial firms or banks so even an academic advisor doesnt know finance related jobs besides these. It makes me feel like a job like this within the industry doesnt exist.
    >-Simon

    Hi, Simon.
    If you take a look at my previous reply, you'll see that it's implied by my response that "big game publishers" do have jobs in "their finance/accounting departments." It wouldn't make sense for a large company that pays a lot of money and receives a lot of money and deals with stockholders and banks and such NOT to have a finance department.
    I worked at Activision 15 years ago. Most of the first floor of the headquarters building was finance and accounting. Accounts payable, accounts receivable, royalties administration... and they used Oracle as their financial database system. Whenever I needed to pay one of my developers, I had to get signatures, fill out forms, and check all the right Oracle boxes. I had friends in accounts payable and I knew people in accounts receivable and royalties administration.
    I also worked at a small development company after that. That company did not have a finance department. That company had a bookkeeper who came in once or twice a month to do the books.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    February 6, 2015


    Hey

    >www.gamedev.net » Messenger » My Conversations » Hey
    >Hey
    >Gambo (IP: 177.142.75.197 )
    >Member
    >Sent Today, 06:38 PM
    >Hello how are you?
    >Could you help me with a question?
    >I did some research and found that specific international relation jobs in the Game industry are rare, so I would like to know if you could tell me from your experience if it would be possible for an international relations student who has just received their bachelor degree to work at the Marketing or Sales sector, my biggest doubt is if the Human Resources would exclude the International relations curriculum for Marketing and Sales jobs because they are not a Marketing or Business administration degrees that are more related to the jobs.

    Hi, Gambo.
    I realize that you thought I would welcome private questions via GDNet PM, but look at my signature in everything I've posted on gamedev: it says, "Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice." Whenever anybody contacts me (and not on a public bulletin board and not in person) and asks me for advice, I answer it here on this bulletin board. I'm sorry if you are disappointed that I'm not giving you a private response. You asked:

    I would like to know if you could tell me from your experience if it would be possible for an international relations student who has just received their bachelor degree to work at the Marketing or Sales sector
    Anything is possible (except time travel to the past and the Star Trek holodeck). Read FAQ 50 - you can link to the FAQs above left.

    my biggest doubt is if the Human Resources would exclude the International relations curriculum for Marketing and Sales jobs because they are not a Marketing or Business administration degrees
    I can't tell you what any particular HR person would do. Every HR person is different. Every company is different. If you're interested in working in marketing or sales, then do a lot of reading about game marketing and the game industry. Subscribe to gamesindustry.biz and read a lot of articles on Kotaku and Gamasutra. Start a blog! Make yourself sound like someone that a company would want to hire. Good luck 2U!

    Oh, and I recommend that you work on writing better subject lines for emails (or private messages). "Hey" is one of the very worst subject lines! Read: http://wordwise.typepad.com/blog/2007/03/subject_to_chan.html

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    February 5, 2015


    Finance jobs at game companies?

    >From: Simon.C
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 4, 2015 1:04 PM
    >Subject: How demanding is a business(finance) degree in the video game industry?
    >Tom,
    >Hello, how are you? My name is Simon. I am currently a graduating senior, majoring in finance. I love video games as well and want my career to be related to it. However, I want to work in the business/accounting/finance department of a video game company rather than the usual art, programming and design. When I searched for jobs on some game companies' websites, I don't see any business related career posted but the usual programming or design jobs. Moreover, I can't really find that much info for business job in video game companies online, let alone specifically finance. I went through your FAQs but couldn't find it, or I just didn't look through enough and sorry if you have to repeat yourself. I am wondering is it ideal to think about getting a finance/accounting job within a game company ? Is there a high demand for it ? How do you approach it compare to getting a job at the usual financial institutions or intermediaries ? Thank you for reading.
    >-Simon

    Hi, Simon.
    I don't know how big game publishers advertise openings in their finance/accounting departments. If it's not through their online jobs site, then I don't know if they post openings elsewhere, or where they might if so. You could try just sending in an application to their human resources department. You could also research the company, find out the names and contact info of the CFO and other higher-ups in that section, then reach out that way, I suppose.
    The usual advice still applies, of course - target a company that would have a job opening that matches your talents, which probably means large companies (publishers or platform holders). And you have to live within daily commuting distance of the company already.
    You asked:

    is it ideal to think about getting a finance/accounting job within a game company ?
    I don't know what you mean. What difference does it make? If that's what you want, go for it.

    Is there a high demand for it ?
    I don't know.

    How do you approach it compare to getting a job at the usual financial institutions or intermediaries ?
    No difference whatsoever.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 4, 2015


    How to submit a concept, part 2

    >From: Tanveer
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 3, 2015 8:05 PM
    >Subject: RE: Qs about submitting a outlining
    >Thank you Sir for responding to my e-mail.
    >Thank you!

    You're welcome, Tanveer. I gave you a pretty big reading assignment! Good luck 2U.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    February 3, 2015


    How to submit a concept

    >From: Tanveer
    >Sent: Monday, February 2, 2015 10:42 PM
    >Subject: Qs about submitting a outlining
    >Hello:
    >Mr.Tom Sloper i hope you be fine. I am from Pakistan , by professional I am a Librarian. I am also an avid gamer and passionate to be a part of this industry. I have an idea for AAA game, and in this concern I search a lot to find a job for game designer but when i came across through http://www.sloperama.com/advice/specs.htm I hesitate to do so. Here I have some questions if you please answer them, it will be my pleasure, and questions are:
    >1. I have a fear that someone may not theft my idea while submitting to any company.
    >2. I still not copyright my proposal due to my thinking that it is just an outline.
    >3. When we present an idea it should be for all platforms or for a single one e.g.: I wrote for PS4 and want to apply it for tablets or smart phones too. So here is my basic question is, should i write for tablets or smart phones separately or this is the job of some one else like the programmer, the developer or of the publisher.
    >Best Regards
    >Tanveer
    >Pakistan

    Hello, Tanveer. You wrote:

    I am... passionate to be a part of this industry.
    Please read FAQ 7. You say you read FAQ 2 already. You can get back to the FAQs by simply clicking the FAQs/Articles/Lessons link above left.

    I have an idea for AAA game
    Please read FAQ 1 and FAQ 31.

    I search a lot to find a job for game designer
    Please read FAQ 14, FAQ 4, FAQ 64, and FAQ 27.

    I have a fear
    Please read http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson47.html#fear

    that someone may not theft my idea while submitting to any company.
    Please read FAQ 39.

    I still not copyright my proposal due to my thinking that it is just an outline.
    Copyright is automatic. Your outline is copyrighted when you write it down. It does not hurt, however, to write a copyright notice on your outline. Read FAQ 11 and FAQ 21 and FAQ 35.

    When we present an idea it should be for all platforms or for a single one e.g.: I wrote for PS4 and want to apply it for tablets or smart phones too. So here is my basic question is, should i write for tablets or smart phones separately or this is the job of some one else like the programmer, the developer or of the publisher.
    You should submit a PS4 concept to a publisher who publishes PS4 games. You should submit a mobile concept to a publisher who publishes mobile games.

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

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    February 3, 2015


    Going to GDC as a conference associate

    >From: Don Xu
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 7, 2015 4:26 AM
    >Subject: I got in GDC 2015 as a CA!
    >Hi Tom,
    >I got in! Well, I need to reply the comfirmation email first, but that shouldn't be a problem.
    >Hope to see you again in GDC~
    >Best,
    > (You don't have to reply this on your board. I just wanted to share this good news with you. :))
    >Tiantong (Don)

    Congratulations, Don! Being a Conference Associate (did I interpret CA correctly?) is a great way to get into GDC and do some fine networking. Sorry I won't see you this year - my teaching schedule is very heavy, and this year GDC does not coincide with Spring Break. Enjoy GDC - it's always great.
    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA

    January 7, 2015


      Color key


        Blue = an FAQ, a question that's been asked frequently or is answered with a frequently given answer.
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        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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