Sign in to follow this  
Mafioso

What is job like in game industry

Recommended Posts

Hello, I'm thinking about my career as a game developer. I always liked to make games, models, sounds, program them and bring everything together to make a game. It is my hobby and for a year I made my games alone. I would like to know what are your experiences as a paid game developer? I would really grateful if you can answer these questions, so I can decide what to do, keep game development as my hobby or study it further and work in a game industry:

What was your job?
Where have you worked?
What was your ordinary day, do you worked with a team, communicated a lot with them, talked, discussed about the game, maybe got a beer after work or something, or have you just sat in a room and did your job?
Have you ever played your game while developing it?
What was your working conditions, like do you worked at home? Have you had free time after work?
And in conclusion, was it interesting to work?

And sorry for my English, it's not my native :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Depending on what company you work for it can be a very relaxed setting or a semi-relaxed setting. I don't think you'll find very many strict settings (shirts and ties, very strict work hours, etc).

In my experience as a professional [b]programmer[/b], I have found the following.

* You will often work very closely with artists and designers, and also often have stretches when you're designing and writing some system during which you don't interact with them at all. You still might interact with other programmers, especially if you want their input.
* You have to play your game while developing it. You don't play it for fun, though, and it won't seem like fun because you are probably playing it in order to figure something out or see if something breaks. Designers do a lot more playing for fun, because they have to put themselves in the mind of the player. Note, I also often play other games while at work... that's just for fun.
* Working conditions. Everywhere I've worked has had great benefits. Everywhere I've worked has had no dress code, relaxed hours, relaxed managers, free drinks, and medium pay (when compared to programming jobs in other fields). At my last job we "crunched" now and then, and I'd spend a few weeks in a row working 80+ hour weeks. It's not really a big deal as long as people are passionate for what they're making and management is good. At my current job I rarely work overtime, and if I ever work on the weekend I receive that day as paid time off in the future -- that's not the norm, however; I consider myself lucky. The norm is that sometimes you'll be asked to work overtime and you'll hopefully get a "thank you" and a project that finishes on time.
* Whether it's interesting or not depends on each person and each job. My last job was interesting, my current job less so. You'll have to look at individual companies and what they make to decide if some company would be interesting for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='A Brain in a Vat' timestamp='1307028344' post='4818695']
<good stuff>
[/quote]

My experiences echo those above. It is laid back. Programmers are generally pays a bit less than programming in some industries, but the pay is also high compared to most white-collar jobs.


Also: Every company is different, they have different corporate environments, policies, and general feeling. Every team is different, they have different styles of work. Every project is different, some are trivial and others feel like a death march. Every individual is different, what you enjoy may be something other people hate.

Most game companies will treat you nice. Some of them won't.

Two easy indicators are to look at the demographics, and visit the parking lot.

How many old people do they have? If everybody is under 30 and they don't have any old people, ask yourself why. Old people are generally less willing to work in bad environments, and know enough to shop around for good employers.

Visit the parking lot on a few times in an evening, or on a weekend. How many vehicles are there? Do they look just as busy at 3:00 PM as they do at 7:00 PM? Or later? Are many people there on Saturday? This can tell you a lot about expectations.

Those indicators won't tell you everything you need to know, but they can give you insights that are difficult to ask about.


When you interview you'll want to look at as many other things as you can. Look at the attitude of the people. Look at their work environment. Pay attention to idle chatter. Look at desk decorations. Look at wall decorations, whiteboard contents. Look at building maintenance (they won't paint or repair if money is tight, or if they're planning to move or remodel). Look at the soda machine and the kitchen area to see how it is stocked. Look to see if people are spending late nights by looking for take-out food containers. These things will give you information that can help in your decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote]1. What was your job?
2. Where have you worked?
3. What was your ordinary day,
4. do you worked with a team,
5. communicated a lot with them, talked, discussed about the game,
6. maybe got a beer after work or something,
7. or have you just sat in a room and did your job?
8. Have you ever played your game while developing it?
9. What was your working conditions, like do you worked at home?
10. Have you had free time after work?
11. And in conclusion, was it interesting to work? [/quote]
1. Game designer, producer.
2. Activision, Sega, Atari.
3. Read http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson14.htm and http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson42.htm
4. Yes.
5. Yes.
6. Yes.
7. Yes.
8. ALWAYS. It is a necessity.
9. I have done that too.
10. Most of the time yes. Sometimes no.
11. Always.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Mafioso' timestamp='1307021838' post='4818651']
Hello, I'm thinking about my career as a game developer. I always liked to make games, models, sounds, program them and bring everything together to make a game. It is my hobby and for a year I made my games alone. I would like to know what are your experiences as a paid game developer? I would really grateful if you can answer these questions, so I can decide what to do, keep game development as my hobby or study it further and work in a game industry:

What was your job? [/quote]

I have been a programmer, in various roles. I've worked on pretty much everything - user interface, game logic, AI, balancing, core engine code (pretty much everything but hardcore graphics stuff), tools, and so on. I currently work as a server programmer for a major MMO.

[quote]Where have you worked?[/quote]

In the games industry, my first job was for Egosoft GmbH. I currently work for ArenaNet.

[quote]What was your ordinary day, do you worked with a team, communicated a lot with them, talked, discussed about the game, maybe got a beer after work or something, or have you just sat in a room and did your job?[/quote]

In my experience, game development is a pretty social occupation. Both of my industry jobs have been with teams, one small and one large. Communication is a huge part of the job, and I spend a decent chunk of every day just catching up with different people and talking about what we're working on. At ArenaNet we also have weekly sessions where everyone is encouraged to play the game for a while just to see how it's coming together and possibly spot bugs. Both companies have been great for after-work socialization and such; generally you get to know people pretty well because you have to work closely with them day in and day out. If the place doesn't totally suck, you'll probably make some good friends.

I have never just sat around doing my job blindly and blandly, in the games business. It's a different environment than many other professional programming situations, where sitting in a room doing nothing but work all day is expected, if not outright demanded. For example, today the guys in my group spent a fair amount of time watching coverage of E3, and it isn't uncommon to take an hour or two to go play ping-pong or Xbox in the lounge. Overall, as others have said, it's a pretty relaxed lifestyle. Some places are less relaxed than others, but I daresay that the average industry job is far less strict and "businesslike" than the average programming gig outside of games.

[quote]Have you ever played your game while developing it?[/quote]

Absolutely. Sometimes just for fun, but mostly for testing and making sure things work properly. At ArenaNet we are expected to play for a couple of hours every week just to make sure that there's plenty of people hammering on the game so that we know it's solid.

[quote]What was your working conditions, like do you worked at home? Have you had free time after work?[/quote]

For Egosoft I worked remotely from my home, telecommuting to an office in Germany (I'm in the US). This had its pros and cons obviously, but it was kind of nice to be able to set whatever hours I wanted and pretty much do things as I felt like. However, there are definite advantages to working in an office setting as well. I probably won't work from home at all for ArenaNet (I just started) simply because I'd rather be in the office to handle any serious tasks.

I have plenty of time outside of work either way.

[quote]And in conclusion, was it interesting to work?[/quote]

Without exception.

Some kinds of "interesting" are more stressful than others, of course, but I've certainly never been bored or wanted to do something else for a job. That isn't to say that I've never been tired or burnt out, mind you - that happens, too. It's important to balance work and the rest of your life, which some companies are good about and others... not so much. At Egosoft we crunched a fair bit; at ArenaNet, crunching is virtually forbidden.

But it's always interesting. Sometimes it can be tedious or dull, repetitive work (especially when hunting certain kinds of bugs, for instance) but that's always temporary, and it's always rewarding to get to the end of a bit of tedium and see results.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Mafioso' timestamp='1307021838' post='4818651']
What was your job?
Where have you worked?
What was your ordinary day, do you worked with a team, communicated a lot with them, talked, discussed about the game, maybe got a beer after work or something, or have you just sat in a room and did your job?
Have you ever played your game while developing it?
What was your working conditions, like do you worked at home? Have you had free time after work?
And in conclusion, was it interesting to work?
[/quote]

I have these same questions, but for video game music composers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='LainaLainnn' timestamp='1308621561' post='4825776']
I have these same questions, but for video game music composers.
[/quote]
Laina, did you know that most game composers are freelancers? You should read FAQs 53 and 54 (click the Breaking In FAQs link above).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1308625308' post='4825789']
[quote name='LainaLainnn' timestamp='1308621561' post='4825776']
I have these same questions, but for video game music composers.
[/quote]
Laina, did you know that most game composers are freelancers? You should read FAQs 53 and 54 (click the Breaking In FAQs link above).
[/quote]

Thanks for showing that to me. I was really inspired by some of the things he said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this