Videogame Programmer

  1. I was curious if anyone here was a videogame programmer. If so, could you tell me what an average day is like? I was also curious what you would need degree wise to become a videogame programmer.
  2. jcsd
  3. I don't know a whole lot about programming, but i worked for a gaming company for a couple of years as a game tester and there seemed to be a very broad spectrum of degrees. One of the main programmers has a doctorate in physics, did it in chaos or mathmatical physics i believe.
  4. ranger

    ranger 1,663
    Gold Member

    I'm guessing he has the doctorate because he programs the physics engine for the game?
  5. I'm not a game programmer but I've read numerous websites on how to get into the video game industry and have read a book on it (becoming a game programmer is my dream). The obvious choice of a degree when going for a game programming position is computer science, though it is definitely not required. According to sources I've read, a major part of what will get you a job is knowing people (which can be done by attending game conferences, getting your foot in the door through a game testing position, and so on), industry experience, a real passion for making games, and a really good demo reel showing that you know how to make games and you make them in your spare time. If you want more details go to and search for game programming jobs, you'll find a lot of information there.

    A place I'd highly recommend you visit is It's pretty much the top site out there for aspiring game programmers/artists/whatever. The forums are loaded with smart people (some who are game programmers). There's a section on math and physics over there but the real emphasis on that forum is on programming, particularly in C/C++.

    You might also want to check out too. There's a lot of cool information there.

    Within those two sites you will find links that lead you to even more sites with even more information so I advise you snoop around if you really want to get to know about game programming. Believe me there is a lot of information online about the things you asked for. I used to know of a site written by some game programmer that went into a lot of detail explaining what the typical day is like, but I've lost the link unfortunately. If I happen to come across it again I'll post it here.
  6. Video Game Programmer is a lot of tireless hours. I thought about doing it but I made a hell of a lot more money doing Client/Server development but it was always fun to tool around with graphics engines and write simple games.
  7. Like the previous poster said: many, many tireless hours.

    Deathmarches are a regular part of programming when you have a closing deadline. But, as a game programmer, you are in a constant deathmarch.

    I've read horror stories of companies like EA totally abusing their game coders. In general, though, you're going to be expected probably 60, sometimes 80 hours a week.

    Go into general application development for desktop or web. Get a job that is relatively peaceful and put in your 40 hours and ENJOY work.

    If you still want to do game-oriented coding, do it at home. There is an abundance of resources. Plus, you will have 100% creative control and will be able to enjoy the pace. Thats what game coding should be about, right? Being creative and enjoying it.

    But don't, don't, don't go into game programming. A lot of the experience in that field isn't -that- transferable. Sure you will know the language inside and out (likely C++) but you won't have much in the way of other skills if you ever want to switch to something else like business apps.

    In regular application dev you get accustomed to business terminology and pick up a lot of things along the way that make you more valuable.

    Thats my 0.02. I am a programmer and first started programming just shy of 14 years ago (and games were what got me interested in programming but I realized it was not a practical future for myself at least).
  8. You might have more replies Iggy if you said something about this in the computer section of the forums. Many posters there don't see this sub-forum.
  9. jcsd

    jcsd 2,222
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    *Pines for the golden age of 8-bit computers when classic games were programmed by lone adolescents in their bedrooms*
  10. Well this is very interesting and I appreciate everyone's comments. I was just looking into it because I like to program and so I thought if I was programming games, that would be especially fun. I am majoring in Biomedical Engineering right now and several older students have told me that one could probably become a base level programmer straight out of college. So I was just curious and inquiring about videogame development.
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