The Practice of Game Programming, part I

In order to obtain a drivers license in Washington State you must pass a written test and a drivers test.
In order to become a lawyer, you must pass the bar exam.
In order to become a licensed engineer, you must have a degree from an ABET-accredited university, pass your FE examine, gain on-the-job work experience, and then pass your PE exam.
In order to be a game developer, you have to …? Mmm, what goes here? In order to be a game developer, do you just need to like making games? Like playing games? Have read some game programming books?
There are certainly no tests you have to take to become a game programmer. Should there be?
The programming industry in general, and the game industry in particular, sets the bar for game programmers pretty low. The skills we ask from game developers are typically that they: 1) know how to write code, 2) have some interest in games, 3) have some mathematical competence, and 4) have a good grasp of one or more game technologies like graphics or networking or audio. Sometimes just one of the four is sufficient. Yes, a typical job description asks for experience, too, but that’s true of any industry, so let’s ignore that for now.
A question: what do you think makes a great game programmer? What separates game programmers from other programmers? What separates great game programmers from good game programmers?
More next week.
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One Response to The Practice of Game Programming, part I

  1. Unknown says:

    Actually some of the greatest programmers I personally know (both game and "ordinary software" types) are self-taught… So the answer to the question would be pretty hard. I think what separates good programmers from great programmers is something that they have in the way their brain works, not even sure if it’s possible to learn that.

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