I'd really prefer to be an indie dev, so I can make what I want and work with people I like (and have better working hours), but I've been considering the pro developer scene a bit... mostly because I need a job, and making games is what I most want to do. However, even then, I'd like to be able to work on stuff that I'd at least be passionate about. To that end, I need some information, and I'm hoping that someone here might be able to provide it.

The question is this: Do you know of any developer in the United States that makes [GOOD] games similar in any way to the Zelda series?

I want to make Zelda-like action/adventure games (though obviously with changes that Nintendo should have already made). No doubt I wouldn't be prepared for any such job (don't ask me what, specifically, I would want to do) just yet, but I would like to contact someone on the development team and ask them what kind of education and skills I would need, so I can get to studying things that I didn't learn in college. Making small games of my own and/or modding existing ones is something I know I'll need to work on (and have no objections to!).

I might actually work best as a programmer, but I don't want to rule anything else out (except maybe art, but I'll be working on character modeling). For those who want to know, I have some slight experience with Visual Basic (don't remember any), Java (don't remember any, but have a textbook), Python (don't remember any, but have a textbook), JavaScript (just started, so far looks similar to C# except for type declarations and related syntax), C and C++ (remember a bit, giving myself a refresher as we speak), and C# (love it and know it much better than the others, but need a refresher). I'd love to master each of these languages just 'cuz, but I get the impression that C and C++ might be the most useful, followed by the Javas and C#. For my personal projects, I'm using the Unity Engine, which supports scripting in C#, JavaScript (which is how I know any JS at all), and Boo.

Posted by Angry_Beaver Wed, 21 Mar 2012 18:13:16 (comments: 17)
next >>
Wed, 21 Mar 2012 18:21:35

First thing first, what is your education?

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 18:24:29

B.S. in math with minors in computer science and physics, but I majored in the wrong thing for what I want to do (because at the time, I didn't know what I wanted to do), and I'm not really interested much in physics anymore. That comp. sci. minor is the most relevant thing, but it pales in comparison to a major.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 22:14:51

A neighbor of mine works for n-Space. They're a smaller developer who works mostly on licensed games, but they've produced a steady stream of games over the past few years so I figured he's as good as anyone to ask. He gave me two suggestions. The first is to get an actual degree of some sort from a school that focuses on game design or a directly related field. There's lots of them popping up all over the place these days, and the more respected ones act as feeders for a lot of the bigger developers. For instance here in Orlando there's a school called Full Sail University and they've got a pretty respected program that focuses on all aspects of game design. After graduating a lot of their students go on to EA Sports (also based in Orlando) and do a lot of the grunt work there.  Another fun fact about Full Sail is if you remember Skylock from GS, he is (or at least was) a professor there and teaches music composition for video games.

The other way is to get noticed on your own, and make your game, as you sort of mentioned. That's not the easiest thing to do though since there's tons of people out there doing the same thing and it's tough to get noticed unless you have someone who is actively showing off your game. An easier route is to try and make an iPhone or Android app. It shows off design skill, and offers a degree of creativity. Plus there's the added bonus of making some money off of it. Once again that's a crowded market as well, but it has an added advantage of being able to show off your work very easy as well.  If you can do something like that, and you aren't afraid to network it's a decent plan.

Hope that helps a little.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 22:47:18
IMO the market is already awash with RPGS similar to Zelda especially on the iPhone, there are lots of great games like Zenonia and I think you'd have to make one hell of a game to differentiate yourself from all the stuff already out there.
Thu, 22 Mar 2012 00:14:08

I want a job where I tell people what to make and they make it. I tell them exactly how the game should play, how it looks, I help design every level and moment. Then they make it and I play test it to make sure it does not suck and I send it back until it is perfect and the most incredible game ever made. Is there a job like that? Nyaa

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 05:44:05
QA is where everyone in development gets their start. The Darksiders guys seem to have a good grasp of modern Zelda, I think they are in L.A.
Thu, 22 Mar 2012 20:11:37
You're thinking of this in the wrong way.  You're being far too specific and limiting.

Your idea of "indie dev" -> creating your own company, meaning you have to be able to do business planning, and funding.  Even if you're not under the control of a parent company, getting funding affects what you pitch, because there may not be much of a backing for Penis Wars 2012.

The alternate side of "indie dev" is basically friends making a game together.  FInancial success in this regard is largely luck-based.  It doesn't matter how awesome you think your game is if nobody plays it.  You have to catch some breaks here, on top of being very skilled.  You don't just say "I want to make a game!" then learn the requisite programming skills in a month to make a success.

You need to focus on what you want to do from a career perspective first, then how it fits into the gaming world second.

  1. What do you want to do?  You ask this in part in your original post.  If you want to be a programmer, start with how to be a programmer.  Not how to be a game programmer -- that comes later.  If you are worried about being a free-spirit, you may have an interest in more of a business side of things.
  2. What skills and education do you already have to help you in that direction, and get you in the door career-wise?  Depending on what you want to do, it may be exponentially more difficult if you don't have the degree to back it up.
  3. Understand the game industry and how that affects you long-term.  It is not a place for job security.  I've played videogames all my life.  A lot of the people I know want to work in the games industry and want to make games, and do so on their own time and focus a lot in that area.  This was something I have not wanted to be a part of, because it's very unstable.  A lot of your work is on contract, companies come and go at astonishing rates, and the entire industry is prone to utter collapse.  That means maintaining portfolios if you're working for other companies and being ready to have your name out there and finding new opportunities constantly.  If you're in it for yourself, understand the possibility of going under rather quickly.

Can you be a part of it?  Of course!  It's a big industry, with a need for a lot of skilled people.  If you focus yourself in what you want to do, and maintain that passion over an extended period of time, you'll break through and get your chance.  But you need to know what you're passionate about, where you want to be, and how you'll get there.

Oh, and what's going to get you into a position with a professional gaming house, or most programming places worth a damn, anyway, is not knowing a particular language, but knowing the concepts behind the area of work.  Largely, just be a good programmer and the rest will come.  If you get serious about developing your own games instead of conceptualizing them, you may want to look into writing an engine instead of using middleware.
Fri, 23 Mar 2012 01:29:28

"because there may not be much of a backing for Penis Wars 2012."

There'd probably be A LOT of backing for Penis Wars 2012! Hrm

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 10:15:56
Vader you want to be Miyamoto.
Sat, 24 Mar 2012 02:29:21
Yes GG I do. I have a million ideas in my head but no clue how to make them happen. If only other would do all the work we would have masterpiece after masterpiece. Nyaa
next >>
Log in or Register for free to comment
Recently Spotted:
Login @ The VG Press
Remember me?