I have a feeling I am going to get downvoted for this post.Part 1: My Defense
I feel as if I might be one of those who contributed towards your idea that sometimes people here are pretty harsh and discouraging
I wouldn’t say it is my reputation, but it is not really uncommon for me to post a reply in the “Breaking into the Industry” section that is extremely discouraging. I have flat-out said to some people that they have no business in the industry.
I can’t speak for everyone who says things like this, but as for myself, I say these kinds of things because I believe it and because it feels as though I am doing my part in making the game industry a better place.
I say it to people who make me feel as if they have the wrong idea about what making games means.
“I studied accounting but I heard game programmers [in America] make more so I thought I would switch. At which school should I study?”
I enhanced their grammar here but the basic idea is a person who is just in it for the money. There are a few other examples (see link above for one), but all of them feel unworthy of actual game-making practice.
I discourage them because we don’t need them
in the industry. Or the industry doesn’t need them.
I can’t find all the links now, but I can say with certainty that all of the people I have discouraged were because I felt that they were nothing but a disservice to the industry as a whole. I would hate myself if I let them become a major figure in the industry and lead it into some corporate direction that was all about the money.Part 2: Blind Faith
I am a programmer but I also play classical piano
professionally (my classical performances have been used in movies, my original works used in games) and I draw photorealistically. On my deviantArt page
you can find many pencil drawings (and no photographs).
In the world of art I see this mentality a lot. Artists encouraging other artists blindly.
Everyone just rambles on about how you can do anything with practice. Just practice practice practice.
But that is just blind encouragement. The frank fact is that I have spent fewer than 300 hours of my entire life
(30 hours per year) drawing things. I know people on deviantArt whose lives revolve around art and have spent over 10,000 hours drawing, but will never ever be as realistic.
Certain people excel at certain things. Period.
I don’t believe in—and I strongly detest—giving people false hope. This is basically the point of your post.
Actually I can’t speak for every person who has been shot down, but in my experience only people who needed to be shot down were shot down.
I have a bad reputation on deviantArt because I am (seemingly) the only one willing to give people bad news. Artists really hate that. And I may get downvoted, but I stand by what I believe. Some people need to be discouraged. Some people are not fit for the job.
Which leads me to part 3.Part 3: Blind Encouragement
I don’t believe in this.
You have a +25 last time I checked. Congratulations. The highest upvoting I have ever seen.
But in my experience (and I could be wrong), most people who got discouraged were discouraged for a reason. Part #1 explains why I feel that way. I know I am a major offender when it comes to discouraging people but there is always a reason why. For every person I have discouraged I have encouraged 3 or 4 more. That is close to the ratio I would expect.
But your post is open. It is for everyone. That is just wrong. Because no matter how optimistic you are, you can agree that not everyone is really suitable for the game industry. It is not just my theory but actual experience.
In one of my previous companies we hired a game designer. That was his only skill. My job was to mentor him but despite my best efforts he really was a flunky. As it turned out, he wasn’t really a game designer. He was a chef. That’s right, he left our company and became a chef.
When you send out a blind letter of encouragement to everyone who has ever dreamed of getting into the game industry, these are the people you are reaching. He was a damned chef, not a game designer.
You can’t just spew out all these words of encouragement. They reach the wrong people.
People who are fit for the industry don’t need this type of encouragement. People who aren’t do, and all you are doing is helping the wrong people get into the wrong business.Part #4: Different Points of View
You also have to keep in mind that it is only a simplistic view in which people ask for help on a forum and get entirely the same response on a subjective matter.
What is the best way to do this? What is the best way to do that?
If it is subjective, the best help anyone can get is from multiple different standpoints.
Some people need to encourage, some people need to discourage. If both sides represent themselves well, then both are beneficial to the original poster who can then take into considerations the cons and pros and make his or her own decision.
I already stated that I disagreed with your post due to blind encouragement, but I also disagree because it promotes a “1 side is correct in all situations” approach.
The reality is that many people have personal issues they want to consider but don’t mention those when asking questions. If both sides explain themselves well enough, the poster will be able to make a better decision based on his or her personal situation at the time. The pro side or con side may not have known about that personal issue, but just because he or she was thorough in presenting his or her side the original poster can make a better decision.
The good comes with the bad. It is not really about people discouraging others.
Honestly, both sides of any question should be presented and considered.Part #5: Finally
Sorry, but frankly when I was younger there was never any question about my future in the games industry.
I may sound cold-hearted and get downvoted, but the simple fact is that I would have shrugged off anyone who said I was unfit for the industry.
The people who have it have it. Those who don’t don’t.
It my sound arrogant to say that it was never a questionable matter to me—I was going to be in the industry and that was final—but if my story is similar to anyone else’s, those people don’t really care about any discouraging words people may give.
The target audience for this message is slim.
Most people who belong in the industry don’t get discouraged. If they really belong, they come off as such and get treated as such.
The few who get misunderstood and then “bullied”, well, if they really belong then it doesn’t matter to them that some person online said otherwise.
They just know.
I know you want to combat trolls, but your message is an open letter. It is not as if someone is going to read your words of encouragement and then say, “Wait, was I previously discouraged by a troll? No? Okay disregard all those encouraging words I just read; those were just for people who had previously been trolled”.
Some people—and especially chefs in my experience—do not belong in the industry. It is a simple fact that discouragement can be healthy and can be the correct course of action.
Just as in art, encouragement and practice do not in fact a pro make. You aren’t going to draw photorealistically no matter how hard you practice, and practice also can’t make you an expert game designer or programmer. Some people are made for certain things and they need to just stay within those domains. Discouragement really is necessary sometimes.