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a game developer's life


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Maybe some of you know this article from the escapist magazine:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/issue/40/23

I found an interesting and also kind of depressing post in the comments:

This article definetly paints a broad stroke covering both the artist and developer ways of life in the games industry. Everything I read is accurate except the positive light cast on Producers, Managers, and Directors in the industry. Artists and Programmers burn out because:

s step 1) We are talented and innovative people who enter the industry with bright eyes wanting to contribute our know how into making great innovative games so we work insane hours whether we are asked to or not. We do it because we love it.

Step 2) We work and work and gain experience with the good, bad, and ugly. Because we are talented and innovative we set out to innovate and fix the way games are produced. We attempt to align depts, plan smarter, find quicker methods of creation, streamline etc. We have some success and we hope we get recognized for these contributions but they are overlooked or forgotten quickly because of the turn over rate in our industry directly inclusive of the team members which helped to make these accomplishments.

step 3) As we begin to see we can make a difference with successful changes we have made to production practices we grow to care more about this kind of innovation and improving the process of making games that we begin to feel more passion for our work improving the process of making games than we do for our art and coding work which were hired for.

Step 4) This gets noticed by managers and we get put back in our place with management mumbo-jumbo side speak coraling us back to our cubes. We realize our innovation and bright ideas are being squashed..the very reason we got into this buisness in the first place (because we hoped to express ourselves through our talents and innovative thinking has now been shot down). Depression, Reflection on our accomplishments, quality of life, and questioning of authority sets in.

Step 5) We get frustrated and begin curbing our labor hours until managment asks us to work longer hours and we get pissed. It was one thing to do it when we were passionate about making innovative games but now that we've been squashed our attitude has changed. Who is this manager anyway and what the heck did they do to get their job? Who is this Producer that creates these unrealistically scoped projects and what the heck do they know about making games? What did these people ever contribute to a game before? What are their viable art or coding skills? Lets see them make a game! Did they get their jobs because they have talent or because they kissed lots of butt? Arggghhh.

Step 6) We take a long hard look at who our managers are: people who's careers are from another industry. Retail regional managers, Film industry managers, or Import Export Managers, and on rare occasion someone who actually has been promoted internally to a managerial position. Well what the heck qualifies any of these people except the last choice for a games management position? Being pleasant doesn't make for good game development scheduling. Knowing management software shouldn't qualify someone to be a manager. Years of game development experience and the desire to manage projects for the cause of keeping a team healthy should. Most of these managers don't know anything about making games. It becomes the artists and programmers jobs to teach the managers how to manage and do their jobs. That means that on top of performing as an artist or programmer we are also teaching our bosses how to do their jobs. This is a poor hiring practice.

Step 7) We take a long hard look at who our producers are: people who love playing games but don't know any of the details of actually making games. People who make minimum wage in QA are then promoted to manage entire game teams. The only prior management experience that someone who would accept a minimum wage position as an adult to play video games professionally would be at a place like Arby's or Burger King. These types producers sit on their keisters and dream. They dream and dream and never actually create anything worth while for the games. Instead it is the job of Artists and Programmers to clean up the Producers mess of poor scheduling, budgeting, scoping, milestone tracking etc.. This is a poor hiring practice.

Game Developers (artists and programmers (excluding producers and managers) burn out because there is now way for us to innovate and be recognized for it, we get tired of doing our jobs and the jobs of our "superiors" while they reap the rewards, and with this we begin to realize as we age that there are more important things in life like quality of life, family, and the outdoors than creating video games.

The proof is in the pudding as far as stifled innovation goes. Look at how un original games are today. That's because producers who have no innovative ideas are incharge of innovation yet they got their jobs from being content living in their parents basement at age 30 playing video games as a tester for a living. Managers who are put incharge of managing innovative people see any innovation as wild, crazy, out of the ordinary, and must be corralled, punished and put back to our little cubes.

Is this the common life of an avarage game developer or just an extreme case?

For those of us, who aren't industry yet: Do such articles (and there's been lots of them lately) scare you? Maybe scare you away?

Discuss

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Personally, that strikes a load of crap. In fact I'd go further and say it's a big load of crap.

There's just so many ways that it's essentially a generic fear mongering rant that could, in its simplest form, apply to anything. Which has been moulded around computer games design with a bonus ‘no creativity’ rhetoric. There’s barely a word in it that isn’t subjective.

Edit: The quote. I haven't read the main article because I find The Escapist is rather a poor soapbox powered by a stock photo archive. But maybe I'll give it the time of day when it's not 2am.

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I don't know if or how many years of industry experience the guy who wrote that comment actually has. Maybe he just worked in the wrong company or maybe he's a starter who got frustrated because nobody at the studio gives a damn about his leet game ideas.

The Escapist is rather a poor soapbox powered by a stock photo archive.

hehe, that made me smile :D

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did you read any of the stuff that has been written here, or did you just write that reply on the basis of the topic title? :P

I say this, because early in the text he has in quote there it actually sais

step 1) We are talented and innovative people who enter the industry with bright eyes wanting to contribute our know how into making great innovative games so we work insane hours whether we are asked to or not. We do it because we love it.

What I think you didnt get was the fact that yes, we do it because we love it, but there are more stages to it (in his case, atleast) And it will probably be a time when all that stops (midlife crisis?) and you take a look back at what you've done. And then probably realize that theres more to life than beeing pushed around as a low level prop churning artist.

Its 4 am, and I just pulled that outta my ass, no disrespect ferret~

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I'd rather be a low level prop churning artist than not work on games. Its my passion and even at later "levels" i'd still love what I'm doing.

I think that's a very naive way of looking at the situation and you will realize this once you start working...

Here's an other interesting article:

THE JOYFUL LIFE OF THE LAPSED GAME DEVELOPER:

http://lostgarden.com/2006/04/joyful-li ... loper.html

I love the pic

hallelujah-723963.jpg

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