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Typical responsibilities / deadlines per week and size of team

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As a game developer, I was wondering what are some of the responsibilities you would typically be expected to complete in any given week? (like complete an inventory system, a navigation class, a dozen shaders, etc.) I ask in regard to both smaller games and larger ones, such as Left4Dead or CoD. I know the answer may be quite varied, but I'd like to hear all scenarios if you will.

Also what are the typical size of those teams?

On a personal note, I'm trying to gauge the workload of a game programmer and my own work speed relative to it...

Thanks!

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If you don't have a very good scrum master or similar, your team will be limited to around 5 developers. It is better to use an agile method with sprints between different beta versions and a quality standard instead of hard deadlines and crunch time. If you don't want the game to be released with 1000 bugs, you need someone who only work with testing and defining code conventions based on what mistakes the programmers do.

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1. what are some of the responsibilities [a game programmer] would typically be expected to complete in any given week?
2. I ask in regard to both smaller games and larger ones, such as Left4Dead or CoD.
Also what are the typical size of those teams?
3. On a personal note, I'm trying to gauge the workload of a game programmer and my own work speed relative to it...


1. Maybe this article will offer some insight.
2. Some of those games show credits in the manual, or let you see them via the in-game menu. A game team can vary in size from 20 to 200, depending on the scale and scope of the game.
3. You will work 40 hours a week, normally, and may sometimes be asked to work more. Read about QoL (quality of life) in the game industry in these articles:
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3656/quality_of_life_does_anyone_still_.php
http://www.igda.org/articles/codonell_global

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Many programmers naturally tend to work in cycles; I regularly go a month of nonstop 12-16 hour days where I bang out 10,000 lines, then a month of updating a little documentation, fixing a bug or two, but generally dicking around, reading, and not getting much accomplished. Obviously this isn't really feasible in a corporate environment with real world time constraints, but I think any project manager that can embrace this and work it into the project's overall advantage will have a happier team and a project that is more likely to [s]ship on time[/s] ship less late laugh.png. I say this from personal experience on both sides of the fence.

You will work 40 hours a week, normally, and may sometimes be asked to work more.[/quote]

Sometimes work more than 40 hours? During crunch-time I've regularly worked 60 hours a week with occasional all-nighters / sleeping in the office. "Over-worked, under-paid, and loving it" - A favorite quote I heard somewhere about game programmers biggrin.png

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Sometimes work more than 40 hours? During crunch-time I've regularly worked 60 hours a week with occasional all-nighters / sleeping in the office. "Over-worked, under-paid, and loving it" - A favorite quote I heard somewhere about game programmers

That is not my experience.

I'm in a studio of roughly 150 people and have been here for six years. Cruch time is the exception rather than the rule. An individual project team may have a few late nights at the end of a project, that is basically it.

Which brings me back to an issue when looking for work: Pay attention to the age of the average worker, how long employees have been there, and the turnover rate. If you discover the average age is 28 and there have been few long-term workers, expect a very different work environment from where the average age is 37 and "recent hire" means someone hired a year ago. The first is more likely to have rough projects, the latter more likely to offer a stable work environment.

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thanks for all that, its great to hear others experiences :-)

besides just hours (which are long) and lines of code (your average per week?), what aspects of the game are you tasked to accomplish per week? is it anything like finish a quarter of the game engine or implement a pathfinder?

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I wanted to bump this topic up again....as I hoped to learn more about the actual responsibilities one is given to accomplish per week as a developer in a game company (small, medium or large).

thanks for the insights!

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The size of the company won't influence what tasks you're expected to complete, except maybe that very small/immature companies won't have a good enough process to even have tasks.

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besides just hours (which are long) and lines of code (your average per week?), what aspects of the game are you tasked to accomplish per week? is it anything like finish a quarter of the game engine or implement a pathfinder?


As for concrete accomplishments in a week, that just cannot be said in a general way. Estimating time for a given task is very hard and needs a lot of practice as well as a certain degree of understanding of the problem as well as knowledge on how much you can rely on previous work.
Finish "a quarter of a game engine" in a week? Sure if the game is rock-paper-scissors, probably not if it is anything more complex or if you want a general usage out of it.

Some key factors (there are many more) influencing this are:

  • Complexity of the task
  • Amount and quality of code that you can reuse
  • Developer experience
  • Expected generality of the code (do you want a hack or a general solution?)


    on a side note, In my opinion lines of code are not really a good metric to measure productivity of a developer. Often a quite complex features takes surprisingly little code to get it running in the end, but it may take hours on hours to design and test it.

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A game team can vary in size from 20 to 200


In some offices, you'll end up with much smaller teams, but may be asked to join more than one.
I personally work on average with 2-3 teams of 5-10 people when working on smaller scale games.

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