10 Things I Learned from Working in the Gaming Industry

10 Things I Learned from Working in the Gaming Industry

10 Things I Learned Working In The Gaming Industry: Love For Game Dev Doesn’t Wane After Sixteen Years, Studio Culture Exists Even When There’s No Studio, Organisation And Workflow Matter More Than Ever, Elevating Those Around You Pays Dividends, Brand Snobbery Wastes Time, Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks, Hostility Towards Developers Is Growing, “Specialise Or Die” Is A Myth, For The Biggest, Most Profitable Media Format Of All, The Game Dev World Is A Small One, If Gaming Is Your Only Hobby, You’re A Worse Developer

Here are the 10 Things I Learned Working In The Gaming Industry [Details]

1. Love For Game Dev Doesn’t Wane After Sixteen Years

Well of course I’m going to end with a cheesy one, I’m a squishy wimp and I love them all. Except you, Brian. I know what you did.

I can also include “game development is hard” in every one of my entries, because it’s applicable everywhere. Forks. But as Dark Souls fans can attest, sometimes hitting your face against a block of sandstone over and over again because using a hammer “is a sign of weakness” makes you feel really good inside. It is the challenge that brings the greatest sense of satisfaction.

And that feeling doesn’t go away. It rises and recedes as all feelings do, but it never goes away. There’s something incredibly addictive about releasing a game after years and years of effort, having people play it for the first time and seeing smiles fill their faces. It’s one of my favorite feelings in the world. In fact, when I was younger playing Sonic the Hedgehog, I remember turning to my dad and saying “if I can make one person feel this good playing my game [one day], I’ll be happy” (because even as a child I was a little sap).

And what a prophetic little monster: I was and am very happy. The journey is always hard, but if I can make even one person smile by playing a game I worked on, it makes it all worth it.

For sixteen more years making smiles.

10 Things I Learned Working In The Gaming Industry

2. Studio Culture Exists Even When There’s No Studio

COVID-19 is a stinky boy. Nobody likes COVID-19. Not even the lovely COVID-19 granny who occasionally waves at you at the bus stop to try to offer you a taste of Werther’s Original infection…

But the coronavirus changed the way game developers work. Where studio managers once believed that the game studio was this absolutely must-have otherworldly hub of creativity, they’re now beginning to realize that it’s… just a place. Playsets can be built inside or outside the house…even under the house, if you live in a stilt house.

And what’s especially remarkable about that is… the camaraderie and spirit of the studio isn’t just confined to the confines of the building’s walls, it extends to wherever the developers work.

EA is the first AAA studio I’ve worked with after lockdown, and their approach to hybrid and remote work is exemplary, making sure to include video calls and incentive packages at every major milestone. I myself was skeptical about this way of working, but it didn’t take me long to be convinced of the benefits: not only could I reduce travel, but I didn’t lose the sense of communication and team spirit in the process.

Even when studying was removed from the equation, that study culture persisted.

Maybe the real study… was in our hearts all along.

That’s… that’s probably why I have to take tablets.

10 Things I Learned Working In The Gaming Industry

3. Organisation And Workflow Matter More Than Ever

Did you know that Deathloop is significantly more complex than Arkanoid? don’t lie. You didn’t know that. But it is.

There is a lot more work involved in building a more complex game, but this in turn requires a lot more organization. And sure, you have producers there to keep you on track, but they’re there to make sure you deliver your completed coloring books on time; you have to learn to color inside the lines on your own.

As games grow in complexity, so do file paths and naming structures, methods for checking in and out of files, and the need for good file hygiene.

What is good file hygiene? Well, have you ever opened up your mom’s laptop to fix it, only to find about a hundred and eighty-six wordpads, all named “New_Wordpad_029HOWTOMAKE..RHUBARBCRUMBLEGOOGLE”? That’s bad file hygiene. Bad, mom.

When working in Photoshop (or pretty much any software, really, but we’ll use Photoshop as an example), you should keep in mind that this file will probably be used by three, five… even ten different people, so you need to make sure that everything is as clear as possible. Be sure to present your art layers like the King of Games is coming to the studio.

It’s a huge shame for a fellow developer to open her file only to cringe in fear and stammer, “and… you live like this?!”.

10 Things I Learned Working In The Gaming Industry

4. Elevating Those Around You Pays Dividends

The gaming industry itself can be just as competitive as the games we make. Graduates from classes of thirty to forty students can often find themselves vying for the few entry-level positions available after college, and when the standards are this high, it can be a close battle.

Yet despite all that competition, the real power is in the camaraderie. Once you’re at the door, it’s best to leave your fists there permanently; Those who truly engage with their colleagues, humbly but enthusiastically, tend to go the furthest, in my experience.

Don’t be afraid to give up a task to someone else whose strength lies in that area, and don’t be afraid to say when your strengths lie elsewhere when a task is better suited to a partner.

Your elders will see that maturity of character and you will be rewarded in turn. Standing up for others might seem counterintuitive when you really wanted that task to show how much you can do, but when something comes along that’s exactly what you’re best at, that same person will be the first to recommend it. And that’s how a great team works.

And then we all kiss.

10 Things I Learned Working In The Gaming Industry

5. Brand Snobbery Wastes Time

One of the most common questions I get asked on LinkedIn and Twitter by aspiring game developers is, “What software do I need to learn? I can’t afford Maya…”

And that’s pretty worrying: I grew up on a estate eating fish sticks and gravel for tea. I know what it’s like to have to stretch a pound coin. However, many game developers overcome the brutal barrier of entry that is the fortune required to maintain industry standard software at even a semi-professional or commercial level.

Sure, students take a break with the subsidized or free versions, but what happens after that? Adobe is like a drug dealer, giving you a little free sample, before leaving you dependent on that sweet, expensive Premiere Pro.

But the industry is relaxing a bit. You can use Blender. You can use GIMP. You can use any number of cheap or free pieces of software without worrying about judgment or, more importantly, compatibility issues.

On the 2D side, I now almost exclusively use Callipeg, Procreate, Pixaki and Krita, even in AAA games. As long as it doesn’t cause pipeline problems and your software is legitimate/accepted by your principals, you don’t need to spend a fortune on software you don’t need just because it’s the best of the professional stuff.

Plus, by not subscribing to the truly exorbitant Adobe Creative Suite, you can now literally afford anything in the universe!

10 Things I Learned Working In The Gaming Industry

6. Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks

And before you ask, yes, this list is going to be exclusively filled with clichés. It is what it is, folks. What will be will be. Whatever happens, happens, you know?

What becomes increasingly apparent in my rapidly aging mind is that I graduated from college in my mid 20’s (I refuse to say “20’s”), so most of the computer art techniques I I’ve used it as my basics are now…pretty old fashioned.

What happened is, like the Ship of Theseus (something you hadn’t even heard of until Vision talked about it, despite pretending otherwise), I replaced elements of my training with more contemporary techniques until finally, everything what I had learned has been overwritten

And even beyond that, I’ll find myself talking to a graduate or junior artist and discover, “wow, I have no idea about any of this. When the hell did they teach this?”

It is at this point in time that you can become stubborn, a real ass (not a womanizer, I mean hybrid donkey), or you can concede that the fresh-blooded youngsters know better and ask them to teach you. your lit-yolo-peng ways to become a better developer overall.

Humility rarely asks to come into your life; You prefer to break down the door and confront yourself with your own limitations as a person. All you can do is choose to deny them outright or accept them… and get a high-key wet W.

10 Things I Learned Working In The Gaming Industry

7. Hostility Towards Developers Is Growing

I’ve written countless articles about the growing animosity towards developers (which I guess is facilitated by a combination of ease of connecting with them via social media, growing popularity of YouTubers who often don’t know much about what they’re criticizing when they demonize developers and increase the transparency of the development process across the board).

However, nothing really prepares you for its intensity.

I think the first time I was scammed was during my time on Driver: San Francisco, when a fan got too close, got mad when I didn’t disclose information, and searched for my information online (resulting in me sending threats to my family). . That was a scary moment, and I thought it would be an isolated incident. However, as is often the case with the passage of time, my own assumptions made me look ridiculous.

Things are infinitely worse now.

I attended a seminar on “how to prosecute online cruelty” that a studio I used to work for put on for all developers (but especially young ones), in order to address the seemingly inevitable attacks on our skill, privacy, and product. . The fact that that was real scares the trumpet out of my pants, and yet, even on the calmest of days, I get at least a couple of abominable comments on my direct messages.

You’d think you’d eventually become desensitized to it, but you never really do.

10 Things I Learned Working In The Gaming Industry

8. “Specialise Or Die” Is A Myth

Do you know a nickname I was given a few years ago? The Concierge of Art. Basically, I had become the go-to person for all the things that needed to be done: animation, 2D art, some storyboards… I hadn’t really found a niche, a specialty, so I had become the “master of none” friend (not Aziz Ansari).

At first, he hated it. But as time went on, I realized that he had become my strength.

It’s typical when starting out in a studio to be asked what your specialty will be – most studios have definite career arcs to follow, so it makes sense to follow them.

And for most roles, yes, you’ll likely find you’ll be working in a specific career niche (and some love a particular part of game development so much that it makes sense for them to specialize), but despite the “official” channels that push you to find your corner to work, there will always be room for generalists or experts in all trades.

If you’re more of a generalist or love working on multiple different aspects of a game, you’re usually supposed to be better off looking at smaller teams, on indie titles. But even the biggest AAA teams are beginning to appreciate the value of Art Janitor, so if you’re a dev without a niche, don’t worry.

Hold that mop tight and bloom.

10 Things I Learned Working In The Gaming Industry

9. For The Biggest, Most Profitable Media Format Of All, The Game Dev World Is A Small One

I constantly find myself joining a new studio for a project or two, only to find that many of my former colleagues are there as well. The narcissist in me likes to think it’s just to get closer to me, but the truth is probably just that, beyond a certain point, everyone knows everyone.

You may have heard that there is an AAA “senior shortage”; It’s true… up to a point. That’s because developer migration (from one studio to another) happens so freely now, often at an intermediate level, that many don’t get a chance to move up to seniority. That’s because studios, eager to get the best talent, will offer good incentives for developers to migrate (and if it’s a more exciting project for the individual, that’s too big a temptation to ignore).

So it’s no big surprise that you eventually end up in this big career turn, cyclically meeting the same faces over and over again as you’re found for an exciting new project. So it makes sense to be as kind, honest, and hard-working as possible; you will most likely find them again very soon.

… although I still think that my irresistible charisma is the main driver of all meetings.

10 Things I Learned Working In The Gaming Industry

10. If Gaming Is Your Only Hobby, You’re A Worse Developer

It’s not to say that developers don’t love to play games, or play them often, or even spend a lot of time researching them. But if that’s all they do, nine times out of ten, these individuals have a very limited sense of creativity.

And we’ve heard all the comments: “go touch the grass” or “how did that basement stink?” – There’s still a bit of a preconception that we all wear faded Doom 3 t-shirts and build up a body odor reduction radius like we’re training for a spicy body contest. But most of us have pretty broad interests, and we’re better off for it.

One of my former colleagues who worked in animation was a great ice skater, and she surprised everyone by being the only one able to immediately animate a very strange-looking character who, you guessed it, glided across the floor as if on skis. . Writers tend to watch a lot of movies, read a lot of comics and poetry. In my experience, character artists tend to build up the body a bit (one told me he was sick of creating all these guys with abs, now he uses his own body as a reference).

Inspiration can come from many places, and if you spend all your time inside the box, you may never know you’ve ever been in one.

10 Things I Learned Working In The Gaming Industry

10 Things I Learned Working In The Gaming Industry

For an industry full of experts, there is much to learn.

However, since we are all students until the day we die, those remarkable things tend to change as time goes on.

I have now worked in the industry for almost sixteen years, which still amazes me to think: how is it possible to have worked on so many projects and still feel like I am catching up with my peers?

And yet, when I look at the breadth of work, the number of different games we’ve all created, and the things we’ve accomplished, it’s hard to think of that time as wasted.

I’m learning new techniques, systems, and mantras every day, but for now, let’s take a look at an updated and refreshed list of some of the things I’ve learned while working in the gaming industry.

10 Things I Learned from Working in the Gaming Industry

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One thought on “10 Things I Learned from Working in the Gaming Industry

  1. putlocker November 7, 2022 at 3:07 am

    Cynthia Puca

    Reply

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