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How much do you earn?

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Is there a good chance for me to make a lot of money if I get a job as a 3D Game Programmer? And how much do you earn?

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For some reason I doubt you will get many answers to this "How much do you earn" is on the all time great list of "questions you don''t answer"

However, as regards opportunitites to earn alot, well, I would say that''s like any business. You have a number of options, such as:

Work for some large established company.
Work for a small start-out company.
Start for yourself. (i.e. either go Indie developer, or start your own entire company).

All of those have the potential to pay big - it all depends on whether the products make it or not.

Also, it''s possible to get into things like special effects for movies, one-off rendering projects (like full-3D animated advertisements) etc etc etc.

It''s really down to what opportunities you see, which ones you take, and how they go.

Not alot of help, I know, but it''s not really a black and white subject.

RM.

------------------------------------------------------------
Yes. it''''s true, I DO wield the ugly stick. And I see I have beaten you with it before!

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Game programmers are like rockstars, they can earn mindboggling amounts of money, but most of them are stone broke.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Do a search on Google on Salary Surveys for software engineers. See how much they make. New game programmers make less than that from what I understand, but it''s also relative to the cost of living in the area in which you live. The median salary for a level 5 software engineer with 8-10 years exp in Washington DC is around $99,000 a year with a high-end around $108,000. How many game programmers make that kind of money? Some do, but NOT MANY. Most are well below that, probably around the $40-$50K a year. So it''s possible to make a living, but very unlikely that you''re going to get rich. Games only make as much money as they sell. It''s not that same as working for a company that has a contract for a Big project for a set dollar amount guaranteed at the end of the project.

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Right now i''m reading math, a lot of math in my free time and programming, and I plan to go to College, then move to California or Florida and start out as an software-engineer for a bigger company.
But I don''t want all this work, if I don''t have a litle chance for making a lot of money, so I can drive in a big car, have a big house and so on. Is there a chance for this goal, if i''m very good at math and programming?

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If you''re comming to a game company and say like: "I''m skilld in math and programming" the will give you a job as a cleaner or a minor programmer if you aren''t John Carmack or can show them a great college degree in Programming/Physics/AI or something. But, hey, why go to California? We have a cool University here wich gives you Lead Programmer skills. You might need around 3 yrs of college studies just to have a chanse to enter it, but when your done with it, you will be able to work with the best as the best. (And the best thing, it''s not far from Denmark!)

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quote:
Original post by dcgeek
But I don''t want all this work, if I don''t have a litle chance for making a lot of money, so I can drive in a big car, have a big house and so on. Is there a chance for this goal, if i''m very good at math and programming?


You might as well forget game programming with that kind of goal and attitude. Game programmers are game programmers because they love games, not because they want money.

That said, check here - Game Developer''s Salary Survey

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quote:
Original post by Machaira
You might as well forget game programming with that kind of goal and attitude.

You beat me to it! People who go into programming with the aim of making as much money as they can inevitably end up as dreadful programmers, and very probably dreadful people.

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quote:
Original post by SabreMan
You beat me to it! People who go into programming with the aim of making as much money as they can inevitably end up as dreadful programmers, and very probably dreadful people.


Well at least they generate work for the rest of us doing expensive "maintence" (read: completely redoing some poorly engineered, my-first-application implemented system)

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DON''T DO IT FOR MONEY

Do you want to go to your work every day, work that you hate but "I earn a lot of money so I don''t mind" attitude?

You will not come far with such an attitude.

You need to love your work, if you like making games you won''t do it for money but you will do it because you like it. And then, when you become a good programmer they will pay you wat you earn. But please, change your attitude.

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quote:
Original post by Michalson
Well at least they generate work for the rest of us doing expensive "maintence" (read: completely redoing some poorly engineered, my-first-application implemented system)

It''s a double-edged sword [1]. Often, management don''t recognise that someone has implemented a pile of junk, as long as it does a good impression of doing what it''s meant to do. Then those people get a big slap on the back and a payrise, and move onto another project as a "crack designer". At the same time, you might get a competent developer come and work on the original project and they will be unable to distinguish themselves for battling with a seriously screwed architecture. I''ve left jobs because of that principle. It might also go some way to explaining why I get drawn into long arguments about "the right way to do it".

[1] That fulfils my quota of shallow management aphorisms for today.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Ahhh.

It''s good to know I''m not the only one embroiled in management arguments about the "right way to do it".

The classic one around here is the manager that believes a proof-of-concept prototype can be hacked into a fully system.

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dcgeek,

The average salary for a first year software engineer in a general field makes about $75,000 a year.

The average salary for a first year programmer in the game development field makes between $35,000 and $50,000.

As you can see, game programmers make about half what the rest of computer scientists or software engineers make.

In other words, people dont become game programmers for the money. They go into pharmeceuticals (sp?) or something like that.

Best Regards,

Jeromy Walsh
Programmer
Liquid Entertainment
------------------------
"The question isn''t how far, the question is do you possess the constitution, the depth of faith, to go as far as is needed?" -Boondock Saints

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Of course, most important of all - do it because:
1. You hate all other games companies bar the one you currently work for (you will).
2. You bitch about every rival game.
3. You never want to play games again (doesn''t really figure when you work 18 hours days).
4. You love listening to people tell you how much they hate the industry, but they can''t leave it.

The above 4 points of course might be a side effect of said 18 hour days. Seriously, though - no other industry I know of is SO self loathing.

It''s like a drug. Once you take it, it''ll ruin your life, but god love it, you just need one big more big fix. That''s what you work for. Not the money. Although after a few years, the money is what you''ll WANT to work for.

Nick.

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
It''s good to know I''m not the only one embroiled in management arguments about the "right way to do it".

Well actually, I was referring to Gamedev. I don''t need to argue about the "right way to do it" in my job.
quote:

The classic one around here is the manager that believes a proof-of-concept prototype can be hacked into a fully system.


Get him to read this.

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
The classic one around here is the manager that believes a proof-of-concept prototype can be hacked into a fully system.


I think I''d have to leave a place that wanted to do that. Not only would I not want my name on a product that would inevitably be a steaming pile of crap, I''d be too tempted to commit murder for such stupidity.

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quote:
Original post by jwalsh
The average salary for a first year software engineer in a general field makes about $75,000 a year.

The average salary for a first year programmer in the game development field makes between $35,000 and $50,000.


Hmm, my first programming job was around 40k. Either the rate has gone up considerably in the past 10 years or that figure is off a bit.

According to the link to the survey I posted the average salary last year for 1st and 2nd year programmers was around 55K.

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quote:
Original post by AGameDeveloper
Of course, most important of all - do it because:
1. You hate all other games companies bar the one you currently work for (you will).

Actually, this wasn''t the case when I was in the industry. It was fairly good natured.
quote:
Original post by AGameDeveloper
2. You bitch about every rival game.


This didn''t really happen either.
quote:
Original post by AGameDeveloper
3. You never want to play games again (doesn''t really figure when you work 18 hours days).


18 hour days is only during crunch time. There were actually days where we were playing LAN games of whatever was popular at the time.
quote:
Original post by AGameDeveloper
4. You love listening to people tell you how much they hate the industry, but they can''t leave it.


I never encountered anyone that hated the industry. Maybe it was just me though.
quote:
Original post by AGameDeveloper
The above 4 points of course might be a side effect of said 18 hour days. Seriously, though - no other industry I know of is SO self loathing.

It''s like a drug. Once you take it, it''ll ruin your life, but god love it, you just need one big more big fix. That''s what you work for. Not the money. Although after a few years, the money is what you''ll WANT to work for.


I never saw any self-loathing. Maybe I was lucky. It is like a drug though. You can never get enough of it. It not as ruinous as a drug though (most of the time. There are the horror stories about crunch time though).

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quote:
Original post by dcgeek
How much do YOU earn?

i am a student, and i (right now) don''t work as a game programmer. even if i do, i don''t care how much i earn. I just want to make games.

quote:

wow... programmers really earns a lot of money...


depends on the company where you work. i read an interview in gamedev mag some time ago, and it said that game programmers generally made less money than programmers. If you work in Activison, you earn less money than in Silicon Valley.
Shortly, no they don''t earn a lot of money.

Want big money? go business.


My compiler generates one error message: "does not compile."

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I saw on TechTV today that the an entry level position in the game industry can be anywhere from $40k to $70k, but this included artists too.

As for hating the other game companies and bitching about rival games, and not playing games, I refuse to see how you could make a good game with this attitude. Seems to me that you would need to play other games to get a feel of what''s going on, and what people like, as well as stay competitive.

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I beg to differ with that "average salary" for business related programmers. That''s not quite accurate. Starting salary is way below $75,000, and it also varies a LOT depending on which state you work in. It is true though that programmers can earn anywhere from $35K to above $100K, but average starting salary is definitely not $75K. That''s a bit high. I work for a business software company and liaise with many similar companies, ranging from large to huge. I would say average is about $60K.

There can be only one.

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quote:
Original post by Scheermesje
DON''T DO IT FOR MONEY

Do you want to go to your work every day, work that you hate but "I earn a lot of money so I don''t mind" attitude?

You will not come far with such an attitude.

You need to love your work, if you like making games you won''t do it for money but you will do it because you like it. And then, when you become a good programmer they will pay you wat you earn. But please, change your attitude.


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$650 a month...still we love CSN everytime the money arrives!! (No more nudles for a few weeks!!)

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