Am I too old to be a video game programmer ?
I was reading this thread :
Your age has nothing to do with it. These days there are many different types of programmers working on video games. Not all of them need 3D and maths expertise. You would definitely need to know C though.
Are you prepared to potentially work 80-hour weeks?
What kind of game programming do you want to do? I dont know much about the high end FPS and graphics but if you want to work on some independent game projects take a look at this link below.
At one of the programming contests I was in they had a guy from 3DO explaining how working in the game industry was. He showed us pictures of himself sleeping on the couch in his office, and basically said that he didn't have much of a life outside of work, and that few people did. Regarding salaries, he said that a _senior_ developer could hope to make maybe $100k or thereabouts. In California. For spending all your time at work.
Didn't the guys who made "Neverwinter Nights" do so in their spare time and then sold it to some game company?
Isn't NeverWinter Nights basically an MMORPG kind of thing? I don't know how flashy the graphics where "back in the day" but it probably could've been hobby thing.
Neverwinter Nights has an online multiplayer mode, but it's not a MMORPG. It allows for a maximum of only 64 players and doesn't take place in a persistent world.
It wasn't made by a bunch of people in their spare time either. The developers behind this game are every bit as professionals as you are.
The problem is that every aspiring programmer wants to work on games, and not on database related monkey work. As a result, there's lots and lots of game programmers to choose from, which means they can be abused and underpaid because there will never be a shortage on the market.
No, you are not too old. But you have a hell of a lot of catching up to do...
Too old? I'd say too young more likely.
Just me (Sir to you)
I still think it's a pipe dream. The OP probably thinks he's going to get a lot more creative control than he really will. A job making video games will be just as dull or exciting as any other.
I used to write games, back around 1990 when C was too high level and slow :-) (68000 assembler and until .net I missed it often..)
No one's too old to do anything, but others your age in the industry are better and better the older you get, so you'd better have something pretty impressive if you're entering at 50+, or be ready for some fast catching-up if you want to be viewed as "worth your age". To pitch the most remote analogy possible, Johnny cash was ~73 when he shot the video for "Hurt", which was a smash hit, largely because in the video it shows footage of his lengthy career as almost a final farewell (he died not too long after that). You really couldn't do that unless you'd had a career like his, but still, a 73-year old getting a video on regular MTV rotation is impressive!
Juergen why are you planning to change? why games? are you looking to any other alternative?
I was in the game industry for eight years before getting out last year, and 35 isn't too old. But, without game industry experience you'd be considered more "entry level" and would probably be looking at a 50-60K salary to start.
You'll probably have to develop some kind of mini-game to use as a demo before they'll hire you. Game programming has many complexities that average programmers can't or won't grasp, so without prior experience you'll need something to show that you're capable of it.
Age is a factor, but not necessarily on a technical level. It's a social bias, meaning that many hiring people won't believe that someone your age would be willing to work the insane hours. It's not a high paying job either unless you're really good.
The other thing is that MMORPG games require good server and enterprise skills. You may want to approach it from that angle.
That's a good point. Massively multiplayer online games also need, funnily enough, good database skills. Lots of 3D programmers have never done database stuff.
"Game programming has many complexities that average programmers can't or won't grasp"
profound insights galore
You are an old fart to be a video game programmer.
I'm 45 and I want to get into programming after decades (literally) in the operational quagmire having started off in programming before PCs arrived in the 80s.
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