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Working in video game industry & experience with modding

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Level 6
Jul 22, 2021
Hello, Dear Hive Lords...
I'm new on this forum but have been reading threads here for quite a while.

So, recently I've been thinking and learning about various resources and books on game design, level design, and other jobs in the video game industry in general. Playing around with W3's native editor is a very good entry-level tool even though it limits you to the Warcraft 3's engine only.

My question is: do YOU believe that the knowledge from World Editor (or other recognizable modding software) helps you with learning stuff on other dedicated game dev engines? Does it depend on roles like level designer or programmer?
I can only imagine that writing stuff like triggers, actions, etc. on professional game dev tools like Unreal Engine is vastly different and may even require some coding knowledge.

Another thing I'm very curious about: Do you think the stuff you've made in W3 Editor can be successfully used in your portfolio when looking for jobs, gigs at game development?

Perhaps you have your own experiences and insights regarding this topic? I'd love to read it if you wish to share.
Level 3
Aug 8, 2016
I don't know how answer because i'm literally a noob of 0 exp in that things but i can ask someone,if he can and later try to fullfill with something,okay?
Hi. I modded Warcraft III from before puberty and am in my late 20s now. I earned awards in grade school making presentations about how Warcraft III was educational and how WorldEdit taught me terms like Integers, Variables, Booleans, Arrays, and more. After getting into WoW in the worst years of puberty, by the end of high school I was back on Warcraft III and doing programming and developing specialized Warcraft III modding tools for myself external to the Warcraft III World Editor to supplement how I used it. However, I always had a sense of obligation to society that my job could never be to play a video game, so when I needed to choose what to do at university, I did not restrict myself to video games and ended up studying computer science instead.

In my personal experience, in many university courses covering advanced and abstract topics in Computer Science, often times I would prop up my understanding of what was being discussed by using analogies to topics from Warcraft III. Sometimes it helps you learn to be pragmatic, even when it is for imaginary reasons.

Due to my successes in college I became prideful and overconfident. I took a job working for the first place that I happened to interview for off-campus. Maybe I would have gone to more interviews if I stayed further away from Warcraft III and entertainment hobbies. But even now as a full-time employee, I find time on the weekends for my game modding hobby. Eventually because I did too much World Editor and met too many great people on the Hive Workshop, I evolved to the point that I wanted to break outside of the box. I wanted to be able to rewrite the entire game of Warcraft III so that I was no longer constrained by the rules of the game. YouTube recommendations are dangerous, especially when we're speaking about being professional and using time well (which watching YouTube usually doesn't do!) but if I dare, I'd like to link you a YouTube video of a game that I wrote using assets from Warcraft III. Maybe you find that it is not worth your time to watch the entire video, but if you just sample it a bit and watch a few seconds here or there you might get the idea. I am getting very close to being able to play a game of Warcraft III by myself, in my own imaginary world, where every piece of code -- every stag, every tree, etc, and the pixels from which they are constructed -- are getting rendered and acted upon by code that I wrote. I like to believe this is the eventual outcome of doing too much World Editor. Eventually you learn so much that you know how to rewrite the entire game. Does that answer your question?

But with that said, now I want to give you a word of caution. Personally I would probably not put a map that I made in Blizzard's Warcraft III World Editor on my resume. Or if I put it on there, I would keep it low at the bottom. For example, I had a college friend who liked to include on his resume that he considered himself to be part-comedian. I would put entertainment-level stuff like stories about making Warcraft III maps around the same level as "being part comedian" on my resume. And that is purely hypothetically. I said, "I would put..." but when I went back to look at my resume from 2016 (the last time that I updated it, as I was finishing college) I did not put any of the Warcraft III maps that I ever created on my resume. In fact, I did not even put the altered melee mod with 6 custom techtrees that I developed for 5-10 years in middle school/high school onto my resume. Instead, what I included was the Matrix Eater and technical descriptions of what it was like building a graphical user interface combined with a Warcraft III 3D model data representation for editing the in-game models. By doing this, you can tell a better story. It helps to say what you can do for them when you're telling a story like this to a company as a part of your application. And I say story, but obviously these things are summarized in small bullet points that I only covered more in depth when asked verbally by recruiters. Many times I repeated myself and said, "I developed a 3d model editor for a game that I enjoy modding, and automated a lot of stuff I was doing, and realized that through automation I was able to make the same model in 3 hours that had previously taken me 3 days." This kind of story gets a good discussion going with a recruiter. If I had told them, "I played the Warcraft III game and made little chooser-your-hero adventures in middle school" this would feel kind of like if you walk up to a recruiter and insult yourself. It's like saying that you didn't do anything new or learn anything since middle school.

When we apply to a job offer, usually if someone is in the business of paying you to achieve a task for them, as a general rule the less time that you historically played video games and the more time that you historically practiced whatever it is that they want you to do for them... the better it is for them. This is a bit of a harsh reality, but I struggle to imagine this any other way. This is also why, I assume, I have seen at least one World of Warcraft streamer rant about the game by saying that "the developers of World of Warcraft do not play the game." The streamer says this is the reason why the game developers do not understand flaws in their design. The streamers are probably correct. In order to be a developer of something technical like this, either you are:
  • Not passionately doing anything substantially difficult that someone else could not have done in your place
  • Not passionately playing video games
I figure this is probably because it is so difficult to split your focus between two tasks actively and still take them both seriously. So, maybe you are someone who is learning how computers, game rules, and rendering technology work. Or, maybe you are someone who spends most of your time playing video games like World Editor. But it is probably rare that someone can simultaneously be doing both of these things and still be particularly good at either one. For example, I was able to put in the time and effort to make a technical prototype for a replica Warcraft III style of game, and yet if you look at my Hive profile there are basically no good maps to my name. The people who only do simple tasks many times repetitively are ultimately not given as much authority over the future as those who seek to understand all things about what the task is doing. It is not random that some programmer guy like me gets to make a War3 clone game, and the Warcraft III streamer Grubby does not. Grubby was playing Warcraft III, so that way he never learned how to make a Warcraft III. If Grubby applied to my same position at a firm that wants a skilled software developer, he would not get the job.

So it's kind of like this tragedy that the world is controlled by the people who are intellectual enough to know everything needed to control the world and not necessarily by the people whose ideas are most accurate. And so partly I am describing a problem that I see but I have no knowledge of how to solve. I cannot just give someone like Grubby the knowledge that I had in my head to code that game prototype shown in that video of my Warcraft III clone. Or even if I could, would he want it? Some people just want to pay someone else to make a working system for them.

But life is beautiful still. As long as you take away from these topics a determined goal for what you want to do in your future, and you pursue that goal accurately, then unless you have something physically wrong with you success is basically a guarantee as long as you never give up and don't get struck by lightning. All of my experiences might be totally irrelevant to you, even if I think that they are relevant. During my time in my university, I dabbled in using the Unreal Engine for a little bit. Using an engine like that was like a knife cutting butter compared to the kind of madness that I had been doing making my own 2D engines for simple games until that time. I could make a fun adventure game with decent replayability and jump puzzles in a single day on Unreal Engine, even though I had basically never used it before outside of a single semester's class. The Unreal Engine Blueprint Editor is vastly superior to Warcraft III's Trigger Editor in every way to the point that Warcraft III's Trigger Editor is basically a typewriter while the Unreal Engine Blueprint Editor is a personal computer. They are so incomparable, it is to the point that using Warcraft III World Editor for "making a game" is literally a waste of time unless you are a wealthy English Lord who is financially independent and you specifically and only want to use Warcraft III for nostalgic reasons. Or, the other reason to use Warcraft III World Editor would be if you wanted to play the Real-Time Strategy game of Warcraft III with slightly modified rulesets. In addition, because the Unreal Engine is a tool for making games while Warcraft III is a game (supposedly, obviously there are people who wish we could use its engine for our own devices who try really hard), legally you can not profit off of the stuff you create on Warcraft III whereas you can profit off of the stuff you make on the Unreal Engine. So, if you use Warcraft III to "make a game," if you care even in the slightest about doing it professionally and making money in the future, then you are shooting yourself in the foot since you cannot legally do that on Warcraft III (note: this might not apply to you if you are in other countries that do not uphold international copyright).

If all you wanted to do was literally to make a game and you don't care how then using the Warcraft III editor would be a comedically terrible idea for you in 2021. Maybe in 2004 it was a good idea, but it is not necessary now. If you wanted to do this professionally, make the effort and learn Unreal Engine (or Unity). Then later if you need a raise at your job, convert all your Blueprint code to C++ and study C++ at a university from someone who will teach you the language starting from the basics because C++ internally under the hood is a giant steaming pile of bad design that only really makes sense on deep and fundamental levels if you have a few compiler history lessons.

So, that's my personal takeaway. And I am giving you this advice that is also not what I am currently doing with my life, because in this hobby sphere of game modding related topics, I am not focusing on doing what is profitable. The game engine that I am using shown in that video of a Warcraft III remake is not based on the Unreal Engine. Instead, it is based on LibGDX (which is still similarly a game engine but is much more focused on being used by programmers and would be hellish to get into unless you had a few programming courses).

But again these topics of what to teach yourself are incredibly, incredibly dependent on what you want to end up doing.
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Level 6
Jul 22, 2021
First of all, congratulations on your successes :)

You assured me that knowledge from World Editor can transfer well onto other engines and tools, such as Unreal's Blueprint Editor. Thanks for mentioning that, now it's something to aim for to get a grasp of.
I am well aware of the limitations of the engine, but at the same time, I see this as a great tool & fun to learn more for beginners like myself. Also, I've stumbled upon your video before on YouTube when researching stuff and even subscribed to your channel.

I'm not sure if I want to chase a career or simply have fun in the game dev field. But what you said there is quite powerful:
So, maybe you are someone who is learning how computers, game rules, and rendering technology work. Or, maybe you are someone who spends most of your time playing video games like World Editor.
In order to succeed in the industry, you have to know a lot of technicals & general know-how.

And yes, if I was to make a resume to get a job somewhere, I wouldn't simply throw anything in there. I mean I wouldn't only want to show my passion but how efficient I can be, as you mentioned.
Many things you've written regarding that topic make perfect sense from a programmer's standpoint. But take a look for someone who is more into game/level design (like myself, although I'm still learning about different roles in the game dev); showcasing video made on WC3 engine or another modding software for a different game doesn't necessarily detract from your portfolio in my view because it still shows your skills and abilities and it's not like you're insulting yourself, at most you're showing that you're not a high-end professional just yet.
Another thing that will be helpful in my belief is some kind of work-in-progress documentation with your own insights and comments. That's a great tool for
showing your passion as well as knowledge and dedication to the topic (I think that I get this idea from "Show Your Work" book by A. Kleon).

I believe the more things you get to "lick" the better taste you gonna have later on (like expanding your visual library).

Thank you for sharing your knowledge, story, and effort in general.
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