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I'm currently a senior at my university and am looking to graduate this upcoming summer. I've been trying to add more depth to my resume, and one of my biggest sources of experience has actually been a personal involvement in the private server gaming community.

I started picking up code and projects in the private server gaming community for the past 6-7 years and a lot I learned came from an amalgamation of other developers there and just personal projects.

However, the issue is a lot of my derived experience from there stems from the fact that the source code is pulled from times where code was leaked, client code was leaked, etc.

Even now, I'm developing under a team that runs a private server that peaked over 300 concurrent users and there were a lot of issues that we had to address regarding concurrency and scalability/performance. It was really fun retrospectively and extremely informing-building off the source code we received and creating entirely new projects, games, additions to the game.

And thus this creates a huge platform from where I built and applied a lot of the skills I learned in college in a real-world application.

I'm afraid, however, that I can't really mention this on a resume, especially if I'm applying to some sort of game company.

"Oh, 300 concurrent players? What game is this?"

I can already see the complications arising (especially regarding the legality of the project). Is there any way I can word this or play about it in a way where I can use this to bolster my resume, since it's been a very big part of my life.

  • Were you involved in obtaining such "leaked" content or just worked on it and perhaps suspected of the leakage? In other words, how you know it was leaked, was it so obvious? Is this the legal part that worries you, please consider enhancing that part :) – DarkCygnus Feb 22 '18 at 1:45
  • I would consider changing the title. The experience you have is definitely "real", but it might not be obtained legally. – Erik Feb 22 '18 at 6:30
  • Hi! I edited the title to clarify the type of experience you have. Hope that's ok. – sleske Feb 22 '18 at 8:37
  • Are there now open source games or code where you can demonstrate this knowledge with said proficiency? Are you basing the entire market value only on this? Or was this just a beginning to more projects where you worked on content that was not leaked? I'm seeking to understand if your experience solely revolves around this particular game. Rather, if you've done more, then it becomes interesting. – ValarMorghulis Feb 22 '18 at 10:40
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If I understand this correctly, your years of experience are with pirated game software? Otherwise this question wouldn't exist, correct?

I think more than just game companies may take a dim view of the manner in which you respect IP. I would leave that experience off your resume entirely. That's part of the deal when you use stolen goods. That's part of the benefit gained from acquiring things legitimately.

Imagine a drug dealer who makes $5k dealing. He can take that cash and spend it on small things, maybe pay rent with it, but nothing major. The money is easy to spend.

Now imagine that same dealer makes $50k, spending it will be harder. You will encounter obstacles when trying to purchase a new $30k vehicle with a backpack full of $20 and $100 bills. They have more money but it's harder to spend.

Now if that same person made $500k from drugs, they have more money but they can't purchase a $400k house with a briefcase full of $100s. Still more money but also still harder to spend.

So the criminal has to launder their money. They buy a pizza place, spend a healthy % of their money to waste, taxes, etc but in the end they are able to get money they can spend easier, but still nowhere near as easy as if they earned it legally.

Your experience is like the money in that example. You need to clean it, by doing a side project with your acquired skills, and not expect to be able to use all of it. It wasn't acquired legally, just let some of it go and move on.

Honestly you will still be way ahead of most CS seniors with a well implemented moderate side project that works and looks semi professional.

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    Overall, I agree with this. Though, I'd like to point out that Blizzard Entertainment tried hard to recruit the developers of Nostalrius (and succeeded), a private server that runned one of their biggest titles, because of their experience with legacy code. – Cyonis Feb 22 '18 at 7:39
  • @Belle that sounds great from blizzard. – Mafii Feb 22 '18 at 11:00
  • @Mafii I mainly wanted to show it's not all doom and gloom. The experience can sometimes make you desirable for a company. Blizzard decided it was worth more to hire the developers instead of sueing them, it was a pure business decision. – Cyonis Feb 22 '18 at 12:10
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The technical part of your experience is great, but might not help you at most companies. The problem is that while it demonstrates your technical chops, it also seems to indicate a very relaxed attitude towards intellectual property rules, and maybe not great business judgement. Many development companies won't like that, even if it wasn't their software involved. Companies have to be careful about dotting 'i's and crossing 't's when it comes to IP, because it can land them in giant lawsuits (see Uber's problems in this area). Having an employee who's willing to write in a more or less public document that they've worked with pirated software, might be seen as too high risk.

I've never worked in gaming or security though. Attitudes may be different there. Certainly talented folks have found jobs in security even with actual criminal records.

  • If projected as a learning experience, where the OP played around with available code and became a better developer and did not profit from it or commercialize it, would that not be okay? I think instead of focusing on how the code reached the OP's hands, if they were to say what they did with it, then would your response differ? – ValarMorghulis Feb 22 '18 at 9:26
  • @ValarMorghulis we could have many interesting conversations about the ethics of the situation, but companies will tend to focus on the legality of the situation. If they get caught with illegal software on systems they control, they can face substantial financial and even criminal penalties. Courts generally won't care about motivation. Again, I've never worked in gaming. The culture may be more tolerant there. – Charles E. Grant Feb 22 '18 at 18:13

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