So you want to 'make video games' for a living...

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JBlitzen
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04 Apr 2013, 1:50 am

This is a great article, and the author lays the issues out very well.

http://codesuppository.blogspot.ca/2013/04/so-your-teenager-tells-you-they-want-to.html#!/2013/04/so-your-teenager-tells-you-they-want-to.html

Many, though not all, of the same principles apply to many other STEM fields.

Game development truly has its own little hell of horrible working conditions that I haven't heard of anywhere else. Even Hollywood is easier on people due in part to all the union clout.

But the ideas of learning valuable skills, being self-driven and self-directed, working on personal projects, avoiding silly schools that make fantastic promises about what you'll be qualified to do, etc., all very good tips.



thomas81
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04 Apr 2013, 2:29 pm

the other alternative is to go independent and start your own small company as either a one man band or with a couple of friends. In recent years the barrier to entry for small developers has plummeted and the prevalence of free software has created a development revolution for would be newcomers.

Entering a big company as a junior isn't the be all and end all. Just throwing that out there. As an aspie I find the whole job selection process exhausting and intimidating anyway. Plus I hate office politics and don't gel well with NT employers. Also as a company owner you'll have a damn site more creative freedom than spending years trying to climb your way up the pecking order.


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06 Apr 2013, 1:51 pm

One of the biggest things that people don't understand about the video game industry is that it is an extremely risky business. Only 1 in about 15 titles ever becomes a hit. Unlike the music and movie industries. There is no way of predicting what kind of a game title will be a hit. If a company invests in developing too many failed titles. It will become a financial burden which could result in layoff or the company going out of business. Even the big name like Square and Valve are not immune to this.



thomas81
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06 Apr 2013, 8:08 pm

LupaLuna wrote:
One of the biggest things that people don't understand about the video game industry is that it is an extremely risky business. Only 1 in about 15 titles ever becomes a hit. Unlike the music and movie industries. There is no way of predicting what kind of a game title will be a hit. If a company invests in developing too many failed titles. It will become a financial burden which could result in layoff or the company going out of business. Even the big name like Square and Valve are not immune to this.


that's true, actually out of 100 games designed, only 1 even makes it past the publisher's desk so the numbers are even more depressing. It really depends what level you want to enter the industry. If you want to make triple A games for a living, obviously that changes things but if you have more modest ambitions you can self publish and release games on a budget price. If you are really talented you might even become rich. Angry birds (which had really basic graphics) was making something like $60 000 a week profit at launch.

The chances of success can be increased by understanding the market and knowing how to design games well.


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LupaLuna
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06 Apr 2013, 8:48 pm

thomas81 wrote:
The chances of success can be increased by understanding the market and knowing how to design games well.


Not by much. This is one of the reasons I won't own stock and will not recommend that anybody own stock in the video game industry. It looks like its a booming industry on the outside but on the inside, it's a whole different story. I know a lot of people who have bought stock in this business and have been burned badly in the end.



morslilleole
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07 Apr 2013, 1:35 pm

This is why I would rather work for a smaller, maybe indie game company. I know the pay won't be too great, but I don't really care too much about that. Being in an indie game company I'd have lots of freedom and possibility to affect the end product. The end product would likely be based on community opinion. Founding could come from both Kickstarter and various public programmes ( there are a few of these who give money to game developers even here in Norway. )

I'm sure there are lots of bad sides to working in an indie game company, but at the current moment it is my dream job.



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07 Apr 2013, 2:01 pm

It seems like the way to go is establish any kind of stable day job and get into creative work on the side either as a hobby or eventually a small business.

This could apply to video games and also movies. I also wonder if a person could find more satisfaction participating in an open source game project.



Arran
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08 Apr 2013, 1:16 pm

LupaLuna wrote:
One of the biggest things that people don't understand about the video game industry is that it is an extremely risky business.


Video games don't evolve in the same way that serious software does. The first release of a serious software product effectively creates an infrastructure for future versions and the product will sell for as long as there is a demand for it. Many serious software products are decades old and continuously updated. Video games are generally one-off products that have short commercial lives. A game that is 3 years old is often of minimal commercial value and cannot easily be upgraded like serious software can. Code re-use does take place in the games industry but only if there are new ideas for games that can use it.