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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Do engineers make video games? why or why not?

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  LadyEuphei

Novice Member

Joined: 4/16/12
Posts: 226

 
OP  12/10/12 4:41:09 PM#1

I was just having a good old chat with Quizzical in another thread and he got me thinking, are engineers good for video games? 

I know that there is the term computer engineer, but at the college I attend that tends to be less about mechanics and more about optics, electricity and software. These guys, from what they tell me, are here to make new computer hardware because they know how the hardware works and how the software works so they can combine their knowledge to make components.

Back on topic, I was reading about some game with physics that was processed "on the fly" or something like that and at one point I believe they talked about struts, 3 and 4 point bending and torsion being equated "on the fly" when creating buildings in the world, which is totally what mechanical engineers do. This was some space shooter game, I wish I could remember the title (SORRY 

Well after Quizzical started talking about some math and problem solving and linear algebra I thought, "Wow, he is talking about engineers" This then brought up the question are engineers common in the video game industry? More to the point are mechanical or biomedical engineers common in the video game industry? It would seem to me that they could be an asset to a team that is trying to figure out complex new systems, especially physics based, and how to implement them in a game as optimized as possible.

If engineers are not used in gaming companies, do you think that there will come a time when they will be? Or is there a good reason that engineers are not asked to work on video games? 

Alot of these questions are asked because I have a friend who is about to graduate with a biomedical engineering bachelors and he really likes video games. I think it would blow his mind if he found out video game companies hired biomedical engineers or mechanical engineers.

  Nitth

Elite Member

Joined: 7/29/10
Posts: 3191

Magic Propels my Rolly Chair.

12/10/12 4:48:30 PM#2


Originally posted by LadyEuphei
I was just having a good old chat with Quizzical in another thread and he got me thinking, are engineers good for video games? 

I know that there is the term computer engineer, but at the college I attend that tends to be less about mechanics and more about optics, electricity and software. These guys, from what they tell me, are here to make new computer hardware because they know how the hardware works and how the software works so they can combine their knowledge to make components.

Back on topic, I was reading about some game with physics that was processed "on the fly" or something like that and at one point I believe they talked about struts, 3 and 4 point bending and torsion being equated "on the fly" when creating buildings in the world, which is totally what mechanical engineers do. This was some space shooter game, I wish I could remember the title (SORRY ) 

Well after Quizzical started talking about some math and problem solving and linear algebra I thought, "Wow, he is talking about engineers" This then brought up the question are engineers common in the video game industry? More to the point are mechanical or biomedical engineers common in the video game industry? It would seem to me that they could be an asset to a team that is trying to figure out complex new systems, especially physics based, and how to implement them in a game as optimized as possible.

If engineers are not used in gaming companies, do you think that there will come a time when they will be? Or is there a good reason that engineers are not asked to work on video games? 

Alot of these questions are asked because I have a friend who is about to graduate with a biomedical engineering bachelors and he really likes video games. I think it would blow his mind if he found out video game companies hired biomedical engineers or mechanical engineers.


Software engineers learn the same mathematics...


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  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 11834

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ESO, and Combat Arms

12/10/12 4:49:25 PM#3

EVE Online was created by a bunch of crazy Icelandic engineers. Game developers either consult with or bring onto the team people that have expertise in the feilds related to the game. At CCP, we've had engineers, an economist, fashion designers and all manners of scientific folk on our teams. Our Engineering Director worked for the Department of Defense and NASA prior to working at CCP.

You could go through each major studio and find lots of examples team members with expertise in various sciences and arts related to the project at hand.

  Nevulus

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/23/06
Posts: 1202

12/10/12 4:52:49 PM#4
Originally posted by LadyEuphei

 

Alot of these questions are asked because I have a friend who is about to graduate with a biomedical engineering bachelors and he really likes video games. 

Because there is little money in video games, and a lot more in engineering positions in practical fields. Hopes & dreams do not pay the rent. Hence why the brilliant minds are headhunted by Wall street and not EA.

  Maelwydd

Elite Member

Joined: 2/26/09
Posts: 1064

12/10/12 4:56:16 PM#5
If my memory is correct a game called Red Opera was designed using correct structural engineering so that when bruildings, bridges etc where destroyed they fell and broke apart correctly. I seem to remember a video showing how the people making the items for the game had to learn all about structural engineering for it. Any knowledge you can bring into game development will improve it's quality.
  LadyEuphei

Novice Member

Joined: 4/16/12
Posts: 226

 
OP  12/10/12 4:56:40 PM#6
Originally posted by Nitth

 


Originally posted by LadyEuphei
Stuff I wrote


 

Software engineers learn the same mathematics...

So, they both learn how to use high levels of math, but for different purposes. I mean a chef knows how to use a knife and a ninja knows how to use a knife, would you use them for the same exact jobs?

  Nitth

Elite Member

Joined: 7/29/10
Posts: 3191

Magic Propels my Rolly Chair.

12/10/12 4:58:52 PM#7


Originally posted by LadyEuphei

Originally posted by Nitth  

Originally posted by LadyEuphei Stuff I wrote
  Software engineers learn the same mathematics...
So, they both learn how to use high levels of math, but for different purposes. I mean a chef knows how to use a knife and a ninja knows how to use a knife, would you use them for the same exact jobs?

Maths is maths. what you learn can be applied to any field.

Thats subtracting from my point tho, Software engineers | Programmers are equipped with an engineering level of mathematics same as any other engineer.


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  LadyEuphei

Novice Member

Joined: 4/16/12
Posts: 226

 
OP  12/10/12 5:00:15 PM#8
Originally posted by Loktofeit

EVE Online was created by a bunch of crazy Icelandic engineers. Game developers either consult with or bring onto the team people that have expertise in the feilds related to the game. At CCP, we've had engineers, an economist, fashion designers and all manners of scientific folk on our teams. Our Engineering Director worked for the Department of Defense and NASA prior to working at CCP.

You could go through each major studio and find lots of examples team members with expertise in various sciences and arts related to the project at hand.

That is fascinating! Very appropriate to have a person that has worked with the space program. You also make a good point about consulting, I really did not think about that. Probably would not be worth bringing on a perminant engineer for everything and just better to higher a expert for short amounts of time.

  LadyEuphei

Novice Member

Joined: 4/16/12
Posts: 226

 
OP  12/10/12 5:03:59 PM#9
Originally posted by Nitth

 


Originally posted by LadyEuphei

Originally posted by Nitth  

Originally posted by LadyEuphei Stuff I wrote
  Software engineers learn the same mathematics...
So, they both learn how to use high levels of math, but for different purposes. I mean a chef knows how to use a knife and a ninja knows how to use a knife, would you use them for the same exact jobs?

 

Maths is maths.

I feel like you dodged my question there and I would beg to differ. Math is math but knowing how to find the displacement in a cantilever rod and calculating the voltage needed to turn on an LED are very different maths (and yes I know capacitors are dashpots and the mechanical can be mapped out in electrical, I know someone was going to make that point) The point of the ninja-chef comment was you are not going to have a computer engineer work on making you a bridge and you are not going to hire a mechanical engineer to make you a computer, because they both learn to use their tools (math) in different ways. If math was always the same then we would have engineers not tons of different engineering degrees.

  Nitth

Elite Member

Joined: 7/29/10
Posts: 3191

Magic Propels my Rolly Chair.

12/10/12 5:09:19 PM#10


Originally posted by LadyEuphei

Originally posted by Nitth  

Originally posted by LadyEuphei

Originally posted by Nitth  

Originally posted by LadyEuphei Stuff I wrote
  Software engineers learn the same mathematics...
So, they both learn how to use high levels of math, but for different purposes. I mean a chef knows how to use a knife and a ninja knows how to use a knife, would you use them for the same exact jobs?
  Maths is maths.
I feel like you dodged my question there and I would beg to differ. Math is math but knowing how to find the displacement in a cantilever rod and calculating the voltage needed to turn on an LED are very different maths (and yes I know capacitors are dashpots and the mechanical can be mapped out in electrical, I know someone was going to make that point) The point of the ninja-chef comment was you are not going to have a computer engineer work on making you a bridge and you are not going to hire a mechanical engineer to make you a computer, because they both learn to use their tools (math) in different ways. If math was always the same then we would have engineers not tons of different engineering degrees.

The difference is they are shown how to apply it differently. the maths doesnt change, only the application.


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  Nevulus

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/23/06
Posts: 1202

12/10/12 5:12:17 PM#11
Originally posted by LadyEuphei
Originally posted by Nitth

 


Originally posted by LadyEuphei

Originally posted by Nitth  

Originally posted by LadyEuphei Stuff I wrote
  Software engineers learn the same mathematics...
So, they both learn how to use high levels of math, but for different purposes. I mean a chef knows how to use a knife and a ninja knows how to use a knife, would you use them for the same exact jobs?

 

Maths is maths.

I feel like you dodged my question there and I would beg to differ. Math is math but knowing how to find the displacement in a cantilever rod and calculating the voltage needed to turn on an LED are very different maths (and yes I know capacitors are dashpots and the mechanical can be mapped out in electrical, I know someone was going to make that point) The point of the ninja-chef comment was you are not going to have a computer engineer work on making you a bridge and you are not going to hire a mechanical engineer to make you a computer, because they both learn to use their tools (math) in different ways. If math was always the same then we would have engineers not tons of different engineering degrees.

I think what he meant was one gifted in mathematical computations may excel both as an engineer and a software engineer, the latter most likely to get into video game production. Regardless, variables such as financial situation, as well as personal interest will be the final determination on career choice.

 

Yes engineers would make great programmers, some have established a great understanding of matrix calculations and critical thinking skills which excel in the programming field, but very few would show interest when taking into account possible monetary gains from a strictly engineering position. Most of the great video games have came from esoteric individuals who have shown an interest in programming as an afterthought from another professional field.

 

A more interesting situation to discuss is just how many great musicians have also made great programmers, and have gone to make successful video games as well as business applications. The commonality shared between a great musicians and programmer is interesting indeed.

  LadyEuphei

Novice Member

Joined: 4/16/12
Posts: 226

 
OP  12/10/12 5:19:30 PM#12
Originally posted by Nevulus
Originally posted by LadyEuphei
Originally posted by Nitth

 


Originally posted by LadyEuphei

Originally posted by Nitth  

Originally posted by LadyEuphei Stuff I wrote
  Software engineers learn the same mathematics...
So, they both learn how to use high levels of math, but for different purposes. I mean a chef knows how to use a knife and a ninja knows how to use a knife, would you use them for the same exact jobs?

 

Maths is maths.

I feel like you dodged my question there and I would beg to differ. Math is math but knowing how to find the displacement in a cantilever rod and calculating the voltage needed to turn on an LED are very different maths (and yes I know capacitors are dashpots and the mechanical can be mapped out in electrical, I know someone was going to make that point) The point of the ninja-chef comment was you are not going to have a computer engineer work on making you a bridge and you are not going to hire a mechanical engineer to make you a computer, because they both learn to use their tools (math) in different ways. If math was always the same then we would have engineers not tons of different engineering degrees.

I think what he meant was one gifted in mathematical computations may excel both as an engineer and a software engineer, the latter most likely to get into video game production. Regardless, variables such as financial situation, as well as personal interest will be the final determination on career choice.

 

Yes engineers would make great programmers, some have established a great understanding of matrix calculations and critical thinking skills which excel in the programming field, but very few would show interest when taking into account possible monetary gains from a strictly engineering position. Most of the great video games have came from esoteric individuals who have shown an interest in programming as an afterthought from another professional field.

 

A more interesting situation to discuss is just how many great musicians have also made great programmers, and have gone to make successful video games as well as business applications. The commonality shared between a great musicians and programmer is interesting indeed.

So, are you going to elaborate? You hooked me with the story and technically we can call it musical engineering so it is on topic. Are there any good references of musical engineers being programmers?

Also regardless of exceling in math and learning engineering math, I would bet you a banana that if you threw a computer engineer into a mechanical engineer class he would not know what is going on. Now his learning curve as compared to a novice would be far less since he does know the fundementals, but just relating the concepts to the math is alot of work. 

  bishbosh

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/21/11
Posts: 401

12/10/12 5:19:36 PM#13

i am pretty sure engineers are common in the computer games industry. they tend to be the people who write all the software and select the hardware etc etc.

i dont think mechanical and biomedical engineers are very common but any engineer with a strong knowledge of software could be accepted. for example riot games hires graduates/interns with any engineering degree + portfolio of their game related work.  I would suggest your biomedical friend starts getting his feet wet in programming and making video games. He should make some simple games, engines, shaders, something and keep them on a website and show them when applying for jobs.

As for hiring mechanical engineers for their mechanical engineering abilities? I dont think that happens unless the company is building a hyper realistic simulation game. Most game physics are governed by very simple equations which are modified to taste - dont really need a mechanical engineer for that. Game designers generally go by feel rather than realistic accuracy when it comes to games design. 

  LadyEuphei

Novice Member

Joined: 4/16/12
Posts: 226

 
OP  12/10/12 5:22:08 PM#14
Originally posted by bishbosh

i am pretty sure engineers are common in the computer games industry. they tend to be the people who write all the software and select the hardware etc etc.

i dont think mechanical and biomedical engineers are very common but any engineer with a strong knowledge of software could be accepted. for example I would hire a mechanical engineer who has worked with a software company for 3 years and has something to show for it over a graduate software engineer.  I would suggest your biomedical friend starts getting his feet wet in programming and making video games. 

As for hiring mechanical engineers for their mechanical engineering abilities? I dont think that happens unless the company is building a hyper realistic simulation game. Most game physics are governed by very simple equations which are modified to taste - dont really need a mechanical engineer for that. Game designers generally go by feel rather than realistic accuracy when it comes to games design. 

But the future is coming my friend :P do you think it would be viable in the future for companies to hire mechanical engineers to manage their hyper realistic games that future processors (hopefully) can handle?

  Lupita

Novice Member

Joined: 4/04/05
Posts: 6

12/10/12 5:23:36 PM#15

I would actually disagree that engineers would make good programers. I recently recieved my Masters in Applied mathematics and have worked at a few engineering firms but have generally stayed away from the programming aspects of it all. Alot of engineers can do calulations. However, it takes a special type of person to look at a mathematical system of equations that would pinpoint the bifurication of that entire system and convert it over to a some sort of discrete function. 

I do agree that all math is the same just the application and the way that one approaches a problem would vary quite alot depending on what you have learned. 

  bishbosh

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/21/11
Posts: 401

12/10/12 5:30:43 PM#16
Originally posted by LadyEuphei
Originally posted by bishbosh

i am pretty sure engineers are common in the computer games industry. they tend to be the people who write all the software and select the hardware etc etc.

i dont think mechanical and biomedical engineers are very common but any engineer with a strong knowledge of software could be accepted. for example I would hire a mechanical engineer who has worked with a software company for 3 years and has something to show for it over a graduate software engineer.  I would suggest your biomedical friend starts getting his feet wet in programming and making video games. 

As for hiring mechanical engineers for their mechanical engineering abilities? I dont think that happens unless the company is building a hyper realistic simulation game. Most game physics are governed by very simple equations which are modified to taste - dont really need a mechanical engineer for that. Game designers generally go by feel rather than realistic accuracy when it comes to games design. 

But the future is coming my friend :P do you think it would be viable in the future for companies to hire mechanical engineers to manage their hyper realistic games that future processors (hopefully) can handle?

i dont think it is a matter of what processors can or cannot handle. i think most game designers choose not to use realistic physics simply because it is not requirement for the game to be fun.

hyper realistic games exist now and they will exist in the future eg. gran turismo and it might be likely that these companies hire mechanical engineers to develop accurate physics. they also hire racing drivers to test their cars to see if they drive like their real life counterparts.

I am fairly sure mechanical engineers/physicists are hired to produce software such as solidworks and other softwares that contain engineering related simulation. Whether or not games will use this level of realism and physical depth/accuracy in the near future, i really dont know.

  LadyEuphei

Novice Member

Joined: 4/16/12
Posts: 226

 
OP  12/10/12 5:31:45 PM#17
Originally posted by Lupita

I would actually disagree that engineers would make good programers. I recently recieved my Masters in Applied mathematics and have worked at a few engineering firms but have generally stayed away from the programming aspects of it all. Alot of engineers can do calulations. However, it takes a special type of person to look at a mathematical system of equations that would pinpoint the bifurication of that entire system and convert it over to a some sort of discrete function. 

I do agree that all math is the same just the application and the way that one approaches a problem would vary quite alot depending on what you have learned. 

Now correct me if I am wrong, but I also believe that alot of engineers do learn programming in some way. My friend tells me in his biomedical program that it is pretty weak. They use MATLAB. I am pretty sure most companies would program in C++ ,but still there might be some slight programming understanding in engineers. Now my understanding of bifurication is fuzzy (or non existent) but sounds like a rough math thing. Now can you clarify if you are saying you can do this math, which I am sure you can, or if you are saying this is something a programmer can do that an engineer could not hope to do?

  bishbosh

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/21/11
Posts: 401

12/10/12 5:37:29 PM#18
Originally posted by Lupita

I would actually disagree that engineers would make good programers. I recently recieved my Masters in Applied mathematics and have worked at a few engineering firms but have generally stayed away from the programming aspects of it all. Alot of engineers can do calulations. However, it takes a special type of person to look at a mathematical system of equations that would pinpoint the bifurication of that entire system and convert it over to a some sort of discrete function. 

I do agree that all math is the same just the application and the way that one approaches a problem would vary quite alot depending on what you have learned. 

what about software engineers?

 

i am pretty sure engineers are the most suitable people when it comes to programming given that they actually learn to do it university.

  ShakyMo

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/21/11
Posts: 7246

12/10/12 5:40:03 PM#19
Yes many people with engineering degrees work in games (and computer programming in general)
  ShakyMo

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/21/11
Posts: 7246

12/10/12 5:41:42 PM#20
In fact where I work there are more people with math, physics and engineering degrees than there are those with comp-sci degrees.
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