Wanna dev for MMOs? Nick Parkinson tells how

That's not Sigil's Nicky. Neither is the duck.Looks like everyone wants to break into the business. In Part II of MMORPG’s getting-to-know the Vanguard devs at Sigil Games, Nick Parkinson decides to share his thoughts on how YOU can code for an MMO dev like Sigil. Luckily he gives concrete tips, which means we can summarize concrete tips, short and sweet. Luckily, there’s always a demand for good programmers in the industry, he says. Fired up to play with the big boys? Read on.

Category A: 1337 hax – er, programming skills. Nick says that studios mainly work with C++ and maybe some C#, so build up some experience there. You’ve got high school, and as we’ve found, you’ve got homebrew, too. But “if you find yourself not liking it at all, itÂ’s probably best to focus on some other area of development as itÂ’s only going to get more intense.”

Another program to get acquainted with is Maya, especially since you’ll be bumping skulls with the artists quite often. And one last thing to become intimately familiar with: caffeine. Whether coffee, tea Earl Gray hot, soda, or directly IV’d into your circulatory system (God help you), get used to the idea of sleepless nights.

Wanna know what else you gotta do to break into the videogames industry? Read on.

That's not Sigil's Nicky. Neither is the duck.Looks like everyone wants to break into the business. In Part II of MMORPG’s getting-to-know the Vanguard devs at Sigil Games, Nick Parkinson decides to share his thoughts on how YOU can code for an MMO dev like Sigil. Luckily he gives concrete tips, which means we can summarize concrete tips, short and sweet. Luckily, there’s always a demand for good programmers in the industry, he says. Fired up to play with the big boys? Read on.

Category A: 1337 hax – er, programming skills. Nick says that studios mainly work with C++ and maybe some C#, so build up some experience there. You’ve got high school, and as we’ve found, you’ve got homebrew, too. But “if you find yourself not liking it at all, itÂ’s probably best to focus on some other area of development as itÂ’s only going to get more intense.”

Another program to get acquainted with is Maya, especially since you’ll be bumping skulls with the artists quite often. And one last thing to become intimately familiar with: caffeine. Whether coffee, tea Earl Gray hot, soda, or directly IV’d into your circulatory system (God help you), get used to the idea of sleepless nights.

Second is location, location, location – when it comes to education. Fine, there’s that spiel that “it’s not the school, but what you make of it”, even Nick admits this. There are some good schools he has in mind that focus on games programming, though. Time to break out the directories:

  • DeVry University (various)
  • Full Sail (Winter Park, Florida)
  • Guildhall at SMU (Plano, Texas)
  • Westwood College Online (Online)
  • Universities with game design/programming as part of CIS degrees, such as Univ. of Delaware, Michigan Tech, or UC-Irvine – check your school’s curriculum for more details.

Finally, it’s about getting your foot in that door. Try and set up some internships, Nick suggests. “Experiences like that is great on resumes.” Work on some mini-games. They don’t have to be too fancy, they just have to show what you’re capable of. Again, from where WE’RE sitting, ‘brewers have got a leg up here (‘brew devs, time to brush up your portfolios). And finally, “be persistent and make sure you give a good impression at interviews. Having the skills to get the job is only part of it, you need to be a culture fit too.”

Prepare for intense grunt-work not only getting to become a programmer, but being a programmer, too. Long hours, gotta meet with bosses and artists and other programming teams, and they’re all “wanting you to do things that are going to take up a lot of your time.” Worst-case, prepare for burnout. But if you’re into the payoff – which is the pleasure of creating games – then the price is well worth it.

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