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Working for external development Studios?

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Hey,

 

How respected is it to work for an outsourcing studio? (Changed to External Development Studio)

 

A recruiter from one email me the other day, and I'm  wondering how most people in the industry view it in general?

Edited by GeneralJist

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Don't use the term "outsource team." What you're talking about is an independent
game studio that does work for hire. Producers who need external development (that's
what I've always called it - not "outsourcing") hire those studios to do a lot of
different kinds of development work. There is no shame in working at such a place,
and you stand to get excellent experience and make excellent contacts. A lot like
what you said to the guy who was thinking about dropping out of college. Only working
for an independent studio looks a LOT better on the resume than a degree does.

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I've worked as a contract artist for two different outsource studios and as a full time artist at a fairly busy studio for several years. I have to say that  it's an amazing way to gain a ton of different types of experience. From this I've built cartoony buildings for television kids shows, to realistic buildings for MMOs, Modeled and textured detailed characters for a few different styles of fantasy games, a few different Nintendo DS games, Xbox, Playstation games, Sports Games, a couple different Fighting Games etc. I've built for several different proprietary game engines and nearly all the main stream game engines. I've had to learn crazy batch scripts, and I've seen several dozen horrible naming schemes for textures and assets, and I've seen well run well documented pipelines.

 

I've learned what makes a good art director and what makes a horrible art director. I've seen what it takes to make AAA game title art for a wide range of game studios from EA to Disney. I've worked on high budget shots for Industrial Light and Magic effects low budget Deer Hunter tv commercial spots. If you can get hooked up with the right our source group you can work on an incredible spectrum of projects. But you've got to work fast, work quickly and learn quickly. If you can swing it go for it :)

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Don't use the term "outsource team." What you're talking about is an independent game studio that does work for hire. Producers who need external development (that's what I've always called it - not "outsourcing") hire those studios to do a lot of different kinds of development work. There is no shame in working at such a place, and you stand to get excellent experience and make excellent contacts. A lot like what you said to the guy who was thinking about dropping out of college. Only working for an independent studio looks a LOT better on the resume than a degree does.

Eh, we run an outsourcing studio and we call it outsourcing.

We also run a sister company that's organized as an actual game development studio that works on both original IP and work-for-hire. I think of a WFH studio as one that will build the complete product for you, whereas an outsourcing studio will do smaller, specific tasks, like create a specific list of art assets that are required for a product. Our outsourcing company does this kind of supplemental work only (not full products), while our other company does build products.

 

As far as respect, they're both the same, really. Outsourcing has the downside of being less involved in the actual product, but the pro of getting to work on a lot of very different products. Some of the best artists that I've worked with in the industry have previously worked at outsourcing studios and have had portfolios full of assets from a variety of AAA games :o

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Posted (edited)

So,

 

this is them:

https://www.streamline-studios.com/

 

They just got back to me, and said the producer position would be onsite  at their HQ in kuala lumpur malaysia.

 

The cost of living is very different than the bay area.

 

I'm considering this, given their track record.

 

What are some things I should be aware of or consider when making this decision?

 

It's a very unexpected and different opportunity than I had in mind, but it would mean my dream job, in my dream industry, just in a different country.

 

Would I require work sponsorship?

Edited by GeneralJist

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at their HQ in kuala lumpur malaysia.   The cost of living is very different than the bay area. What are some things I should be aware of or consider when making this decision?
 

 

Moving internationally is a big thing.  You won't be a citizen of the country, and as a US citizen you'll be paying taxes twice: once to the country you are in, and once to the US federal government.  You'll need to sell, give away, store, or otherwise manage whatever property you leave behind. If things don't work out in the job in the other country you'll need a way to get back home. If you speak Malay or Mandarin you'll be able to speak with nearly everyone, if you only know English you'll have a communications barrier to overcome. It is somewhat harder to build up a nest-egg in another country because you won't be making as much meaning you can't save as much. If you buy a home you'll have less money accumulate as value and less money through property value changes, but you'll also pay less in interest rates probably.  

I have a relative who traveled frequently to various locations on the globe, including Kuala Lumpur.  It is a big city with similar benefits and problems common to all big cities. It has its own distinct culture. 

 

I've known people who decided to work abroad for a few years and loved it, I've known people who worked abroad for a few years and hated everything about it.  Every situation is unique, every person is unique. You know yourself and your situation best.

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Looks like a decent studio :)

Just don't drink the tap water :wink:

Malaysia is an English speaking country with it's own quirky dialect, half made up of Islamic Malays, and half other people (largely ethnic Chinese). It's a weird mix, with all the traditional Islamic strictness around alcohol/etc, but then also allowing bars to serve alcohol because 40% of the people aren't of that religion and they want to be friendly to foreigners too. Like the US, it has very high inequality, so despite being quite a poor country overall, you'll still find a good lifestyle there with a good job.

Outside of hubs like US/Japan/China, it's quite common for games industry people to have worked in several countries, due to most countries being smaller and the industry more spread out. It's probably a positive experience overall, and if you don't like it you can always fly home. If they're serious, they might throw in airfares and a small amount of shipping for the start/end of your contract, to get yourself and some possessions out of the US and back again.

If they're paying equivalent to US positions, you could save a lot of money away while working there... Or blow it on south-east-Asian / Oceanic holidays. All those far off places like Vietnam and New Zealand are a lot closer :wink:

The company should work out most of the work permit issue for you (and yeah, your permit will probably be specific to that job).

@frob on the double taxing - Really? Wtf America?
I have a US colleague here in Aus who still has to file paperwork with the IRS (or pay an accountant who specializes in US expat headaches to do so), but AFAIK pays no US tax.

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Posted (edited)

Hmm,

Ya,

 

If they support the costs & full relocation,  was thinking to try it out.

 

I actually do speak mandarin (not read/ write), so it might be ok. 

 

I've always liked to travel, but the double tax thing does seem to be a bit of a headache, filling for taxes in US. is tricky enough....

 

I doubt they will come anywhere near US.salaries...

 

Maybe this is the universe's way of testing me to put my money (or lack there of) where my mouth is, when I say I fully believe in the potential of remote working, and how I claim I can work from anywhere, despite being a bit spoiled from the bay area....

Edited by GeneralJist

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@frob on the double taxing - Really? Wtf America? I have a US colleague here in Aus who still has to file paperwork with the IRS (or pay an accountant who specializes in US expat headaches to do so), but AFAIK pays no US tax.
 

 

Yes, all the major taxes still apply. From the government:  If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, the rules for filing income, estate, and gift tax returns and paying estimated tax are generally the same whether you are in the United States or abroad. Your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you reside.

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Posted (edited)

So,I had more time  to reflect,

Ya, It's more complicated decision than I thought...

 

Hmm, it seems a few other offers are due to come in soon.

 

Between this, and a much lower job in the industry, a US. games recruiting agency wants me to be a recruiter for them...

Edited by GeneralJist

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a US. games recruiting agency wants me to be a recruiter for them...


That sounds like an unappetizing job. Lotta work, a lot to learn... probably low pay.
And you don't get to make games on the job.

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ya,

 

Guess it's now a comfort zone thing, as well as a risk reward thing...

 

Err....

I was told by an industry producer, that QA leads have a higher chance of becoming production assistants than recruiters for the industry....

He advised me to take it.

 

Also asked Orimus3, he said it would be a shot in the dark.

 

So, it seems it might be between,

A. Taking a longer, safer, but unclear path

 

B. Taking a shorter, high risk, direct path.

 

Agency site:

http://vonchurch.com/

 

Well, from the information I've seen so far,

I'd likely get paid a lot more for being a recruiter than the producer, based solely on the different cost of living  in each area.

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