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You wish you had known...?


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#1 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 10626

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 09:21 PM

Hi,

So I've been selected to represent the local industry into a bunch of affiliated schools.
I'm to give students a lecture on the industry in general (different professions, what they're about, etc).
Now, I know pretty much what I'm going to say and all, but I was wondering if there's anything you guys thought I should discuss while I'm there.

What did you wish you had known before getting into the industry?
What preconception should I eliminate?

Any pointers whatsoever?

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#2 EngineProgrammer   Members   -  Reputation: 295

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 09:41 PM

Uh let me think :D

If you talk about game industry, be sure to remind those students that Writing games is not equal to Playing games. Tons of students think they are allowed to game everyday at school... I'm in the second grade of college now, I see 100 students joining our course with the idea they are going to play games whole day. Posted Image

If you talk about artist industry, they need a strong personality. People on that industry are very hard on you. If you think your painting is "decent", they will crush your nuts by telling all the bad things about it. So if you can't stand being yelled at, keep out of there.
We had a convenience at our school ( In Belgium ) with artists/bosses/programmers all over the world. And they seem nice. But when they need to give you their opinion about your work, put your hands on your ears. Unless you are very very good, then they say your work can go through. :)

Uh that's all I can think off.

uh what I would have wished for before getting into the industry, uh. That there are less ladies in these industries. Posted Image ( but that was predictable )

~EngineProgrammer

#3 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 14248

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 12:12 AM

Misconceptions:
  • Game testing is not a job in which you just play games all day. It is actual work, full of documentation, and is often very boring.
  • Having a ton of ideas for games does not make you a good game designer, although designers need a lot of ideas.
  • Playing a lot of games does not make you a good game designer, although designers should play a lot of games.
  • Game design is not a job in which you get to draw out all your plans for all your own games and let everyone else construct them. It is a job in which you draw out all the plans of someone else, work under heavy limitations set upon you by publishers, investors, what-have-you, and try to orchestrate and motivate the whole team to make someone else’s game come true.
  • You don’t have to be a musician, programmer, and artist to be a designer, but you do need to speak their respective languages. This is less of a problem for programmers, but even if you can’t play piano and don’t know what “abbandonatamente” means you should know what a minor chord is, and even if you can’t draw or model, you should be somewhat familiar with Maya’s and 3D Studio Max’s interfaces, and you should know words such as “extrude” and “chamfer”.

There aren’t things I wish I had known. There are plenty of things I did not know, but because of my hands-on and active approach to getting myself into the industry, it eventually happened, simple as that.

From my point of view, the only thing you really need to know to get into the industry is that you need to be active in your efforts to get in. You always need to be pushing towards that goal. If you are really passionate about the industry and if you are truly a good fit for it, you will just know what you need to do, and it will be for the right reasons.

Guy A works on mods and draws up plans for his own games etc. all day every day after school because he is passionate about making games.
Guy B works on mods and draws up plans for his own games etc. all day every day after school because he believes this “formula” will get him into the industry someday.

They are both doing the same thing. But one of them (A) is doing it for the right reason.


The less you know the better. That way only the truly passionate and deserving people actually end up in the industry.
B-type people will ask, “Okay, I will be active. But active doing what?” They want a cheat sheet.
If you have to ask, you are not fit for the industry.
If you want to be a programmer, is it not obvious that you should start studying programming? Get a copy of Microsoft Visual Studio and go.
If you want to be a musician, is it not obvious that you should start learning piano? Get a keyboard and some MIDI programs and go.
Artists and designers, same applies to you. You should know what to learn and what to get to do it.


Well, that is just my opinion. Probably not what you want to say to a room full of young hopefuls.


L. Spiro
It is amazing how often people try to be unique, and yet they are always trying to make others be like them. - L. Spiro 2011
I spent most of my life learning the courage it takes to go out and get what I want. Now that I have it, I am not sure exactly what it is that I want. - L. Spiro 2013
I went to my local Subway once to find some guy yelling at the staff. When someone finally came to take my order and asked, “May I help you?”, I replied, “Yeah, I’ll have one asshole to go.”
L. Spiro Engine: http://lspiroengine.com
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#4 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 10626

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 09:02 AM

Well, that is just my opinion. Probably not what you want to say to a room full of young hopefuls.


I do not intend on being gentle.
My personal objective is twofold:
- There are people in that room that will be fit for such a carreer, but their hopes might hae already been through the grinder for the wrong reasons (parental pressure, misinformed folks telling them it's impossible).
- There are people in that room that will not be fit for such a carreer, but for any kind of reason, no one has managed to crush them (their parents are so rich they think they can do anything).

My intent is to clarify the odds for them by focussing on what the job actually is, what they need to do and know to be up there, and that all is for naught if they don't have the passion (I mean seriously, how many people did you see drop after a while because they just didn't like it).

Thanks for the input!

#5 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31800

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 10:48 AM

What did you wish you had known before getting into the industry?

That I wouldn't see a paycheque for months, and that when I finally got one, it would be from the liquidation of the now-bankrupt company.

What preconception should I eliminate?

That you've got to put up with dodgy working conditions such as the above. There's a lot of horror stories of endless crunch etc... You can refuse to put up with that crap as long as you're talented.

Any pointers whatsoever?

Lock up your ego. Learn to accept criticism well. Don't be a maverick. Take every opportunity to learn and develop your talent.
Oh, and maintain a savings account.

#6 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 14248

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 10:52 AM

If you really mean that then you will say just that to all of those people.
I grew up with everyone telling me I needed to become a Disney artist. From age 5 to 18 that is all I heard.

But the fact is art has made me nothing but miserable.
Not a single drawing I have drawn in my life has brought me any kind of joy. Tedious and loathsome is all it is. I can draw. But only because it was put upon me.

I was lucky to realize on my own that I was supposed to be a programmer and was able to make my own career of it.
But others may not be able to distinguish the difference between what they want to do and what others want them to do.

If you make anything clear in your speech, make it this. Our parents usually look down upon us who go into the game industry. At least while we are young. Once we make it into the industry they are as proud as they can be, but before that they are quite doubtful.
This is why it is important not to give hope to those who do not deserve it.

I hired a person who showed all the signs of a successful designer. He was so passionate about games and was so eager to show us his designs for board games, which were all he could could muster on his own at the time.

But in the end he was just a chef. A chef. A person who makes food for other people. He had nothing to do with games.
Unfortunately we did not discover this until he had ruined several of our games and then left our company.

When you give any kind of false hope to people, these are the kinds of people you attract.
This story is real, and I rather not see it happen to anyone else.

Try to be as realistic with your speech as you can.


L. Spiro
It is amazing how often people try to be unique, and yet they are always trying to make others be like them. - L. Spiro 2011
I spent most of my life learning the courage it takes to go out and get what I want. Now that I have it, I am not sure exactly what it is that I want. - L. Spiro 2013
I went to my local Subway once to find some guy yelling at the staff. When someone finally came to take my order and asked, “May I help you?”, I replied, “Yeah, I’ll have one asshole to go.”
L. Spiro Engine: http://lspiroengine.com
L. Spiro Engine Forums: http://lspiroengine.com/forums

#7 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22718

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 06:04 PM

Reinforcing that playing games and making games can be very different.

If you are passionate about what you do the field is fun and exciting.

If you like to doodle on page margins and draw and sketch, then consider a career in art.
If you like to solve problems and come up with solutions, then consider a career in programming.
If you like building board games coming up with game rules and maps, consider a career in design.

If you don't like those things, then get a different job and buy games to play in the evenings.

Check out my book, Game Development with Unity, aimed at beginners who want to build fun games fast.

Also check out my personal website at bryanwagstaff.com, where I write about assorted stuff.


#8 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 10626

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 09:36 AM

If you don't like those things, then get a different job and buy games to play in the evenings.

Lol but true :)

Thanks all.

#9 VReality   Members   -  Reputation: 436

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 11:54 AM

What did you wish you had known before getting into the industry?


I consider the first project I worked on to be a technical and creative achievement. But a new console was released shortly before we finished. It did alright in Japan, but no one has heard of it in the USA. I consider the second project I worked on to be a technical and creative achievement. But the publisher semi-collapsed near the end of the project and it got no marketing. It was appreciated by the few who played it, but it was few indeed.

That studio closed, and I got hired by the biggest publisher in the industry (at that time). I did great work on projects that made money. But they were only an advertizing success. Management and production were abysmal, the games weren't very good, half the studio got laid off, and development staff brought a massive class-action suit against the company. Lawyers got rich.

The next studio I went to had proven themselves technically competent and reliable by picking up port projects that other studios didn't want. They were working on graduating to actual development. When the economy put the squeeze on the industry, their projects dried up. They are no more.

I went to a new studio being launched by a large publisher, with a producer stolen from a competitor's successful franchise. But the first-time studio management was way out of their depth and ultimately failed to produce anything. The publisher pulled the plug and closed the studio.

I went to another start-up which was picking up contracting gigs, solving other studios' technical problems, with the intention of developing a couple large scale game concepts and landing publishing deals. But the designer turned out to be a fraud, and the publishers wouldn't touch us.

Etc., etc., etc. My experience is not unusual.

What people need to know about this industry is that video game projects are very large and expensive, with thousands of moving parts that need to come together just right. 99.999% of what happens on a project will be outside of your control. It only takes one bad twist of economy, industry, business, etc., or incompetent person in a key position, to ultimately take a project down.

Most projects don't amount to much, and most studios go broke. Odds are, regardless of your talent, failed and mediocre projects will far outnumber successes, you will often be out of work, and likely forced to move to land new jobs. This is not the industry to be in if you value stability.

#10 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 14248

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 06:41 PM

Strange. None of the places where I have ever worked have gone out of business; all of them are alive and well today, usually even larger and more successful than when I was there.
And of the 30 or 40 projects I have done, only 2 have been cancelled, ever.

I think your story is a bit unusual. You seem to be kryptonite.


L. Spiro
It is amazing how often people try to be unique, and yet they are always trying to make others be like them. - L. Spiro 2011
I spent most of my life learning the courage it takes to go out and get what I want. Now that I have it, I am not sure exactly what it is that I want. - L. Spiro 2013
I went to my local Subway once to find some guy yelling at the staff. When someone finally came to take my order and asked, “May I help you?”, I replied, “Yeah, I’ll have one asshole to go.”
L. Spiro Engine: http://lspiroengine.com
L. Spiro Engine Forums: http://lspiroengine.com/forums

#11 VReality   Members   -  Reputation: 436

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 07:02 PM

No. It's not.

I too have only worked on two cancelled projects in sixteen years. But the majority of projects that are completed in this industry don't end up achieving much commercial or artistic success. The majority of start-up studios fail within a handful of years. And the large publishers routinely suffer large scale lay-offs.

That's life. And it has nothing to do with me.

#12 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31800

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 07:59 PM

...

Sounds like the industry in Japan is a lot more stable! From what I hear, there's also a lot more loyalty, in both directions, between employers and employees than what I'm used to.

Here in Australia, most console devs worked on IP they didn't own, and their existance proceeded at the whim of American publishers, who were less willing to risk money when the US economy started to collapse. I'd estimate 90% of our local console games industry has been wiped out this past decade. Many of the laid-off staff have formed small iPhone companies, etc, but they're even more risky.

Personally: I've lost count of the number of times that colleagues of mine have been made redundant due to studios downsizing - maybe about 6 culls... I've been made redundant twice, because of whole-studio closures, and have resigned twice due to working conditions. I've worked on 5 cancelled games but only 2 shipping games. Two of those four companies were consistently late with pay-cheques, but at least only one of them has demanded overtime.

Edited by Hodgman, 02 September 2012 - 09:05 PM.


#13 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10158

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 08:37 PM

Strange. None of the places where I have ever worked have gone out of business; all of them are alive and well today, usually even larger and more successful than when I was there.
And of the 30 or 40 projects I have done, only 2 have been cancelled, ever.

I think your story is a bit unusual. You seem to be kryptonite.


I disagree that this is unusual. It depends on the country, the length of time one's been in the industry, and the type of companies one works at.
If I count designs that have been written (with intent to develop, not only for pitching), I have a large number of projects that have been cancelled. And since I've been in the industry for 30 years, I've seen lots of companies come and go. One game company where I was employed no longer exists; two game companies where I was employed have gone through such huge changes in ownership that they effectively no longer exist.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#14 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 10626

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 02:04 PM

I've personally been in one studio where cacelling projects was not just a habit, but a necessity. Because their resource allocation pipeline vs finances could not account for downtime, they literally had to over-pitch every single project they could, more than often starting something never to finish on it. During the year I was there, they've canceled more than they've done. Of the projects I've personally worked on, at least 3 clients went bankrupt before the end and a few just didn't care to pay past a certain milestone going into the he-said-she-said bull**** you tend to get as a servicing developer.

I've also worked at a publisher, and the idea was very different. Canceling a game wasn't generally made by lack of funds or faulty payments from the client's side, but rather by lack of faith in the project's ability to score high numbers ($$$).

But yeah, canceled projects and startup-death is generally common around here too.




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