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GBGames

Serious developers on this site

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The current poll got me thinking about how many people come to this site as serious game developers and how many are simply aspiring novices. I don''t mean to be rude when I say it. I place myself into the group of people who haven''t developed anything out of more than a hobby. I simply wonder if most of the people here also do this out of a hobby. I saw that apparently under 150,000 people are employed in the games industry in the United States, and that includes lawyers and other non-developer positions. I thought this number seemed a bit low for a full industry.

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I read an opinion that said that movies have us thinking we will grow up to be movie stars, and music videos make us think we will be in rock bands. Just the same video games can make us think we will become game developers.

I''ve had a lot of little ideas, but only one big one. And even the big one didn''t have a back story, just a tech tree and strategic dynamic. So I didn''t even think about mission triggers or storyline.

I''ve said before that if you want to become involved in game development, then endeavor to produce something. Then you''ll know if it''s really for you. Don''t wait for that perfect opportunity, or that perfect team, or that perfect inspiration. Do what you can to make it happen, if you really care about it.

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I''m serious. I started learning about games part time five yearas ago, and three years ago took up a part time job to support the development of my studio. The doors have been open two years, and I am still working on the development of my first title. Every day it gets a little closer to the goal.

Coming from a writing background, I am comfortable and able in extremely long term development cycles.

I think, like it was for me in screenwriting, a lot of attrition occurs for various reasons: people can''t put the big picture together and see themselves in it and doing it, or, they can''t put the underlying infrastructure together, or, they just find out they are honestly meant to do something else with their talents, or the skillsets acquistion get the best of them. The only real competition you have is yourself, in the end.

I stuck with writing for fifteen years, working scum jobs and writing during my spare time, while other aspiring screenwriters I knew went back to school and got accounting degrees or some such other thing and went on to make three or four times the money (or more) that I was making.

Then, when opportunity presented itself, I struck with the good pitch, and got my first film (albeit a short and a student film) made. The strength of that film as a learning experience of working with others, and the network it helped me gain cause I had one "in the can" got me aligned with my first professional instead of student director, and the guy who was the first cameraman on Terminator made my second film. It was a short also, but of much higher production values. Ironically, it was no more than a writing job, as I learned that while I was producing the scenes, I was his best buddy, but as soon as I turned over the final script, I got a check and a thanks, and that was the last I heard of him.

I was developing relationships with other players in the business whom I had the ability to network with because I lived in the same area of santa barbara that they did, so eventually my third script found it''s way into paramount, and the reader there really liked it, and was a good point of contact until he moved on. But I had the relationship established with the head of the studio, he personally knew I was sincere and could produce credible copy (which by no means is it producable at any one time in that cyclical industry) and was willing to keep the door open for me at the studio whenever I got something done.

Now my fourth script is the best one I have ever done, a far more mature artistic work, and has epic written all over it. I still have a few polish rewrites to do before it goes in to Douglas-Reuther in the Jerry Lewis Building, but it will really give them something to think about, and will reflect well on the credibility my representations to the studio head have been.

As I have always focused on doing my best work and creating artistic products of merit, that in the end shows. I think you need to be in that headspace in order to do your best and have it reflect that to the industry.

As I have come to learn over the last five years, the despite the technical challenges and opportunities that come with game design, it is still a compelling and intriguing artistic medium, and my game design will reflect that as well.

I do believe that if you really really want it, you''ll do what it takes to get it. And what you get may end up surprising you as to what you''d expected.

FWIW,
Addy

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Waverider: I agree. I myself have a few notebooks of informal design docs of a few different games I am thinking about but haven''t touched in awhile. Interestingly with school taking up a lot of my time, working on projects in my spare time hasn''t been possible this past year or so. Still, I am glad that I have. While I may be rusty in terms of programming currently, I have been studying up on software/game design, coding practices, algorithms, libraries (SDL), and a number of other topics that would really streamline the development of a title when I do get to it. I hope to start production on some simple games to get me back into the programming habit this coming month. My hope is to produce cross platform games, specifically GNU/Linux and Win32 platforms.


I guess I should clarify that what I was asking was if gamedev.net and its forums tends to be visited mostly by people who have no real idea about how things work or by people who are knowledgeable about developing games.

I know quite a few people here have developed games, whether as standalone hobby projects, shareware, or big production.

To borrow the rock star analogy, do you think that most of the people here are wannabe rock stars who have never picked up a guitar or sang a song in their lives?

Again, I also want to clarify that I am not newbie bashing. I haven''t produced a working/completed game myself since 1998, and that was in QBasic. I just wonder that with so many people posting in the game design forums and the like, is it likely that most of the people who considered themselves to be independent developers in the poll are in reality people who think that they can be rock stars?

What would a poll like "How many games have you produced/worked on?" produce?

I can''t figure out how to rewrite the above without sounding like "Ok, how many people here don''t have a clue?" so I ask you to keep in mind that I do not wish to bash anyone for not knowing something.

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I''d say the number of people who have actually completed a game would be much lower than those who consider themselves game developers. But consider also that many people who are actually game developers would have some difficult actually completing an entire game by themselves.

I have the greatest respect for those persons who have finished a game - it shows they have vision, skill, and most of all dedication. But remember that wannabe rock stars are still musicians, and even a half-finished game is still something.

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I think if you have an interest you should absolutely pursue it, even if the interest stops half way. We're all on our way somewhere. The destination can't always be determined by where you are and your current direction. You might be entertaining unknown interests in the start, and those interests become too strained by what it takes to complete the game entirely.

Forcing yourself to go where you THINK you're going just because you believe you have to might end up causing you to lose yourself. Ironic. A similar thing happened to me a couple years back.

Life is too hard to figure out sometimes. But we carry on...

There's nothing wrong with game dabbling.

My pattern actually goes more along the lines of getting something done to a point, then letting it sit and then adding to it later just to make it seem more complete or to see something new. I was goofing around with circle and line collisions, which led to a pool game, which led to adding decorations to the balls so I could tell which ball was which (made it feel more like a game), then adding a little scoreboard so I could tell at a glance if I sunk a ball on the break. I might add AI later. But I didn't plan for all of this to happen. Each little task I completed opened a door to the next step. It seems I'm not much for planning EVERYTHING out in the beginning, perhaps because that makes it too constrictive. I guess I really am a wave rider!

[edited by - Waverider on April 3, 2003 10:41:49 AM]

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