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Next Generation Game Developers


... the good stuff. especially if something is funny-bad ... Best stuff first! We finish maybe 10% of videos. avoid the 'look how I ... cool stuff and they'll ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Next Generation Game Developers

Next Generation Game Developers
  • Michael Capps, Ph.D.
  • President, Epic Games, Inc.

  • Epic and the Unreal Engine
  • Merging into the fast moving industry
  • Everything I know about how to get a job
  • General thoughts that didnt fit
  • Lots of Q A time

Disclaimer I am not an artist
but I can hire them!
Epic Games
  • Founded 16 years ago by CEO Tim Sweeney
  • About 85 employees
  • Early success with Jill of the Jungle and Epic
  • Multiple hits in the Unreal and Unreal Tournament
  • Recently shipped Gears of War, the fastest and
    highest selling 360 title

Epics Games
Unreal Tournament 3PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Gears of WarXbox 360
What is the Unreal Engine?
  • runtime and tools for making and shipping a game
  • World building tools
  • Particles, terrain, animation, physics, etc.
  • UnrealScript and compiler
  • Visual programming language
  • Lip synching, voice recognition, etc.

UE3 Games in Development
  • A few licensees
  • Activision
  • Atari
  • Bethesda Softworks
  • Bioware
  • Capcom
  • Disney Interactive
  • Electronic Arts
  • Gearbox Software
  • Microsoft Game Studios
  • Midway
  • NC Soft
  • Real Time Worlds
  • Sony Online
  • Square Enix
  • Take Two
  • THQ
  • Ubisoft
  • US Army
  • Vivendi
  • Webzen

Cool video of the Unreal Engine
  • Goes here.
  • (Please work.)

  • Epic and the Unreal Engine
  • Merging into the fast moving industry
  • Everything I know about how to get a job
  • General thoughts that didnt fit
  • Lots of Q A time

The industry moves fast
The industry moves fast
2,000,000 polys 12,000 base 2x 2048 textures
560 polygons 4x 256 textures
2,500 polygons 2x 1024 textures
The industry moves fast
  • Tools evolve just as quickly
  • So build your traditional art toolset too
  • Lighting, anatomy, color
  • Game cinematics started out very gamey
  • Now apply traditional film techniques throughout
  • Century of perfectly good ideas on how to evoke
    audience response
  • Show videos

The industry moves fast
  • Be prepared to evolve
  • Its easy to get stuck in your ways
  • Remember 2D RTS games?
  • Some artists refused to learn 3D
  • Theyre out of the industry
  • Or worse, making mobile phone games -(
  • High poly / normal maps were scary too
  • Dont be that guy who refuses to learn ZBrush

The industry moves fast
  • Epics engineers used to make sexy graphics
  • Now they make tools so artists can make sexy
  • We expect artists to co-design these tools
  • And co-design tools like 3DS max

Artists must be technical
  • Max normal maps and pelt mapping came from
    collaboration with our artists / coders

Artists must be technical
  • Everyone on the team must understand performance
  • and shaders, lighting tradeoffs, platform
    specifics, etc.
  • Even concept artists use max
  • and think about what will work in a normal map,
    and perform well, and animate cleanly
  • If you dont understand specular power, you cant
    be a game texture artist

Epics Hiring Process
  • Resume review by HR
  • Resume review by experts
  • HR phone call
  • Skills Test
  • Experts phone call(s)
  • Reference checking
  • On-site interview
  • Background investigation

Before you apply
  • Consider picking a field thats needed
  • Epic has 1 character modeler for every 8
    environment modelers
  • and 1 concept artist for every 20 artists
  • Its a good time to consider environment art!
  • OMFG dont apply as art director right out of

But I only want to draw manga!
  • Being specialized is important
  • But overspecializing is dangerous
  • (so is having an attitude about it)
  • Games are cyclic, and our team is small
  • If you are a one-trick pony you might be useless
    a few months out of the year

Demonstrate Passion
  • You wont succeed without passion
  • So we look for this first and foremost
  • Game focused extracurriculars / internships
  • Make sure to take the game development course!
  • Best examples are outside of the classroom
  • Hobby projects are king
  • Write a mod!

A good resume
  • Plenty of resources for this
  • Dont forget to spell check
  • Programmers who dont spell check probably dont
    test their code
  • Artists who dont spell check probably dont ask
    peers to review their work

A good portfolio
  • Make it easy for us to see your talent
  • For example, submit electronically!
  • We are lazy!
  • I still get reels on VHS tapes?!?
  • Do multiple resolutions of videos
  • Skip the turntable video and give a few extra

A good portfolio
  • Include only your best work
  • Bad stuff hides the good stuff
  • especially if something is funny-bad
  • and if you send something weak we assume you
    don't know the difference
  • or you don't ask for advice from peers / mentors
  • Your portfolios job is to grab our interest so
    that we test you
  • Remember the plastic report cover from 1st grade
  • Its nice to have clean video editing, website
    design, etc., just credit appropriately

Advice for Modeler/Texturers
  • Learn 3DS Max!
  • Small, good sample is best
  • But be careful to not typecast yourself
  • For Epic, high poly work wins these days
  • Low poly is still an important skill
  • But we need fewer manweeks of it
  • And all our vets can do it
  • Dont forget to include wireframes

Advice for Animators
  • Best stuff first! We finish maybe 10 of videos
  • avoid the look how I improved video
  • Show a cool animation that shows skill and
    creativity, with weight and emotion
  • Did you see that reel with the
  • easy on the box moving, please!
  • cycles are okay but not a lot of them

The on-site interview
  • Your skills are good -- now its time to judge
    team fit
  • Dress to make us comfortable
  • Dont dress up. Dont dress weird.
  • Its okay to be nervous
  • just dont be weird nervous
  • Be ready to talk with all sorts of people
  • Have questions.

The on-site interview
  • What are we afraid of?
  • that you wont work hard
  • or that you will bail on us
  • or that you are a jerk
  • or that you secretly want to be a designer

Interview psychology
  • If you are nice and friendly, we will like you
  • If you are respectful of our work, we will think
    you have good taste
  • If you show excitement about working here, we
    will like you
  • I like a company full of people who feel lucky to
    be there

Interview psychology
  • Say how youd love to learn from this talented
  • Say that at every interview, your whole life
  • If you cant say it, dont work there

After the interview
  • Will he call me in the morning?
  • Email a nice note the next day
  • Not do you love me? but I had a nice time!
  • Id love to learn from this talented team
  • If you dont hear from us, wait 1-2 weeks and
    write again
  • Stalking is bad!
  • Dont email again unless you have a job offer or
    change in status

General thoughts that didnt fit
  • This industry is soooo small
  • We have two degrees of separation to every game
    company in the world
  • Dont lie about job offers
  • You dont get lots of chances to screw up, so use
    them wisely

General thoughts that didnt fit
  • school is great
  • but theyre usually 1-2 years behind industry
  • and game shops are developing new tech
  • so they might be 1-2 years ahead
  • So talk to game developers online
  • cgtalk, polycount,
  • Post cool stuff and theyll give feedback
  • Weve mentored students and then hired them upon

  • Working in games is hard but so rewarding!
  • Only try it if you are serious
  • Even artists can use spel checker
  • Make a cool mod!
  • Make environment art
  • Pay attention in naked people drawing class
  • Hells yes were hiring!

Closing slide
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Horizon Concept
Horizon BSP Geometry
Horizon First Playable
Horizon Meshed
Horizon Lit (Final)
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The skill test
  • we will give you feedback just to see how you
    handle it
  • you had BETTER take it
  • you had better be fast
  • don't lie, but do work a lot of late nights
  • we measure the time in days, mentally, even if
    you give us hours

  • don't get a master's degree, waste of time unless
    you want to teach
  • - sadly, i saw a lot of people get an MS rather
    than face that they're
  • not in the right field
  • - this is called 'spending good money after bad'

It goes both ways..
  • Coders must evolve as well
  • Epic started as 100 coders
  • Five years ago, Epic was 50 coders
  • Today its 25 coders
  • And Epic is a top technology provider
  • Next-gen budgets are all about content
  • So if you want to work in the industry

But I only want to do 2D cell animation by hand!
  • And what if your specialty disappears?
  • If we do hire someone with only one skill, we
    make them learn another one
  • They must do this on their own time
  • Why not do it now, on university time?

How do I get a job?
  • Epics hiring process
  • Before you apply
  • A good resume
  • A good portfolio
  • The on-site interview
  • After the interview
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