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Which programmer is responsible?

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Are there any specific requirements for the job description of gameplay programmer? Any defacto knowledge that is considered to be standard?

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My impression is gameplay programmers need to be perfectionists, and have a sickly desire to tweak code and values ad-infinitum until the game subjectively "feels good" according to someone's vision. At least engine programmers don't have to deal with subjectivity to that amount, though they still need to be perfectionists.

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It was a stage, fortunately.

 

Edit: To elaborate, I'm now doing engine programming instead. I appreciate it because there are objective measures on how good my work is. If I reduce CPU usage on the MMO server I'm developing for a certain amount of players by 50% without making the code unreadable or introducing weird bugs it's an undeniable improvement and I will not be asked to revert it. When I was doing gameplay programming for a multiplayer online game it would frequently be like "this character needs shoes, please change the Unity prefab object and scripts to accomodate the new model and attachable objects". After being done a few hours later: "revert the change, it didn't look as good as we thought".

 

Doing gameplay programming strictly as a hobby again.

Edited by Petter Hansson

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You need programmers to make stuff that fires stuff.

You need artists to make the stuff look like guns firing bullets.

You need writers to explain why there are guns in the game at all.

You need QA to make sure the guns only fire bullets and not seg faults.

Am I missing anyone?

Of course a particular person can have multiple roles.

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Meh... usually designers are the ones tweaking values, not programmers. At least, that's how it works if you have reasonable tools instead of a crap workflow :-P


A smart gameplay programmer provides the "reasonable tools" that enable some game designer to assume responsibility for the tweaking work, letting the programmer work on programming tasks. Even if the designer is the programmer with a different hat, making changes easy and build-test cycles short is very useful.

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It was a stage, fortunately.

 

Edit: To elaborate, I'm now doing engine programming instead. I appreciate it because there are objective measures on how good my work is. If I reduce CPU usage on the MMO server I'm developing for a certain amount of players by 50% without making the code unreadable or introducing weird bugs it's an undeniable improvement and I will not be asked to revert it. When I was doing gameplay programming for a multiplayer online game it would frequently be like "this character needs shoes, please change the Unity prefab object and scripts to accomodate the new model and attachable objects". After being done a few hours later: "revert the change, it didn't look as good as we thought".

 

Doing gameplay programming strictly as a hobby again.

 

You were doing it wrong, that is not the job of a programmer thats a character artist and a scripters/designers job to make that change happen. If it needs a programmer your pipeline needs some refactoring.

This is way I like systems work you will still be in the trenches but you get to play arround with the hardware and new API's as well :)

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I mean, it should be like you say. Unfortunately the organization overall was inadequate. Not that I blame them, it was their first game, and managed by people without direct game experience. What could possibly go wrong with multi-national multi-continent cooperation between a tech company and an education company. ^^ I'm not angry, those were simply unfortunate circumstances that I accepted at the time of sign up. Because they/we didn't manage to hire a single competent designer all programmers were pulled into direct scripting, level development, and such in addition to engine development. Quite the experience.

 

Still, I strongly suspect the issue I described in the post you quoted is still more prevalent in the gameplay programmer profession than the engine programmer profession. Not only from my limited own experiences, but also from what I've heard from other programmers.

Edited by Petter Hansson

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I mean, it should be like you say. Unfortunately the organization overall was inadequate. Not that I blame them, it was their first game, and managed by people without direct game experience. What could possibly go wrong with multi-national multi-continent cooperation between a tech company and an education company. ^^ I'm not angry, those were simply unfortunate circumstances that I accepted at the time of sign up. Because they/we didn't manage to hire a single competent designer all programmers were pulled into direct scripting, level development, and such in addition to engine development. Quite the experience.

 

Still, I strongly suspect the issue I described in the post you quoted is still more prevalent in the gameplay programmer profession than the engine programmer profession. Not only from my limited own experiences, but also from what I've heard from other programmers.

It depends I have done all kinds of work when I was dedicated Front End programmer, for which the work at the time ranged from pipeline work, back end systems (atlas texturing, render to texture tech), to implementing functional sides of UI screens. However the only time a programmer was interfering with art work would be at the structural level, as in how a scene has to be put together, this was a drawback of the tech. And when a scene contained multiple child anims max only allows one anim line whilst our tech allowed for 4, also drawback in tech, that would end up in not to complicated xmls but complicated enough that everyone forgets who it works until you have to create one again.

 

We never really got involved with the look or real feel of it unless it would break a usability thing or a tech constraint.

 

Just wondering but what do you class as engine programming?

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I mean, it should be like you say. Unfortunately the organization overall was inadequate. Not that I blame them, it was their first game, and managed by people without direct game experience. What could possibly go wrong with multi-national multi-continent cooperation between a tech company and an education company. ^^ I'm not angry, those were simply unfortunate circumstances that I accepted at the time of sign up. Because they/we didn't manage to hire a single competent designer all programmers were pulled into direct scripting, level development, and such in addition to engine development. Quite the experience.

 

Still, I strongly suspect the issue I described in the post you quoted is still more prevalent in the gameplay programmer profession than the engine programmer profession. Not only from my limited own experiences, but also from what I've heard from other programmers.

It depends I have done all kinds of work when I was dedicated Front End programmer, for which the work at the time ranged from pipeline work, back end systems (atlas texturing, render to texture tech), to implementing functional sides of UI screens. However the only time a programmer was interfering with art work would be at the structural level, as in how a scene has to be put together, this was a drawback of the tech. And when a scene contained multiple child anims max only allows one anim line whilst our tech allowed for 4, also drawback in tech, that would end up in not to complicated xmls but complicated enough that everyone forgets who it works until you have to create one again.

 

We never really got involved with the look or real feel of it unless it would break a usability thing or a tech constraint.

 

Just wondering but what do you class as engine programming?

 

Writing the backend server software for that game, for instance (partially outside of Unity). Fixing and adding functions in some of the middleware we used, as well.

 

+1 for interesting reply

Edited by Petter Hansson

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Passion is what you need also, lots of it :)
And when you want to "get in" it's always helpful to have "home projects" and some finished games (even if there relatively easy), finishing an actual home/ hobby project is a plus for sure (knowing how many projects start with lots of drive and enthousiasm and in on some backup source code folder :))

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