Monday, June 6, 2011

Reasons to avoid the Game Industry

So before I start telling you about the positive side of the Game Industry, here are the negative things that you should know.

Crunch time
From Alpha to Beta stages of the game it is crucial to be at work everyday. During this stage you’ll be polishing the game and fixing bugs from the QA testers. During this time you cannot take any vacation time, which can last up to 2-4 months, if not more. If you’re lucky, you’ll get testers that know what they are doing, if not you’ll get bugs that take days to fix or testers that don’t know what a bug is or how to describe it. As sad as that sounds, there are testers out there getting hired that don’t understand what a bug is and you’ll waste hours obtaining the information you need from them to continue.

With crunch time usually comes a lot of overtime. This can depend how badly, or smoothly things are going and you may end up staying all day and into the night which can be difficult when you have family at home.

Constant Learning
The is also a good thing for those that like learning, as you'll be doing a lot of it, especially when you first start out. You'll be constantly learning new languages, software’s, engines etc, and you have to do it quickly and effectively. The Game Industry is constantly evolving and you will be doing a lot of research at work and at home.

Making games requires a LOT of work
No matter what your position (Programmer, Artist, Designer, and Producer) there's always something to do. At the beginning of the project, you will be doing lots of documentation, and then implementation of new features followed by testing and bug fixing. That’s a pretty general overview of a project. There’s also the fact that something you had been working hard on can be cut from the game and you have to move on. You may also work on a game or feature that you don't like at all, so you'll have to suck it up, or find work at a studio that makes the genre of games you like. Everything you do will depend on something or someone else which can slow you down and be very frustrating. You have to manage your time efficiently, and you’ll be dealing with pressure and stress on most days.

Creative Input
With what I mentioned before about not getting attached to a feature, creative input links into that. With some studios, you will get paid to do the job you are assigned to and that’s it. They won't care if you get a breakthrough idea or if you point out that something is stupid or doesn't make sense. Obviously not all studios are like this, but if sharing your ideas is something you really like, this is something to ask during an interview.

Studios sometime take a lot of risks in order to create their video games. If you are not comfortable working in a risky industry, making video games may not be for you.

Finding a job
This is probably the hardest thing to do if you don't have any experience in the game industry. You may have to move far to work for some studios, depending where you live. This is one of the many reasons why people will stop trying to get into the Game Industry, as they don’t want to leave family, friends, their home, etc.

With everything I've mentioned so far, you can see that it can be hard to raise a family with all the stress, overtime, and moving around. So make sure that this is what you want in life. If you're thinking of starting a family, these are quite a few things to consider.

There is often a misconception that because you love playing games, making them will be just as fun but this career has it’s downfalls too. As you can see making games can sometimes be just as boring and tedious as any other job so don’t be too quick to think it’s all glamorous.


Ruben said...

Hey Ben, it's Axis from gw. Just wanted to comment on this post and I have to say, that is pretty much standard for a lot of the technical jobs out there. Especially if you're dealing with 'Media' related side of tech (ie: Games, TV, Movies, content distribution).

I work in the TV world and I have to say most of what you put down is pretty relevant to what I've experienced. Especially the constant need to learn part and troubleshooting.

If you don't like to learn new things, going into the Media field would not be ideal. People are always looking for the latest and greatest feature at the cheapest cost. The people creating and distributing this have to constantly evolve and learn to keep up with trends that are constantly turning on a moments notice.

And with the world pretty much 25/8 now, you'll find me working in the wee hours upgrading, making changes so the consumers out there get the fancy doodads. Other than that, I find this work very rewarding. ^^



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