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      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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trojansc

questions regarding the game dev industry

3 posts in this topic

hi, let me start of by saying im a student studying computer science at university and looking to get into the game development business. im taking a couple of game development related courses at my college and my experience in them has been great - i enjoy doing it. At the same time i have read many negative things about the industry which i wanted to clarify. 1. salary is less - ive read this on many places online and it seems true enough. according to the recent game dev survey its written that programmers make about $60 k a year. http://gamedeveloper.texterity.com/gamedeveloper/2009fall/#pg35 Now i wanted to know how accurate this info is becuase as far as i know non game programmers make 70 k a year after college. so to me the difference does not seem that much. im not sure if im just naive or am i missing some point. id greatly appreciate it if someone whos working in the industry could answer this question. 2. work hours are long - this is another thing ive read a lot about. while ive come to realize tht game dev hours are long what i want to know is whether the work hours in a game development company eat away at an employee's personal life?? I've read at some places online that due to the work load/hours people in the game industry do not get to have much of a social life outside work. i was wondering how true was this. basically i feel that ive like programming on games at my college but at the same time i want to know whether that satisfaction outweighs the negatives of the industry. thanks, trojansc
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All I have is personal anecdotes from Texas so it probably doesn't relate well to you in LA. Hopefully it will A) give you an idea and B) help someone else. People I know who got game jobs straight out of school all made around 40K. People who got non game jobs all got around 50K range. So yeah a 10 to 15K gap in pay sounds about right.
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As far as salaries go, it's very important to compare salaries in the same location. A high salary where I live (Atlanta) is barely enough to live on in, say, Silicon Valley. This is especially important if you're looking around in different countries.

That said, there is a pretty consistent gap between game programming salaries and other programming positions. The exact values of course depend on location, but a gap of around $15-20K is fairly normal. Note again though that you can often negotiate a higher salary - don't just assume that you'll make less. It really comes down to your bargaining skills and qualifications. For instance, if you have a background in a high-paying, demanding non-games programming job, you can leverage that to get a much better salary within the games industry (at least it worked for me [wink]).


As far as working hours... this is getting better slowly over time. For our studio, we work pretty standard hours about 90% of the time, and only if something goes catastrophically wrong do we need to go to crunch mode. Occasionally you may need to come in on a weekend or something like that, but it's pretty fair overall. I certainly don't feel like I have a lack of free time/social life.

But, once again, this depends a lot on the culture of the company where you work.


So I guess my main advice would be to look carefully, shop around, and make sure you really like a place (and the people that work there like it too!) before accepting a position.

Best of luck!
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1. Salary varies by location. It'll also vary by the company. But in general, it's true. Gamedevs make maybe 10-20% less than their bizdev bretheren.

2. This depends more on the company. Even in bizdev, the push to release can lead to longer hours near release. The better managed a project, the less push to deadline. Gamedev tends to be a bit worse because there's less room to push back since there's so many 'replacements' tending to be available and because the companies tend to be less mature (and thus projects are managed worse).

In the end, it varies. Some companies are bad. Some companies are better. On average they're worse than bizdev.
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