Get That Job: How to be a graphics programmer

Get That Job: How to be a graphics programmer
Aaron Lee

By Aaron Lee

June 7th 2013 at 3:47PM

Ubisoft Reflections' Simon O'Connor offers advice on how to land that job

The game industry is home to a plethora of professions key to making a studio a success.

Each week we’ll shine a light on a specific role, with bite-size tips from those in the know on how to land that job.

This week we have Simon O'Connor, a graphics programmer at Driver: San Francisco developer Ubisoft Reflections, offering specialist advice on how to bag a job as a graphics programmer, and what it takes to be a success in the role.

“Knowing Direct3D or OpenGL doesn’t make you a graphics programmer; we abstract with engines so specific platform APIs don’t matter," said O'Connor.

“Understanding principles, algorithms and underlying mathematics is what matters. They’re the tools a graphics programmer uses to understand published research, to adapt existing techniques and to invent new ones.

“Pragmatism is a valuable skill; smoke and mirrors are often more appropriate than physical correctness. Players don’t mind that your game’s baked lighting is only correct at midday, but they do want it to look good and run at 60Hz.

“Communicating well with artists is essential for choosing the best looking tool and making the right trade-offs, and helps avoids many bugs that can be painful to track down.”

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