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How Video Games Are Made

ArteEtLabore14

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Does anyone know of any good books or websites that explain how video games are made? I'm not talking about code books, but something that shows the processes and talks about what types of games use what types of programming languages, etc.
 

Nananine

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Engines with editors and scripting languages are what you need to know for game design. You'll find books for Unreal Development Kit, great online resources for Valve Source, and excellent documentation for Unity 3d.

Do you mean the overall process? The programming side? The pipeline? The production/development process?
 

ArteEtLabore14

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Originally Posted by Nananine
Engines with editors and scripting languages are what you need to know for game design. You'll find books for Unreal Development Kit, great online resources for Valve Source, and excellent documentation for Unity 3d.

Do you mean the overall process? The programming side? The pipeline? The production/development process?


How they get made, from conception to design to product launch. This person does this, says this to this person, then that person does that, etc. I don't want anything that goes into too much detail on programming or code, because I don't know anything about that.

Basically I'm curious about how it works and what areas non-programmers can get themselves involved in.
 

godofcoffee

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My impression is that the only roles available for people without programming chops are the peripheral ones: like you mentioned, voice actors, musicians, scripters.

Graphic design used to be technical but non-programmatic: nowadays, though, it's becoming more and more like a conventional programming job. And a lot of the interesting stuff (to my mind, at least) has to do with graphics engine optimization rather than the art itself.

I had heard that storyboarding, level design and gameplay design is largely left to people who have already mastered technical skills like programming. So even though you don't program on the job, the jobs are given to those who can program (much like program management in a lot of other software fields).

That's my long-winded answer to the question of which areas non-programmers can get into. The unfortunate reality with a lot of techy stuff is that there aren't a lot of ins if you aren't an engineery person.

Originally Posted by ari.seoul
a quick google would bring you a couple of results
http://www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerev...how/index.html
http://ezinearticles.com/?How-Are-Vi...ish&id=1490898

but off the bat, non-programmer involvement in video games (making the game):

- writer, scripter, level designer
- voice actors
- artist (storyboard, character design, layout, background design)
- musician

that's all I can think of right now
 

Joffrey

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There are quite a few videos on youtube re: the making of the current Formula one video game.
 

Nananine

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Originally Posted by godofcoffee
My impression is that the only roles available for people without programming chops are the peripheral ones: like you mentioned, voice actors, musicians, scripters.

Graphic design used to be technical but non-programmatic: nowadays, though, it's becoming more and more like a conventional programming job. And a lot of the interesting stuff (to my mind, at least) has to do with graphics engine optimization rather than the art itself.

I had heard that storyboarding, level design and gameplay design is largely left to people who have already mastered technical skills like programming. So even though you don't program on the job, the jobs are given to those who can program (much like program management in a lot of other software fields).

That's my long-winded answer to the question of which areas non-programmers can get into. The unfortunate reality with a lot of techy stuff is that there aren't a lot of ins if you aren't an engineery person.


That's actually quite wrong. Design is a commonly misunderstood profession in games, which is understandable because it's such a new portion of in the process.

Level designers are generally split into two categories: gameplay design and scripting. Scripters handle everything from triggered events to quest design, writing, and other things relating to sequencing and interaction. Gameplay design deals with laying out the overall level, placing enemy spawns and items, balancing, and overall feel of the mechanics. A lot of what designers do overlaps with programming, but it's unreasonable to push features through programming... if you test a feature and it needs to be tweaked, it's extremely inefficient to go into the code itself to change it. That's why engines have scripting languages to expedite and simplify the design process.

Level designers used to be the actual art decorators, but nowadays gameplay designers concentrate on perfecting the overall layout and feel before handing it to artists to make assets and place them.

Programmers have become designers in the past, but pure designers now exist. Cliff Bleszinski (Gears of War) is an example of this, as is Shigeru Miyamoto (who was an artist and not a programmer). Jade Raymond is an example of someone who was more of a producer/manager than a designer.
 

Avocat

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Arte, you might also want to check out the Bioware related sites, such as neverwinter nights, dragon age, etc. Based out of Edmonton, Canada, their main site also has a ton of general information including skills etc. necessary for different jobs they routinely hire for (and don't forget the whole administrative and management side of gaming, like for e.g. accounting, legals and business management, etc. which is a huge part of the entertainment industry, including gaming). Most games are based on novels and/or comic books (though these days, many movies are made from original games and vice versa) such that writing is a good angle into the field. You may also be surprised how easy it is to learn about animation and code if you really want to get into it. Programmers and designers are always in demand in the industry, and you can try your hand at it via the Bioware games for e.g. (which have a community of online gamers, to whom they license their code to make gaming modules for free for purposes of enhancing their gaming community). That company has actually been known to hire new talent from their community site, or at least if using someone's design/module/character, etc. to give such persons credit, which sure helps when pounding the pavement in search of a job ... that is, if you're really interested in pursuing this avenue as a career. Otherwise, yes, as above: original music, audio engineer, voice actors, art and animation, etc. also opens the door since games are entertainment productions, and make up a large component of the entertainment industry as a whole. Or, you can go the admin/management route. Again, check out the major names in the industry and see what jobs are available and the credentials necessary for such jobs in turn (i.e., Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, BioWare, etc.), along with their publishers (like, for e.g., Atari), distributors and platform partners (like Microsoft, Sony, etc.) which will give you a very good idea of the industry as a whole, and where you think you can best fit in. Just some more ideas for you, and good luck. EDIT: just adding a link to a newspaper article about the booming industry (meaning, lots of jobs, with prospects particularly bright for software developers, but others thus, too), which I thought you might find interesting: http://www.financialpost.com/careers...tml?id=1426917
 

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