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Ricky 
I tired to invite you to Quakelive but it says you have already been invited ;)

Still got 5 invites for the beta if anyone is interested? 
Yeah 
Thanks for the invite.

I thought you referred me, I got an email last night.

Had a go. Must not say anything else about it..... ;P 
My Personal Suggestion As For As School Goes For Game Development... 
My personal suggestion is to take a course relevent to what position you want, but not specifically geared toward it. What I mean by that is if you want to be a programmer, take a proper computer sciences course. An artist, take regular art courses. Designers take some programming and some art, along with heavy writing and social sciences courses. On the side, do lots of hobby work specifically for games to build that portfolio.

Personally, my feeling is that the courses specifically tailored to game development don't teach you much more than you can actually learn on your own, and the more standard courses will give you more in terms of actually learning relevent skills.

Seen lots of resumes and interns come in from these schools, and it's always a mixed bag. The strongest applicants tend to be the most self driven, who have done lots of personal work that's good, as well as have a relevent degree. 
Ricky 
If you want to learn C, I recommend this book as a reference:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/C-Programming-Language-2nd/dp/0131103628/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1231359709&sr=8-1

You will need a companion book that teaches you about programming in general, but the above book is great if you just need to look up what this or that does. The most important aspect you need to learn about C is pointers and memory management in my opinion. If you don't get that stuff right, you won't be able to do much real programming in that language. 
 
The K&R book? I wouldn't recommend that for an absolute beginner. Pick up something fluffy like a Sams "Learn C in 24 hours" or something. 
Question Is 
if c is a good language to start programming with in the first place. 
Ricky 
So yes, I'll commit to doing that one map to start with! Im in. :-)

Cool. It's not such a big map, so hopefully it won't stress you out too much. Take your time.

Learning C... personally, I learned a lot doing a Nethack mod. That's a text mode RPG. I just added a player class, some weapons etc. I also learned a good amount by modding Quake 2 and Quake engines, and bots. When I encountered things I didn't understand, I looked them up. Now the result is that I can hack, but I couldn't write a program from the ground up - that's why there are programming courses.

It's not a hard language to learn imo. If you can do QuakeC, the main things you'll need to pick up are arrays and structs. And pointers, of course.

Like Spirit says, install Linux, which should come with a C compiler, and install some games, and just look at their source and try to understand what's going on. I can really recommend old games like Nethack, Angband etc. They have no graphics to speak of, just things like monsters etc.

Yeah, #include blah means that pre-defined functions are taken from another file (a library). Leave out the include, and your compile will fail.

You should also know that there are Windows-specific extensions to C, and also Windows-specific libraries. These are widely used but often a nuisance when you want something to run on other platforms.

You don't write scripts in C. Scripts are interpreted, C programs are compiled. You write scripts for python, or bash.

Coding help thread? 
Wow... 
Nothing wrong with learning programming of course, and a designer will be better for knowing the other disciplines, but you definitely don't need to know how to code to be hired as a designer.

On the job, about the most code-like work most designers would normally do is either scripting events for your level (in a high-level language such as lua or some in-house language) and writing xml-like data files for UIs and the like.

As for what sort of first job in the industry you might get, level designer or junior level designer (some companies don't have multiple tiers, some do) is the most likely given your history of released quake levels. "Game designer" is typically a leadership role, not an entry-level job.

Portfolio wise, you want to show personal initiative, so the more projects you can show that you finished, that were NOT a homework assignment for school, the better, since it shows that you have drive and discipline. You have some good levels already, so this area mostly covered.

Someone said it doesn't matter what engine you mapped for, but I would say first, mapping for a variety of engines shows you are flexible and can learn new tools, and second, mapping for a latest generation engine like unreal3 can show that you are up on current practices/techniques.

Schooling and/or previous non-game work experience are useful in showing that you are somewhat mature and will know how to do work, even though they are not relevant to the subject of game development. This is what is working against a talented 18- or 19-year old, the fact that they just seem young and haven't really held a serious job or gotten a college degree.

As a data point, I have no degree, but when I entered the industry at 24 i had already worked a couple years at a dot-com startup, and had done some freelance work too. So I think that helped make me look a little less like a fresh-faced kid who might spend his entire work hours playing Robotron and Puzzle Bobble. 
Daz! 
I want one please! 
Willem 
That's why I said he should get a companion book and use the KR book as a reference. 
Hmm 
Sorry Starbuck all my invites seem to have disapeared (?!) at the moment, maybe id is messing with some settings or something.

I'll check again tomorrow, in the mean time maybe Ricky can sort you out. 
Basically Yeah 
Programming will help, your mapping portfolio as-is will help more, probably, having a grab bag of games made for different platforms (asteroids in flash with a novel twist) would be a major boost and experience of how to put things together and finish them is the magic ingredient. 
My $0.02 
There's been a lot of good advice in the last 30 or so posts.

Basically, getting a job in the game industry boils down to creating something new (art assets, code, scripting, level geometry, sounds, fx, whatever), polishing it up, getting it into some playable form, and letting a potential employer experience it, in-game. If it's cool, and makes someone say "Wow, nice, can you make us some of this?" then you're in. It's actually pretty simple.

(Note that the "in-game" part isn't always 100% necessary, but it always helps.)

There are a whole lot of other influencing factors (breadth and depth of your game-related skills, education, background, social skills, interview skills, and so on), but it's mostly just about Making Cool Shit and impressing someone with it. 
Oh And 
Willem and others are quite correct: No one starts as a "game designer". You may start as a level designer/scripter and be given a certain degree of freedom to make decisions about gameplay in your current corner of the game, but the actual design of the game as a whole is almost always going to be handled by one or more senior people who have been at that company and/or in the industry for quite a while. 
Starbuck 
s00ry mate, but it says I have run out of invites too, and I havent invited anybody!
Maybe they just dont need anymore testers ATM. I'll try again tomorrow.....

thanks for the encouragement guys, given me stuff to think about. 
Prograyming (I'm Not In The Games Industry) 
There are easier ways to learn programming than C. Since you already know some BASIC, the basics are not that hard though so you might go to C directly.

But. It's maybe not so relevant for a game designer / mapist. It's very fast to run but a bit of a pain to make stuff with.

So I'd say LUA / Python or some script language like that would be nice. Lua is very easy and nice but I don't know how the environment works, ie I've only used it in context of where it has been built into games, not created anything standalone with it.

I don't think you will have much trouble learning all that Ricky, it just requires work.
It's good if you have some people or friends to ask if you're stuck on a problem or the tutorials etc are ambiguous. This is where college helps somewhat. But stuff depends. Some people study better on their own than others. 
Metlslime: 
what I meant by 'some programming' is more of a basic intro course to a language. No most designers don't need to know how to code, but it's helpful to be familar with how something is programmed.

And if you happen to be good at it, or like it alot, you can pursue it further and be more of a scripter or technically oriented designer. Level designers as a whole in the industry tend to be either enviroment artists or scripter, so having a wide amount of knowledge is good. 
And As The Guy Above Said... 
if you want to be a scripter or level designer who mainly focuses on doing gameplay implementation, learn LUA. It's used everywhere, except the studios who use Unreal3/idTech/Source. 
Daz/Ricky 
Curses! Cheers anyway though... if they turn up again let me know! :) 
Hmmm 
Unreal3/idTech/Source

Im confused. Thats like most of them isn't it?

Also what is LUA? Is it used in Blacksite? Nope, that was UE3, I think? Army of Two? GTA4? (I know that used Rage engine)
Maybe Fallout 3/Oblivion? Crysis?

Heh - I should really try another engine as some point if I'm serious though, but Source or idTech would seem like a logical stepping stone for me. Cause (with the exception of idTech5 AFAIK) they use a brush based system. Actually didnt I hear that UE3 used a brush based system, unlike UE1/2 which used a subtraction system? 
Hey Rick, 
Brush based and subtraction are not really dualities. In the first Unreal editor, you cut out a space and build brushes inside that space. It is possible to approach Quake editing with this method if an editor designer so chose to do it that way.

Also idTech 5 uses brushes, but model implementation is very well integrated, where you can drop a .lwo model created in a modeling ap (it certainly wont hurt to know how to use one), and the id bsp compiler will process it as easily as if you had used brushes. Still, the typical approach in idTech 5 is to create the frame work with brushes and
use modeling for detailed objects (all that wicked pipe layout in Doom3).

If you are still interested in C, the Quake 2 game dll is a good place to practice the skills you'll learn on. It is not a sandbox like QuakeC, or even Quake3's virtual machine (though there are few restrictions on C usage with Q3), but a straight up dll made in C. There are a shit load of tuts for it.

http://webadvisor.aupr.edu/noc/ 
Ricky 
Thats like most of them isn't it?

Anywhere doing FPS/Action games. But there are lots of places that do casual games or downloadable games or RTS games or RPG games or MMO games... and for the most part don't use idTech or Unreal or Source. 
Aaaah 
I see what you mean. Soory, I've just got fps on the brain :D 
LUA 
Ricky, it's very simple, you'll learn the basics in a few hours and most of it in two days.

This 3 line program should output the squares from 1 to 10 (haven't tested it myself):

for i = 1, 10, 1 do
print(i*i)
end


When you know one normal language, you know the basics of most languages as they are really just slight variations of the same ideas. Hence if you have made some games with BASIC you're already most of halfway there... 
Zombie Outbreak Occurs, 
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