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Can old people break into the game industry?


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#21 Ravyne   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 7498

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 01:24 PM

Quote:
Original post by phantom
The problem is probably cultural to a degree; everyone expects crunch and over time so they don't take a stand when it comes up. Couple that with the supply of fresh faced people coming in at the other end and you find youself looking over your shoulder.

There is also the peer-pressure aspect of it; if everyone else is doing 60h weeks and you come in and do your 37.5h and then bugger off leaving them to it the team will start to dislike you and no one likes that.

It may even halt your advancement in the company; it can be hard enough to get a raise/promotion at the best of times, if you aren't putting in the extra hours like everyone else then you'll stand out as 'not a team player' and thus go no where.

Finally there is the fear in some cases that 'if we don't ship I have no job'; this is the same thing which keeps people working places when pay stops turning up. "Better to have a job and some hardship then to be out of one now", so they keep quite and carry on.

I'm pretty certain, unless you had a harshly worded contract, that they would have a hard time firing you if you said 'no.'. Even a clause like 'sometimes required' could be worked around by doing an hour or two every now and then when required (something which is common in most jobs, not just the game industry) as it forfills that requirement.

The only way this is going to get sorted out however is if EVERYONE says 'no' together in one voice; from the oldest engineer to the youngest new recuit so that overwork is tackled at that level.

Unfortunately any time someone even mentions the idea of a 'union' people get all jittery and dismiss the idea most likely because they are more aquainted with the power abusing unions of modern times (car plants or the recent Xmast thing with BA where the company was losing cash and the union demanded more for the workers) rather than the reason they came about in the first place; to give the common worker a collective power to get rid of poor working conditions.

Unfortunatly we loop back around to culture again at this point because for a union to be effective it needs to have large buy in and too many youngsters come into the industry wide eyed and taking crunch as 'normal' because they have hit their dream of being in the games industry where the magic happens...

I fear complete change is still some way off.. best you can do is start local and hope it spreads...


Definately agree here. Many of the poorly run studios do so nefariously -- They are not ignorant of the fact that their actions cause such demands of their employees schedules, and they equally are not ignorant of the fact that most employees will simply put up with it.

Whether its fear of not being held onto for the next project, not getting that raise, being replaced, or peer-pressure from / solidarity with their counterparts.

Places like this are simply taking wonton advantage of people's shear love for their ideal of the industry. To do this knowingly makes them bad people in business, and bad people in life. I do not want to work for, or even know, these people.

Faced with the cultural inertia as you say, standing together is really the only way to change the direction of that inertia, and all transgressions should be taken seriously.

This is not to say that the industry needs to be unionized, as that may introduce problems of its own. But I would love to see a company that had formal meetings/councils to address employee life, similar to a student-body council but with the veto-like power of simply walking out if their not being taken seriously.

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#22 Orymus   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 04:08 PM

There was a concern at IGDA, if you've read the article... The wives of people there have petitioned against a studio.
That's how bad it trully gets.
I wasn't aware there were studios where it wasn't the case... media sure emphasizes the "dark side"

On the brighter side, I actually enjoy working extra overtime shifts.

for the record:

http://www.igda.org/igda-regarding-overtime-concerns-rockstar-san-diego

edit: From actually re-reading the article, it does state that most studios manage to balance qualitity of life.

Now that totaly drifted off Johnny's question though. Sorry bout the long parenthesis!

[Edited by - Orymus on February 2, 2010 10:08:31 PM]

#23 CaptCanada   Members   -  Reputation: 224

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 04:52 PM

I am 44 years old and have been game programming off and on since the early DX 7 days.

I can realistically say that I won't be getting a position in a game company at my age anytime soon, other that a beta tester.

I enjoy making games mostly for myself, as a hobby and to learn new techniques.
I feel that as long as you are having fun and are learning new things, then it doesn't matter your age.

Game companies, I think, look at the quality of work and not the age of the coder.



#24 Orymus   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 05:03 PM

Quote:
Original post by CaptCanada
Game companies, I think, look at the quality of work and not the age of the coder.


I'd definately add a "good" at the start of that sentence, but, AMEN to that nonetheless.


#25 DoctorGlow   Members   -  Reputation: 808

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 05:52 AM

Quote:
Original post by Orymus
There was a concern at IGDA, if you've read the article... The wives of people there have petitioned against a studio.
That's how bad it trully gets.
I wasn't aware there were studios where it wasn't the case... media sure emphasizes the "dark side"

On the brighter side, I actually enjoy working extra overtime shifts.

for the record:

http://www.igda.org/igda-regarding-overtime-concerns-rockstar-san-diego


I read your past about those long hours, and I work in game industry myself for a long time and I HARDLY see those crazy hours as you claim. So my question is, where do you get those numbers, do you work in game industry or just read or hear from some of your friends?
Because if you just read or hear, then you should not speak with such an authority. just my 2c.


#26 zer0wolf   Members   -  Reputation: 1018

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 06:03 AM

My typical work week is 40-45 hours/week. The past three weeks (and probably this week as well) is adding up to 60 hour weeks each. In the two and a half years I've been in the industry now, this is worse I've personally had it. This is also due to us being really understaffed and developing one game on one platform and two other titles that are related to each other on two platforms each. I'm the lead designer on one title (1 SKU) and associate producer on the other two titles (4 SKUs).

60 hour weeks are really hard on myself and my family, and definitely not something I would accept on a long term basis, let alone something higher like a 90 hour week.
laziness is the foundation of efficiency | www.AdrianWalker.info | Adventures in Game Production | @zer0wolf - Twitter

#27 Obscure   Moderators   -  Reputation: 174

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 01:09 PM

Of course old people can contribute to game development. They can be converted into Soylent Green and fed to young game programmers through a tube, so they don't need to leave their desks.
Dan Marchant - Business Development Consultant
www.obscure.co.uk

#28 Orymus   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 04:33 PM

Quote:
Original post by DoctorGlow
Quote:
Original post by Orymus
There was a concern at IGDA, if you've read the article... The wives of people there have petitioned against a studio.
That's how bad it trully gets.
I wasn't aware there were studios where it wasn't the case... media sure emphasizes the "dark side"

On the brighter side, I actually enjoy working extra overtime shifts.

for the record:

http://www.igda.org/igda-regarding-overtime-concerns-rockstar-san-diego


I read your past about those long hours, and I work in game industry myself for a long time and I HARDLY see those crazy hours as you claim. So my question is, where do you get those numbers, do you work in game industry or just read or hear from some of your friends?
Because if you just read or hear, then you should not speak with such an authority. just my 2c.


I work in the industry.
I also happen to have a certain network connection with people who work in other studios and they have similar work hours.
It may be related to my area, but I was under the impression this method was much more widrespread. I'm actually learning a lot here ;)

#29 rouncED   Members   -  Reputation: 103

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 04:42 PM

I dont think I was good enough when I was younger to finish anything that good... Maybe once your 50 only then your truly experienced enough to finish something decent. Ever think of that...

I started when I was about 19, and my projects were horrible... im 29 this year and only now have I really improved to the point where I actually might be able to finish something.

So 50 years old has got to be an ADVANTAGE not a DISADVANTAGE.

It depends see, if you have spent time when you were younger failing a lot. :)

Sure the talented ones can already paint like rembrant when they are 19 y'olds, but not everyone is that good... you might have to be 40 personally before you can finish concepts decent enough to be professional.

[PS]
But if your 50 and first starting, that might be a problem, but im sure youll have some life skills by that point and you probably will learn quicker than a younger one... did you know iq actually continually grows well past 25 years, who knows when you reach your peak intelligence.
[/PS]

#30 Orymus   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 04:46 PM

Quote:
Original post by rouncED
I dont think I was good enough when I was younger to finish anything that good... Maybe once your 50 only then your truly experienced enough to finish something decent. Ever think of that...

I started when I was about 19, and my projects were horrible... im 29 this year and only now have I really improved to the point where I actually might be able to finish something.

So 50 years old has got to be an ADVANTAGE not a DISADVANTAGE.

It depends see, if you have spent time when you were younger failing a lot. :)

Sure the talented ones can already paint like rembrant when they are 19 y'olds, but not everyone is that good... you might have to be 40 personally before you can finish concepts decent enough to be professional.


I tend to agree partly here.
Though you might have missed on a lot of industry experience, you have certainly earned some maturity and outside experiences. I find it that my superiors often encourage finding people with outside influences/experiences when picking for creative-related jobs (Designers are often considered for having a background in history for example).
The upside is that no experience is entirely irrelevant to game development or so because a lot of the job comes from people interactions and that they are governed by principles above game making skills.

#31 rouncED   Members   -  Reputation: 103

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 04:57 PM

I remember seeing photos of the "Bitmap Brothers" team, they made that flashy new 3d speedball game, there were young guys, but there were also old guys in all the photos... I wonder how good these old guys actually are. :) Maybe its important to have young heads and old heads there, because they both have advantages.
The young guys are highly intelligent, and the old guys are wise. The old guys grew up in a different era remember, they were making all the monochrome vector games! hehe
But in say 30 years from now, the old guys grew up making the games we do now, so it will definitely be different.

#32 Orymus   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 05:33 PM

Thinking back at it, in the Bethesda's video making of Oblivion (The Elder Scrolls IV) there was a proeminent figure that seemed relatively aged. I'm not sure what job he occupied, but he seemed quite involved in the process...

And then again, there's Warren Spector. He's not exactly old yet, but meh...
Sid Meier too.

The fact they started in the business at younger age may explain why they became legends, but it doesn't prevent older people to jump aboard. Dedication has no age.




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