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IsoDidact

Game Programming or Game Design? The Dilemma.

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Hello,

 

 

Since you are talking serious occupation goals, you need to remember that the video game industry is like an organism in itself.  Unless you go Indy, the company will pull you this way and that way by what it needs - short term and long term.  Only the very skilled artists earn a secure income long term within a corporation, whereas many programmers are able to make it if they have good skills.  If you are thinking in terms of stepping stones in your career, then by any means get into a company and take it from there.  Most people are transient in the game development area because it is very fluid. You will need to "be on top of your game" to make it.

 

My strategy has been to work with a company while I do freelance on the side.  This way I cover all my needs and goals as I stay busy at work.  Bills are paid, skills increased, and network is expanded. In any case, you must keep working long hours and yet earn enough to cover living expenses.  Learning takes many hours by itself, but living expenses take high priority.

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From the perspective of having tried to recruit a designer for a small commerical game project (~$1 million), finding a competent game designer was the most difficult recruitment task in the project. We ended up cycling through a number of people, all proving unqualified (of course, this shows our HR competence was dubious at best).

 

I think some reasons candidates didn't do a good job were:

- They couldn't communicate their ideas.

- They really didn't have the ability to estimate gameplay in advance or build vision (i.e. they had no implementable ideas).

- Talkers rather than doers.

- We were cheapskates. Experience costs, what else to expect when trying to get inexperienced people into a game design position to save money.

 

What I want to say with this is, it's absolutely critical you get real team experience and accomplish a real game, even if that must be from a hobby project with a group of amateurs.

Edited by Petter Hansson

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