Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Fuzzy Avatars Solved! Please re-upload your avatar if it was fuzzy!

Working as game dev - learned some facts about industry, what do you think?

everlandeverland EverlandPosts: 71Member

I got a job as a trainee in a very small game company.


Company has few contracts with producers, and those have the biggest priority. There are also some small projects, that company makes for itself. Those are the ones with lowest priority and are almost impossible to finish, since new contracts show up to often.


I got to work as a developer. I noticed the game I was working on looked exactly like few other games I saw before. It was almost a clone, with different graphics. It was a very simple game, so I used my imagination a little bit, and made major improvements to it. Making it almost different game, but still simple, and in my opinion much better. I showed my vision to our project leader. He liked it very much. So they informed producer about changes. And I got a reply "This is not the game we told you to make, please change it back the way it was. We do not want to take any risk."


It turned out that every time a company wants a game, they do not look for new ideas. They pay people to do research on what games are popular and why, and they just clone them for profit. Innovation is basically impossible. Even the smallest changes can't be accepted, if they were not created before and worked well. And that is why new game looks like a clone of previous one. Its easier this way, the profit is not high, but guaranteed. Also people are fine with it, because seeing something familiar gets good reaction. I was pretty mad, but got over it. It's just my experience after working 3 months in there, but I think this applies to bigger companies too, only scales up.

Do you think there is a way to get out of this? What needs to happen, to make bigger companies take the risk and create something new? I can talk about my ideas all I want, but in the end they just show me numbers, and I can't deny them.

«1

Comments

  • AxehiltAxehilt San Francisco, CAPosts: 8,714Member Uncommon

    1. Don't make assumptions based on a single company.  Each company pursues a different level of innovation based on their desired level of risk.

    2. Don't be surprised if cowboy development (making Feature B when you were asked for Feature A) is penalized.  Especially if you're a newer developer who hasn't established themselves yet.

    I've seen game developers let go for this.

    3. Conversely, feedback, brainstorming, and suggestions are nearly always welcomed if made early enough to matter.  Really the only time your suggestions won't be welcomed is if the designer is bad (not receptive to input) or if your game design skills need more practice (and a frequent "miss" in this regard is making design suggestions which don't appeal to the intended demographic.)  The more you become known for understanding your audience and designing great things for them (even if those things don't see the light of day initially) the closer you'll come to actually getting those ideas into the game.  But in most companies a trainee dev can't just jump in and immediately drive features themselves.

    "Joe stated his case logically and passionately, but his perceived effeminate voice only drew big gales of stupid laughter..." -Idiocracy
    "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates

  • BelarionBelarion na, ONPosts: 570Member

    Stick it to the man!

     

    Tell your boss to shove it and that you won't be responsible for the stagnation and devolution of the video game market.

     

    Then get a job at McDonalds.

     

    My two cents.

    I love snails.
    I love every kinda snail.
    I just want to hug them all, but I cant.
    Cant hug every snail.

  • BeansnBreadBeansnBread PshPosts: 5,498Member Uncommon

    So you just changed the game without consulting anyone and then informed your project leader after the fact?

     

    The balls on this one.

  • ZezdaZezda Posts: 685Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by everland

    I got a job as a trainee in a very small game company.


    Company has few contracts with producers, and those have the biggest priority. There are also some small projects, that company makes for itself. Those are the ones with lowest priority and are almost impossible to finish, since new contracts show up to often.


    I got to work as a developer. I noticed the game I was working on looked exactly like few other games I saw before. It was almost a clone, with different graphics. It was a very simple game, so I used my imagination a little bit, and made major improvements to it. Making it almost different game, but still simple, and in my opinion much better. I showed my vision to our project leader. He liked it very much. So they informed producer about changes. And I got a reply "This is not the game we told you to make, please change it back the way it was. We do not want to take any risk."


    It turned out that every time a company wants a game, they do not look for new ideas. They pay people to do research on what games are popular and why, and they just clone them for profit. Innovation is basically impossible. Even the smallest changes can't be accepted, if they were not created before and worked well. And that is why new game looks like a clone of previous one. Its easier this way, the profit is not high, but guaranteed. Also people are fine with it, because seeing something familiar gets good reaction. I was pretty mad, but got over it. It's just my experience after working 3 months in there, but I think this applies to bigger companies too, only scales up.

    Do you think there is a way to get out of this? What needs to happen, to make bigger companies take the risk and create something new? I can talk about my ideas all I want, but in the end they just show me numbers, and I can't deny them.

    If you really whave your heart set on being a developer I would highly recommend the Penny Arcade series Extra Credits (http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/show/extra-credits/)

    The guy doing a lot of the episodes that focus specifically on designing games knows exactly what he is talking about and I think there is a lot to be learned by us all in watching those videos. It will help us create good games and avoid the bad ones.

    Until we, as the gamers, stop accepting bad design choices they will continue to do as poorly as they can get away with. They do not strive to be the best or to make a good game, they only strive to make enough money to make a profit. That attitude will not change significantly until we stop accepting their sub-par designs.

  • CecropiaCecropia Posts: 3,472Member Uncommon

    LOL, I knew it!

    "This is not the game we told you to make, please change it back the way it was. We do not want to take any risk."

    Those bastards! No wonder we have such a short supply of nice toys to play with ;)

     

    "Mr. Rothstein, your people never will understand... the way it works out here. You're all just our guests. But you act like you're at home. Let me tell you something, partner. You ain't home. But that's where we're gonna send you if it harelips the governor." - Pat Webb

  • AxehiltAxehilt San Francisco, CAPosts: 8,714Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Zezda

    If you really whave your heart set on being a developer I would highly recommend the Penny Arcade series Extra Credits (http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/show/extra-credits/)

    The guy doing a lot of the episodes that focus specifically on designing games knows exactly what he is talking about and I think there is a lot to be learned by us all in watching those videos. It will help us create good games and avoid the bad ones.

    Until we, as the gamers, stop accepting bad design choices they will continue to do as poorly as they can get away with. They do not strive to be the best or to make a good game, they only strive to make enough money to make a profit. That attitude will not change significantly until we stop accepting their sub-par designs.

    +1 for Extra Credits.  That series is extremely accurate regarding the games industry.

    Although your final comment isn't entirely true.  We care about making games efficiently because we only have x dev hours for any given game, and from the companies I've worked in there has always been a lot of concern over making the game as fun as possible by using those x dev hours as wisely as possible.  But at not point is it a goal to do things poorly.  Nobody sets out to make a lousy game.

    "Joe stated his case logically and passionately, but his perceived effeminate voice only drew big gales of stupid laughter..." -Idiocracy
    "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates

  • 7star7star SeoulPosts: 405Member
    Originally posted by everland

     

    Do you think there is a way to get out of this? What needs to happen, to make bigger companies take the risk and create something new? I can talk about my ideas all I want, but in the end they just show me numbers, and I can't deny them.

    It's the way of the world in every field from video games to education and beyond.

     

    If you want to be different, be prepared to go it alone for a while. It will be hard. The only thing that will sustain you is what you believe in. That's why most people sell out. That's why genius and vision are so rare. Sometimes they are appreciated. Other times not. Most times not.

     

    Look at music. Look at the pop shite that's raking in billions of dollars in sales annually. And there are exceptional musicians that you have never heard of and probably never will -- because of the likes of Lady Gaga, etc.  It's just the way of the world. 

     

    Look at music. Think about how you fit into that model as a developer. You will either become the next star in your field, or you will go unnoticed. But either way, if you are true to yourself, you will do what you love and that will be reward enough. Most people can't do that with kids, mortgages, car payments, etc.  So there are sacrifices to be made. But like I said, doing what you love is the greatest reward from my experience, and sometimes it pays off. But money can't be your goal or you will compromise your  vision and be a sellout.  Greatness never comes from sellouts. It comes from the brave and visionary.

     

     

  • AxehiltAxehilt San Francisco, CAPosts: 8,714Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Cecropia

    LOL, I knew it!

    "This is not the game we told you to make, please change it back the way it was. We do not want to take any risk."

    Those bastards! No wonder we have such a short supply of nice toys to play with ;)

    I wish there was a clear example of a game where every random trainee programmer was allowed to cowboy their own features.

    That way you could see just how "nice" the resulting toys would be.

    Sadly companies who work like that probably don't get anything done because they spend so much time spinning in circles.

    "Joe stated his case logically and passionately, but his perceived effeminate voice only drew big gales of stupid laughter..." -Idiocracy
    "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates

  • RhoklawRhoklaw Ft. Bliss, TXPosts: 3,483Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by colddog04

    So you just changed the game without consulting anyone and then informed your project leader after the fact?

     

    The balls on this one.

    Sometimes it takes balls to get to the top. Show me the money baby! Show me the money!

    image

  • ZezdaZezda Posts: 685Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Axehilt
    Originally posted by Zezda

    If you really whave your heart set on being a developer I would highly recommend the Penny Arcade series Extra Credits (http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/show/extra-credits/)

    The guy doing a lot of the episodes that focus specifically on designing games knows exactly what he is talking about and I think there is a lot to be learned by us all in watching those videos. It will help us create good games and avoid the bad ones.

    Until we, as the gamers, stop accepting bad design choices they will continue to do as poorly as they can get away with. They do not strive to be the best or to make a good game, they only strive to make enough money to make a profit. That attitude will not change significantly until we stop accepting their sub-par designs.

    +1 for Extra Credits.  That series is extremely accurate regarding the games industry.

    Although your final comment isn't entirely true.  We care about making games efficiently because we only have x dev hours for any given game, and from the companies I've worked in there has always been a lot of concern over making the game as fun as possible by using those x dev hours as wisely as possible.  But at not point is it a goal to do things poorly.  Nobody sets out to make a lousy game.

    Sorry I don't mean to make the sweeping accusation that everyone is of that mindse. You'll know as well as I do that there are some out there who view things that way and have managed to be very successful when it comes to their bottom line by doing it and abusing things like operant conditioning.

    I know there are geniune people out there that try to do the absolute best they can and I'm with them on that all the way.

  • sacredfoolsacredfool prague, TXPosts: 760Member Uncommon

    Another thing i would like to add.

     

    In a financial crisis, the last thing anyone with money wants to do is take risks. New ideas (even if good) are risky - they can bring in big profits, but they can also bring losses. Right now not many want to risk money, and would rather have a smaller guranteed audience, even if it means there is no chance to becoming "the next huge success". 


    Originally posted by nethaniah

    Seriously Farmville? Yeah I think it's great. In a World where half our population is dying of hunger the more fortunate half is spending their time harvesting food that doesn't exist.


  • CecropiaCecropia Posts: 3,472Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Axehilt
    Originally posted by Cecropia

    LOL, I knew it!

    "This is not the game we told you to make, please change it back the way it was. We do not want to take any risk."

    Those bastards! No wonder we have such a short supply of nice toys to play with ;)

    I wish there was a clear example of a game where every random trainee programmer was allowed to cowboy their own features.

    That way you could see just how "nice" the resulting toys would be.

    Sadly companies who work like that probably don't get anything done because they spend so much time spinning in circles.

    Sorry, that quote was like the Borg to me. Resistance was futile.

    "Mr. Rothstein, your people never will understand... the way it works out here. You're all just our guests. But you act like you're at home. Let me tell you something, partner. You ain't home. But that's where we're gonna send you if it harelips the governor." - Pat Webb

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,913Member Uncommon

    U32 bankAccount = 0;

    bool employed = true;

    bool bossHappy = true;

    while ( employed ){

    bossHappy = writeCode( suppliedDesign );

    personalFinances += getCheck( theirMoney );

    bankAccount += personalFinances - lifeExpenses();

    employed  = bossHappy;

    }

    return;


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • AxehiltAxehilt San Francisco, CAPosts: 8,714Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Cecropia

    Sorry, that quote was like the Borg to me. Resistance was futile.

    I suppose you work in an industry where every employee from Veteran to a Day 1 employee can make decisions which affect the company's direction and product viability.

    "Joe stated his case logically and passionately, but his perceived effeminate voice only drew big gales of stupid laughter..." -Idiocracy
    "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates

  • jpnzjpnz SydneyPosts: 3,529Member
    Originally posted by everland

    I got a job as a trainee in a very small game company.


    Company has few contracts with producers, and those have the biggest priority. There are also some small projects, that company makes for itself. Those are the ones with lowest priority and are almost impossible to finish, since new contracts show up to often.


    I got to work as a developer. I noticed the game I was working on looked exactly like few other games I saw before. It was almost a clone, with different graphics. It was a very simple game, so I used my imagination a little bit, and made major improvements to it. Making it almost different game, but still simple, and in my opinion much better. I showed my vision to our project leader. He liked it very much. So they informed producer about changes. And I got a reply "This is not the game we told you to make, please change it back the way it was. We do not want to take any risk."


    It turned out that every time a company wants a game, they do not look for new ideas. They pay people to do research on what games are popular and why, and they just clone them for profit. Innovation is basically impossible. Even the smallest changes can't be accepted, if they were not created before and worked well. And that is why new game looks like a clone of previous one. Its easier this way, the profit is not high, but guaranteed. Also people are fine with it, because seeing something familiar gets good reaction. I was pretty mad, but got over it. It's just my experience after working 3 months in there, but I think this applies to bigger companies too, only scales up.

    Do you think there is a way to get out of this? What needs to happen, to make bigger companies take the risk and create something new? I can talk about my ideas all I want, but in the end they just show me numbers, and I can't deny them.

    So the 'my way or the highway' = innovation?

    As someone that works with the game industry, this is pretty funny.

    It'll be like if an actor in a minor role came up to the director for a reshoot of the movie.

    Yeah that's how it should work. /sarcasm

     

    If you really are in the gaming industry, it is probably best if you do not mention this post to anyone.

    Gdemami -
    Informing people about your thoughts and impressions is not a review, it's a blog.

  • CecropiaCecropia Posts: 3,472Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Axehilt
    Originally posted by Cecropia

    Sorry, that quote was like the Borg to me. Resistance was futile.

    I suppose you work in an industry where every employee from Veteran to a Day 1 employee can make decisions which affect the company's direction and product viability.

    Wow, man. Don't take everything so seriously. You'll live longer.

    "Mr. Rothstein, your people never will understand... the way it works out here. You're all just our guests. But you act like you're at home. Let me tell you something, partner. You ain't home. But that's where we're gonna send you if it harelips the governor." - Pat Webb

  • RednecksithRednecksith Madison heights, MIPosts: 1,238Member

    If you worked for me, I'd have probably fired you if you'd spent company time & resources programming something you were not authorized to do, as it's pretty much akin to using time at work for personal projects.

    It sucks, but that's the way things are. If you feel you have improvements go through proper channels, taking it upon yourself to make executive decisions (especially as a low-level employee) is a fast track to the unemployment line.

  • dave6660dave6660 New York, NYPosts: 2,543Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Axehilt

    1. Don't make assumptions based on a single company.  Each company pursues a different level of innovation based on their desired level of risk.

    2. Don't be surprised if cowboy development (making Feature B when you were asked for Feature A) is penalized.  Especially if you're a newer developer who hasn't established themselves yet.

    I've seen game developers let go for this.

    3. Conversely, feedback, brainstorming, and suggestions are nearly always welcomed if made early enough to matter.  Really the only time your suggestions won't be welcomed is if the designer is bad (not receptive to input) or if your game design skills need more practice (and a frequent "miss" in this regard is making design suggestions which don't appeal to the intended demographic.)  The more you become known for understanding your audience and designing great things for them (even if those things don't see the light of day initially) the closer you'll come to actually getting those ideas into the game.  But in most companies a trainee dev can't just jump in and immediately drive features themselves.

    As a developer in the financial sector I second this sentiment.  Even the experienced developers don't do it, especially when your software deals with money.

    Others may think it's cool to "stick it to the man" but you'll be doing it on the unemployment line.

    “There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.”
    -- Herman Melville

  • DisdenaDisdena Troy, NYPosts: 1,093Member
    Originally posted by jpnz

    So the 'my way or the highway' = innovation?

    As someone that works with the game industry, this is pretty funny.

    It'll be like if an actor in a minor role came up to the director for a reshoot of the movie.

    Yeah that's how it should work. /sarcasm

    Change "movie" to "commercial" and you've got an even better example, as you would expect the people creating those to have far more education in advertisement and demographics than the actors in them. What really stands out for me is that OP said he was working on "a very simple game" and he made "major improvements" to it. The simpler a game (or other piece of software) is, the more likely that it's already exactly what the producer wants. A simple game is probably intended for a specific purpose and a specific audience. Changing the game to make it appeal to a wider audience may have made it useless for what it's intended to do.

    image
  • BelarionBelarion na, ONPosts: 570Member

    Possible way it went down at the OP's studio:

     

    OP: Well you said to make a game where players grew plants and raised animals you planned to call Farmtown but I thought it wasn't educational nor economically conscious enough So I made some changes. Now players go around a city collecting garbage, feeding the homeless and bagging stray cats. I thought we could call it Community Service Ville.

     

    CEO: You just went full retard.

    I love snails.
    I love every kinda snail.
    I just want to hug them all, but I cant.
    Cant hug every snail.

  • DibdabsDibdabs FelvershamPosts: 2,604Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by everland

    It turned out that every time a company wants a game, they do not look for new ideas. They pay people to do research on what games are popular and why, and they just clone them for profit.

    I would think 99% of us already knew this, WITHOUT actually working for a games company.  Trying a "new" MMO these days is similar in some regards to buying new shoes and just slipping on a pair of old, comfy shoes that have had a couple of shiny new go-faster stripes glued on to them.

  • PsyMike3dPsyMike3d AthensPosts: 388Member Uncommon

    When the gaming community will stop playing clones, then the companies will stop making clones....

    As long as we play them and pay also... clones will never stop...

    We need to support new ideas and small companies, for example..

    -Darkfall 

    - Archage

    those kind of games...

    Smalls steps but set at the right path...

  • rounnerrounner CanberraPosts: 602Member Uncommon

    This applies to any job but it's not true you cant make minor changes to show case a proof of concept. Just do the work thats out of scope after hours. I think people are jumping all over you to affirm their own self image more than teach you a life lesson.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,654Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Cecropia

    LOL, I knew it!

    "This is not the game we told you to make, please change it back the way it was. We do not want to take any risk."

    Those bastards! No wonder we have such a short supply of nice toys to play with ;)

    If you believe that's an actual quote and that the second line is not either made up or out of context then Ihave a bridge to sell you. 

     

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • satire3rdsatire3rd Powell, WYPosts: 16Member

     

    There are various reasons that resulted in the answer you received, most of which have been answered already.

    What constitutes as a great idea in your mind will be considered "poor design choices" to others. It’s very subjective. You could announce a feature of a certain game is great, and the best feature ever. But you will always get another group of people who dislike the same feature. So many companies (not just limited to games) go for what the mass market are currently using and liking.

    I've been doing marketing and PR for games for a number of years and on many occasions have been asked to work with the development team on providing feedback during the development period. There have been times when they have ignored the feedback we've gathered, and as such resulted in them not having the success they wanted. The results have also happened in the reverse (Feedback was ignored and success was made). But the latter is a big risk to many developers with a limited budget and work hours. Even the larger ones don’t always want to take risks, and when they do it’s usually a very calculated risk.

    People do want change, but there are also a lot of people who like what they already have, and want to play something new but they are familiar with.

    Just because your idea was given a “No”, doesn’t make your choices wrong, it’s simply just not what was asked for. And as with most industries they don’t allow the lower levels make changes unless it’s gone through all the proper channels. As others have said, if you wanted to propose changes, do it outside of your normal working hours, or give them a reason to let you at least show them why the changes will work. Make a design document and gather some feedback. Include results and feedback that can show how it will work in their favour. Don’t just assume your idea is what will work, even if it is the best idea in the world. 

«1
Sign In or Register to comment.