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I'm a 16 year old Project Lead for a computer game, Ask Me Anything!

teotcd profile image JedDevs Updated on ・1 min read

I've always loved the theatre and programming, an odd match, so finding a career which fulfilled both my creative and technical love was difficult but computer games seemed to be the perfect balance.

I was never particularly into playing computer games,
mostly because I wasn't brought up around them but i loved the thought process behind designing and making them leading to me making basic games from a young age using scratch, GameSalad and Roblox.

After having stumbled around the world of game development and software developing at large:
Learning scratch, to HTML (I know, not a language) to Python to lua.

I finally settled down learning lua and haven't stopped since.
I started looking into lua around four years ago. Working my way from beginner , to amateur, to junior developer to Project Lead and even lead Dev.

I am currently 16, working as project lead on an open map, low poly adventure game with a team of 17 amazing people.

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teotcd profile

JedDevs

@teotcd

Roblox and Unreal Engine game developer with experience in both Python, lua and C#.

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Whoa! Impressive. you started with scratch, GameSalad and Roblox. Are those still what you'd recommend starting kids with today? Or: what tools or techniques would you use to help kids who want to learn how to program?

 
teotcd profile image JedDevs twitter logo github logo Ask Me Anything

Thank you for the comment,
The great thing about the modern age is how accessible things like this our for all ages. There really is a great community and resources for children starting to learn to code and make games.

Personally I think kids are great at finding things which they enjoy so if your child shows an interest in making games its great to sit down with them and talk them through their computer game fantasies the old fashioned way with a big A3 piece of paper and pencil.

Around this time i'd show them scratch and let them really get invested with the community and creativity, the good thing about scratch is your can really feel like your child is creating in a safe environment as they have an amazing moderating team there.

  • I know how good the moderating team is as I was sadly on the wrong end with the stick with them as a child when I believe I asked for one of my friends email addresses and my message was taken down within the hour and account deactivated.

Once they have mastered scratch I'd suggest pushing them into the next step that suits their preferred field so far,

Design,

GameSalad, which is a more advanced engine with similar functionality to that of Scratch.

Or some professional software such as roblox which has software (RStodio Engine) which really scales with you, accessible for the newest beginner while being able to make a full fledged game raking in millions of pounds a year for the experienced.

Scripting,

GameSalad,Repl.it,Roblox.

I hope this is of some help,
I don't know if this answered your question so if not please let me know and thanks again for your friendly comment.

 

Thanks! That's super helpful. I like the point about starting with pen and paper :) That's so undervalued sometimes.

I'm going to have to checkout GameSalad,Repl.it and Roblox since I hadn't seen any of those before.

Thanks!

teotcd profile image JedDevs twitter logo github logo Ask Me Anything

Hey, thanks for the reply to my reply xD,

I like the point about starting with pen and paper :) That's so undervalued sometimes.

Agreed, This is how I started and I still remember sitting down with my father as a child working on a game. Even though it was never going to be made it still impacted me a lot and helped lead me to where I am now.

The only reason I mention Repl.it (which is an IDE) is because its the one I grew up using and still do to this day. It has great learning resources and tutorials, you can even see other peoples projects, and the code behind them. I have learnt much from using it myself.

Roblox really is the unsung hero in Game development, its a great engine with great features but lacks recognition from the game development industry.
I thoroughly recommend you check it out!

 

Tell us your experiences, how you started with game dev, how you get your first job at and please, some tips for those that are starting with (me in case shuhsus).

I'm Brazilian and just starting with game dev. I know .Net so I started with Unity and I'm currently doing some tutorials on youtube and a Udemy class (Complete C# Unity Developer 2D: Learn to Code Making Games)

 
teotcd profile image JedDevs twitter logo github logo Ask Me Anything

Hey Rafael, thanks for the comment.

I started game development around five years ago now just doing simple things like scratch but I always wanted to keep growing and doing more complex games.
My interest was partly sparked by my father being a Software Engineer so like any child I wanted to do what he did. At this time I was aware of Roblox but it hadn't really occurred I could make any games on it. Fast forward a year or two I was studying python at school and really enjoyed it, by this time I had taken a break from Roblox, scratch and game dev'ing as a whole but not for long as I soon stumbled back upon Roblox through friends and coincidentally the game dev world. It took me a couple years to get my first paying developer job and by this time Roblox had really developed on the technical side.

Getting my first job,
This is always a difficult thing to do but luckily over the years before i got my first job i'd been networking and had broken into the dev ecosystem which was mainly centralised on the official forum, discord servers and a community website.

My first job was to script a pre-built elevator for a client to then sell on to customers to use in their games, while i certainly made some mistakes on this first job I completed it within the deadline and still maintain a good relationship with the client who in fact offered me another job once id completed that one.

the good the bad and the ugly

This isn't to say all the jobs I've been on have been good, I've dealt with a good deal of painful clients including: Not getting paid, changing the job midway, constant meetings and confusion, time wasters.

Spotting a good client from a bad from the get go is very important and when i started out i was naive and vulnerable, not expecting to be taken advantage of.

There's a great post I read on spotting nasty clients but sadly i didn't save it to my reading list.

If you'd like to hear my worst client encounter please let me know.

Some tips i'd give for you getting started,

  1. Don't fake it to make it. - this can be extremely stressful, can lead to impostor syndrome and isn't fair to you or the employer.

  2. Spend time making connections. - this is a vital, vital part of being a developer, find the communities for the area you sit in, the more specific the better and make friends and connections, this is how I get a couple job requests a week.

  3. Be kind, friendly and helpful - this again goes a long way and even when starting out helping others with an issue their having is a great way to get to know people and spread your name around.

  4. Don't be deterred by bad clients/employers or community members, their are always going to be bad fish whatever market you go into, don't let them get you down.

  5. When starting out its good to know what area of game development you want to go into whether it be something specific or a more general role.

5.1. When going for a general role always have a primary skill, mines scripting.

I hope this helps and happy dev'ing.

 

Thanks for the reply.

Impostor syndrome is a problem of are generation. I'm always struggling to deal with it, but keep going.

Always be suportive and friendly to others, no matter what.

Helped me a lot your answer, I'm going to search more for scripting and learn to build a 2D RPG game just for fun and to learn more.

 

What resources did you use to find the team you are working with? I tried for years to find teams to work with but always had such a difficult time finding people to work diligently with me.

 
teotcd profile image JedDevs twitter logo github logo Ask Me Anything

(forgot to mention)

I tried for years to find teams to work with but always had such a difficult time finding people to work diligently with me.

While doing what i mentioned in my other reply helps, this is always going to be a struggle even if you have met and discussed topics with the person previously in the community.
My rule of thumb is:

  1. keep your eyes peeled in the community to try and find out what kind of person they are and if they'd work well with you and your team.

  2. Get the interview process right, many communities do checks of their own for roles so many interviews shouldn't be centred on if they can code or not, because if they've managed to apply, professionals have already gone over this*. It should be about what kind of person they are, are they right for this certain project and are they a good fit for the team.

  3. even with the above, you are sometimes going to get a couple rotten apples on the tree so keep in mind the good people and after a couple years of working with different teams on different projects you'll have quite the list of people.

*You should check their skill but it shouldn't be the focus of the interview, from working as a Application Reader myself I can tell you the checks aren't 100% accurate, we get hundreds of requests each week and it takes a long time to check each one, some are going to get through which shouldn't have.

Hope this helps and happy dev'ing!

 
teotcd profile image JedDevs twitter logo github logo Ask Me Anything

Really depends for freelance work and employment and again for remote vs office.
My area is freelance remote work so i'll give you my expertise there,

  1. Networking.

Finding a dev community for the area you are working is critical to finding more work and as i said to Rafael Ahrons, try and find a specific group for what it is you are working in whether that be a GUI Unity Designer chat or a Blender 3D modeller Roblox designer hangout as well as more general chat for the engine you are using.

This helps to spread your name around and really helps.

  1. Giving back to the community.

This can mean helping out on an open source project or being a helping hand when someones stuck on something. This similarly helps with networking and gives you a level of credibility.

  1. Jobs.

Finding job community's or sites is a great help for instance i am in a couple discord servers where employers post jobs and I have been hired from. Make sure that the company whos supplying this service is reputable.

for instance for roblox I use hiddendevelopers.com/
While discord servers I use: HD and Mythical Creators and Hidden Developers.

There are an abundance of reputable job sites so keep your eyes peeled.

 

Pretty amazing that you're doing this Theo. What's your first impression of what one should do to be a lead developer?

 
teotcd profile image JedDevs twitter logo github logo Ask Me Anything

Thank you Michael, it's a little crazy to be honest, working with such a large team while I have college starting.

I have previously worked as lead developer but moved to project lead for this current project and from what i've seen so far, it seems to have more management duties than lead developer.

I'm stilling settling into the position and a work in progress but the general way im managing so far is by having everything organised, a set out way for reviewing work including code reviews and when a member of the team messes up I try and let them explain where they've gone wrong and how they can fix it.

 

Great Theo! Nice job. Keep going!! 👍 Wish I had the focus and execution you do when I was your age.

 

Let me just say i'm really impressed that you started so early... I remember my dad giving me a game design book when I was a teenager and I just ignored it, too much work >_<