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  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    Oh no I'm a senior programmer now and I still get paid less than some graduate programmer jobs in London.
    Oh, that sucks :/

  2. #22
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandomTangent View Post
    Oh, that sucks :/
    Eh we turn up in t-shirts, chat about video games all day, have flexi-time, get to go to Games conferences etc.

    But the general point is that video games companies rely on their staff wanting to do Games stuff, rather than rewarding them with pay or decent hours. But it is slowly changing, I've noticed a way bigger trend to start using proper IT project management structures and so forth.

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    Eh we turn up in t-shirts, chat about video games all day, have flexi-time, get to go to Games conferences etc.

    But the general point is that video games companies rely on their staff wanting to do Games stuff, rather than rewarding them with pay or decent hours. But it is slowly changing, I've noticed a way bigger trend to start using proper IT project management structures and so forth.
    So there are other compensations. I'd be prepared to take a lower wage than someone working mental hours, I suppose. As long as I felt it was fair. Sadly I don't get to go to games conferences!

    What used to happen in companies my brother has worked for is that people in management roles were simply more experienced architects. Obviously, that tends to happen in a lot of highly specialised or technical industries. The problem is, these people don't have any experience managing a team of people or a project, other than what they picked up by being badly managed by the last guy. For some people, management is a natural, common-sense skill. For others, it isn't. The way some of those people handled pressure bordered on mentally ill, and the way they treated their team was something close to harassment. As a committed nerd, I've always naturally disliked the idea that "management" is a skill. But the truth is, it is. I only really realised that in seeing how bad some people are at it.

  4. #24
    Activated Node Fireflower's Avatar
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    Not sure you can be 100% efficient if you regularly work 80 hours/week. You would probably get more productivity out of an employee if he/she works less hours, which thegooseking and others touched in earlier posts. Some studies even suggest that you would be more or equally efficient working 6 hour days instead of 8.
    It’s weird that some companies still treat their workforce as slave labor, but guess they just want to squeeze out as much money as possible, or at least that's what they think they do.
    I understand that you might have to work overtime once in a while though.

  5. #25
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bhazor's Avatar
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    I remember there was an interview in GamesTM a few years back with Tim Schafer. He said that he treats game development as any other job and has made it so that no body works overtime and there's no "crunch". The reason being his team consists mainly of 30-40 year olds with families and lives outside work.

    I hope that will be the model for future veterans with Obsidian and InXile apparently moving in the same way.

    Really I think people having lives outside work makes for better games. It gives perspective and scope instead of banging their head against a coding brick wall for 12 hours they come back after the weekend with a completely new work around.
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  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Bhazor View Post
    I remember there was an interview in GamesTM a few years back with Tim Schafer. He said that he treats game development as any other job and has made it so that no body works overtime and there's no "crunch". The reason being his team consists mainly of 30-40 year olds with families and lives outside work.

    I hope that will be the model for future veterans with Obsidian and InXile apparently moving in the same way.

    Really I think people having lives outside work makes for better games. It gives perspective and scope instead of banging their head against a coding brick wall for 12 hours they come back after the weekend with a completely new work around.
    Interesting - I'll look up that interview.

    100% agree. Happy, fresh, content people are a lot more productive than exhausted, drained, demoralised people. Software development is not seen as a particularly creative discipline, but it definitely requires creative thinking. It takes imagination and inspiration to solve a lot of the problems you encounter. Both those faculties are seriously compromised without some genuine downtime. Oh and on your last point, I tend to have most of my epiphanies whilst taking a shit. Once you step away from your computer and stop digging for a solution, you are free to think more latterly.

  7. #27
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus b0rsuk's Avatar
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    It should be obvious that best games are made by people who are happy. I'm not talking about educational and art games, I'm talking about games which are meant to be fun.
    pass

  8. #28
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    Yeah, there have been countless studies undertaken since the early 1900s that are the reason 40 hours is a standard work week. It's the amount of time that gets you the greatest sustained productivity. If you increase it (go into crunch) you can up productivity for a time, 2 weeks to a month, depending on the job and the individual, but then it starts to fall off, and quickly ends up below where it was for 40 hours. There's a neat kicker, in that it then takes quite a while to come back up to normal again once you reinstate 40 hour weeks. So your net gain overall is minimal.

    Effective project management may well include some crunch, but it has to be used carefully and sparingly. Of course, there isn't as much good project management in the industry because they burn through so much good talent in 5 years the pool that climbs the ladder is both smaller and inculcated with the idea that perma-crunch is just how things are.

  9. #29
    This all makes me wonder how many "AAA" game devs are unionized. Are there any?
    Sometimes I write things

  10. #30
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GunnerMcCaffrey View Post
    This all makes me wonder how many "AAA" game devs are unionized. Are there any?
    My gut would say likely very few, if any.

    The issue is that there are a LOT more people who want "video game" jobs than there are jobs. So if a union went on strike, finding "scabs" would be trivial (and much more cost effective because those delays can make or break a company). And you could be damned sure that HR would crack down on forming any unions.

    In basically any job, your benefits are as good as how much the company values you or, more specifically, how easy it would be to replace you. "Software" companies like Apple and Google give really good benefits because they realize: The people they want to work for them can probably work at any other company. So the benefits and incentives keep the employees (there are also arguments on "creativity"). Whereas other "software" companies (I won't name any names) basically operate in a sweatshop style "We will work you until you die or leave" because they mostly just need manpower and could basically accept almost any educated/trained person in the field.
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  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    No it doesn't. There is crunch time close to a release and only if the schedule was badly project managed
    Well, only if it's a bad project manager anyway. A good project manager can completely fluff the schedule and still avoid crunch - you bring in contractors and pay them from a non-project related budget ....

    Although I suspect with the inexperience of most game devs, they haven't yet mastered the art of gouging overtime clauses in the employment contract either.

  12. #32
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    We did come up with the idea of forming a union at work, mostly so that when they fired us for doing so we could sue them for unlawful dismissal ¬_¬

  13. #33
    Yeah, I don't know about Europe, but I'm quite sure that in most North American jurisdictions it's gonna be some kind of illegal to dismiss people for trying to organize.

    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    The issue is that there are a LOT more people who want "video game" jobs than there are jobs. So if a union went on strike, finding "scabs" would be trivial (and much more cost effective because those delays can make or break a company).
    I know next to nothing about game development, but I can imagine it being something other than trivial to have to swap in a bunch of engineers and designers halfway through a massive, complicated project. The work is pretty specialized, and the projects that arise from it even moreso. Sure, there are plenty of people willing and able to do the work in general, but not necessarily able to step in and pick up specific work halfway through.

    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    In basically any job, your benefits are as good as how much the company values you or, more specifically, how easy it would be to replace you.
    Usually a mix of the two, and usually weighted toward the latter, I think. "How easy it would be to replace you" can be a function of others looking for the job, or of how much a pain in the ass a union's going to be if an employer tries treating people like they're disposable.

    I wonder if a majority of game devs don't also tend a little more toward individualist attitudes... "I got here by being smart and amazing and I did it All On My Own, so if I want good work I just need to keep being more smart and amazing than the next person." I wouldn't be surprised if some see the idea of organizing as below them.

    Pretty much thinking out loud here, though. I'm sure there are people here who know more about that world than I.
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  14. #34
    Network Hub Koobazaur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomxJ View Post
    ... but meh, at least I'm not working in film, thats really cut-throat.
    ::RANT::
    Ugh so true, i worked in both and while games were more of "shit we messed up scheduling guess its crunch mode, but ya all are used to it right?" Film is more like "id like to bestow the great privilage of working for me for free, you lucky dog you! Think how great this will look on your reel and once the BIG UNNAMED NETWORK picks us up suuuure we will call you again!"
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  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koobazaur View Post
    Ugh so true, i worked in both and while games were more of "shit we messed up scheduling guess its crunch mode, but ya all are used to it right?" Film is more like "id like to bestow the great privilage of working for me for free, you lucky dog you! Think how great this will look on your reel and once the BIG UNNAMED NETWORK picks us up suuuure we will call you again!"
    My girlfriend works in film and I really do not envy all that politicing.

    "BUT THINK OF HOW IT WILL LOOK IN YOUR PORTFOLIO!" People have said that to me in job interviews when i was fresh out of uni, which is scary as it means companies expect to be able to get away with that sort of explotation.

    Speaking of free work though, lol, you ready to send me any briefs yet? I'm still happy to help.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    Eh we turn up in t-shirts, chat about video games all day, have flexi-time, get to go to Games conferences etc.

    But the general point is that video games companies rely on their staff wanting to do Games stuff, rather than rewarding them with pay or decent hours. But it is slowly changing, I've noticed a way bigger trend to start using proper IT project management structures and so forth.
    Which is kind of understandable for indie teams. But pure evil for a company making 100 million off of the team. No idEA which companies might do that.

  17. #37
    Network Hub Skeletor68's Avatar
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    Book publishing hits some of these same problems. Already feeling like I can't do my current job and plan on getting married/having a family in the next few years. Not sure what the alternative is for me yet.

  18. #38
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus b0rsuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skeletor68 View Post
    Book publishing hits some of these same problems. Already feeling like I can't do my current job and plan on getting married/having a family in the next few years. Not sure what the alternative is for me yet.
    I heard the #1 advice given to book authors is "Don't abandon your day job"...?
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  19. #39
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    Some of this is also a result of the recession. Employers have it unusually good right now and they know it. When the economy picks up in a few years they're going to be harder pressed to meet staffing needs (except for game companies, although I think the word is slowly starting to trickle down), and productivity will be more important than cost-cutting.

  20. #40
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sonson's Avatar
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    There is a fairly clear vocational split at the moment between "Do something you enjoy and get by" or "Do something you don't enjoy for plenty money", although I'd say the majority are in the "Do something you don't enjoy for enough money to survive". It's not right of course, but I think the expectation that you should be able to something you enjoy while being paid good money for it and also maintaining a social life is a fantasy which has no grounding in pragmatism whatever, and probably never has done either. While an understandable aspiration I find it curious that people believe it should be something that is attainable.

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