Sledgstone

Game Industry BS

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St. John, who co-created DirectX for Microsoft and founded the game company WildTangent, writes that “making games is not a job—it’s an art.” Because of that ideology, he argues, game developers should stop worrying about whether their salaries are decent or their hours are standard. After all, St. John writes, all they’re doing is “pushing a mouse.”

“You need to get an actual job producing productivity software if you want to be paid ‘fairly’ and go home at 5 pm,” St. John writes. “Anybody good enough to get hired to write games can get paid more to work on something else. If working on a game for 80 hours a week for months at a time seems ‘strenuous’ to you … practice more until you’re better at it. Making games is not a job, pushing a mouse is not a hardship, it’s the most amazing opportunity you can possibly get paid to pursue … start believing it, and you’ll discover that you are even better at it.”

http://kotaku.com/game-industry-veteran-writes-horrifying-article-in-defe-1771434170

This is a good read because its a prime example of the mentality of some of the higher ups in the game industry. Asses. :disgust:

DeathscytheX likes this

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I'll admit I do agree with him on some of the points in that article because if you're good enough to program for games or make art for games then you are definitely good enough to strike out on your own and make yourself a success. I know quite a few people who have the programming and artistic chops to start up their own company and make their own games (or even get into more promising careers). Sadly this does not excuse the fact that the industry overworks it's talent, sometimes to the point where people up and leave the industry for good (I've read and seen this happen more often then not, the industry has lost a lot of it's great talent because of the work conditions). This is also the problem with making most of your workforce salary. You can force your workers to work unpaid overtime because their contracts only specify pay for 40 hours a week (a problem I see happening with my father at his job, as a salaried member of management he only gets paid for 40 hours a week but he puts in more than 50 hours most weeks). Programmers, Designers, Producers, and pretty much every job with the exception of Concept artists (unless you work for the company) and most artists in general are salary (almost all art jobs, with the exception of the modelers, are contract based so they're only on the project for 6 months at best to get art done and are left to find another contract. The exception, as I stated, is if you actually work for the developer).

Sadly, if they went to school for this job, the were warned or should of been warned. The teachers I had in college (industry professionals that left to teach) warned us early on that the job was not all people make it out to be. They pretty much said that you have to love making video games to get through all the crap you have to go through. Hell they told us about crunch time, how 80-90 hour work weeks were the norm when you're in the final stretch. Honestly that's part of the reason I haven't pursued a career in the industry. I love video games and I love the creation process but I don't want to get a job making them if it means I lose my love for the very thing I'm making.

Sledgstone and DeathscytheX like this

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Its really a catch 22. You can say its not a real job, but neither is sports or acting. Look how much those industry workers make. Gaming is the largest media entertainment industry currently.... but a lot of it survives on taking losses and making up the profits elsewhere. Improving the working conditions and pay would definitely increase the price we pay at the counter.

I don't really buy the "start your own company if you're so good" argument. Maybe 20 years ago this would have been valid. Indy games are a dime a dozen, but very few ever get any hype. Activision and EA own everything, and they will buy you if see any success... (how can you really turn down millions of dollars, and publishing you don't have to deal with or manage expenses for?) then you're back at square one with deadlines, budgets, and the working conditions you made your own company to get away from. Hell, look what happened to Bungie.  Just because you make good games, doesn't mean you'll make it in a time where media sites and bought and paid for cranking out 9/10 scores for COD. You're alternative is underselling your game on Steam while others pirate the shit out of it. Kojima is another example... hes such a legend, he didn't need to adhere to timelines. He was that damn good, and Konami kicked him to the curb.

Its a rough industry for sure. Even if you can get through all that BS, you have a extremely negative and self entitled fanbase whom are all armchair devs that think they know how to make your game better than you did. They swarm reddit with constant crying and threats never to buy another one of your products if you don't patch your game to benefit their play style over other players... to which even big developers cave to.  Gone are the days of getting better at a game, just get enough people to cry OP on something that can easily be countered by changing up your play style and BOOM, nerf incoming.

Strider Hiryu and Sledgstone like this

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19 hours ago, DeathscytheX said:

(how can you really turn down millions of dollars, and publishing you don't have to deal with or manage expenses for?)

It's easier then you think to publish your own games these days. Fuck Steam has made it so easy you're almost stupid if you don't take advantage of it. Yes this is only for computers but honestly most, if not all, indie games are solely created for PC now (and really you're not underselling you're game, yea the money steam takes off the top sucks but you can honestly make a good penny using them (look at the sole developer for Stardew Valley, the guy is rolling in money with the overnight success of his game). Plus Sony has made it relatively easy for you to publish you're own games on their platform while Microsoft is behind the times on it (they're getting better but nowhere near where Sony is and neither can touch Steam). Lets not forget Kickstarter. It's probably the biggest platform to get you're game independently funded and off the ground (fuck look at Star Citizen, the amount of money that game has raised is ridiculous). While the headaches of still managing this whole process is enormous it's helps keep you out of the shit you got away from. This is the main reason why most of these guys, when they get out of the industry, go into making mobile games. Most of my teachers were actually making mobile games in their off time when they weren't teaching and the head of the program, at the time, said it's where most of the good talent is going these days. Not only are the demands not their you get to make what you want and how you want, everything you hoped for when you went into the industry.

I do agree with all you said but Bungie is a bad example. They made some very bad choices when Halo was being made, the biggest of which was selling all the rights to Microsoft. Halo was probably one of the best breakout titles of its time and cemented Bungie's appeal to both gamers and the industry at whole. Sadly their ego's were inflated and they fucked up with Halo 2, somewhat redeemed themselves with 3, made ODST which was both a great game and a surprise, and then made Reach (while I personally loved Reach but most gamers did not). I won't mention Destiny because that's a whole different can of worms that was heavily influenced by their supreme Activision overlords and extremely bad decisions. I won't touch the Kojima topic, mostly because I have no real experience with his games outside of ZOE and what little I played of MGS2 (I still haven't played 5 yet even though I own it). However, I feel people make him out to be more then he actually is (don't get me wrong, great game designer and he made one of my all time favorite franchises with ZOE but I think he has a bigger ego then he should (but then again Konami made a huge mistake cutting him loose)).

All in all this industry is extremely cutthroat which is why you don't run into many developers actually loving their jobs. Most developers don't even play games anymore due to the stress from making them and their hatred for the conditions they work in. Plus if being in the industry isn't considered an actual job then what is? Most jobs now-a-days have you sitting behind a desk pushing a mouse around (which can be extremely bad for you're health).

 

Edited by Strider Hiryu
Coherent thoughts escape me apparently

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I've never played ZOE, But MGS1 was a masterpiece and is probably the best PS1 game ever made. MGS2 was probably my least favorite as far as story goes, but the game and bosses themselves were awesome... and in the grand scheme of the story, it fits in great when you see the big picture after 4 games... Just at the time people were caught off guard by playing a new character after the first 15 minutes of the game. The whole game was marketed around Snake and you didn't play as him, he became an NPC for 95% of the game. Does he have a big ego? Maybe. He's way more subtle about it than Tomonobu Itagaki. XD I know Sony was smart to scoop him up and tell him "make something awesome, you have complete freedom to do what you want" I look forward to his first independent title.

At least he doesn't take himself too seriously, I remember the first time I saw this video, after watching a lot of their stuff, I was like HOLY SHIT NO WAY! XD

 

Sledgstone likes this

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ZOE was a great game though sadly extremely underrated because most people only bought it for the MGS2 demo that came with it (I really had no choice as it was one of the only games out when the PS2 launched and it came with my PS2). Sure it was extremely easy to beat (I beat it in under 5 hours on normal difficulty the day after I got my PS2) even on the hardest difficulty but the story was amazing and the relationship between ADA (Jehuty's onboard AI) and Leo was extremely well done (with Leo teaching ADA what it meant to be human). ZOE2 was somewhat of a let down (the art style sucked as it was back when Cel Shading started to become a thing) but was still an amazing game. Had some of the most epic boss fights in the series, especially that epic final showdown with Anubis (Jehuty's sister frame). Kojima really wanted to do a third game after the HD re-release of both titles but sadly it didn't do as well as he hoped it would and that idea was scrapped (I think mostly on Konami's end, I've read numerous articles stating that Kojima really was looking forward to making another ZOE). The OST was also amazing. It's been a really long time since I've played a game with such an awesome soundtrack.

I really had no idea Sony scooped him up, I thought he was still a free agent. I hope whatever he's working on does great because maybe, just maybe Sony will greenlight another ZOE game. Also that video is hilarious, it really does show Kojima's fun side (like I said no problem with the man, I think he has an inflated ego but you can definitely tell he loves his job).


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http://www.polygon.com/2015/12/16/10270432/hideo-kojima-new-studio-playstation

In another article he said Sony isn't pressuring him or rushing him. It may be 2-3 years before we see anything, But I look forward to it. As for another ZOE game, I'd assume Konami would have to approve that. I know they own the rights to MGS and may make another one without Kojima. I doubt it, but they didn't rule it out despite focusing more on mobile games.

Sledgstone likes this

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I'm sure they would have to approve it but considering the fact that Konami considers the game a flop they might give the rights up (I doubt it due to their relationship with Kojima being what it is) because I don't see them making another ZOE without him behind the helm.

Sony is a lot smarter then Konami, they're willing to give a developer the time needed to make a game especially if they have a series of hit games backing them (which Kojima has). With PS4 doing so well this generation Sony has more wiggle room then they did last generation so that might be another reason why they aren't going to push Kojima. Once he releases his new game, whenever that may be, they might change their stance but that's a few years from now.


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On 4/19/2016 at 8:47 PM, Strider Hiryu said:

All in all this industry is extremely cutthroat which is why you don't run into many developers actually loving their jobs. Most developers don't even play games anymore due to the stress from making them and their hatred for the conditions they work in. Plus if being in the industry isn't considered an actual job then what is? Most jobs now-a-days have you sitting behind a desk pushing a mouse around (which can be extremely bad for you're health).

Thats the part of the guy's comment that pissed me off. I sit at a desk all day typing my ass off and "pushing a mouse" and its work. I'd like to see anyone that says its not work, sit on their ass for 8 hours a day for 15 years and tell me how good their health is then. Anyone that has ever told me: "I wish I could sit all day, must be nice." I give them a f*cking ear full. All those people that stand all day and then finally sit down are like: "ah, that feels so good." but for me after sitting all day, I'll often be in my kitchen and eat dinner standing up because it honestly feels good to be standing for more than 10 minutes at a time. I couldn't imagine doing crunch time of 80-90 hours per week. My ulnar nerve and carpel tunnel issues are bad enough after typing for 15+ years for a living, I often have to stop doing overtime when I have it because if I do to much, I'll wake up in the middle of the night with my arms partially paralyzed until it turns into full on pain inducing pins and needles and intense pain in my hands.

Kojima makes some great games, but MSG2 really put me off on the series and his writing as a whole. Even tho Snake wasn't the main character, it was still a solid game until the ending were it just turns stupid. I vaguely remember the Otocon plot line they threw into that game too. It was so bad that I kept laughing at what was supposed to be a serious moment for his character. It felt like a bad soap opera. XD

I keep telling myself I'll get the newest MSG and relive the fun I had with MSG1 (one of the best games ever made), but I still haven't gotten around to it. There was one for PS3 I wanted and the newest one on PS4 looks great. But every time I see it go on sale I don't feel that rush to go buy it.


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