AuthorTopic: Goblins Of The Game Industry  (Read 43890 times)

Offline AlexHW

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Re: Goblins Of The Game Industry

Reply #10 on: October 11, 2005, 06:27:54 pm
and because they have no CONTRACT or terms of employment, they're technically unemployed workers volunteering their time towards a common effort (even though its possible these guys might THINk that they are being 'employed'.)

heh, I've been in this situation befor with a group of others.
Specific hours were made that we had to work (8 hour days), and I confronted the boss and told him that this sounded illegal and such, and he was like, "I don't know if it is or not, I'd have to check." or something like that.. o_o
No contracts at all were being signed and people were just willing to trust each other. Kinda scarey.. They also promised many things which they never did.
Also even tried pitching some final fantasy project.. o_o

Offline FaeryShivers

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Re: Goblins Of The Game Industry

Reply #11 on: October 11, 2005, 06:30:53 pm
There's a big difference between putting up with a bit of an ego or a little quirk and sacrificing your whole staff to please one person which is what I focused on for the most part. The "get rid of them immediately" attitude comes from 2 1/2 years of letting myself be tortured by people who thought that having talent meant we should do whatever they wanted. I didn't write this article based on cutesy little ideas I thought people might like or find "smart", its based on real bad experiences I've had, and boy oh boy have I had lots of them.

If that artist/ programmer/musician etc isn't worth the junk they put the rest of the team through then they need to go down the laundry chute. You need to trust your gut when it says something stinks like a big rotten ego.I've never found getting rid of a person like that kills the momentum of the project. Usually when someone actually gets fired its a big relief. A lot of artists complain to me that they lose their desire to work with someone like that around.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2005, 06:33:33 pm by FaeryShivers »

Offline crab2selout.png

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Re: Goblins Of The Game Industry

Reply #12 on: October 11, 2005, 11:51:43 pm
I don't really think that it's fair to say that just because these companies are so interested in making money that they therefore care little to none about the quality of the game. As you've said, money is a big part of the mindset, afterall if you aren't making money then you aren't going to be around for very long. But these publishers do not get money from publishing crap. Sure, there are the exceptions that despite being painfully crappy, manage to get a nice bit of revenues. Businesses with such a business model suffer in the long run, though, as people become increasingly suspect of the quality of their releases. I'm thinking of Acclaim here.


Offline st0ven

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Re: Goblins Of The Game Industry

Reply #13 on: October 12, 2005, 02:05:01 am
I think that i sortof put an unfair light on the industry perhaps with my last bullet point :). First off, i really dont want to scare anyone off from the industry because in all honesty there arent too many careers out there that could be more rewarding when things are going well, the benefits are awesome, the work in general is much more exciting than most other jobs, granted you like doing your job to begin with. I would just like to point out that what crab2 points out is very true. In defense of my positions previously stated, i was pointing out things to be aware/careful of, and was not so much concerned about pointing out the great cool exciting things of the industry (i mean look at the title of the thread :P ) ... But Crab2 has a really good point... you cant make good money putting out constant crap games. Huge License AAA Titles  or titles which are meant to showcase new hardware and such (like Gears of War, Halo x, Ninja Gaiden Black, Final Fantasy XIIIIXIXIXI, etc)  are all things that you can count on being great games, and the publishers/developers cant afford to push such titles out and have them not live up to their expectations... but a realist has to understand that this is the pinnacle opportunity in the industry. You cant put yourself into such a position as a developer unless you're a proven developer (which means youve been through your fair share of 'get the titles out the door on schedule' projects)... and then when positions come available to work on those titles, they're searching for the absolute top talent they can find that are available at the time.  So while its true, there are many companies out there making great games, they also carry bread and butter licenses which cant afford to falter, or else the value of their hard earned IP falls through the floor, plus they can afford the development costs to ensure such quality. It should just be noted that such a thing is not standard in the industry, its a rather priviledged position to be in.  Also, it should be said there are companies out there that are more envisionary than just 'make money', and they may have some financial means to back that up... but unless theyve inherited millions, in order to officially call your operations a 'business', you have to turn a profit so many years in your first 5, and if youre not making a dime in 5 years chances are youre not going to last. ( 2 years is a realistic expectation to turn a team around into something that will break even and begin to make profit). Also, there are smaller platforms (wireless) where cost of development is significantly less, but even then your priority is to pump those babies out quick and with quality so that A. your idea isnt beaten to the marketplace, and B. you have more games making revenue (as this means that cash isnt initially available to you from such games).

Ok sorry for the blurb.

-st0

Offline janus

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Re: Goblins Of The Game Industry

Reply #14 on: October 12, 2005, 06:04:02 am
There's a big difference between putting up with a bit of an ego or a little quirk and sacrificing your whole staff to please one person which is what I focused on for the most part. The "get rid of them immediately" attitude comes from 2 1/2 years of letting myself be tortured by people who thought that having talent meant we should do whatever they wanted. I didn't write this article based on cutesy little ideas I thought people might like or find "smart", its based on real bad experiences I've had, and boy oh boy have I had lots of them.

If that artist/ programmer/musician etc isn't worth the junk they put the rest of the team through then they need to go down the laundry chute. You need to trust your gut when it says something stinks like a big rotten ego.I've never found getting rid of a person like that kills the momentum of the project. Usually when someone actually gets fired its a big relief. A lot of artists complain to me that they lose their desire to work with someone like that around.
I have to agree with this. I've seen many projects lose all their momentum due to total jerks being on the dev team (whether they're writers, artists, programmers, or musicians) and people being unwilling to tell them to cut it out or get out. I've even personally complained to the individual(s) in charge of the team when it's a project I'm involved in, and people are often unwilling to be 'harsh' or 'unfair' and kick someone out when their work is up to par. I personally don't even consider trying to work with someone anymore if I can't at least get along with them, and if it looks like they won't get along with the rest of the team I have a hard time finding it worth the effort to give them a chance.

Offline FaeryShivers

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Re: Goblins Of The Game Industry

Reply #15 on: October 12, 2005, 06:25:53 am
you cant make good money putting out constant crap games.


That is correct. However, many big companies can afford to put out "eye candy" that doesn't have interesting
gameplay or a good story and people will still pay for it. If you have one good game, chances are your next game will sell better than if your previous game was a flop. Basically you can "afford" some mistakes if you are well known and have a good record of games.If you have 10 good games you'll probably start getting what are often referred to as "fanboys" or "fangirls" that will buy things with your name on it regardless. I don't approve of companies taking advantage of this too often (except in "emergencies") the fact remains that the better reputation you have the more likely people are going to forgive you for putting out a rushed game from time to time.

Offline crab2selout.png

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Re: Goblins Of The Game Industry

Reply #16 on: October 12, 2005, 10:15:13 pm
Quote
That is correct. However, many big companies can afford to put out "eye candy" that doesn't have interesting
gameplay or a good story and people will still pay for it
Yeah, it is possible to pull a fast one over by pasting a nice pretty picture over lackluster ideas, but impressions from pretty pictures wear away quickly, and these games are soon exposed for what they are. I don't think someone who spent $60(Can$) on a miserable piece of software is going to look at that series or developer/publisher in the same light again.

Quote
If you have 10 good games you'll probably start getting what are often referred to as "fanboys" or "fangirls" that will buy things with your name on it regardless. I don't approve of companies taking advantage of this too often (except in "emergencies") the fact remains that the better reputation you have the more likely people are going to forgive you for putting out a rushed game from time to time.
Well of course they're going to forgive you when you've got a library filled with dozen(s) of games of exceptional quality. They recognize the one crappy game as the exception, not the rule. If the crap continues, then I think their attitudes would definitely change, though.

Offline xanthier

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Re: Goblins Of The Game Industry

Reply #17 on: October 28, 2005, 06:21:43 pm
Excellent article, I only skimmed it but I will print it out and read it in its entirety later.
For this, a long time have I waited.

Offline sedgemonkey

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Re: Goblins Of The Game Industry

Reply #18 on: November 15, 2005, 05:02:03 pm
Interesting thread indeed.  I'd just like to point out that most of what st0ven and FaeryShivers are saying can be applied to any industry/hobby really. The following tips stick out most in my mind when deciding on a job...

  • Clearly establishing roles, rules, boundaries, goals, etc. before a collaborative project starts will save everyone a lot of heartache especially if there's any chance of money being involved.
  • Investigating a potential employer is always a good idea for a contractor and crucially important if you are looking for full time work. Working in a lousy situation sucks whether you're a pixel artist or an auto mechanic.
  • Talk to a soldier on the ground if at all possible. Find someone who does your job or something similar at your potential employer and try and talk to them before taking a position. If you don't have an oppurtunity to chat on an office tour (assuming there is one) ask if you can call someone later to ask about the job.
  • Choose happiness. No matter what career path you choose make sure you are paid fairly, but don't get too greedy. Working on quality projects for a good company will benefit you as you move up in an industry.  Working in a bad situation for more money (unless it's a shitload more money) will just make you miserable.
  • Ownership is king! Owning a piece of a business or a piece of IP is the only way to make "real" money. Stock options were mocked because of the dotcom bust, but they're still a great "icing on the cake" just in case the company hits the jackpot.  ;)
  • Don't overlook benefits.  Matching 401k, dental, medical, vision, life insurance, employee stock purchase discounts, reimbursed education and pension programs can save and make you thousands of dollars no matter how young you are.  Just make sure there are no weird little caveats with any of the programs.

Offline Headsplode

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Re: Goblins Of The Game Industry

Reply #19 on: November 21, 2005, 09:53:22 pm
Great advice, especially for those looking to work out of their basements with no experience. The parts pertaining to leadership are particularly important. Even in the hobbyist field, people can have ulterior motives and you'll always come across individuals who just annoy you on a personal level that you'll have to cooperate with. In these instances, strong leadership is essential to keep the team from falling apart.

I learned this from spending almost two years with one indie group (which eventually disbanded after the leadership fell apart) as a concept/texture artist; numerous times, the extremely conservative opinions of one of the most prominent team managers caused him to have heated disputes and debates with some of his team on matters that were completely irrelevant to game design, and this definitely cut down on productivity. It's also not uncommon for co-leaders to find ways to cut off access to forum boards, IRC and FTP resources from one another, effectively firing them.

Also, if you're just breaking into game development, don't overlook the multitudes of other developers out there who can give you advice and encouragement. Participating in programming/game design communities such as GameDev.net can not only teach you a lot, they can allow you to give your project some publicity among your peers.