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Spector: 'One Hundred Hour Games Are On The Way Out'
Spector: 'One Hundred Hour Games Are On The Way Out' Exclusive
June 17, 2008 | By Stephen Jacobs, Mathew Kumar

June 17, 2008 | By Stephen Jacobs, Mathew Kumar
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    18 comments
More: Console/PC, Exclusive



How can game educators prepare their students for a place in the ever-changing games industry?

In this keynote from the Game Education Summit, held in Dallas last week, Junction Pointís Warren Spector and Disney Interactiveís Mark Meyers took a look at the issues inherent in the game biz, with Spector admitting heís "so tired of making games about guys in black leather carrying guns."

"I graduated with electrical and biomedical engineering and I never thought Iíd be in the game industry," opened Mark Meyers, now Vice President of Internal Studios at Disney Interactive. "Up until five years ago most people got into the game industry by accident!"

Meyers, who started out as an engineer before moving into design and then production, touched on changes to quality of life and demographics. "Working in game development is still a lot of hours, but it was at least eighty hours a week when I started," he said.

"Back in the day only 20% of the team members had kids and now it's more like 50%, and the whole industry is getting older, having kids, and needing those nights and weekends. We need good programs to back fill our organizations because weíre no longer our own demographic."

"Working in this industry everyoneís had their own disaster, and Sony was mine," he laughed. "EA was getting all the sports licensing, and everything kind of collapsed."

He related an anecdote speaking to team culture: "We were in this hacienda in San Diego, a crappy building where we lost power all the time, but everyone loved it. We moved to a new building with all the power we needed and everyone hated it and wanted to go back to the hacienda!"

"It's amazing what a simple thing like a move to a different building can change a studio, and I ended up moving to Disney. Disney is great because they understand a corporate culture and allow teams to keep their studio cultures even though they've been acquired."

Warren Spector, now creative director at the Disney-owned Junction Point studios, agreed. "We had a similar experience at Ion Storm when we made Deus Ex," he said. "We had a similar old rickety building we loved. We also moved to a new building which must have had the world's worst feng shui, and the culture fell apart."

"The culture is critical. I think it's even culture and team over talent at this point in my career. Find a home in a place thatís simpatico with you and make the games you like."

Disney Interactive

Continued Spector, "Building a game is as complex as making as a Hollywood movie. Do we have the right people and how do we harness creativity without crushing it? We are in a business that is both software engineer and entertainment, and we have to balance it. It used to be that you could trade off gameplay for graphics, but you canít do that anymore."

As he has often done in the past, Spector commented on his frustration with some of the dominant tropes of video games. "I love working with Disney because I'm so tired of making games about guys in black leather carrying guns. I donít want to make those any more," he said.

"Game costs are going to be $35-40 million, even $100 million, and the expectations are huge. You have to differentiate yourselves. One-hundred hour games are on the way outÖ How many of you have finished GTA? Two percent, probably. If we're spending $100 million on a game, we want you to see the last level!"

Even on the other end of the economic scale, Spector did not paint a rosy picture. "I heard people say that casual games are where to go as an indie, but you still need to differentiate yourself because thatís a really crowded field," he pointed out. "If you donít make it on the front page you donít get your game seen."

Shit Shots and Specialists

Meyers noted that new forms of distribution are bringing new development attitudes, which in turn bring new demands for educators. "The next console cycle may be mostly home distribution - downloadables and episodic games may be much more of the market and it means that on-line gaming and episodic content may be what you need to be teaching," he said.

"We also hear more and more about increased need for storytelling and it's almost a requirements at this point. Itís a changing dynamic. In the last year demand is going up and up."

Spector chimed in. "Thatís a sea change," he said. "A couple years ago - I wonít say the name or the company - they told me, 'Warren, you are not allowed to say the word story.' What we need is students who are innovative creative thinkers who want to be part of teams that push their limit."

He stressed the importance of team members who can bring creativity to any corner of a project. "I go to Pixar a lot and they talk a lot about guys who get 'shit shots' - the scene of Remy walking across the room or something," he recalled.

"The people who say 'I donít want to do that shit shot' last three weeks. The people who stay are the ones who can take that on and make it special. Thatís what we need - people who are going to make the boring parts special. People who push boundaries - and thereís maybe 20 guys in the world who do it now."

Meyers cautioned against narrow education. "Weíre getting a lot of specialists -- 'I program shaders, thatís all I do.' We donít want that," he argued. "There are some publishers who will tell you that those specialists are what they want, but -"

"If youíre going to be a specialist, you'd better be the best in the world," quipped Spector.

How Can Educators Help Students Meet Developers' Needs?

Meyers spoke on ever-increasing development team sizes. "In the 80s, a nine-man team was standard. PS2 development was huge, with forty man teams. PS3 and 360 - in our organization, the team size is 65-90, plus a couple million dollars in outsourcing. At points in time we can have 150 people working on a title," he said.

"Before, organization was flat: one leader who communicated with everyone. In the PS2 days, lead programmers and lead artists who've never managed anyone in their life had to lead others, and they didnít know how to have those tough conversations. Disney has a class to teach managers to have those conversations."

He called for more leadership training in development education. "Team sizes with leaders and managers have doubled, tripled, quadrupled, and needs are not being met today," Meyers went on.

"Most game developers have not had management and leadership training. For example, a lot of leaders and managers donít understand the difference and impact between talking to people in front of other people and taking them aside. If I came to Warren and said something like that I wanted a decreased costs, compressed time frame straight away? Warren'd jump ship!"

"Processes, communication, leadership, culture, vision and team fit are all vital," he emphasized. "We have to reassess what weíre doing and what weíre tasking people with weekly."

Meyers also touched on changes to the overall development timeline, which seems pre-production take a more important role than it traditionally has had, and was sure to point out the importance of team communication.

"Thereís always one guy who says 'Weíre going to do it my way,'" said Meyers, who admitted as a programmer that his programmers in particular can be poor communicators. "We need educators to really hone in on people skills and styles. They still should speak their minds, but not step over the bounds. Leadership and group dynamics are tough. In the industry the chances of getting good leadership mentors are really tough."

Spector agreed. "Give students 'touchy feely' skills," he said. "How to manage creativity without killing it. Compassion, tough conversations, understanding their audience, ability to lead, how to be a part of a larger group and understanding dependencies. Donít wait to do this at the end of the project. Do evaluations at the end of each milestone, and part of that is teamwork."

Development Education Must Adapt

Spector then laid out an overarching point about the amorphous nature of game development. "Vocational training doesnít meet our needs," he argued. "Platforms are always changing, technology moves faster than we train, focus on concepts instead of tools. At Pixar they say you can be a world expert on one film and useless on a second."

He noted the multidisciplinary nature of game design: "Your people need to love chaos, love change. Iíve had to know how WWII planes fly, how medieval castles work. If you havenít studied economics, you havenít studied game design. Psychology, game design are all about reward cycles. We need people who can tell us why they love the games they do. If you can just say, 'It was fun,' youíre not getting the job. You need critical and analytical skills."

"We need people who can see what comes next," concluded Spector. "For every position I have, I get to pick and choose the best. If all you have to show me is class projects and grades, I wonít even see you. If I tell you you probably wonít get a job in the industry and that scares you, get out now. That should make you push harder!"


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Comments


Daniel Prati
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Hmmm... sorry Warren, but I feel there's a fundamental problem with your reasoning here. There are plenty of us who already have all the skills you list and more, but have no way into the industry - it seems to me the games industry itself is the larger problem, not education.



As an example:



I'm in my 30's. I've been a gamer since the 70's. I started programming games for fun way back on the C64, and since then have devoted almost all of my spare time to game analysis and design. I love games across all genres and can hold my own at anything from Street Fighter to Civilization. I have extensive professional experience in creative design, 3d modeling, texturing, compositing/vfx, coding, team leadership, coordinating members of differing disciplines, dealing with management, shipping to deadlines, and I'm equally comfortable talking with (and bridging communication between) designers, artists, programmers and management - yet because I've gained this experience in other industries (and in my spare time), and thus never shipped an actual _game_, I can't even get an interview.



Sending a CV is useless if you can't list a few games and say "I worked on those". It doesn't matter how much you love games, how keen your design analysis and insight is, or how much you desperately want to drag gaming in new directions, because these are things you can only discover about someone by talking to them - and without those precious 'shipped titles' on your CV, you don't get that chance.



Furthermore, because I'm multi-skilled rather than a specialist, as well as having a family and a mortgage, I have no entry point into the industry, as all entry level jobs require hardcore specialisation, extreme time sacrifice, and/or low pay. (don't get me wrong - I'm no stranger to 100+ hour weeks with no overtime pay, and I'll do it all with a smile on my face, but if I can't spend at least a little time with my family and keep a roof over their heads, then its just not an option.)



The problem isn't that people with these skills don't exist, its that the games industry goes to great lengths to prevent us being a part of it. You're not the only one who's sick of the 'leather n guns', but until the industry opens its arms to those other than the ultra hardcore or those already in the industry, don't expect to see much else...



Now, I know with its ballooning budgets, the games industry has become rather 'high-risk' these days, and that developers will always favour those with a proven track record - but where does that leave us? Its a dangerous spiral, and the disconnect between the increasingly hardcore industry and the larger audience is already showing quite clearly. (my favourite example is Gear of War's hilariously mis-named 'casual mode', in which it is possible to be killed in the opening tutorial!) There are plenty of ways games can reach out to a far broader audience without going 'casual', yet (aside from niche titles like Guitar Hero) the industry seems to alternate violently between extreme hardcore and 1-dimensionally simple.



You need "people who can see what comes next"? Well we're out there - you just need to let us in.

Anonymous
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I agree with the above comment on the state of things, though I would add to a lot of the entry level folk out there, don't be against starting in a "Casual" games company. I did, I'm making enough to live on, I'm happy and my career at the very least is on the starting road to bigger things.

Anonymous
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I hear where you are coming from Daniel Prati. However with that logic thatís like saying i.e. I watch ER and know my anatomy, along with how to communicate with people and...and...and...etc... Why can't I be a surgeon?



You see what Iím saying... There is so much more to it! You are missing a HUGE chunk of what it takes to thrive and be an asset to a company if those are your bullet points to why you want to be in the games industry.



"entry level jobs require hardcore specialisation, extreme time sacrifice, and/or low pay."

Anonymous
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10:51, to be fair he's speaking at the "Game Education Summit" so he's talking to students. Although I agree that the games industry is a bit self-centered, I think it's getting better.



Many companies would give a shot at a resume with (reasonably well documented) everything you listed, so perhaps it's a problem in your expectations or the way you communicate: I have rejected many aspiring developers because they oozed that 'I know more than you' without experience or ability to back it up. That kind of attitude will get you ignored in any industry, not just games, and rightfully so.

Scott Allan
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Hi!



I agree with most of what this article is saying... such as the ideas of being versatile, and understanding a huge array of topics beyond just gaming. Game design should be reflective of what video games really are; a mix of every creative discipline known to man, plus all the factors and backgrounds of life any good story or character would entail.



But... what this article (and the uber long comment just below it) seem to miss is this; theres never ONE way of doing things; he mentions the 100 hour game being dead; that game companies don't want specialists... and the fellow posting the comment has his own list of "this is how the world works, period" ideas.



Truth be told, from my experiences, we should all know by now the world is not black and white. This article sounds like my orientation to Digipen; some dude getting up there on his soapbox and preaching to you about what has happened to HIM in particular; there are probably dozens of designers or directors out there who would argue many of the points made, if for no other reason than their experiences have been different. This "speech" was meant to instill his own ideas into young, inexperienced minds who may have been idealistically dreaming otherwise.



All that being said... he has alot of great points. But its just never a good idea to say "this is how things are, and don't go thinkin otherwise"... the world is only what you perceive and make it to be. There are rules to everything, but once you know how to play, you can always bend em enough to make a new game of your own. And I'd hope... a game designer would know that.

Steffen Gutzeit
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He mentioned the aspect of leadership. I believe it has a bigger impact than you would think of it in the first place.



"In the 80s, a nine-man team was standard."

-> small happy, family-like bunch of guys



"PS2 development was huge, with forty man teams. PS3 and 360 - in our organization, the team size is 65-90, plus a couple million dollars in outsourcing."

-> A bigger team now with even more pressure to come up with a financial successful game, so the need for some management arose and the one with the most written lines of code became lead programmer and the one with the most amazing drawn graphics became lead artist.



"At points in time we can have 150 people working on a title"

-> 150 people, hm I think the good artist and the programmer now don't do what they liked and where they have been successful anymore. They now have the task to manage the employees, doing crucial project decisions and keep the internal as well as the external communication going.



In my opinion it is not always the best choice to promote the most skilled guy into a direct management position, especially without providing some training how to keep employees motivated, how to structure projects, how to plan a timetable with milestones, how to boost internal ideas and suggestions and so on.

Daniel Prati
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1:21 - I think you need to re-read my post there :P My point is that I have years of professional experience in senior positions in design, 3d, etc (I've been lead/head of 3D and Creative in my company for about 8 years now), yet can't even get an interview for a mid-level position in the games industry because I haven't shipped a game? Its not like I don't have any proven skills, yet believe I'm the next Molyneux! (And my point about entry level jobs is that they're basically impossible if you have a family and mortgage because of the money/time restrictions)



1:32 - You make good points, and I can certainly see how my attitude could come across with that kind of arrogance (bear in mind I was simplifying and generalising somewhat so my post didn't go for 3 pages), but it all comes down to being impossible to prove I can do the job without having already done the job, if you follow my meaning - my point is that most of the requirements for design are things that aren't easily quantifiable on paper, yet can be gleaned fairly easily in a conversation. (I'm not so foolish as to expect to land a design position out of the blue, but at least an interview would be nice!)



Scott - I think you're in-turn oversimplifying my post there, as I'm not saying that this is EXACTLY how it is everywhere, but surely you can understand my frustration at having the required skills, yet seemingly not having a chance because I developed those skills outside the industry? My point was meant to be less "boo-hoo poor me", and more about how closed the industry generally is, but I can only speak from my own experience after all. I still hope to get into the industry some day, its just frustrating to read interviews like this lamenting the lack of multiskilled people, while at the same time the industry has such a high level of competition at the entry level that it largely forces specialisation as a result, and mid-level jobs are largely impenetrable for those outside the industry even though there's a wealth of versatile, flexible people out there.





Allow me to ask a question in return - how should someone like me go about creating a CV that can demonstrate all the skills Warren mentioned in this article and have a chance at an interview without having already worked in the games industry? Nothing I've written is a lie or exaggeration, yet as the above posts show, its easy to be regarded as arrogant - how can you convince people you deserve a shot at a design position without industry experience, when that in itself is generally seen as rather arrogant? How can you prove on paper your ability to manage and motivate a team? How can you show you have the necessarily broad skillset and experience whilst avoiding the 'I know more than you' effect? Obviously, I reduced my life and experience down to bullet points for the above post, which may have exacerbated the problem, but by the same token, does any potential employer really want to read my life story?

Anonymous
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(New Anon)

You get experience outside the game industry. And apply them.



See, the 'problem' is both the industry and the education. I agree with Warren - many, if not all, programs teach packages of skills and do not teach people how to be game developers. Building a level in Unreal is great for attracting students... but means nothing in an actual development environment where it's not about building a level but making something fun. Too often, I've heard people talk about the programs they go to and it sounds like they're just going through rote practice. No theory, no details, no team development, no projects, no constraints. Just bare skill. The ones I see actually getting somewhere? They've had experience beyond a game design degree. They've had previous jobs where they've been leaders (even if that means the head pizza delivery guy). They've got passion for more than just games... but passion for the fundamental art of what they want to do. A friend of mine - an artist and animator - told a story of how a few people from Pixar came to talk at his school. The Pixar folk asked the audience who in the room had a copy of "Illusion of Life". He was the only person who raised his hand. When they asked if he had read it, he said yes. He also knew the entire history of Disney and could name (and their accomplishments) all of the Nine Old Men. The Pixar people were throughly disappointed that out of all the students, only one person had read what is considered one of the most important books in animation. The industry, likewise, fails to cultivate their talent. The slew of young people looking for jobs are used like cheap labor... because they are and because it's easy to replace them. This is in part because of the way the industry has grown up. Someone elsewhere mentioned that the last few months of a project are when the fun comes out. The question is, why? Does any other industry really build a product almost to market before seeing if it is viable?



There's an article on Bit-Tech that talks about somewhat about this as well that may be worth reading.

Chris Proctor
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"Allow me to ask a question in return - how should someone like me go about creating a CV that can demonstrate all the skills Warren mentioned in this article and have a chance at an interview without having already worked in the games industry?"



You have to be able to demonstrate your skills.

If you have shipped games, that's an indicator. If you have good references (or endorsements on linked in), that's good too. However, the most important one in my experience is samples, which you should either include with your application or clearly mention in it, so that they can request them if your resume works.



I'm a game designer. I've worked on many games, and have had my share of games canceled, but I have samples that are representative of my skills (I have been fortunate enough to get permission to use my designs from canceled projects, but also use designs from personal projects).



If you're coming from another field, use your cover letter to explain why you want to work in a games company (passion is important), and the skills that you have that will be valuable to them despite being acquired outside games.



If you can get your samples read, you're likely to get a follow up design test, if you demonstrate your skills through that you're likely to get an interview, and then if you have what it takes you're in with a shot.

Warren Spector
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Hey, there, Daniel Prati. Send me a resume. Tell me what, exactly, you bring to the table -- how you can contribute to Junction Point, day one, without having worked on a game -- and we'll talk.



The big thing for people coming from outside the industry is to recognize that we can't always tell how much your outside experience is worth, which means, usually, accepting a paycut or starting at a lower level than you might want or need.



No one starts out at the top in the game business. We're a unique business/art form and experience gained outside the industry or at a college or university doesn't necessarily equate to a senior or high-paying position.



I haven't seen your resume, so I can't say for sure, but I bet if you have as much experience as you say, and you're willing to pay dues all over again as you enter an entirely new area of software development -- the hit-driven, high risk, entertainment area -- you might find some takers. Maybe even me. So send a resume. Nothing may come of it, but something could...



warren.e.spector@disney.com

Anonymous
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You all have provided some very interesting points about this topic. I can relate to some of you and understand your issues about the game industry. Yes those various ads from studios that ask for like 1 or more AAA title from an new comer is a bit much to ask for. I do understand from the studios point that they are in a position to do so. I'm in my final year for a degree in game design, i know what to expect upon gradutaing and applying for jobs out there. If someone like the dude above has trouble getting a entry level or mid level position with his proven skill and experience what does that say for the fresh crop of would be designers that are gearing up for this life style ? Yes we should be focusing on specific skill sets to really stand out and attract an employers attention. I realize that it would be in my best interest to probably gear for smaller development studios so i can have a better chance at gaining employment for an entry level position. Hey i work at a pretty shitty job as is so i know what it's like to barley make ends meat and keep my head up while i am trying to better myself for this industry. It's very dam hard for us non veterans or even those like mr prati to get a shot if the likely hood of an interview is going to be determined by whether or not the applicant has actually shipped a title. Truthfully speaking i'd like to be in a position where i am making pretty good money while i am looking to get in the industry. Starting your own business for example. Yea i know it sounds a bit far fetched but i think that it definitely can help you out when you have a family to provide for and a mortgage. Hey i have rent to pay to so it's not like i can just do an internship and work part time for like 11 bucks. It's just not going to happen. We have full time bills and responsibilities. I figured with my background in martial arts i can teach and even open up a school of my own to compensate for the hard ship that comes with looking for these type of jobs while wondering how im going to keep up with my bills AND my massive student loans. That's just my idea of how i would like to handle my up coming obstacles. Thanks for letting me throw my two cents here.

norb rozek
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What i find to be an inherent problem with game development in America is this: THE AMERICAN VARIABLE INITIALIZES AT 1. We are innocent til proven guilty; we are free to do anything at all UNLESS is it prohibited. The game industry variable initializes at 0. We are generally disallowed to do much UNLESS we can prove that it has worked in the past ((as if that's a guarantee of future success!)); we are generally guilty ((of not having experience or the like)) until we prove otherwise. Our entire cultural upbringing, as Americans, is completely at odds with the culture of the game industry qua industry. The typical American response to a challenge ((of any sort)) is to throw a bunch of money and manpower at it ((hire more artists! push more polys! we'll brute force our way to success!)); however, we no longer have the money to do that, and, with the emerging markets in other parts of the world, we soon will not have the manpower to pull this off, either.



Ultimately, this all boils down to our cultural upbringing of initializing at 1 vs. the game industry's culture of initializing at 0, and i have absolutely no idea how to overcome this schism, other than HEAVY LIFTING. Thank you and good night.

Jacek Wesolowski
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I live in a country where "the variable initializes at 0", and it doesn't help.



I wonder if diversification is the answer. It's only fair that nobody wants to waste 50 million dollars on what is virtually a Russian roulette with six bullets in your Nagant's cylinder. But how about one million dollars? It is entirely possible to create a good, professionally-looking game for a million, at least here, in eastern EU. It may be 2D, or it may have to use assets from your previous AAA game, or a previous generation engine, and you can't afford advertising it on every site and in every magazine for a year straight, but then again, you don't need to sell ten million copies to turn a profit. Even if you lose money, which doesn't really need to be the case in the world of digital distribution, it's still one million dollars well spent on research and development. These small games could effectively work as prototypes for your bigger ventures, pretty much the way Portal is a protoype for portal gun mechanics. Introversion can do this for a living, so why bigger studios wouldn't?



This could also help solve some other problems. I used to work for a company that makes really crappy but profitable low budget first person shooters. Their production cycle is six months, and it could be compressed by another 25 per cent if they didn't have some serious internal problems. Is there a quicker way to earn a new entry for your portfolio?



As for specialization vs. versatility, I see a huge gap between practice and theory. In theory, versatility has many advantages, the biggest of which seems to be that people from varying fields of expertise can talk to each other efficiently. Versatility is also essential for creativity, because it gives you more memes to build your ideas upon. In practice, I am versatile, immodest as it may sound, but every time I get a new job, it's only because I'm fairly profficient with UnrealEd. Don't get me wrong, I like my current job, but none of my bosses to date hired me because they were looking for a creative person. They just needed a navvy. And yet, they keep saying they're "looking for the best". In their eyes I'm not "one of the best", because in my seven years of professional experience I've been doing several different things, and now I only have a year or two of experience in each field. The fact that it allows me to see the bigger picture has virtually no value on the market.



Same applies to education vs. self-learning. Most people in this industry, the decision making people at least, are self learners. They've managed to stay in business for 10+ years with no formal theory to help them, so why would they start to care about it now?



I studied IT and I know for a fact that you should not develop complex software like a computer game without proper preproduction stage. That's the theory every decent programmer knows. Things like UML, prototyping, Scrum and all. In practice, I keep having those long, sad conversations with programmers who feel they are regressing, because everybody else seems to think written documentation is a waste of time. Last time I attempted to write formalized specification of a game mechanic, my then boss didn't like it because he didn't quite understand what an "integer variable" was. That, and I used Times New Roman instead of something pretty.

Daniel Prati
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Consider me well and truly gobsmacked! Hi Warren, thank you very much for such an extraordinary offer, you'll be hearing from me! Any feedback or insight you'd be willing to give would be greatly appreciated.



Perhaps even more so, I cannot thank you enough for the line: "Tell me how you can contribute to Junction Point, day one, without having worked on a game" - this is probably the most important question I've never been asked! I'd never actually considered what I could specifically contribute on that very first day, and its something I will consider very thoroughly. You make a good point with "we can't always tell how much your outside experience is worth", and I think that dovetails with my point about how crucial an interview is in this scenario, as even a relatively brief conversation can reveal a lot that can't be expressed in a CV. Personally, I don't believe my expectations are as outrageous as I seem to have inadvertently implied - I have no problems at all with taking a pay cut (my point about money was simply that most entry level jobs don't pay enough to cover basic financial commitments when you have a family and a mortgage, at least in my area - I'm not going to dump my wife and daughter on the street so I can follow my dream!), and I certainly don't expect to walk straight in at the top with "here's my idea for a game, lets go!" - I'd hope to work under the director/senior designer(s) as someone who helps bring their design to life by breaking down elements and working with artists and programmers, whilst learning more about how the process works and hopefully contributing something of my own to the game design along the way. This seems like a reasonable expectation to me, and is what most job postings for 'Game Designer' seem to indicate, but maybe I've misunderstood?





Also, thanks Chris, for an informative reply! I was under the impression that showing game designs to potential employers was a no-no, for legal reasons (the whole 'I sent them this idea and then they made a game with something similar, without me, so now I want to sue them' scenario). I'm guessing that a synopsis is preferred, rather than exhaustive documentation? (especially since there now seems to be a shift away from the 'bible' style doc until much later in the design process) I'm also very interested in the design test you mentioned - is it common to be given a design test when applying for the job or is it more often based on experience and interview? A chance to 'put my money where my mouth is' is all I'm looking for.





Thank you all for your comments and insight - while there is plenty of information about how to apply for a job as a programmer or artist, applying to join a design team is largely a no-man's land, I guess due to being a somewhat more nebulous field, which (as far as I can ascertain) differs greatly from company to company.



Lastly, my apologies to everyone, especially Warren, for hijacking this article and giving it a negative slant. It was not my intent, and I don't mean to diminish the significance or validity of the statements made within it, its just that this particular aspect of the interview had a personal significance to me. (and as they say, "it wouldn't bother me so much, if it didn't mean something to me") Double apologies also for the bitterness of my initial post - I should know better than to post right after a double shift...



Ultimately, the point I wanted to make was that while all Warren's statements are true (and very important), there is also a large pool of talent outside the industry which is effectively being locked out, and while the games industry is certainly unique in its combination of disciplines, the ability to lead and inspire a team to produce great work can be applied anywhere.

Steffen Gutzeit
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After Grassroots Gamemaster your are the second I see who got a job offer here after posting comments in a news :o)



Warren, I appreciate you came by leaving a comment here. (As a side note I like to say, I loved your black leather guy with the big gun -> original Deus Ex)

Furthermore I can't still believe 100h games are dead, especially not when you have to pay 45 Euro for a DVD box with nothing in it, but the game disk and a 10 page handbook.

For example, the game I am really eager on is Total War (Empire). Other games with longevity are MMORPG, First Person Shooter (Multiplayer Mode), Strategy games like Civilization or Warcraft III or Roleplay like Gothik I & II or Neverwinter Nights which you play more than ones.

Justin Keverne
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A problem I've found while looking for games industry jobs is that each company seems to have a different idea of what type of person they want. Some people want people who are multi-skilled some want specialists.



A second thing I've realised and one I think itís vitally important to understand is that ideas are nothing. If you have a great idea and think you can get a job with it you are wrong. The developers who actually want the really creative people understand that ideas are easy; the real talent is in being able to keep coming up with ideas and being able to actually implement them. Use Flash, make a mod, make a paper prototype, whatever you need to do to implement the idea and show that you can take it from conceptualisation to actualisation. And make sure that whatever it is you do you finish it. Only include finished samples in your portfolio.



This is all from personal experience but: you need to show that you can apply your skills to a specific creative task, that you can effectively communicate your ideas to other people, and that you can finish what you start. Everything else is negotiable.

Tawna Evans
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I fail to see how the content of this article pertains to the title. I think the first sentence should clearly indicate the connection so that reader could decide right then whether to continue reading or move on to the next article.

John Ingrams
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What has it got to do with a developer that only 2% see the last level of a game they made? Who are they to think about what a gamer does after they PAY for the game and the company has received the profit? That's like having a game where you can run and gun or use stealth and you have the publisher complaining that not enough gamers used the stealth!



Does anyone really think that if the next GTA had 15 hours gameplay it would have one tenth the sales of previous GTA's? Why is it, in any poll I see, GTA San Andreas is seen as the best GTA and yet that is the biggest with the most content?!



If we end up with just episodic gaming and the odd 'front page' indie game, how much money is in that? What this industry should have been doing is finding ways to make games for $3 million instead of $30 million. Maybe the competition Activision have started for indie developers, where the finalists get $50,000 and the winner $500,000. Maybe this is the start of a change that should have happened 3 years ago, but it's something....



It's funny how we have this statement about Warren being fed up writing games where the avatar has a dark coat and a gun, because we have seen very few real-world games when compared to the number of past (fantasy) games and future (Sci-Fi) games!



So little of the subject matter have been covered in gaming and yet we already see doors closing! For example, we have had a gaming market for over 25 years and yet we have never had a Wild West RPG. We have had The Ultima series, the Elder Scrolls series, the Wizardry series, the Wing Commander series, but we have had no Wild West RPG. How can that be? The Wild West is not a niche. Look at the number of successful Civil War strategy games, for example, So while so much has not been investigated and test, we see a climbing back into the hole. Such a shame, a darn shame!


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