Getting in to (Programming) Games

Freshers might find reading this helpful ( originally posted at ) (and we’d like to meet/hire people who fit the profile)

you’re a fresher and are looking for a career in video games
(programming), here are a few concepts you should already be aware of.
If not, then you might want to use this as a guide to prep yourself up.

Learn to use search engines.
If you see an unfamiliar term mentioned here, search for it. You should
be comfortable with researching about a subject you’ve never heard
about and diving into it.

Visual Studio
Get yourself a copy of Microsoft’s Visual Studio/Visual C++ (express
edition is available free on Microsoft’s website* This isn’t an absolute necessity, we’re
fine with you being all “-I and -l” on the shell with gcc (nod if you got that); it is important that you understand a bit about the compilers you use.
You should know how/where it searches for headers, how to include/use
libraries in your own projects etc. Learn debugging, this article might
help (Introduction to Debugging by Richard “superpig” Fine ):
Please do not mention the ancient “Turbo C” (version 2/3) which is used in many schools.

Brush up your concepts about
Object Orientation, Algorithms, Data Structures, Design Patterns

Learn some Math:
Matrix Math
Vector Math/Coordinate Geometry
Linear Algebra/Vector Spaces (okay, at least a clue about how this stuff applies to transformation)

Source Control concepts (Mercurial, Git, Subversion):
Get familiar with checking out/updating, merging, checking
in/commiting. Get yourself a copy of TortoiseHG
( and TortoiseSVN
( Learn to use change logs and the
annotate/blame tools to your advantage. Get familiar with comparison
tools. You could get yourself a copy of a free tool like
DiffMerge/WinMerge/meld/k3diff/… to play with. Reading these articles should help:
Hg Init
A Visual Guide to Version Control
Mercurial Guided Tour
Version Control with Subversion
A Gentle Introduction to Using TortoiseHG on Windows
Mercurial FAQ
A Core Skill Set that All Developers Should Posess

Learn how to use third party libraries:
DirectX, OpenGL, PhysX, Havok, libpng, … anything game related

We don’t expect you to be a graphics guru (AI/Physics gurus will do
too :P) but you should get yourself a copy of the DirectX SDK (can be
downloaded from Microsoft’s website) and take a look at the Sample
Browser. You might also want to take a look in to OpenGL
( Try some examples from the “OpenGL Redbook” (Old
electronic versions are freely available online), for window creation
(if you’re wondering where those “aux” functions are) etc you could
freeglut (
Get an overview of the graphics pipeline, you should know how a three vertices end up as a triangle on screen. This series might help.

Take a shot at Nintendo DS homebrew development using devkitPro
(, it comes with example code – This should get you
to learn a bit about consoles.
Instead of Nintendo DS hombrew, perhaps you might try developing for Android/iOS/WindowsPhone etc. Try making a small game demo and build up on it using a portable framework like:

It always helps if you walk in to an interview with demo applications/games that you have made.
A project you should bring (with full source; apart from other projects) is:
A 3D solar system with at least the 9 planets (closest to the sun) and
their moons using the concept of matrix stacks. Hint: reading the first
three chapters of the old OpenGL Redbook 1.0/1.1 would help. You should
make 3 copies of this project – using OpenGL(+freeglut), DirectX(+DXUT)
and DevkitARMAndroid/iOS/WindowsPhone. If you already have other projects which show off
something more, then you need not bring this.

To impress – go above and beyond.

Some websites you could visit to read about game development

(first name initial)(last name) AT rz2games DOT com
Pranav Tekchand
Lead Developer

* Microsoft seems to have a program called DreamSpark, in which they give Visual Studio’s professional edition free to students:
VC++ 2008 2010/2012 Express
While you’re there, you might also wish to check out XNA and GameCreators GDK, but this is not necessary.

I recommend reading at least one of these two books:
The Pragmatic Programmer From Journeyman to Master (ISBN 0-201-61622-X)
C++ for game programmers. (Noel Llopis) (ISBN1-58450-227-4)
Another good book is:
Geometric Tools for Computer Graphics (Morgan Kaufmann)
See also:
To get a feel for high level tools, try playing around with Unity3D or Unreal Development Kit.

Edits 2013-01-10:
Introduction to Debugging dead link updated.
Added Hg Init link
Fade info about NDS Homebrew and suggest Android/iOS/WP dev instead.
Added more links

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