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supermikhail

What is my ideal company (size)?

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I've written a few similar topics, but I'm going to try not to repeat myself.

I've been browsing through job postings in the area, and finally saw something gamedev related. Which, almost paradoxically, made me start thinking - supposing that I have a shot at working in gamedev, what do I actually want my work to be like?

I know one thing for certain: I hate big companies (although I confess, I haven't worked in many). I think my ideal company size is limited to about 4. Any more than that and I get uncomfortable and eventually miserable.

At the same time I'm wondering if my ideal company size is not 1. I've certainly been interested in many diverse fields - from writing through coding to animation, so at least on the technical side I could probably pull it off. On the other hand, I prefer to rely on the feedback and ideas of others for my work, which is still possible as a single dev, but I imagine it's much more convenient as a team.

Which brings me to the next point. Even if gamedev exists in the area (which, quite frankly, I wasn't so sure about previously), I don't imagine finding anything for my ~3-4-member specification. Outside of mobile games, which are completely not my jam. (At least as a gamer I look for a completely different experience.)

And finally, I haven't actually had to work in a team yet. Perhaps you've seen my other topic, where I tried but so far failed to find a partner, and I'm working on a small project solo. So I don't know, maybe I'm only imagining that I'd prefer a small team, based on some utopian idea.

I'm not sure where that leaves me. Is there even any point to look at job postings, given my situation? Or should I focus on trying to make it as a solo dev? (Which are, of course, not exclusive options.) I'm just trying to get some kind of focus, such as, for example, putting more effort into my other employable skills for the moment.

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4 minutes ago, supermikhail said:

supposing that I have a shot at working in gamedev, what do I actually want my work to be like?

Sorry, I don't understand the question. Your work will depend on the position you're applying for. From my understanding you're primarily a 3D artist?

5 minutes ago, supermikhail said:

I know one thing for certain: I hate big companies (although I confess, I haven't worked in many). I think my ideal company size is limited to about 4. Any more than that and I get uncomfortable and eventually miserable.

Then you would need to apply for much smaller studios, but keep in mind they can also expand at anytime depending on the goals and ability of the organization. You could go freelance and work from home if that interests you, but you'll be competing with a global market and will need to grind for contracts.

7 minutes ago, supermikhail said:

And finally, I haven't actually had to work in a team yet. Perhaps you've seen my other topic, where I tried but so far failed to find a partner, and I'm working on a small project solo. So I don't know, maybe I'm only imagining that I'd prefer a small team, based on some utopian idea.

Unless you have social anxiety, I wouldn't worry about how many people are working at said company, getting the job is enough to worry about. :) I believe your prior posts indicated you're living in St. Petersburg  (Russia), so I have zero idea what the market is like over there, but maybe someone else can provide insight.

17 minutes ago, supermikhail said:

I'm not sure where that leaves me. Is there even any point to look at job postings, given my situation? Or should I focus on trying to make it as a solo dev? (Which are, of course, not exclusive options.) I'm just trying to get some kind of focus, such as, for example, putting more effort into my other employable skills for the moment.

Well... It depends on your long term goals. If you're going to go in as an artist you really need to get a polished portfolio done. If you cannot find any hobbyist teams to work on, don't worry about it... I would focus on making as many different types of models as possible to showcase your ability range, and don't forget to also showcase your topology work flow, rigging, animation, ect... If your location isn't great for your desired work, then you should look at relocating.

If you want to make it as a solo dev you're going to have to consider the amount of skill, time, and money that is involved. I cannot speak on the matter if you or anyone can be successful because you can have different people aiming for the same goal, but one makes it and the other doesn't. Plus I don't have the ability to predict anyone's future, not even my own. ;) 

At the end of the day you just need to decide on what you want and go for it. If that means relocating, or taking up extra jobs to fund your projects, then do what you need to do to achieve your goals. Don't give up if this is something you really want... Success isn't a straight path, and can be very rocky full of temporary setbacks and "failures".

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Thanks for your quick feedback. I know my post is long, but it was more supposed to be considered as a single issue / question, not necessarily a series of questions the way you've split them. Sorry for the confusion. (Specifically, the first one was rhetorical, if that's the term.)

Since this came up... I do kind of have social anxiety, I guess. Or at the very least extreme introversion (those are not necessarily related, I know). I'm kind of working on it, but there's only so much one can do.

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Game studios, especially teams dealing with technology, are full of poeple with social anxiety of various kinds. Most of them don't bother anyone and under normal conditions don't initiate any (non-work) talk. Not every engineer is like that though. People doing games are generally fine (and fun), even the anxious ones. That is very unlike many other industries.

Instead of being afraid to try it, just go ahead and get a job with humans, especially if it doesn't require relocation. What is the worst thing that could happen? You waste a month of your and the company's time to find out you can't work there. But do try. Once employed, think what it brings to you, what you bring to the job and not about what's bad (which you say you hardly have any baseline to compare to, only some prejudice). Starting a job with real people in a real office building / room for the first time is a shock, most things will be totally different than you imagined and only after a bit of a time you'll be able to judge whether that different is good or bad. If you don't consider even working on-site (in a real place with real humans) on a daily basis, then it's pointless to be afraid of anything. You're your own master.

Good luck.

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Personally I prefer companies that are at least 20 people. No matter the size of the project, you'll still be divided up into teams generally ranging from 5-15 people.

Companies smaller about 20 people tend to have stability issues. It is difficult to keep a steady stream of new work, and requires a growth mentality from everybody. Fewer than 10 people tends to have a too-frequent need for absolutely-must-do-it-to-save-the-company extreme work. Feast-or-famine at small companies tends to be common, and time off is difficult.  Benefits are usually sparse or non-existent. If you have the option for something nice, take it immediately because it probably won't be there later.

In the 30-50 people companies everybody is important, but not typically absolutely critical to success on a daily basis. They are large enough to provide good benefits and time off, but not so large that you are unimportant. There is opportunity to grow personally and grow in the career, and everybody in the company can know your strengths and rely on you while you rely on them.  As the company grows to the 50-100 people range it gets harder to know everybody as there tend to be more projects; stability and some benefits are more reliable, but individual relationships and personality start to dwindle.

Some people like being a cog in the large machine. Being large means one person's contribution is tiny, so sickness and vacation are statistical noise to the projects. Usually benefits are good and reliable. It allows a kind of freedom because the individual isn't particularly critical, and it is easier to become invisible. When I've been there, I didn't mind the freedom part but hated being invisible and seemingly unimportant. 

Some people like the tiny company. Being tiny means you feel critically important, and the potential for rewards can be highly rewarding if the structure is right. For well-thought businesses the first round employees are given time-vesting shares in the company to entice them to work through the stress and the difficulties of being a startup. If that's what you prefer it can potentially pay out big, but comes with risks of being broke and a rough work/life balance.

Edited by frob

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For me it's not exactly about being important. On the one hand, even if the company is 20 people, I'll most likely only get to know the up to 3 other people that I've talked about. That just seems to be how my brain works. Unless, I suppose, they are very intent on getting to know me.

On the other hand, yeah, I hate being dispensable. I feel it's better to be a meaningful part of a precarious project while having each other's back.

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