A personal perspective regarding what game engine is best for getting you an interview at a games company.
Generally I don’t mind what engine the students use although something that shows extended development knowledge into the current generation of games consoles is important. That is, something that is written in C/C++ and requires understanding of C++.
One of the problems I’ve faced is how similar demo’s look when they are sent to us using something like OGRE. The engine often does a lot of the work so it isn’t that impressive as it used to be to see a 1st or 3rd person shooter or RPG. Candidates shouldn’t fall into the trap of sending something that was easy to make but “looks” like a lot of work. This also goes for students that use Unreal (or similar) to show off their game design abilities. Although this is an great skill, it is not a key element that I’m looking for in programming graduates.
A very good understanding of maths keeps recurring as a theme when I’m interviewing. So using an engine to show how data can be manipulated in game-centric ways is impressive. So, for example; flocking algorithms, path-finding, multi-processing, network-play, 3D geometry manipulation (vertex/pixel shaders), vision & audio processing (FFT), animation and AI state machines and so on*. It is unfortunate that many of the graduates I see don’t appear to have pushed themselves very far beyond simply understanding code syntax and the engine’s library calls.
Interestingly; this just popped into my RSS feed:
Hope this helps.
* I think a good list of the game-play techniques that game companies use regularly could be given to the students. They could then pick one or more that they are motivated by and follow this in more depth. Don’t simply think of a game idea and try to make it!