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"We Make Games!" Isn't Good Enough
by Andrew Grapsas on 04/22/11 12:20:00 pm   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

The cat is out of the bag.

You've been in the industry for a few years and are feeling frustrated. You've jumped from one pot of scalding water to the next, searching for the perfect dream job. Every time you leave, your employer is shocked into a silent stupor. Or, maybe they’re afraid they’ll be emotional. Still, you have an inkling that they just don’t give a damn.

The people were keeping you there, the other guys and gals in the trenches right next to you battling to make the game “great”, resolve the final cert issues, and push the product out the door. But, one-by-one, they left, or you became too frustrated to keep your slipping grip on your keyboard. You just had to let go. Your internal “too much” meter was triggered and, inside, you were beginning to feel like a carved out pumpkin.

And... it’s dead.

I can only point to anecdotal evidence; but, from where I sit, as a game developer, I’ve seen a lot of my friends and former colleagues choosing one of two paths: to either go independent or leave games. The younger the developer, the more likely they are to follow one of those two paths. This is especially true of engineers.

I’ll get into why independence is appealing.

But, why leave games? In fact, let’s ask a simple question: why not enter games?

I teach a graduate course on game engine architecture. Most of the brilliant programmers I’ve encountered go off to work for either a small start up, or a megabeast of a software company. There are some huge motivators and deciding factors. I’ll get into them in a few moments. Keep reading.

Plumbers and pipes. 

When I say plumber, what comes to mind? Jeans slipping down revealing a crevice large enough to fit a sofa, perhaps? Definitely not an elegant individual with brilliance to spare and a motivated intelligence capable of slicing a man in twixt. No, certainly not.

Think about the engineers in your organization. Think about your interactions with them. Do you (or the other people at your company) treat them like plumbers? “Oh, it’s borked. Fix it.” Do you send them off to do tasks without thinking about how hard the tasks are, how important they are, etc. Are they full-time? Do they have a full-time say in what they do? Or, are they thumbing hair out of a u-bend constantly? When was the last time you genuinely sat them down and asked what they wanted to do?

Software engineers aren’t plumbers.

Look at the open source community. To some degree, the existence of open source is a means of venting frustration -- frustration at not having the creative freedom to build. It takes bravery and curiosity to create. Are you using your engineer’s creativity to its fullest? Or, are you ordering them around like a plumber you’d call in to fix an overflowing toilet?

Developer-centric companies have been easily skimming the best programmers from the software world. Why? How do they do this? Conversely, small companies seem to have the same ineffable ability to find talented, capable programmers and hold them for some time? How? How can that translate to other organizations?

Hiring ain’t easy.

I’ve been on both sides of the hiring equation. I’ve said no to companies. Why? Well, their environments didn’t appeal to me, or I met managers I didn’t like. Worse, the office space might have been atrocious. Please read Peopleware. Please. How much did these companies invest in attempting to hire me? Well, there’s the time they spent to do initial interviews and subsequent interviews -- precious moments taken from developers’ schedules -- and the cash they threw to agencies and ads. There’s a deep cost to trying to hire someone. If they want me, and I say no, that’s a huge loss.

On the flip side, it’s very difficult to find the exact person you want. You need to find someone that will work within the constraints of your company (money, work attire, social environment, projects, etc.) and have the ability to succeed at the necessary tasks. Most importantly, you probably need them ASAP.

We aren’t cars.

When you buy a car, you haggle. It’s worth a shot, right? That car is still going to have the same features and work the same way, regardless of how much cash you manage to get the dealership to part with.

Why are you haggling with your developers? Why are you holding back in giving them the best “experience” ever?

A lower paid developer with less benefits is not the same developer as one that isn’t worrying about salary, isn’t worrying about benefits, and isn’t worrying about any other external factors.

Caveat: I am not advocating paying more. Paying beyond a certain threshold does not motivate people to do more work. Rather, I’m saying the “threshold” to be happy has to be met. If you don’t know the threshold, aim high! What’s the worst that happens? You’re overpaying a developer a few thousand dollars and he or she is happy?

If you’re not paying a developer enough, what’s the worst that happens? He or she leaves. That’s a severe consequence.

Sports teams actively recruit the best and the brightest. They appeal to them through nearly any means necessary. What are you doing to appeal to your engineers, designers, or artists? How’s your work environment? Crowded? Amply lit? What about benefits? Are they at a point where your devs simply won’t worry about them? How worried, in general, are your devs? About life? About work? About life-work?

A car can’t worry. A developer can. A developer that’s worried will not only under-perform, but seek avenues to alleviate that concern -- leaving.

We’re quiet. Get used to it.

Many developers are quiet about their needs. It just works that way. Then again, how actively are you inquiring into our happiness? How engaged are you in resolving our issues? Plumber? Plumber? Plumber anyone?

I’ve been told, “Well, you should’ve reminded us you wanted more money!” at a year review. I had joined the company with a verbal agreement that, if I’d performed well, they would match, within a year, a very high offer from another company. I was told I should have made them aware of the fact. Yet, I was hired to be an engineer. Should I also be a haggler, a business person, AND an engineer? As an engineer, engineering is my primary concern.

You worry about the rest.

“We make games!”

Moral of the story:

Are you trying to keep your developers at your office by saying that you make games? Do you believe that’s enough to hold them there?

Guess what? Other people make games, too!

And we can make games without you.

Most of us programmers were awe struck at some point in our early lives by some game. That’s why we’re in the industry. That’s why we love working on games.

Yet, if a programmer is being treated like a call-in plumber, to solve a problem without being truly invested, to cure a clog without having built the piping system, or without the proper motivating systems, how long will that plumber-programmer stay? How important is he or she to your operation?

“Millions of people will play this game!” There are millions, if not billions, of grommets in the world. Would I rather engineer a Porsche? Or a grommet?

“Freedom!”

Independence is, in and of itself, appealing. The forefathers of the United States saw this and utilized the concept to motivate a populace in rebellion against a much stronger foe. Game developers are, rapidly, realizing that we can strike out on our own and be moderately successful.

This is especially true of engineers. We have hard skills that are in demand and capable of crafting unique and appealing systems. We’re the fundamental linchpin in software. Without us, there would be no software!

With mobile booming, xbox allowing indies, and the PC reigniting through digital distribution, how are you going to keep us working on “your projects”? What’s to keep us there?

Sure, there’s security; but, that only goes so far, doesn’t it? Additionally, an engineer may stay to feel secure, surely, but are you getting the most out of him or her? Why are you hobbling your own developer? Engineers thrive on creating. When stifled, these individuals will not perform.

Developers, developers, developers.

As a developer, I have choices to make. Do I want to work for a company where I’m a plumber, constantly being told what to do? Where other people hold my project future in their hands? This is a very traditional model. It’s predominant. Engineers are given work to do, just like in school, with varied performance.

What happens when you unleash the inmates?

Ask Valve.

Developer-centric and start up almost need to be synonymous. In most start ups, the power distribution is broken evenly or slightly in-skew of the engineer. Why is this? Well, first, there are few cooks, few invested individuals. Secondly, in a software system on a small team, it’s nearly impossible to replace the engineers, right? Think about it, they own the code. They’re the only developer to ever touch it. They understand the in’s and out’s. How would you replace them? So, they typically have a good amount of control.

This control is appealing.

Additionally, there can be a good amount of celebration, right? Even for little features. “We have our first creature moving through the environment!!! BEERS!”

This feeds into:

Challenge --> Mastery --> Recognition.

In Summary

Well, that was a bit ranting; but, I hope you got the primary message. Engineers need to be looked at less as commodities and more as strong investments that the company is making. A good engineer can add huge amounts of value to a company; but, ask yourself, what value are you adding to that engineer and his or her life?

I guess, ask not what an engineer can do for your company, but what your company can do for an engineer.

Have a good weekend!

About the Author

Andrew Andreas Grapsas is a game programmer at Arkadium, Inc. developing facebook games. Previously, he was a gameplay and animations programmer at Kaos Studios|THQ, and intern systems programmer on Medal of Honor.

Andrew is actively writing and programming for various projects. You can read more at his blog aagrapsas.com. He promises to update it soon.

Follow Andrew on twitter!


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Comments


Tiago Raposo
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Andrew, amazing message. Seriously, changed my view on developers. I'm on the verge of starting a startup, in games, and your text game me a very important piece to the puzzle. Thank you.



Oh, and I'm sending it to my boss too. :)

Tim Carter
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There is no reason why great developers should be "kept" by game companies.



Is the point to serve the game companies or the individual game developers?



If anything, the great developers should feel free to leave whenever they want, and then entirely new game companies should be built around them.



(That's called a free agent model. And it is what happens in that paradigm.)

Andrew Grapsas
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The point is to serve both, Tim.



If you can show me an example of the free agent model working for both the employer and employee in an industrial capacity, awesome; but, I really have my doubts about it holding water.



Why, as a very skilled engineer, would I want to work "free agent" (to me, means freelance, or contract) when I can get benefits, instead, and feel part of a team, invested in a company, etc.? Humans inherently want to socialize and be part of a successful, supportive community. A company is a natural extension. The difficulty comes when the relationship is broken.



What exactly are you advocating?

Tim Carter
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A creator shouldn't even be thought of as an employee. To me, that is obscene. Throughout art history, creators have *always* been free agents. And yet, for some reason the game industry has made an exception to this decades - nay, centuries - old rule.



Why you would want to work as a free agent is to develop your own name, run your own ship and control your own destiny. Free agents in film also have benefits, because they are unionized.



What makes you think that free agents are loners? Every film director you can think of was or is a free agent. They know lots of people. They totally work in a community. Watch the Oscar ceremonies. ALL the talent you see are free agents! Do they look like they are not part of a community?



More arguments from game developers about why something won't work *before* they've even tried it out or know anything about it.

Carlo Delallana
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I just have this view that free agency benefits developers who already "made it" in the first place.



I wonder if we're organically heading this way with all the disruption that is happening in the space. Fan funded projects (Kickstarter) are allowing creators to interact directly with the people who would likely be attracted to the project and the talent behind it,

Tim Carter
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Yeah, you might be right. The ones who want to be free agents might be the hungry ones with talent.



The problem with fan-funded games is you're going to be working to the lowest common denominator. You'll never be able to fund something that is extraordinarily risky. You won't be able to raise a lot of money.



Yet we have, over here, a huge pile of money from the film industry, just waiting for a way in here. (I know. I've talked to these people.) Problem is, the game industry has not sorted out its shit yet as a creative industry. It still runs itself as a software development industry and, frankly, is sloppy and disorganized when it comes to communicating creative ideas.



But instead of organizing and cleaning up the game industry so we can do business with those guys, who can fund us to the tune of millions, we'll go to the fans. It makes no sense.

Maurício Gomes
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Funny thing is: I always dreamed in beinga game develper, and now I am happy being a regular software developer...



People wonder: How?



It is simple: First, they hired me as free agent.

Second, they do what this article says, including allowing me to create.

Third, they know my importance... I asked them a sum of money that I was happy with, and they RAISED it, they asked me to join them for MORE money (not less!).

While all the offers form Game Industry were so ridicously low that they could not even pay my rent.

Steven An
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My opinion: Not everyone has the capital, financial and otherwise, to have a more long-term view like Valve does, and thus studios tend to treat engineers like plumbers rather than architects. Companies like Valve and Blizzard are in a league of their own. It's OK for them to have a crazy burn rate and take their time on games because they know that they have millions of loyal fans who will buy that game whenever the hell it comes out. So it's really not much of a risk for Valve to, for example, take 4+ years making EP3. Or for them to re-invent TF2 a few times.



Other companies? Not so much. If they take an extra year, that could kill the company financially, because there's a good chance the game will just flop. So the products tend to get rushed, and a rushed engineer is a disrespected engineer. Creativity? Hah - yeah right. Fix those bugs before the next milestone, and then we can talk about creativity. Unless there's another milestone right after that one. And unless we end up just firing everyone afterwards because the game didn't get enough preorders to make the publisher happy. The reality is, you'll never get enough time to do things "the right way" or be creative and build something great. There are too many fires to fight, because the company is just barely staying alive.



What I'm far more interested in is how companies like Rocksteady did it. Here was a no-name studio that had zero reputation, they got a comic book license (the kiss of death for most games), yet they knocked it out of the ball park. Now? They're untouchable, and as long as they maintain their quality, they're on their way to join the ranks of Valve and Blizzard.

Steven An
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Another thing to consider: As an engineer, one thing I value is the quality of the people I work with. The most valuable thing one can gain from a job - beyond pay and benefits - is experience and wisdom. I will gladly work with John Carmack and be his bug-fix-bitch for minimum wage for a year. No kidding. Because the amount of stuff I would learn during that experience would be invaluable. Not to mention I'd get a killer rec from JOHN EFFING CARMACK if I do a great job fixing his bugs for him. So if you want to build a great company and keep great people, start with great people. Revolutionary, I know.

Jack Garbuz
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I agree. Engineers are generally great people to work with, usually very nice and very knowledgeable. It's the major reason I enjoyed being a technical writer more than I did being a businessman years earlier on. Engineers deal with facts. They are not ruthless and power mad like their bosses. And because they are so reasonable and nice, they are so easy to exploit. They could do so, but usually won't sabotage their company. They usually don't engage in violence, or threats thereof. INstead, they sublimate and hide their anger in overwork, or by playing violent video games instead :) You'll rarely see engineers or software developers going on strike or joining the teamsters. But you know what they say. Nice guys finish last. But not their projects, in order to keep their bosses happy.

Steven An
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And, I really take issue with this: "As an engineer, engineering is my primary concern. You worry about the rest." I really, really disagree with that. You are not just an engineer - you are a human being. As a human being, you need to worry about other stuff, like your own happiness. If you have problems and don't feel like you're being fairly compensated, you should speak up. That's what healthy human beings do.

Mike Krazanowski
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Great article. Many companies lose track of the fact that employees are people and need to not be treated the same as the "overnight build script".



Re: Hiring ain't easy:

It is obvious that companies are evaluating prospective employees when an interview happens. What a lot of companies fail to understand is that the employee is also evaluating the company in an interview and those prospective employees that are not as insecure as they used to be will pass on the company if the company isn't professional during the interview. In other words, asking about "why is a manhole cover round" may be interpreted as irrelevant to the posted position and therefore a waste of the interviewee's time. There are so many relevant ways to evaluate a prospect, if you don't want them to waste your time, don't waste theirs.



Re: We aren't cars - what’s the worst that happens?:

I disagree, a leaving disgruntled employee can be bad, but a staying disgruntled employee can be worse. The suck resources, under-perform, miss deadlines (causing others to miss deadlines) and bring down the morale of the team you are trying to keep happy.



Keep in mind that you (the manager or co-worker) may be causing them to be disgruntled. Reprimanding or humiliating them in a common area, degrading their work, undervaluing their sacrifice etc. may be causing them to lose focus on their task and cause them to focus on reacting to your behaviour. Conflict happens, if you don't deal with it professionally it will likely cost you later.



Re: We’re quiet. Get used to it: I should have made them aware:

Agreed. The alternative is a workforce trained to bargain for perks every time they feel they have an advantage. This results in a team not focussed on completing the project, but on leveraging themselves for the most profit.



Re: Developers, developers, developers: Recognition is necessary for all employees.

The problem is that it is really easy to get frustrated with technical types because the likelihood of their work having a fault is higher and the fix not nearly so simple. A normal map has a weird spot? Not a huge problem. The game has a small memory leak that takes 8 hours to reproduce? Frustrated.



The problem with recognition is that (almost) nobody cares if you developed a better memory allocation system, or manage where the game assets are stored or accessed or improve streaming off of disc. Unfortunately, those that deserve the most recognition get ignored as the plumbers you mentioned and only noticed when things go wrong. It is easy to recognize visual improvements but it is just as important to recognize those improvements made behind the display.



I think this message goes not only for engineers but all game developers. If you are managing your company correctly, nobody in your ranks should be treated like a plumber (unless they are a plumber), everybody has a critical role in creating your product. If they don't, why are you paying them to be there?



Final point: How much does it cost to search for, relocate, integrate and ramp-up a new employee? How about a whole team? It is something that is worth thinking about if you aren't careful how you treat your team.

Andrew Grapsas
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@Steven:



"As a human being, you need to worry about other stuff, like your own happiness. If you have problems and don't feel like you're being fairly compensated, you should speak up. That's what healthy human beings do."



I totally agree. The point is you "shouldn't" have to. You should be happy with how it's all going, because when you're not, you're distracted. I'm not telling an engineer how to live, I'm telling a company how to view an engineer.



@Mike:

Awesome comments.



I totally agree that respecting employees is hugely important, as is removing employees that just don't make sense to be there. If someone is unhappy and there's no way to make them happy, there's no point in them being there. Being professional, empathetic, and rational are very, very important.



And, definitely, I keep saying engineers, yet, in many ways, this applies to all game developers/humans.



As for your final point: exactly!



Awesome, thank you so much for reading, guys! I'm always awed by the responses I get :)

Ed Alexander
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This Mike-guy appears to be quite knowledgeable and has indeed left us with some wise words. I suspect he's seen some things in his day. (♥ Kraz)



This has been quite an interesting article. While I've only been in for 3 years, it didn't take long to see that this is an industry of passion and that passion is often exploited. As I've talked with people I've worked with and listened to their stories as well as see them happen in real time, there are some pretty hardcore things developers go through in their time.



I can't hold a candle to some of the experiences some of my colleagues have gone through; by comparison, I have a bleeding hangnail and others have been jumped and mugged by a gang of thugs. So when my friends or family hear that I'm working 16 hour days or haven't had a day off in a month and gape at how gnarly that is, I can't even acknowledge that as "valid", you know?



Working conditions in this industry sure are something else.

Robert Boyd
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Although a lot of the stuff said in this article makes sense, sometimes you just want a plumber. As the leader of a small indie team, I'd love to have a plumber programmer - someone to handle UI, ports, bug fixes, and general nitty gritty stuff so that I could focus more on game design, marketing, and team coordination. I'd be afraid that if I tried to hire that kind of person, that they wouldn't be content and would try to take over the creative aspects.

Kenneth Bowen
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"A lower paid developer with less benefits is not the same developer as one that isn’t worrying about salary, isn’t worrying about benefits, and isn’t worrying about any other external factors."



Game companies tend to say "Hey you're making games, thats why we pay everyone less." I think that salary threshold contributes to the amount skilled labor that shifts out of industry. When you're making 50 and struggling to make ends meet for a family, most programmers I know will just take another job with more consistent hours paying 80. It's sad and frustrating.

Ian Richard
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Just because I CAN work like a machine... I CAN work for days without sleep... just because I CAN track down every bug for each department doesn't mean I can do it forever.



I worked at a small company that I genuinely believe cared about us. I worked double and triple hour weeks because I truly believed in our projects. Time and time again I cancelled plans with family and friends because the company needed me. Yet... I take one sunday off because I have a fever and I'm looked down on like a terrible employee.



The problem with being a weak and fragile human being is that we break down under constant stress. My health went downhill, my weight went up, my relationships dive-bombed, I realized my creative vision was worthless and overall... I broke.



From a broken developer's perspective... companies shouldn't forget that even programmers are human. Writing software isn't a magical "Turn zeros to ones" process. We work hard to bring someone else's creative vision to life... and a little recognition go a long was at making us feel like our effort is appreciated.



And if we make the milestone? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD LET ME SLEEP! :)

Jack Garbuz
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It's unfortunate that slavery was officially abolished, because then they could chain you to your desks and whip you! That would be less hypocritical.

The unfortunate reality is that engineers and developers are a dime a dozen in India and in large swaths of the world.

It's a cruel world. You are dispensable.

Andrew Grapsas
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Engineers and developers a dime a dozen in other parts of the world? This is so true! Go ahead and work with them, I dare you. Really, do it. Not even joking.



I've had extensive experience with overseas teams. Let's not even pretend they're part of the issue. Agile, lean, and scrum all say to utilize co-located teams or to reduce the distance in the "supply chain" (JIT'ing in Lean).



There's a reason for this. The farther your developers are away from the core, the longer the lag in event, analysis, response, re-evaluation. Software is very, very difficult to make. It will always remain difficult to build. That is never going to change. So, adding the extra difficulty of different cultures, different languages, lag in communication, and the "lack of ownership" that results from being an out sourced programmer and you've created a funnel of chaos.



Even out sourced code written in the United States can result in massive issues. I've fixed those bugs. I've been part of the team assigned to re-write that code. Out sourcing isn't cheap, either, if you're aiming for anything comparable to an in-house team.



And, at the end of the day, would you rather have a local engineer you can talk to, whom you trust and value, and who's knowledge will stay at your company, or some transient that will then go and build your competitor's product, who will add no value to your company other than a few lines of buggy code?



I don't have Peopleware in my hands, go look up the average faults per 100 lines of code written by an internal house with programmers that "care". Also, note how the faults become less as the quality of the environment the programmers are in (corporate and physical) improves.

David Serrano
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Amen!

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Robert Madsen
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Yes, Dave, you are lucky!



Actually, as a 25 year veteran IT guy who recently broke into the game industry, I'm still pretty hyped about it. I mean, when I'm creating games I love it. I also chose to become an employee after 15 years of self-employment because, frankly, I was tired of having to run the business. I love to code. Coding games is even better. And when I found out I could get a job (with benefits...something I had gone 15 years without), show up, do what I love, and get paid every two weeks....man that was great!



The irony is that I am now self-employed again ("independent" sounds cooler). Two jobs, two years of working 12-15 hours a day, seven days a week for months at a time and this is what I have to show for it: good memories and I'm back where I started.



It's not really as bad as I make it. I am now recharged with indie spirit and feel up to the challenge of making it as an independent. But along the way I learned a lot, and most of what I learn agrees completely with Andrew. The studios I worked for depended 100% on my talent to get the game done, but showed 0% commitment to my well being other than they paid me a decent salary with benefits. I am not saying they were bad companies, just short-sighted in my opinion. As Andrew said, it cost a lot of money to hire me, then a lot more was invested in paying me. Then during a slump I get laid off (with others, I might say!) and now they will have to pay even more money to replace me when things pick up again.



As much as I was tired of running my own business, I'm also tired of being a commodity. I worked hard learning this trade, invested a lifetime of money and time, and frankly, I deserve better. And so do all those skilled people who are busting their butts to meet a studio deadline.



And about plumbers....I realized a long time ago two things about plumbers:



A. They are highly skilled at what they do

B. Most of them get paid more than I ever have!



So if a plumber can get the pay he deserves, then so can I. And some appreciation. And hell, a free soda or two.



My 2 cents.



Robert

David Serrano
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I've worked freelance and as a full-time employee during my career. Each has advantages and disadvantages which at the end of the day, I found ultimately cancel each other out. So I look at it as a choice between which type of problems and stress factors do you prefer? Those caused by a full time employer or those you choose for yourself?



But one aspect of working freelance I disliked was, you always feel like an outsider or a house guest when working on-site. Even if you're contracted for an extended period of time, staff employees view you as "the freelance guy." They're almost always friendly and polite but they never try to make you feel like you are part of their team. This often makes it difficult to take ownership over the work you preform.

Alan Youngblood
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@Andrew: wonderful article. I've recently fallen into the business side of game dev companies (albeit at a small startup) because I have a strong passion for the same thing as you: create a great environment for people to create games. I feel that business aspects are stifling innovation more than anything now. Our developers aren't stupid and lacking good ideas, we are just killing them off. That being said, I'm trying to solve the issue of making money whilst encouraging and curating creativity. It's difficult when you start working with the suits to get investments and such. They care about numbers first and foremost and we care about people. And adding value. My assumption is if you add value to people's lives you will make enough money to cover your expenses and profit to stay going.



My one amendment is that all the creative staff need to be treated well, not just the coders. I'm sure that's what you meant, although you hone in on them a lot. Artists and audio people need love too :) and anyone else that adds value for that matter.

Andrew Grapsas
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Hey, Alan!



That sounds great! I completely agree. And, yes, I did mean more than engineers :) I just slipped into that language from too many years of writing about software engineering. All employees deserve to be treated fairly, with respect, and with empathy as well as be provided with those elements that a company can furnish them.



I'd love to hear how your grand experiment turns out! I'm a big believer in "get great people, give them what they need, market the hell out of the end result" as a means of building great games.

Coray Seifert
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Love it! You rock dude. And Peopleware (your recommendation) is absolutely great. Must read for anyone making anything that requires any level of creativity.

Glenn Storm
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Another great article, Andrew, full of insight and truth. Yes, totally applicable to all devs.



In thinking of the overall way you're describing the level of attention, care and understanding that employers direct at employees, it seems that you're simultaneously describing a simple, universal professional approach that successful institutions seem have in common; speaking to the way employees treat each other, cross-team coordination, company-client relationships, even the way companies view their customers. This is reminiscent of something a wise team leader once told group of engineers at IBM some time ago.



Your first job is to help others achieve their goals.

Your second job is to achieve your own goals.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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"And we can make games without you."



"And we can make games without you."



"And we can make games without you."



Sorry, that needed to be triple quoted :).

Andrew Grapsas
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@Coray

I'm glad you read it! We really need to grab a beer and just have a chat about that one book.



@Glenn

Thanks, Glenn! The trends definitely expand beyond the boundaries of game development. Indeed, a lot of my perspective comes from Lean manufacturing, which has been applied to a variety of industries. Additionally, Peopleware, the Fifth Discipline, and countless other books by experts in manufacturing, software, and business all seem to resonate with the same simple philosophies -- treat people with respect and empathy, provide them with the power to be creative and succeed, and the company will thrive.



@Jeffrey

Haha, it's exciting to see what the independent community is doing. They really are proving the vitality and power of the individual developer. We really need to nurture talent, not push them outside of our companies.

digitalnomad RealmOfEmpires
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Success is not defined by your strengths. Success is conquering your vulnerabilities, your weaknesses.The 'road less traveled by' is taken by a very few people, but these are the people who make a difference. While watching the movie, i related 'The King' to the creator of Realm Of Empires with whom i have had the good luck to share the development of a successful game.

( article: http://unfurlingdreams.blogspot.com/2011/03/kings-speech-entrepre
neurs-life.html)



Going independent, and starting up a project requires giving up Monday-Friday schedule , every waking hour or sleeping thoughts , every discussion even with friends and family is about the work. A diehard developer struggles and struggles to find the last piece to fit the huge jigsaw puzzle he has build over the time. The struggle motivates them to cover yet another milestone.



It's my belief that every developer who has given his sweat, blood, tears to his work become KINGS.I have experienced every aspect , virtual teaming to inhouse teaming to develop a game on facebook, Realm Of Empires running successfully since the last 3 years.



Good luck to all those who follow the path less traveled to realize there dreams.


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