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Curious Questions on Bussiness of Games


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#1 w_enslin   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 14 November 2000 - 01:47 AM

I am just curious to find out what people think of the gamming industy. 1) Where is the biggest oppurtunnity in the Industry in terms of a specific role, Game development, Music programming, 3D art work, AI Engineering? 2) Where do you think it will be heading larger corporates or with small companies? 3) Do most Engineers(Programmers) do consulting and create a game project on the side? Please post I would love to know your thoughts? Like I said I am just curious. There is no try, do or do not.

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#2 daveb   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 18 November 2000 - 12:39 PM

1.) I think its simpler to break it down into a.) development, b.) QA, c.) management/production. There are lots of ways into the industry and there's a pretty good demand for anyone who falls into category A (programmers, artists, designers). If you don't have a degree or any obvious marketable developement skills, you could get your foot in the door by starting in QA. Typically, people who start in QA and looking to really make a career out of game development eventually move on into producer type decisions. Although depending where you work, you might have the oppurtunity to get into actual development. Its also worth noting that the vast majority of QA people never move up. Since its an hourly, "unskilled" type of job its easy to get bored with it. But if its your only option, its still viable. I've worked with more than one producer (even executive producers) who got their humble start in QA.

2.) This is a good question. I don't know. There's certainly an advantage to larger companies, primarily because of the additional capital resources they have. You're not gambling it all every day as with many smaller companies. But at the same time, many large houses tend to produce dissastified and jaded employees (check out www.fatbabies.com for a slightly warped "insider" view of the industry. You'll find lots of disgruntled employees from large companies in their forums.). Plus, I tend to think that smaller companies get to try and stick with their ideals and passions more often. The company tends to be tighter knit and more focused. This is a question I'd really like to see the answer to as well. My guess is that you'll see an increase in the "large" companies, but I don't think there will be a significant decrease in "small" companies. But who knows?

3.) If you're talking about non games-industry programmers, I don't know the answer. What I do know is that no one who is doing game development as a part time, casual thing is ever going to be able to compete with fulltime professional teams. You may be able to produce something, but without a fulltime effort, you're never going to see 100,000 in sales, or even 10,000. Its quite literally impossible. Getting into the game development industry (especially as a programmer) is not just a job choice - its a lifestyle choice. It requires a _lot_ of personal sacrifice and is often not as great as you might think.

Edited by - daveb on November 18, 2000 7:41:36 PM

#3 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 18 November 2000 - 04:56 PM

Nah, it''s easy and fun, no sacrifices at all, and it is great!
And you DON''T need a collegue degree to make a game.


#4 chris1962   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 19 November 2000 - 12:51 PM

w_enslin,

1) I certainly don''t claim to be an expert in this category, but of the job wanted ads I''ve seen (both on the net and in local papers), the majority seem to be split through between programmers and artists. Can''t say that I remember seeming much at all specific to music programming or AI engineering.

2) As far as this question goes, I''m not to sure. But, I must agree with daveb''s comments here. Although I have never worked in the games industry, I have spent the past 14 or so years working in IT departments of companies that ranged in sizes from a few hundred to 25000 employees. And some of daveb''s descriptions may have been aimed at game companies, but I think they can be used to describe just about any industry when comparing differences by size. If I had a choice (and I usually do these days), then I prefer the smaller to medium size outfits. Big companies are just buried in too much red tape.

3) I can definitely comment on this one, since I have just completed my first game project (it''s in the showcase on this site and called Lost Enticer). I for one am a programming consultant (non gaming work) and have begun creating game projects on the side. I suspect the majority of the participants that participate in these discussion groups (over the age of 21) would fall into that category.





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#5 Scarab   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 19 November 2000 - 02:50 PM

Ok, here''s my pure, unadulterated Personal Opinion!

#1: It takes more artists to make a game than it does programmers, and I''ve typically seen more ads for artists in _professional_ game development than programmers. Good artists are hard to find, you can get a Photoshop hack that can make so-so Quake skins fairly easily but a hardcore low-poly modeller that''s a MAX wizard is a real find and will get paid fairly well. That said, in my experience a programmer will go in the door with a higher starting salary than an artist.

#2: If you want a game that''s more than likely to end up on the shelf at your local software store, find a larger company. To get a title out the door takes a fair wad of cash and time, and then you add the difficulty of distribution... ouch! Smaller companies don''t have access to the distribution channels larger companies have. With a smaller company you may have more input on the game, though, even if you don''t end up on the end cap at Toys ''R Us.

#3: Well, I''ve got a decent 9-to-5 (more or less) job doing embedded systems engineering for consumer electronic entertainment devices. That pays enough that I can dump the cash into my own company, buy new computers, license software, the works. The _main_ thing to remember here is that an "on the side" game project is NOT going to end up in the store, period. If you do a deal with Real.com, or manage to hook up with a smaller publisher, you can do acceptably well but you sure as hell aren''t going to ship 50K units in the near future. The benefits of this approach, though, are that you have complete control over your product! I suppose I could take a huge cut in pay and go to work for one of the Big Boys, but then I''d be working on Someone Elses Game and not _my_ game.

I agree with a previous poster - game development isn''t just a career choice, it''s a lifestyle. Typically you won''t get paid as much as someone in a different field, you''ll end up living through a lot of cancelled projects, dealing with a lot of egos and Problem Children. You do it because you _have_ to, it''s a passion and not some rational decision (nobody rational would EVER want to get into game development!!!). But oh, you ship that title with your name in the credits and it seems like it''s all worth it after all...



#6 daveb   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 19 November 2000 - 03:25 PM

Well, its also worth noting that you can be a successful, happy game developer without working for one of the "Big Boys". And by Big Boy, I mean large companies like EA, Acclaim, Konami, etc.

There are plenty of small (< 50, < 100) developers who are able to make their own games and stick to their own ideals. If you''re interested in getting into one, my suggestion is to do your homework.

As an amateur, yes, it is basically impossible to compete with any professional developers. However, you can be a successful professional developer without having to be a giant like Square.

#7 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 20 November 2000 - 07:39 AM

1- Code, code, code. There aren''t enough professional-grade programmers out there. Or rather, there aren''t enough applying for jobs in the game development industry. Granted, game development doesn''t pay nearly as well as other fields, but it is a heck of a lot more fun. Game companies are always trying to find the fresh young talent that is willing to take less money for more fun. There are plenty of 3d artists and animators around. Every time a movie wraps, bunches of them get laid off and we get a flood of applications.

2- Bigger is better. A larger company has the resources to generate the best quality content and then the resources to leverage that property across the high end platforms that are coming on line (ps2, xbox, gamecube, PC) Smaller companies don''t have the resources to do battle with the industry heavyweights like Square, EA or Konami. That having been said, the big guys are also beginning to generate their own quasi-independent studios. This strategy combines the autonomy and creativity of the small company with the marketing power of the big corporation.

3- Typically no. Some companies have non-competition clauses in their employment agreements that specifically prohibit employees from making competing products. Also, some of the programmers I know are so stressed out from work that the last thing they want to do in their free time is do more coding. (Even though they want to design and build their own games)

$0.02




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