Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Alexander Kirchner

I would like to hear more about your day-to-day experience at Game Developer / Designer jobs.

Recommended Posts

Hello everybody, 

I hope you all got a good start into the new year! I am starting this thread because I would like to get in touch with some of you who are currently working in the game industry as designers or developers. 

A little background: I am currently finishing up my PhD in Psychology, but discovered lately that the path of going on into science might not be for me. Game have always fascinated me, both from a technical as well as theoretical (psychological?) standpoint, so naturally our career advisor suggested getting more information. I am not very adept at general programming (except for a lot of R, and a bit of Unity), but confident I could teach myself what I need to know. What is more important to me however is getting a clearer idea about what the daily tasks can look like, and whether I would fit the work environment.

I generally discovered about myself that I like to solve "concrete" puzzles (e.g. at the moment this could mean writing out and testing the syntax for a statistical problem) or finding new approaches to some existing questions (e.g. in academia this could coming up with the idea to be using a novel method to examine a question from a different angle). I noticed that I am not very happy when working under VERY uncertain circumstances (e.g. having no idea where the task is going, what the status of completion is, or what is expected from me to do a good job, as in endless revisions of an article) or very tedious detail work (e.g. the final, final stages of writing up an paper, checking for typos etc.). I see myself as this kind of this 'mid-level' guys of solving a task, that brings in new ideas and solves problems in a well-described environment, but doesnt necessarily finalize everything. 

Now my question would be to the people working in the industry (I realize that some of these can vary greatly with different jobs):

  1. In your daily work life, do you feel like you are being stimulated with new task frequently, or do you mainly work on similar tasks?
  2. Do you feel like you have the possibility to innovate and bring in new ideas in your job / task? 
  3. Do you feel that, for the most part, your position has clearly described activities, or are you mainly taking on various roles that are currently needed?
  4. Do you get a lot of feedback on performance or progress? Or is your work mainly done 'when its done'?

I would be very thankful to anybody willing to share some of their experiences. I tried looking for other topis on this, and found some good overviews, but these focused more on the technical aspects (what language to learn first, where to look for jobs). This didnt feel very applicable to my personal situation, so I thought I'd give it a shot myself. 

Thank you all for reading through this novel, happy 2018!

Best, 

Alex

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
8 minutes ago, Alexander Kirchner said:

I am not very adept at general programming (except for a lot of R, and a bit of Unity), but confident I could teach myself what I need to know. What is more important to me however is getting a clearer idea about what the daily tasks can look like

If you want to self-teach yourself game programming, be aware that this is likely to take quite a while before you are at an employable level.

Also be aware that the work done by designers and the work done by programmers is very different.

 

9 minutes ago, Alexander Kirchner said:

I noticed that I am not very happy when working under VERY uncertain circumstances (e.g. having no idea where the task is going, what the status of completion is, or what is expected from me to do a good job, as in endless revisions of an article) or very tedious detail work (e.g. the final, final stages of writing up an paper, checking for typos etc.).

Then the games industry is probably not for you.

On more than one project I've worked on, I've been assigned tasks where that consisted of a single sentence like "Implement dialogue windows" or "Fix NPC animation" with no indication of what that truly means. The implication is that you can work it out for yourself, if you dig into it and speak to enough people. If you're really lucky there's something written about it somewhere (most likely an email thread you weren't included on, 3 months ago.) Then what inevitably happens is do you do the work, commit the work, and someone says "no, I didn't mean like that. I wanted it more like...<whatever>" Repeat until shipping day.

As for tedious detail work... sorry, there's plenty of that. Type just 1 letter wrong in your code? It won't build. Or will crash. Set one value wrong on a material? It'll look wrong, and you'll have to dig through to find and fix it. Game development is complex, detailed business.

 

14 minutes ago, Alexander Kirchner said:

I see myself as this kind of this 'mid-level' guys of solving a task, that brings in new ideas and solves problems in a well-described environment, but doesnt necessarily finalize everything. 

You're not going to find this in the games industry, sorry. You don't get to be the ideas person without spending years in the "finalize everything" trenches. Why would we trust someone to come up with ideas if they have no appreciation of how they would be implemented?

 

Onto your questions (though I feel the answers are now irrelevant):

  • In your daily work life, do you feel like you are being stimulated with new task frequently, or do you mainly work on similar tasks? Depends entirely on your viewpoint. Some people in other industries are amazed that I have to work on the same project, inside the same codebase, for years on end. Every day I am "writing code", so that's the same task. Sometimes it's a more interesting feature, sometimes it is not.
  • Do you feel like you have the possibility to innovate and bring in new ideas in your job / task? Yes, but that's because I'm a senior member of a small team. As a junior member getting into the industry your expectations have to be much lower.
  • Do you feel that, for the most part, your position has clearly described activities, or are you mainly taking on various roles that are currently needed? Again, this is a matter of perspective. My job is 98% programming; so that is 'clearly described'. Is what I have to deliver clearly described? No, not at all.
  • Do you get a lot of feedback on performance or progress? Or is your work mainly done 'when its done'? Both. Most developers are expected to take responsibility for monitoring their own progress and delivering tasks on time, but there will be feedback on what is delivered, at some stage.

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

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!