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Thread: What is the game industry really like?

  1. #1

    What is the game industry really like?


    I am a first year coledge student and I have an assignment. My assignment is to find out what the industry I am getting myself into is really like.
    SO all I would like to do is get a few questions answered.
    It doesn't matter what role you play in you carrer, just give me an idea of what it is like to be in your shoes.

    1- What is a tipical day like? from when you go to work until you go home?
    2- What is you paying scale like? good money? so-so? or you could be doing better?
    3- How difficult was it to get to the position you are in now?
    4- What are some of the steps you took to achieve you goals?is ther anything you would want to do over?
    5- What could I do better to get myself known?
    6- Is there anyone that you would recomend to take a look at? a smalltown company? larger?
    7- Is there only one job you work at? Do you do many jobs of the same nature?
    8- What are some of the companies you have worked for?
    9- What is the part of your job you like the most?
    10- What type of job would you suggest for people?

    Thanks for your time and patience.
    Please answer any of the questions above as best you can. And feel free to contact me at if you have any questions for me.

    Thanks again

  2. #2

    What is the game industry really like?

    Only a few of us actually work in the Gaming World & Industry, the rest are hobbyists, creating games in their free time. If you are looking for more 'professional' game developers, I suggest checking out the forums at Questions like these are asked quite often there.

  3. #3

    What is the game industry really like?

    Sly is the main man on here who has worked in various console games and also next gen games.
    <br /><br />There are a lot of people who are dead while they are still alive. I want to be alive until the day I die.<br />-= Paulo Coelho =-

  4. #4

    What is the game industry really like?

    Who? What? Me?

    1. I typically arrive at work around 7:30am and leave around 6pm. There are exceptions, like tonight where it is 10:15pm and I am making a build of our game for QA to test overnight. Yes, we have a night shift QA as well as a day shift.

    2. Game Developer magazine does annual game developer salary surveys. I'm in Australia, and our pay rates probably would not be comparable to other countries like the US or UK. Cost of living is a huge difference.

    3. I started in the company when there were 30 people. With a company that size, it was a lot easier to get yourself seen and acknowledged. The company is now well over 350 people, so standing out in the crowd is more difficult. I was promoted to lead programmer within a year of joining. People who join the company now will have a longer wait to get to this position, if they ever do.

    4. I wasted my time at university. I spent all that time trying to make my own games. My university years never had any bearing on jobs that I got. I even got jobs over university graduates because I had taught myself how to do the job, whereas the graduates knew the theory, but had not done the practical side of it. I got into the games industry purely by chance. I didn't know that there were several games studios in my city, but I happened to notice a poster for an animation seminar that had a talk by the directors of a local games studio. I went along to see what they had to say, and introduced myself to them afterwards. They just happened to be looking for a programmer at that time.

    5. Make small demos or games for a portfolio. We look at portfolios rather than university degrees.

    6. A small company has its advantages, but it is not as secure as a job at a larger company. Many small companies fail in this industry.

    7. My job title is lead programmer, but I also look after localisation, making builds of the games, data conversion processes, interviewing job seekers, performance reviews on staff, project schedules, task management, etc. Somewhere in there, I do a bit of programming. The general rule is that the higher up you go, the less programming you do. Which is kind of ironic, because the better programmers get promoted to positions where they generally do less programming.

    8. I've worked for one company for the last seven years. The industry average is 2.5 years at one company, but I think that average mainly comes from the US and UK. In Australia, the average stay at a job is longer than that. A lot of our staff have been here at least six years.

    9. Seeing the end result. Seeing other people play the game that you have put so much effort into. Seeing those people enjoy the game. Also, writing a bit of code that does its job and does it well. That's a bit of self satisfaction.

    10. What do you enjoy doing? That's the real question. Do you enjoy programming? Then do that. You could also do animation, modelling, texturing, design, sound, music, cutscenes, to name a few different areas.

    Hope that helps.

  5. #5


    hey thanks for all the info

    if there is anything else you could think of? let me know?

    do you think there are better questions i could be asking?


    just want to say thanks

    oh and if there are any animators reading....I would like to hear your insite

  6. #6

    What is the game industry really like?

    As Sly eluded to, there are many aspects to the successful development and release of a game. While he works in the building of the game, I work on the marketing and design of games (websites, and just about any product you can think of) day in and day out.

    Just to give you an idea:
    1- What is a tipical day like? from when you go to work until you go home?
    That depends on who the client of the day is, I have been into the office as early as 1am and not left until midnight that same night (23 hours for those of you who are counting). Of course, thats on multi-locale projects that require communication with all locals in one single day (about twice a month). My average day starts at 7:30am and runs to about 5:30pm, I still check my messages and e-mail till 9:00 every night.

    2- What is you paying scale like? good money? so-so? or you could be doing better?
    Define good, my wife doesn't have to work and our two children have about everything they could ever want. We live in a 3 bed, 1 bath house on 2 1/2 acres, so yes, I would say I make pretty good money. The average house around us is 250k US, though I didn't pay near that for our house .

    3- How difficult was it to get to the position you are in now?
    VERY! I work at one, of if not the, top digital marketing companies in the world. Getting started here can be easy if you have the experience, but they don't hire newbies. You have to have an understanding of technical writing, technology, interpersonal relations, statistics, analytics, and marketing in general.

    4- What are some of the steps you took to achieve you goals? Is there anything you would want to do over?
    Looking back, I started as the youngest software engineer ever at Halmark Cards at the age of 17. Worked my way up through MANY companies building my experiences and skills as I went. After about 5 years I started working as a consultant for companies around the world. Though my specialization was in accounting system (think thats easy, give it a try, it will make you beg for matrix math used in games). When I decided that I wanted something a bit more like management I started looking. I found where I am now, and I love it.

    As far as would I do any of it again, every last bit. Having companies pay me to go around the world was the best experience of my life. I got the experiences that the military guys get with out having someone shoot at me! Well, there was once, but that doesn't count, it wasn't part of the job

    5- What could I do better to get myself known?
    As Sly said, its all about the portfolio. You can have the top companies listed on your resume and the best lamb skin out there, and companies will ignore your resume. Granted it will get you past most HR people, but the real tech managers want to see what you can do.

    It never failed to amaze me how many managers would look at my resume, skip the jobs section and go straight after what Eon Clash has released in the past X months. What was even more amazing was how many of those companies were using what "we" produced. Its interesting to note that only on two projects of EC was there a we, mainly its just ME.

    6- Is there anyone that you would recommend to take a look at? A small town company? larger?
    Thats up to you. Decide exactly what part you want to be involved with. Saying "I want to be a game developer" just isn't good enough anymore. What specific aspect of game development do you want to work in? Once you decide that, you can ask this question and you will find that the answer is easy to find.

    7- Is there only one job you work at? Do you do many jobs of the same nature?
    Only one job, LOL, if I only had to pull the weight of one title I would go insane. Nope, I work as a PM, AM, BSA, TEL, Technical Writer, Trainer, Pitcher and much more. Its part of being well rounded and brining something to the table. Companies like people that can help with it all. Notice I didn't say "Do it all", no one like a know it all. But, if you can jump in and help take some of the burden off your PM, it makes you their best friend

    8- What are some of the companies you have worked for?
    H&R Block, Halmark Cards, Humana, Premiere Global, VML

    9- What is the part of your job you like the most?
    Everything, if I didn't like it I wouldn't do it.

    If you want to know whats the most fulfilling, thats a different question. I love seeing something that I've worked hard on make it as a successful product. Things like receiving an Omni for a project that you went over and above on, or getting your name in the New York Times for a product that did better then anyone expected, are of course nice to haves

    10- What type of job would you suggest for people?
    Again as Sly said, it depends on what you like to do. I have friends that are professional fry cooks and love every minute of it. You have to find a profession (not a job) that you LOVE to do every day. Its not good enough to like something, you really do have to love your job. You will spend more time at your job then anything else in your life, so its important that you pick something you love.

    Of course, having a target industry helps. Find out everything thats behind that industry and give it a try. You will find what you love to do easily enough.

    PS: I know that you asked for people in the game development industry, and I've ignored your post for a bit, but I thought I should bring to light part of the industry that you might not have thought about.

    Also, remember, when you go to an interview its your job to interview them not just be interviewed. Find out if there are things that the company is involved in that you like yourself. In my example, the company I work for now mandates 3 days a year to do community service. 1 of those days is building/restoring houses for Habitat for Humanity, the other 2 are your choice. Since I grew up in a construction family, I love doing that type of work as well. The best days of the year are after we work on a house and have the owners and family's come out and thank us for our dedication, quality, and work ethic.


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