What Do Tool Programmers Do?
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What Do Tool Programmers Do?
7 February, 2017
God knows, 80.lv loves good tools. They are the heart of any production and are essential for the creation of complex games. A good tool makes all the difference. While there’s a bunch of solutions available for big-scale content production, a lot of companies prefer to build their own renders and engines, which gives them more flexibility and freedom. Ubisoft has DUNIA & Snowdrop, Sony has DECIMA, Wargaming has BigWorld. This is just a part of the deal. As IGN’s new story tells, the work of tool programmers in big companies goes beyond engines.

A tools programmer is someone whose sole purpose is to help others make better games. As a tools programmer, you almost never work directly on a game. Instead, you work on internal tools that help artists and designers get their art and ideas into the game as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

Brian Gish, former Sony Online Entertainment, 5th Cell

Starting from the point the content is created, it goes through several tools on its way. For Avalanche Studios this means an exporter plugin will export, for example, a 3D model in our in-house format to disk, then a model material editor will have to take this file and assign shaders and parameters to subsections of the model. In turn, content compile tools pick up the output of these tools and chew through them to generate the runtime data files in yet more in-house formats.

Engin Cilasun, Senior Engine Programmer at Avalanche Studios

Tools are being prepared before the actual production of the game happens. As IGN notes (again), these are the true unsung heroes of game industry. And it’s not easy to become a part of this super team of technological wizards.

I went to school for programming and that’s what I recommend for everyone that wants to get into the field. One of my most indispensable books is ‘Data Structures & Algorithm Analysis in C++’ by Mark A. Weiss. Knowing that book backwards and forwards will help in any job interview and make you a great programmer.

Brian Gish, former Sony Online Entertainment, 5th Cell

If you want to learn more about tools programmers, make sure to read the original article at IGN.


CDProjekt REDactually makes its engine REDengine available for modders online, so you can download it and play around a little. This is not the newest version (REDengine 3), but still worth a try.

Source: ign.com

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