Why would anyone ever want to be a AAA game developer?

The gaming industry has a growing history of blockbuster hits built through abusive working conditions, and calls to improve are few in number, low in volume.

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Why would anyone ever want to be a AAA game developer?

I've been asking myself that question a lot lately. I asked it when 38 Studios collapsed and former employees were stuck with second mortgages thanks to the company's gross neglect and/or lack of conscience. I asked it when Street Fighter X Tekken producer Yoshinori Ono talked about how Capcom mercilessly overworks its developers. I asked it when Ono suggested in the same interview that he doesn't ease up on his own subordinates, reasoning that they are younger and should be better able to deal with the workload. And I asked it last week when Activision thanked Radical Entertainment for the chart-topping Prototype 2 by shutting down the studio (or just gutting them to a skeleton crew who will lend a hand to the publisher's other projects, depending on which Activision statement you believe).

Making a game like Prototype 2 could get you a gold star and a pink slip.

Getting into top-tier game development these days seems like a losing proposition. Maybe you wind up working on a game that reviews well and sells enough to top the retail sales charts, but not enough to make it worth the publisher's while to keep the studio around. Maybe you spend years plugging away on an ultimately forgettable licensed action game and make the holiday release window, only to find pink slips in your Christmas stocking. Maybe a dysfunctional work environment and numerous delays keep you in a perpetual state of crunch, and maybe your complaints make headlines, but then nobody cares about it once that exploitive formula produces a blockbuster Game of the Year. And of course, there's always a chance you'll wind up working for a self-styled auteur who views you as a disposable and interchangeable cog in a machine designed to service his vision, one who doesn't consider the people he completely burned out along the way worthy even of simple acknowledgement in the game's credits.

The AAA game developer doesn't get enough respect to make the gig worthwhile.

And that strikes to the heart of the issue. The AAA game developer doesn't get enough respect to make the gig worthwhile. At best they get well compensated, with decent pay and lush offices full of amenities that would make them comfortable places to live, in part because they will be expected to live in them. Being a game developer must be like being a proctologist. Sure, the pay might be nice, but does it really make all the crap they have to put up with worthwhile? Actually, proctologists have a leg up in this analogy, considering there aren't legions of fresh-out-of-college kids with a passion for peeping up people's behinds.

Think back to 2009 and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick telling investors he wanted to take all the fun out of making games, saying, "I think we definitely have been able to instill the culture, the skepticism and pessimism and fear that you should have in an economy like we are in today. And so, while generally people talk about the recession, we are pretty good at keeping people focused on the deep depression."

Kotick understood that Activision had many talented developers working for him, and his strategy to retain them was to keep them fearful and unhappy. This is the winning attitude in the AAA game market today. It is a management style that identifies value in its employees, but seeks to punish that value, to make those employees that have brought it such success so timid and fearful of testing the waters that they'll continue to slave away in their current role because it's slightly better than the worst-case alternatives. To do that to another person is bad enough; to do that to a person specifically because they have contributed to your success is practically sociopathic.

It's baffling to me that even with the continued quality-of-life issues the industry faces, I don't hear more developers publicly floating the idea of a union. Even though a Google search for "game developers union" brings up the International Game Developers Association website at the top of the list, the page doesn't even include the word "union," and the group itself seems to have a hard enough time fighting to have developers credited for the games they work on, much less organizing them into a group capable of sparking necessary changes.

For Red Dead Redemption development, Rockstar reportedly turned to the Rooster Cogburn method of equine motivation.

I asked International Game Developers Association executive director Gordon Bellamy about the lack of public discourse regarding a possible game developers union, but the ordinarily gregarious and available Bellamy let multiple inquiries go unanswered. Former IGDA executive director Jason Della Rocca was more accommodating, telling me that unions had been a frequent point of contention among IGDA membership when he was in charge of the group, even if that debate wasn't always aired in public.

"I think fundamentally there's a certain embarrassment over the whole topic," Della Rocca said. "There's an embarrassment and a degree of fear."

"I think fundamentally there's a certain embarrassment over the whole topic. There's an embarrassment and a degree of fear."--Della Rocca, on the industry's reluctance to talk openly about quality of life issues.

The embarrassment stems from the fact that these issues keep cropping up, which indicates mismanagement in project leadership that can only be offset by actions detrimental to developers' quality-of-life (like prolonged crunch). The fear on developers' part is rooted in possible retribution.

"If you speak out over time on quality of life issues, poor project management, etc., you have the potential of being seen as lazy, of not having the passion to put in the effort everyone else does, of not being as committed," Della Rocca said.

One problem is that the sad state of affairs has become accepted as the norm, Della Rocca said. Some game development schools have programs that replicate crunch time conditions so students are prepared to handle it as a matter of routine. Other developers romanticize crunch as a bonding experience, proudly accepting the challenge with bravado. Still others don't have the confidence to speak up to their managers, which only helps perpetuate exploitive working conditions.

"You know that if you're seen as a slacker that there are 10 other kids knocking at your window, staring at your seat, just waiting for you to keel over so they can jump in your chair. That kind of supply and demand doesn't help the situation. If there wasn't a lineup of kids out the front door, I think the attitude would be slightly different. The managers would be treating each worker a little more preciously."

As for unions specifically, Della Rocca doesn't think the issue is fully understood in the industry, and isn't convinced it would actually solve the problem. While it might address some symptoms, he said it wouldn't address the core problems. Many of those would be relieved by proper project management, which Della Rocca says needs to be taught in game development schools. One of the behaviors he said feeds into poor management is the industry's habit of promoting from within, ignoring that a great artist or coder doesn't necessarily have scheduling and leadership abilities in their skill set.

So if you're dead set on becoming a AAA developer, you need to understand that you're likely signing up for a dysfunctional relationship. Many employers don't want or need to treat you with respect. You will be expected to sacrifice for them: your weekends, your health, maybe a marriage or two. In return, they will look at you as an expendable resource, and one that can be easily replaced when depleted. They will foster an atmosphere of skepticism, pessimism, and fear because their employee retention plan is to limit your perceived options. If you dare to speak up or try to improve things, you will face entrenched resistance, both from your employer and from the very co-workers who would benefit from better conditions.

Again, why would anyone choose this?

Discussion

0 comments
maxwell97
maxwell97

"Abusive working conditions?" Sorry, this is pure f'ing whining from people who have never had an actual bad job. Unlike millions of their fellow citizens, these folks go to work every day without the risk of being electrocuted, crushed, impaled, burned, poisoned or otherwise physically f***ed up. They don't end the day exhausted from physical labor or smelling like trash or excrement. They make wages that can pay for a comfortable lifestyle, can send their kids to college, and have benefits that some people would kill for. They don't get locked out by management, or get death threats from union goons, if they vote the wrong way on a contract. Here's some REAL advice for the kids out there who think they can punch a clock for 40 hours and get everything the world has to offer: nobody owes you a g*dd*mn thing. If you want to succeed, if you want to make a career in any respectable field - and especially a field that everybody wants in on at the moment - then you'll have to WORK. You'll have to work your ass off, to a level that school and sports and a part-time job at a gas station haven't nearly prepared you for. You'll have to invest yourself in your work, and care about doing it right, more than you care about getting home to eat dinner and watch American Idol. Because, at the end of the day, your career will be about producing something of value in return for your pay - if you don't, a well-managed company will fire you, and a poorly-managed company will go out of business from paying you and your workmates for nothing, and no law, union, or jump in social consciousness is going to change that. If you can't handle it, and just want to punch a clock, fine, but get ready to go paycheck-to-paycheck for the rest of your life. Thus endeth the rant.

The-Longshot
The-Longshot

Thank you! Thank you for bringing light to the labor conditions these developers are forced to work under. If anyone wonders where the lack of creativity in our games has gone, its gone right out the window with any concept of a 40hr work week. Why you ask, because the only thing the publishers care about its making more and more money, and the only thing the fans care about is getting that next call of duty asap even if it is another copy pasted p.o.s! If we all just opened our eyes, minds and hearts a little and had some compassion for these guys slaving away for over 60hrs a week we would have told rockstar, activision and other companies to stop doing that to them many years ago. Where has all the care and compassion gone for our fellow humans? I honestly don't care if i have to wait another 5-6+ years for the next Elder Scrolls, I want the guys and gals making it to be able to see their husband, wife and/or kids, and I also don't want it to suck beyond suckage. So lets release the pressure off these guys a little eh? 

dnguyen3
dnguyen3

I find video games as legitimate form of media art where music, visuals, literature (the storyline) all combine and are made with a passion, I could also say some games were replacement for novels because they were so good. Nowadays I find the games, not all, are coming out now just a rushed up piece of work on a disc with $60 price tags. What happened to fire that made all those great games great years ago?

dlb2000
dlb2000

This is a terrible situation. I use 2want 2b a game developer so bad. after reading this I dont think I would last 2long cause I'm not the roll over type of person. And definitely not finna stay quiet for those type of working conditions

Zanoh
Zanoh

I think a union for all the game developers in the process (programmers, artists, writers, designers, etc.) should be considered. It's the working class that keeps the CEOs and companies in business. Why should they be exploited just for the sake of our entertainment. Good quality games deserve good quality treatment all over.

Bavoke
Bavoke

"ome game development schools have programs that replicate crunch time conditions so students are prepared to handle it as a matter of routine"

I've been to one, but still, making games is fun and to paid to make what you like to do is always a benefit. And if the AAA doesn't work out you can always go Indie. Hey, you can work without pants! ;)

demonell
demonell

well said, actually this happened and came mostly from mmorpg genre. 

Lei_11
Lei_11

I find this report to be incredibly disheartening. I wish only for the developers of my beloved games to enjoy their work.

If their working conditions are as you described, there is no room to grow as developers. No room to sit back with the crew, look at others games or user-feedback for ideas and go 'hey maybe we could do this better.. and that.. and this. They've no room to breathe.

If they have no room to breathe, how can I expect them to have actual passion. Fear and passion shouldn't coexist on the work-floor.

 

george43
george43

Independents don't have investors like the AAA developers.

 

So there is a completely different bottom line.

 

Independents work with a budget they can muster to put out the best game they can.

 

AAA's are giving buttloads of money and are told to cut corners to pump out titles.

DrHyde
DrHyde

The problem with this has always been the publishers who fund them. They are looking down the barrel of stockholders who demand a certain level of return on the investments into the publishers themselves. The publishers foster this kind of mentality. The developers truly love their creations. Developing a game should be a blast  (aside from the code checking which is always a nightmare in programming). It shouldn't be a nightmarish descent into hell with life and love on the line to make a game that may not sell well to have the publisher screw you over.

 

I truly think community funded gaming may be the future (ala Kickstarter or other methods). Louis CK did a perfect example by saying screw the ticket companies and sold all the tickets to his recent show all by himself netting more money than he would have if he went through the middle man. If the people want it, they will pay for it. It make even create a new type of gaming where features are implemented directly from consumer demand or polls. 

 

Hopefully, this happens sooner than later because the entire industry is heading for a crash that's going to make the 1980's crash look tame in comparison. 

Old_Captaini
Old_Captaini

Yes, unfortunately one of my favorite oxymorons, "executive leadership", seems particularly applicable to the game industry. The trend with executives in general is to seek short term gain that maximizes their bonuses at the expense of the long term health of their company and the welfare of the employees that help deliver the product/service. It sounds like the game industry could definitely benefit from the adoption of sound project management principles. Project management is a science/art in and of itself with principles that apply to all project based industries. It requires training, education and experience. Making a hot shot programmer /developer a PM without any type of training is a recipe for a dysfuctional project. That's not to say they can't be good PM's. it just means they need to be given the tools of the trade by management.

 

What amazes me is that despite the crappy working conditions, these developers manage to crank out so much good stuff that brings so much enjoyment to so many, somehow (in most cases at least) not allowing the stress, fear, and aggravation to reflect in the finshed product. Bobby Kotick and his minions sound like a bunch of pinheads. A good leader can demand accountability and results through inspiration and example rather than being an ass.

 

I find gaming to be a great stress reliever for me from my own work, and it saddens me that the people that work so hard to help relieve my stress are totally stressed out themselves.

BRENTON_GEAR
BRENTON_GEAR

Perhaps a remedy for this would be to temorarily follow the steps of Double Fine and 2 Player Productions' example with kickstarter.  I say 'temporarily' becuase I'm sure there are aspects to the kickstarter approach that could be improved to ensure job security, and far better working conditions than what was described in this article.  This approach could be refined so that all factions of developers can thrive, and perhaps more importantly, have access to brainstorms offered by fans of a particular gaming genre; which might make a game better.  If we gamers want a game, then perhaps we should be willing to financially back one in development similar to that of kickstarter.  What follows may be difficult for some to believe; 'I would be willing to wait until a game is finished to what it was meant to be.'  It would grant me TIME to enjoy, and finish games I already have - it helps to not limit one's self to a particular genre when there's so much to enjoy.  The wait grants developers time as well to address any glitches that would have not been patched, until a much later release of DLCs.  I've played many games that I felt could have been better if the developers had more time to address controls or other issues.  So really, I would be willng to pay what's due, and wait 'til a game is what it should be.  I don't like the thought that talented people are made to endure the hardships as described in this article.  I enjoy Gaming immensely; and I believe that those responsible with imbuing awesome AAA games with an engaging magic should be properly compensated, and not-so-much for their money-hoarding higher-ups.

02050muh
02050muh

it's like Pantasia vs St. Pierre...even though both make AAA breads, which work condition would u choose?

jakybuddy
jakybuddy

The problem with AAA games now-a-days is the fact that so many of them are rushed.  Production companies give developers a deadline, and they have to meet it whether the game is ready or not.  Blizzard and Valve seem to roll out AAA games and make huge profits, they are also one of the few companies that release a game when it is ready, not when the production deadline rolls around. AAA games started sinking when gaming started changing from a form of art, where companies created games because they loved doing it, to just another way to get money from the consumer.

Alucard_Prime
Alucard_Prime

Interesting article....though I already knew about this issue in the industry, I had no idea it was to this degree. Actually makes me feel guilty about playing some of these high-profile games, knowing how many people must have suffered behind the scenes, to produce these fine games. I just hope they were well compensated. 

345tom
345tom

Nicely written and informative! With the recent abandonment of developers and publishers sinking, you can see why the man at the top is pushing the people hard, and you would think in a post-West-and-Zampella industry, a bit more care over employees would be seen to. I think thats partly why Gearbox works for example

_TheJoker_
_TheJoker_

Sadly, a great article.

I just graduated from University and was looking at starting a game development career (having done a lot of indie games with XNA), but then decided to work on another development field: better salary, stability and market offerings (glad I made that decission).

JBCookieMonster
JBCookieMonster

After reading this article im starting to think i have made a mistake putting down games development as my first choice in my CAO form. Should have just put computer science. :( Atleast if i had that first and got that id have a broader knowledge on computers and more of a career choice :( why couldnt this article be posted 5 days earlier when i still had time to change? :(

Henu
Henu

Great article! Hits the nail on the head spot on!

DarknautXXX
DarknautXXX

That whole bit about colleges teaching the "crunch" and not proper leadership skills is very disturbing. Thats why reserching for the appropriate college is important.

NicAgent
NicAgent

About 14 years ago I was a third-grader who had just gotten ensconced in the hit games of the day, Goldeneye 007, Mario Kart 64, to name a few.  I thought to myself, "I wanna grow up one day to design these video games"... fast-forward eight years, and I would learn the real truth: playing video games is FUN - making video games is WORK.  On the same token I find it ironic that Activision, the pioneering third-party game developing company that was started as a result of four disgruntled programmers for Atari who left for reasons very similar to those mentioned in this article, is said to be overworking its employees as cogs in the machine.  Sounds like they need to soul search in what their original intentions were 30 years back.

platinumking320
platinumking320

an life's investment in learning computer science and Geniuses still end up the abused 'hal emmerichs' of the world. while exploitation artists (no degree for that) reap all the profits of others hard work, and decides what the product (they haven't invested the same amount of man hours in) gets to ultimately say and do. If such knowledge is power, then devs should start hoarding it from investors and create their bargaining power. Revolution!

Hairygrim
Hairygrim

It's great to see that someone's finally writing about what many of us have been thinking for years. Brilliant article, kudos to Brendan!

 

Of course there are exceptions to this; some well-known developers have good, even great working conditions. For one of the best examples take a looks at the number of awards Insomniac's got for being such a great place to work: http://www.insomniacgames.com/careers/lifestyle/best-company/

platinumking320
platinumking320

maybe if indie dev groups could get experiences support and put out titles that on a physical level were more addictive than AAA's and didn't have to match up all the way ART-wise but looked good enough to indulge. (Though this scenario is clearly  imaginary and would imagine a lot of 'labor-of-love' devs on the financially struggling, or 2-3 part time jobs side of life,)

 

the reflection on the gaming scene would be healthier and creative over time. People would tell the stories they want to. Plus after that Valve handbook leak. (though I'vent the slightest idea how things are up at their offices in Washington state) I do wonder how they're doing as a crew compared to all this.

 

theKSMM
theKSMM

Thanks for addressing an important issue in the game industry that gets far too little attention.

 

When I was a kid, I used to go to my local amusement park on the weekends.  I would stay as long as my parents would allow it, and I would have a blast.  When I got old enough to work, I applied for a job at that very amusement park.

 

Needless to say, the perspective from the employee's side of the fence was very different.

 

And that's the rub.  People who want to work in the games industry love games.  Many of them would do it for little more than a ham sandwich each day and a bed to sleep in each night.  The idea that they could get paid to work in an industry they love seems like a dream come true.  It's often not until months after they have accepted a job offer that the realities of the situation become apparent.

 

If you get work as a database administrator or IT worker, you don't expect to have fun in your job.  You expect it to suck as often as not, and you expect to be compensated accordingly.  Workers in the game industry associate it with fun, and they're willing to take less than market value for their skills and suffer through horrible conditions for that perception.  This isn't to say that nobody is ever having fun.  I'm sure there are some fabulous perks for working in some game studios.  But I'm sure there are a lot of conditions that would make the rest of us shake our heads too.

 

Unfortunately, identifying the problem is often the easiest step.  Now the question is how do you begin to change things?

LanceCypher
LanceCypher

 @maxwell97 I wont argue with most of your rant, because I think most of it is spot on. However there are two basic kinds of abuse: mental AND physical. While physical abuse can in certain cases threaten your livelihood, mental abuse can endanger your sanity, your psyche, and your peace of mind. Physical can make you dead, but metal can make you wish you were. And in case it wasn't communicated to you effectively, these poor working conditions aren't your romanticized stepping-stones to success, they don't even guarantee your job will be waiting for you in the morning. The issue is that their hard work earns them, in many cases, nil. My point is, don't classify something as cushy before you've been there in those conditions. Thus endeth the response to the rant.

SkySage7
SkySage7

 @Suikogaiden 

Google? Also, there's a ton of other jobs where the pay is good and the atmosphere is great so you don't leave your office thinking about ropes and bullets.

 

However, when supply exceeds demand and when the very people who are supposed to protect you are bribed, there's sadly not much you can do about it, other than looking for another job. Gotta love capitalism....

PoL0
PoL0

@Lei_11

Overtime is usually taken by management as granted and not as an scarce resource. My perception is that I need to crunch mainly to hide bad management or reach an impossible release date. The "When it's done" attitude has to be taken seriously because it leads to better quality products (another problem: quality is not a target anymore, only benefits).

 

It's basically the enterprise mentality applied to a very unpredictable business as videogames (and generally speaking ,making good software). A process of creation that may be compared with making movies or a book (where inspiration matters!) is instead  managed as if we were piling bricks to make a wall. They don't want to take into account that some days you're not productive at all and some other days you get the work of a week in 8 hours because you're "on fire".

 

I cannot imagine a manager forcing Neal Stephenson (random writer I chose) to write for 8 hours a day and to crunch for 14-16 when release date is near.

theKSMM
theKSMM

 @BRENTON_GEAR I like the idea of Kickstarter as a way to improve the engagement between developers and gamers, but I doubt that it would work should a lot of devs start using it after the novelty wears off.  How many games or developers would you be willing to invest $60 in before they have even come up with a product plan?

 

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

 @_TheJoker_ XNA won't land you a decent gamedev job either way. Writing an engine from scratch does.

PoL0
PoL0

 @NicAgent Even when it's work there's a huge gap between working for the devil himself (Accenture, for example) than in any game development studio (even the evil ones).

picho86
picho86

 @theKSMM As far as I can tell, smaller gaming companies treat their workers much better. Also you are much less specialized, so you don't have to only write AI over and over again for example. You have a say in the creative process. That's why my aspiration is to work at a smaller company that takes pride in their games and how they treat their employees. 

maxwell97
maxwell97

@LanceCypher Heh, fair enough. Still, I've read enough of these stories to be unimpressed with the supposed hardships. These guys wouldn't last five minutes on a factory floor. The Ono guy in particular annoyed me. Basically he was upset that, when he recovered from an illness and went back to work, people were very nice to him but still expected him to actually WORK. As for getting laid off, it's not necessarily an easy lifestyle, but it's part of the job in any project-oriented field. They shouldn't expect to get paid for the months they're not working on anything. They got their compensation and the experience that went with it, so I don't see it as abusive.

Lei_11
Lei_11

 @PoL0 I'm not quite part of this worlds work-force yet (still in college) and have no idea of what its like, but 14-16 hour FORCED workdays... I wouldn't wish those upon anyone in the world.

I feel for you all.

picho86
picho86

 @Morphine_OD  @_TheJoker_  And it's a shame it's that way. More than a shame, it's just plain crazy.  Building the tools from scratch for each project is something that happens only in the gaming industry. Something went horribly wrong somewhere in gaming history.

desastreux
desastreux

 @maxwell97  @LanceCypher "These guys wouldn't last five minutes on a factory floor" : Speculations only. Please, accept, my simple testimony :I used to work a few years in the construction ( historical monuments in Europe ; I am a french dude soon escaped from school ) as handler, and then, later, as an experimented worker. In many ways, it was indeed hard : Unpayed unexpected hours, intense physical fatigue preventing you to do anything interesting once the work done, several dangers, etc...Once, I fell off the ladder, and broke some part of my back : I had to study a new job. It took me a few years but, as an independent first and then as employee in a little company, I managed to own my life in developping video games and some other 3D programes.Of course, I did not work for Activision but I was not payed more than when I was worker in the construction ( in both cases, legally minimal french pay, just to be mentionned )The programs and games I did, almost alone in my case, allowed my bosses to make much more money than I never had in my all life ( since now ).They did just never wrote any line of code, neither will never be able to understand any of it, but they finally own the biggest part of the money : Here, I guess this is pretty much similar to what whas happening when I was in the construction. I liked to work on projects involving imagination / creation parts thus I did tons of unpayed hours to ensure these wholes projects, in which parts of my souls were, will be able to remain "alive" ( means ready-to-sell ) : Nights, days, week-ends, etc... I sacrificed even more time than I never had to, when I was travelling to work on churches and castles roofs.Technically and mentally, it asked me a lot more focus to fix bugs, to bypass technologies limitations, etc...As a manual worker I could still think to other things when I was working, most of the time, to think to my life, to my future, etc...As a developper, my whole thinking had to be oriented to the code. I dreamt of code. I nightmared of code. I used to wake up with solutions for the code.I became some kind of bot machine more than I had never was before.Think about it one second : People working in construction, but also in restaurants, or even in hospitals, ... Are often making a lot of hours too, but they work along human people like them.What about a job where you are alone, for undiscontinued hours and hours,  behind a screen, something like 95% of the time ?...Reading line after line, seeking the bad line ? In fact, you got no idea of what it could be.After a few years working as developper, I retired a few monthes ago of my job : Now, half the time I work in some manual jobs, to make money to eat, and half-the-time-remaining I am still developping a few things as an independent developper, mainly for the fun, a bit in hoping some kind of social interest from players, and a bit as a bad habit.I know most of the people will never be able to just understand why making video game or programs could be such a pain, regarding to so many jobs where pain is more easy-to-see... But please, beleive me, try it.Maybe you'll be a lucky one, fool to complain, but maybe you'll be part of the other group ; it is existing. 

David_M_Spiker
David_M_Spiker

 @Lei_11  I have that now in the navy but I am in college for game art and design. I'm used to working 24 hours a day for 7 months and I know whats it's like to feel burnt out..

Lei_11
Lei_11

 @-Shadowbinded- Awesome ^^ I just finished my bachelor Computer Science as well actually, and have composing music and digital art as hobbies, so I can relate 100% to those days on which you get nothing done. Nothing. I know exactly what you guys mean, which is why I find this news so sad.

I hope we both end up somewhere enjoyable when we find a job!

-Shadowbinded-
-Shadowbinded-

 @Lei_11  @PoL0 That's all true, Lei.  I'm not part of the industry yet, but I'm studying Computer Science and eventually want to be a developer.  It's just like Pol0 says (it's happened to me with some college projects): some days you can stare at the code for hours and not write a single thing.  Other days your fingers just glide over the keyboard and after a few hours you're done with so much that you don't mind having wasted a day.  Programming, many (myself included) find it to be a kind of art; it's not something you should be forced to do... it's something you're inspired to do.

 

It is very disheartening to know that the industry has decayed; too many games have strayed away from artistic development.

PoL0
PoL0

 @picho86 Don't believe that. You would be amazed to see how many games include OpenAL for sound, SWF for interface, freetype for font rendering, and so on...

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

 @_TheJoker_ that's actually pretty great. I landed a job after I wrote a little demo-engine with Doom3's MD5 models/animations loader with all the lighting bells and whistles and a freeroaming camera.

_TheJoker_
_TheJoker_

 @Morphine_OD Also, I don't know if it qualifies as "an engine", but I did make a nice little 2D tile map engine with almost everything a 2D game could need (tile map editor included).

 

Actually, I'm using it for my final project at my university :P

_TheJoker_
_TheJoker_

 @Morphine_OD 

As you said, XNA is not giving anyone a job, nor is c++ or any other framework/ tool/ language, experience and knowledge does.

 

Luckily I had a great contact in a really big video game company in Germany who told me what was needed in order to get inside, but as I said, I don't think right now it would be a wise choice for me to try to get into the industry.

 

Also, turning a hobby into an obligation is never a good idea, that's why I'm leaving all the game coding to my free time, as a pass time activity for the rainy weekends :P

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

 @picho86  @_TheJoker_ You were wrong - you don't always write everything from scratch for every new project. But if you don't know how to do that - you're not getting a job. That's how it works.

picho86
picho86

 @Morphine_OD  @_TheJoker_ I don't understand. Are you agreeing with me? Disagreeing? Patronizing? Is all of than directed at me or at "_TheJoker_"?

If it's at me, I don't understand what scripting, understanding how things work, and implementing other people's ides have anything to do with what I wrote.

 

I'm not being sarcastic. I truly don't get it.

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

 @picho86  @_TheJoker_ if you can't tell how something works, you can't improve it, or modify it. You can't improve, optimize, add features or modify existing ones - you're just a wannabe, not a dev. There are millions like you, congratulations.

 

"Building the tools from scratch for each project" is madness. All the currently available algorithms are documented and implemented somewhere at least once. All you gotta do is understand, how it works and if you don't want to pay royalties - you implement it YOURSELF.

 

If you think knowing how to script and having "ideas" is appreciated - don't bother. As long as you work as a regular dev, you're working your ass off to implement someone other's idea and maka A DAMN GOOD JOB of it. That's how it works. You work your way to the top, trying your best