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mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Dark Off posted:

gaming industry talks a lot with each other.

whats the most hosed up rumor you have heard?
(if you can share it that is)
You can keep the company names out

This is an interesting question, but I find that most of the really hosed up stuff is so bad it ends up going public (like how Konami follows ex-employees and tries to ruin their lives). If any devs here have anything they want to say, feel free to PM me or reach me some other way and I will post it anonymously. I imagine you wont get a lot of answers, though, because either people don't go out of their way to meet with and talk to devs from other geographical areas or they don't trust the gamer public at large with bad rumors. Bad rumors can cast a lot of lovely light on the whole industry, even if they are outliers or exceptions.

To that point, though, here is a twitter thread for everyone to read. I know this mindset is pretty common among a lot of devs across the industry:

https://twitter.com/charlesrandall/...987526541430784

Thanks for keeping this thread chill and cool!

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rope kid
Feb 3, 2001

Warte nur! Balde
Ruhest du auch.


I've answered literally thousands of questions between my old Formspring account and my current tumblr account. The only questions I won't answer are things under NDA, rumor-mongering, or requests to dunk on other devs.

There's also a difference between "asked and answered" questions and provocations to debate. The latter usually aren't worthwhile, especially when the person fundamentally doesn't know what they're talking about.

berenzen
Jan 23, 2012

Wings Out


I have a few questions for you industry veterans from a person trying to get into it:

Aside from C++ and C#, what other languages should I try to learn to increase my hiring prospects as a gameplay coder/designer? I know python, java and html, and the basics of a few other languages, I'm just wondering which ones I should be focusing on.

As someone who is totally inept at drawing/3d rendering, what should I be doing to try and build up my portfolio? My strengths mostly lie in the realm of coding, logic and algorithms.

Bizarro Buddha
Feb 11, 2007


berenzen posted:

I have a few questions for you industry veterans from a person trying to get into it:

Aside from C++ and C#, what other languages should I try to learn to increase my hiring prospects as a gameplay coder/designer? I know python, java and html, and the basics of a few other languages, I'm just wondering which ones I should be focusing on.

As someone who is totally inept at drawing/3d rendering, what should I be doing to try and build up my portfolio? My strengths mostly lie in the realm of coding, logic and algorithms.

I can speak to the programming perspective, and leave design to someone else, except to say that how you pitch yourself for either/both of those roles will differ depending on the size of the studio you're trying to get hired at. My experience is only in large studios and the level of specialization there means you'll be better off you would be picking only one of those things to focus on for your resume and interview prep. As a programmer you should be expecting to implement other people's designs, and as a designer you should expect only to make the implementation of a prototype and then hand it off to other people for hardening and expansion.

In most AAA shops, C++ is the only language you would need as a gameplay coder, to work with UE4 or an in-house engine. Smaller studios or AAA-skunkworks stuff might use Unity and therefore C#. Other languages are used in gamedev, but they're likely to be tools (python is used to script Maya, for example) or engine (writing Objective C/Swift for iOS-specific platform layers, for example).

I have personally never sent a portfolio in with a programming application, or looked at one from an applicant when I was doing interviews. That being said, working on one could help you with design applications, or with topics to talk about in interview. I'd recommend downloading UE4 or Unity and putting together a collection of minigames, specifically looking to practice vector math. In any gameplay coding interview, you should expect lots of questions on vectors, transforms and geometry. If you don't know several uses for the dot and cross products in video games, do some reading.

As an example of something that could work as either a small portfolio piece or practice for your math skills, a coworker of mine likes the open-ended question, "How would you design and implement a turret to shoot at the player?" This should get the interviewee talking about all sorts of things like what kind of game this enemy has to fit into, 'fairness' with AI, hitscan vs projectile weapons, and then once you've worked out a spec with the interviewer, the math & code that goes into aiming and firing.

Initio
Oct 29, 2007
!

I really love the role descriptions for the door problem in the OP. I've been doing IT consulting for a number of years, so I've done a number of those roles in other industries.

Can anyone who has done both game development and non-game development give some contrast between the two? What's more interesting? What's really unique about the game industry that's just not there outside of it?

eshock
Sep 2, 2004


berenzen posted:

I have a few questions for you industry veterans from a person trying to get into it:

Aside from C++ and C#, what other languages should I try to learn to increase my hiring prospects as a gameplay coder/designer? I know python, java and html, and the basics of a few other languages, I'm just wondering which ones I should be focusing on.

As someone who is totally inept at drawing/3d rendering, what should I be doing to try and build up my portfolio? My strengths mostly lie in the realm of coding, logic and algorithms.

Once you've got those two, I'd focus on project work over core language skills. Any sufficiently large pipeline is going to have a random scripting language or two tying things together, and it can be interesting during an interview to talk about how you went about learning the language, what you liked about it, what you didn't, etc. But I don't know how much stock anyone would put in a language skill that isn't directly tied to some production problem you've solved in the past.

If I see someone's listed a functional language I'll pretty much always ask about it, just because it can lead to some good conversations, but stuff like python, java, and html is just white noise--I'd probably skip right over it. It's not that those aren't necessarily good skills to have, but they're only going to be seen as valuable in the context of some project you've done.

Bizarro Buddha posted:

I have personally never sent a portfolio in with a programming application, or looked at one from an applicant when I was doing interviews. That being said, working on one could help you with design applications, or with topics to talk about in interview. I'd recommend downloading UE4 or Unity and putting together a collection of minigames, specifically looking to practice vector math. In any gameplay coding interview, you should expect lots of questions on vectors, transforms and geometry. If you don't know several uses for the dot and cross products in video games, do some reading.

I haven't done any real UE dev since 3, but is modern UE4 actually a good platform for dicking around with vector math now? At my last shop we required designers to be pretty decent coders, and the candidates who fell over at the vector math questions were invariably those with an Unreal background. I left there before 4 became widespread though so maybe it's changed.

eshock fucked around with this message at Sep 25, 2017 around 08:13

Dark Off
Aug 14, 2015





mutata posted:

This is an interesting question, but I find that most of the really hosed up stuff is so bad it ends up going public (like how Konami follows ex-employees and tries to ruin their lives). If any devs here have anything they want to say, feel free to PM me or reach me some other way and I will post it anonymously. I imagine you wont get a lot of answers, though, because either people don't go out of their way to meet with and talk to devs from other geographical areas or they don't trust the gamer public at large with bad rumors. Bad rumors can cast a lot of lovely light on the whole industry, even if they are outliers or exceptions.

To that point, though, here is a twitter thread for everyone to read. I know this mindset is pretty common among a lot of devs across the industry:

https://twitter.com/charlesrandall/...987526541430784

Thanks for keeping this thread chill and cool!


rope kid posted:

I've answered literally thousands of questions between my old Formspring account and my current tumblr account. The only questions I won't answer are things under NDA, rumor-mongering, or requests to dunk on other devs.

There's also a difference between "asked and answered" questions and provocations to debate. The latter usually aren't worthwhile, especially when the person fundamentally doesn't know what they're talking about.
good answers and very interesting tweet to read.
I only brought this up because i happened to know some of those rumors myself (not my place to share because i am not a game developer).
And i do feel like there is rumors, that would help new dev's understand what they are getting into, if they wanted to join a bigger studio working on a AAA title.

Mother
Sep 30, 2004

You are help Orz with *parties*.

hey girl you up posted:

I have no desire to do it, I'm just curious: what does the writing process look like at a AAA shop? How does it compare to movies/tv?

Writing varies a lot from place to place. Larger or more narrative-focused shops tend to have writing teams and use more process. Smaller shops have a writer or, worst-case but not uncommon, someone who knows more about punctuation than other people on the team.

Writers I know who started in television or movies are generally frustrated by games because, in most devs, things are the opposite of what they are used to. I’m not just talking about the writer who has no idea how games are made and scripts something impossible or silly (that’s common too), but more the pecking order of things. In television or movies, the script is what you’re doing. Things are changed even during shooting but the script is still the map. With game dev, in a lot of places, this is not the case – giant chunks of the writer counted on will be cut or changed as the reality of the development schedule settles in and the writer will be expected to “revise” lines and story to make sense of what they are given.

For extra fun, there’s often a silly lead time between when writers need to have their things in and when things actually get locked because of localization, so you need to pray that things don’t change after you send off final drafts.

(P.S., They do and then the writer is frantically trying to get someone a dozen time zones away to email changes in other languages so she can do by-hand replacements for all of the various languages, using strings nobody in the office can translate.)

rope kid
Feb 3, 2001

Warte nur! Balde
Ruhest du auch.


Dark Off posted:

good answers and very interesting tweet to read.
I only brought this up because i happened to know some of those rumors myself (not my place to share because i am not a game developer).
And i do feel like there is rumors, that would help new dev's understand what they are getting into, if they wanted to join a bigger studio working on a AAA title.
There's always Glassdoor.

Dark Off
Aug 14, 2015





rope kid posted:

There's always Glassdoor.
I guess your right.
I would advice people to check it, if they are looking for job at big company.


how limited are the current game engines?
do people use engines other than unity and unreal for 3d games?

Dr Cheeto
Mar 2, 2013


Wretched Harp

mutata posted:

https://twitter.com/charlesrandall/...987526541430784

Thanks for keeping this thread chill and cool!

Thanks for this, it's hard for me to understand just how much crap literally everyone in games gets from a loud and intensely lovely group of gamers. It's really sad to me that most of what a developer will receive as feedback comes from these kinds of people, what can gamers do to foster a less lovely community?

cubicle gangster
Jun 26, 2005

magda, make the tea


Dr Cheeto posted:

what can gamers do to foster a less lovely community?


This same thing happens in all forms of media and politics.
Some people once they spend money on a thing feel like it owes them something and over enough time if it doesn't seem to be custom tailored for them and their tastes alone they take it very personally. They build up a fantasy of what it's going to be like or what it could be like and divergence from their private vision is then a huge problem.
It's exactly the same part of the brain that makes the crazy people go to town hall meetings, scream about how they pay their taxes so their voice needs to be heard. it's probably the same part of the brain that handles territorial racism too.

edit: that was an unnecessarily short reply.
It's basically down to entitlement - which is a major problem these days (and unlike most huffington post articles, I think is more of a problem in older generations than younger)
People need to be taught how to consider others & be more empathetic of what happened to lead up to this moment instead of always so concerned with how everything affects them all the time.
DFW's speech 'this is water' touches on this when he talks about choosing what to think (and it's a big theme in his books and the classes he used to teach), but at the end of the day pretty much the only people who've heard that and get it are people who didn't need to hear it or get it be who they are, and that is where we reach the crux of the issue (which goes so far beyond videogames) - how do you change the behavior of people who see nothing wrong with what they are doing?

I actually think games developers now shying away from sharing information (as a result of being attacked by entitled children) is not making it better - the perceived secrecy makes these people think there is something to hide. There is no good solution to this however. Threads like this are always cool and informative, and usually help people who are in the camp of 'didnt really think about it much' but at the end of the day there's nothing you can do for someone who's been raised badly and spends 14 hours a day sat in front of a computer, growing bitter & spreading hatred.
Someone mentioned that youtube personalities have contributed a lot and I agree with that, they recognized a market and pandered towards it, normalizing being mad at video games for insignificant reasons. Twitter is also a huge problem in how it gave a live connection between all these people and the developers themselves. If some of the current video game drama only had message boards still it would never have been able to grow at a fast enough rate to become as big as it did. I genuinely think twitter brings absolutely nothing of value to the planet.

cubicle gangster fucked around with this message at Sep 25, 2017 around 20:00

Mother
Sep 30, 2004

You are help Orz with *parties*.

cubicle gangster posted:

at the end of the day there's nothing you can do for someone who's been raised badly and spends 14 hours a day sat in front of a computer, growing bitter & spreading hatred.

It's a really complex problem overall and good community / community management is golden. As a designer, you tend to be somewhat ok with angry feedback -- if it's good feed, you'll take it however you can get it. Same time, I know I do what I can to limit / watch how my designers are treated in the forums and such. I'm careful about making "take personal abuse" part of someone's job description.

Many devs have by-invitation groups that they use for deep feed gathering / early looks. Done correctly, these are not fan clubs. They're actually some of the harshest critics, their stuff just doesn't include a bunch of personal attacks and other nonsense.

Dark Off
Aug 14, 2015





cubicle gangster posted:

This same thing happens in all forms of media and politics.
Some people once they spend money on a thing feel like it owes them something and over enough time if it doesn't seem to be custom tailored for them and their tastes alone they take it very personally. They build up a fantasy of what it's going to be like or what it could be like and divergence from their private vision is then a huge problem.
It's exactly the same part of the brain that makes the crazy people go to town hall meetings, scream about how they pay their taxes so their voice needs to be heard. it's probably the same part of the brain that handles territorial racism too.

edit: that was an unnecessarily short reply.
It's basically down to entitlement - which is a major problem these days (and unlike most huffington post articles, I think is more of a problem in older generations than younger)
People need to be taught how to consider others & be more empathetic instead of always be so concerned with how everything affects them all the time.

I actually think games developers now shying away from sharing information (as a result of being attacked by entitled children) is not making it better - the perceived secrecy makes these people think there is something to hide. Threads like this are always cool but at the end of the day there's nothing you can do for someone who's been raised badly and spends 14 hours a day sat in front of a computer, growing bitter & spreading hatred.
Someone mentioned that youtube personalities have contributed a lot and I agree with that, they recognized a market and pandered towards it, normalizing being mad at video games for insignificant reasons.

I think bigger problem is the fact that gamers think everything is possible. In magical land of games.
And publisher arent helping by bullshotting.
that is the thing that turns everything bit too toxic. During and after the game release.

I would say NMS was rather good example of that. The game was rather okay on release. But because how hyped up it was it ended up disappointing the gamers.
And during its development nobody listened to critics asking the right questions. (the price was rip off on launch however, and sean murray did lie about features)

Dark Off fucked around with this message at Sep 25, 2017 around 20:25

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Dishonesty, particularly in marketing, is definitely an agitating factor (but not a cause, in my opinion) and I would love the industry to hold its own feet to the fire on that. I really hated most of the marketing for Disney Infinity because marketing only cares about selling narratives and emotions but they never cared about the reality of the constraints we had as devs and the limitations of the game (or so it seemed to us knee deep in dev). It was a huge mismatch and we would get called out on it all the time and all we could do is shrug and go "I know, I hate it too".

mutata fucked around with this message at Sep 25, 2017 around 21:30

ninjewtsu
Oct 9, 2012



After a release, do you guys usually find yourselves trawling through reddit reading every angry comment someone has about your game, or do you just check out what the critics have to say and maybe a brief look at general opinion? Or are you just happy to be free of crunch and don't even care to see what people think?

Canine Blues Arooo
Jan 7, 2008

when you think about it...i'm the first girl you ever spent the night with


Grimey Drawer

ninjewtsu posted:

After a release, do you guys usually find yourselves trawling through reddit reading every angry comment someone has about your game, or do you just check out what the critics have to say and maybe a brief look at general opinion? Or are you just happy to be free of crunch and don't even care to see what people think?

If a major change was made to some of the tech I'm responsible for, I'll often look around reddit/social media/youtube to see if people are tripping over any issues with said tech. Communities are pretty good at picking up on small-ish changes. If the community perceives small changes that aren't supposed to be there, that's a good sign of smoke, and where there's smoke, there's fire.

Bizarro Buddha
Feb 11, 2007


eshock posted:

I haven't done any real UE dev since 3, but is modern UE4 actually a good platform for dicking around with vector math now? At my last shop we required designers to be pretty decent coders, and the candidates who fell over at the vector math questions were invariably those with an Unreal background. I left there before 4 became widespread though so maybe it's changed.

All the 'real' vector math functions are there in both imo, it's just that they both also provide a lot of shortcuts that can lead to not really understanding the fundamentals, like their 'rotator' class.

Whistling Asshole
Nov 18, 2005



Dr Cheeto posted:

Thanks for this, it's hard for me to understand just how much crap literally everyone in games gets from a loud and intensely lovely group of gamers. It's really sad to me that most of what a developer will receive as feedback comes from these kinds of people, what can gamers do to foster a less lovely community?

I may be in the minority here, but in my 11 years of making games professionally, literally no piece of feedback from the community has really bothered me* or made me stop wanting to make games, no matter how inflammatory or malicious. The guys like Phil Fish who freak out about community response are guys who completely lack perspective and let their own emotional dysregulation get the better of them.

Gamers are entitled to write whatever the gently caress they want as far as I'm concerned -- it would be a million times more detrimental to games as a whole if they were apathetic about it and didn't care enough to comment. Obviously stuff like stalking devs or posting their info or other obsessive behavior is way out of line, but overall I genuinely appreciate the fact that gamers as a whole feel passionate enough to voice their opinion, no matter how off-base it might be sometimes.

A gameplay video of a single level that I made in a game that wasn't really a huge hit has 200,000 views on Youtube. That is absolutely mindblowing to me that people care that much about a thing I spent a few months of my life working on. There are probably hundreds of millions of people who spend their entire loving lives working at jobs that will never get them any thanks, praise, or interest beyond their own co-workers if they're lucky. To have to put up with a few trolls in exchange for otherwise massive interest in what I do is completely worth it to me.

Imagine what kind of golden age of literature we'd have right now if books had as passionate a fanbase as games. I was watching a documentary about J.D. Salinger where he lamented the fact that so many weirdos tried to find his address and stalked him because they felt like Catcher in the Rye spoke to them directly -- but there's no way he'd take back writing that book and the immense success it brought him on account of a few nutters (though maybe John Lennon and Ronald Reagan would feel differently...)

* except for one (long since banned) poster from this very forum who misunderstood the way our demo was intended to showcase truncated versions of our levels. To his credit, when we talked about it in-depth privately, it ended up ultimately getting him a job at our company and he's gone on to do really big well known games and start his own company, so you never know where voicing your lovely opinion will take you!

theflyingorc
Jun 28, 2008



Dr Cheeto posted:

Thanks for this, it's hard for me to understand just how much crap literally everyone in games gets from a loud and intensely lovely group of gamers. It's really sad to me that most of what a developer will receive as feedback comes from these kinds of people, what can gamers do to foster a less lovely community?

I worked on a smallish MMO a few years ago. We were dying, and had only 5 people left on staff, and we were still putting out (slowly, painfully) content.

Because of this, we had a closer relationship to the players - and the way I found critical bugs was literally "Log into the game, chat with players for a while, find out what issues are important to them".

One day, at the end of the workday, I hopped on just to be friendly. Said hi, turned into a critter and followed a player around, just goofy stuff.

A player starts SCREAMING at me in chat - "WHY ARE YOU BUSY CHATTING IN GAME WHEN YOU SHOULD BE FIXING IT. YOU LAZY BLAH BLAH BLAH"

I responded - "It's after 5PM. I'm done working for the day. The alternative isn't that I'm doing more work, I'd instead be going home."

Him: "STFU and go code, bitch"

So yeah that's what we're dealing with. It's only about 10-15% of players, but they're nasty, NASTY human beings.

exquisite tea
Apr 21, 2007

Carly shook her glass, willing the ice to melt. "You still haven't told me what the mission is."

She leaned forward. "We are going to assassinate the bad men of Hollywood."

Of all the stupid criticism game developers get from the community at large, "the devs don't even play their own game!" is by far the weakest and lamest out there. Yes dude, the people who work 60 hours a week trying to compile a million lines of gobbledegook into the modern magic you call a video game do not share the same extremely limited perspective as you, man who spends every waking hour playing his waifu and hating it when other heroes can do stuff better than his waifu. Players can be good at identifying problems but are often very bad at proposing solutions, because they have no sense for the greater balance of interactions that follow when you adjust one seemingly minuscule aspect of the game.

Discendo Vox
Mar 21, 2013

This user's endless pedantry is kept grey.

Key words: nutrition, philosophy, regulatory science, law, shallow realpolitik, fake cheese, game design fanfiction.

Along the same lines, what is the most unhelpful player feedback you've ever heard, either with relation to your own project or someone else's?

theflyingorc
Jun 28, 2008



exquisite tea posted:

Players can be good at identifying problems but are often very bad at proposing solutions,
This is something that good designers recognize. Players are actually really good at telling you what sucks about your game, because they're experiencing it! There's very little reason for their opinions about what they don't like to be wrong.

But holy poo poo, don't listen to their ideas of how to fix it they're real bad

hey girl you up
May 21, 2001

Forum Nice Guy


theflyingorc posted:

This is something that good designers recognize. Players are actually really good at telling you what sucks about your game, because they're experiencing it! There's very little reason for their opinions about what they don't like to be wrong.

But holy poo poo, don't listen to their ideas of how to fix it they're real bad

The good ol' "X-Y problem".

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

exquisite tea posted:

Of all the stupid criticism game developers get from the community at large, "the devs don't even play their own game!" is by far the weakest and lamest out there. Yes dude, the people who work 60 hours a week trying to compile a million lines of gobbledegook into the modern magic you call a video game do not share the same extremely limited perspective as you, man who spends every waking hour playing his waifu and hating it when other heroes can do stuff better than his waifu. Players can be good at identifying problems but are often very bad at proposing solutions, because they have no sense for the greater balance of interactions that follow when you adjust one seemingly minuscule aspect of the game.

I sort of agree and sort of disagree. Obviously the simplistic player pov is dumb in a lot of cases, but on the other hand I've actually worked on games where we had to fight tooth and nail to get people to play the game they were making and give feedback. Obviously not everyone needs an encyclopedic knowledge of the game (that's a silly thing to ask) but it'd be nice if more devs understood and appreciated the context of the stuff they were making!

Harrow
Jun 30, 2012

This knight was born to be THE BEST! Just like all the billions like him!


theflyingorc posted:

This is something that good designers recognize. Players are actually really good at telling you what sucks about your game, because they're experiencing it! There's very little reason for their opinions about what they don't like to be wrong.

But holy poo poo, don't listen to their ideas of how to fix it they're real bad

I've read this a few times and it makes a ton of sense to me.

ArenaNet has this kind of weird specific request for suggested improvements for Guild Wars 2 on their official forum that surprises me and I wonder why they mentioned it. I thought maybe they were just encouraging people to post their ideas so they'd feel like they were being heard, but I'd think that, if ArenaNet does fix problems but not in the way players suggested, it's just inviting more dissatisfaction. Obviously people are going to post their specific ideas anyway, but specifically asking for it suggests that they hope to get meaningful ideas that way.

For my part, after reading a few developers talking about how helpful feedback is and how useless suggested fix ideas are, I try to keep those suggestions out of my feedback. But it's surprising to see that sort of thing actually solicited.

cubicle gangster
Jun 26, 2005

magda, make the tea


I read this today which is relevant to the entitlement argument - http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1438902

This guy working for treyarch as a level designer wanted more than anything to work on a halo game. he gets the job offer, quits, starts moving, then they realise he's a whiny bitch who complains about halo games non stop despite playing them for hundreds of hours to the level where he's insulting the developers and they say 'nah, no job for you' and leave him homeless.
He doesn't seem to have learned a lesson at all, or didn't really acknowledge why this happened beyond 'i should have been more professional'

The interesting thing to me is that he was already working in the games industry and his most recent comment about how nobody at 343 deserves to have a job ( poignant ) was from june this year.


So here's a question for the game dev's - have you ever had co workers that still act like stereotypical gamers and feel games owe them something, despite working on them for a living? I imagine it's mostly limited to junior level, but is it ever a problem?

cubicle gangster fucked around with this message at Sep 26, 2017 around 20:01

theflyingorc
Jun 28, 2008



cubicle gangster posted:

So here's a question for the game dev's - have you ever had co workers that still act like stereotypical gamers and feel games owe them something, despite working on them for a living? I imagine it's mostly limited to junior level, but is it ever a problem?
The reality of watching those decisions get made usually purges those ideas real quick.

Jeff Kaplan, who oversees one of the most popular/profitable games of all time (Overwatch), wrote this back when he was a guild leader in EQ. Development changes a person's perspective.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Overwatch/...om_his_eq_days/

ShinAli
May 2, 2003

The Kid better watch his step.


cubicle gangster posted:

So here's a question for the game dev's - have you ever had co workers that still act like stereotypical gamers and feel games owe them something, despite working on them for a living? I imagine it's mostly limited to junior level, but is it ever a problem?

Yes, but it usually isn't a problem with juniors since that's mostly mitigated by increasing standards. I more or less see shitlord gamer behavior from people that have been with the company for awhile. I'm guessing its mostly seniority stuff keeping them here and keeping their behavior in check.

hey girl you up posted:

I have no desire to do it, I'm just curious: what does the writing process look like at a AAA shop? How does it compare to movies/tv?

The general plot writing comes in relatively early with adjustments made during the course of development, which varies in severity of the changes based on how important writing is to the game. I imagine for something like Uncharted its locked in pretty early, but DOOM had its final plot and writing come in really really hot during the last few months of production. Like just months before I remember the plot being something entirely different to what we have now.

ShinAli fucked around with this message at Sep 26, 2017 around 20:38

rope kid
Feb 3, 2001

Warte nur! Balde
Ruhest du auch.


djkillingspree posted:

Obviously not everyone needs an encyclopedic knowledge of the game (that's a silly thing to ask) but it'd be nice if more devs understood and appreciated the context of the stuff they were making!
Agreed. A little bit of context goes a very long way.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Harrow posted:

I've read this a few times and it makes a ton of sense to me.

ArenaNet has this kind of weird specific request for suggested improvements for Guild Wars 2 on their official forum that surprises me and I wonder why they mentioned it. I thought maybe they were just encouraging people to post their ideas so they'd feel like they were being heard, but I'd think that, if ArenaNet does fix problems but not in the way players suggested, it's just inviting more dissatisfaction. Obviously people are going to post their specific ideas anyway, but specifically asking for it suggests that they hope to get meaningful ideas that way.

For my part, after reading a few developers talking about how helpful feedback is and how useless suggested fix ideas are, I try to keep those suggestions out of my feedback. But it's surprising to see that sort of thing actually solicited.

I think in a lot of situations these kinds of guidelines aren't actually about getting people to give usable suggestions, but to put them in the mindset of realizing that decisions are made to solve problems. At the very least, if you propose a solution, you have to then open yourself up to criticism of the flaws of your solution from other people in the community, which gets more people into the mindset of looking at the problems and less about bandwagoning specific solutions.

And, best case, communities can produce good suggestions. I don't think every community suggestion is good, and there are a lot of people with ulterior motives giving suggestions, but you do get really good community suggestions and feedback sometimes.

Side note, watching streams/youtube vids, participating in discords, etc. can actually be much better sources of feedback than forum posts anyways. Forums tend to select for a super specific subset of people who like posting on forums and that tends to skew the tone of feedback pretty hard in my experience. Forums tend toward bandwagoning a lot in my experience, too.

Applesnots
Oct 22, 2010

MERRY YOBMAS


How do devs feel about the upswing of micro transactions in full priced AAA titles?

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Applesnots posted:

How do devs feel about the upswing of micro transactions in full priced AAA titles?

In my conversations with industry friends, opinions here run the whole gamut, but I get the vibe that there is still murk there among rank and file devs. There seems to be a general consensus that prestige and cosmetic stuff like the equivalent to WoW pets and mounts or Overwatch skins. Most of the friend-devs I know work in non-mobile/non-F2P offices and they seem to bristle the closer microtransactions get to gambling. Things that really drastically touch gameplay like powerups or easy mode trinkets or whatever seem to be no-gos.

When you talk about monetization issues in general is where the cold fact comes up that game devs and publishers are companies who's goal is to make as much profit as possible, especially if they are publicly traded. Now, some devs have put a stake in the ground and have said "We're not doing microtransactions" or "we're doing this other monetization model" and that's because they've decided that there's some gain to be had there that offsets the possible lost revenue they'd get if they had microtransactions, or they're confident that if they did microtransactions they wouldn't get that much of a boost in profits. Basically, every company that I know of is out to make money by making games and they're all picking strategies that they think will best do that. Sometimes that means microtransactions.

I also think often about the CrossyRoad guy who prided himself with releasing a non-microtransaction game until players started emailing him asking him where his in-game store was and when it was coming. At that point, it's silly to leave money on the table if you can do it in a non-evil way, right?

Personally, I don't mind a game having a little store to buy prestige items directly with irl money. I get a bit annoyed with Overwatch's loot box system, but I feel that I get enough while playing that they've walked that line pretty ok. On the other hand, I think if I hadn't had millions of funbucks dumped on me against my will by shady folk in GTA Online, I probably would've stopped playing that game a lot sooner than I did because I feel like the grind for money is steep and the irl price is way steep. So for me it's a spectrum of companies that do it ok and ones that push it and others that I go "no way".

I just want to feed my family by making games, but I also want to be fair and well-liked too. I want to feel like I'm adding value to someone's life with the things I make which inherently has to mean that they don't feel ripped off.

I know this issue ruffles a lot of feathers and I've watched some great YouTube takedowns of it, and I encourage the community to continue to be passionate about monetization and to call bullshit for what it is. That said, some people are crusaders about it and that's just gonna be them tilting at windmills because we're businesses and while the suits have learned to wear hoodies, they still want to make a bajillion dollars.

Canine Blues Arooo
Jan 7, 2008

when you think about it...i'm the first girl you ever spent the night with


Grimey Drawer

Applesnots posted:

How do devs feel about the upswing of micro transactions in full priced AAA titles?

I can't really think of a single game you purchase up front with money that also has Microtransactions that I'd really champion. Maybe WoW, simply because it's 'no bullshit, you get exactly what you pay for and it's all cosmetic/prestige' store is probably an ideal manifestation of it. But you also pay per expansion and per month, so it's not like WoW is somehow a cheap game to play otherwise.

A lot of people cite Path of Exile as the ideal (although it's free to play, not a box). I mostly agree, but I'd say you absolutely *need* a currency tab to not tear your hair out, and you need at least 1 premium tab to trade, which is absolutely necessary if you start to take the game 'seriously'. To that end, I tag PoE with an effective price tag of $15~ with a free, indefinite demo, which is still a hell of a deal since that game is fantastic.

I don't personally have a problem with loot boxes that only hold cosmetics e.g. Overwatch, but I think the argument that it has more negative effects on those that are vulnerable to gambling and have addiction problems is at least somewhat legitimate, so I'm lukewarm on that.

Anything that's put in a loot box that affects gameplay is right out.

While companies exists to make money and in an industry as volatile as the games industry, it's nice to have some kind of security that MTXes can bring to certain games and platforms. At the same time, I think tossing personal and societal ethics to the wayside in favor of the almighty dollar is not cool and that there is a middle ground somewhere between Jim Sterling and Zanga that represents the potential ideal.

ninjewtsu
Oct 9, 2012



Canine Blues Arooo posted:

Anything that's put in a loot box that affects gameplay is right out.

how do you feel about tf2's weapons drop system?

MissMarple
Aug 26, 2008



Applesnots posted:

How do devs feel about the upswing of micro transactions in full priced AAA titles?
I am very utilitarian and free market about this. It varies with each implementation, and if players find one strategy distasteful and another acceptable then I would expect them to vote with their wallets.

A tonne of people will complain when, say, Destiny's latest DLC is another 40 bucks, but they will also buy it because they know it's worth it to them.

I appreciate that gamers want "the full game they paid for". The reality of the continued support is often that of the 10 new things that got added, you get 8 for free because they are charging people for the other 2. Without that, you would get nothing.

Also maybe I just haven't worked in a shop with huge profits, but I've rarely experienced it as "devs being greedy" over "this is how we are keeping the studio open and buying as much engineering time as possible on the next game to make it as awesome as we can".

Ultimately I believe that you will make the most money if you build a game and monetisation strategy that your players love and want to invest in. If you piss people off they will avoid your game, or even worse you as a developer.

hey girl you up
May 21, 2001

Forum Nice Guy


Mother posted:

In television or movies, the script is what you’re doing. Things are changed even during shooting but the script is still the map. With game dev, in a lot of places, this is not the case – giant chunks of the writer counted on will be cut or changed as the reality of the development schedule settles in and the writer will be expected to “revise” lines and story to make sense of what they are given.

ShinAli posted:

The general plot writing comes in relatively early with adjustments made during the course of development, which varies in severity of the changes based on how important writing is to the game. I imagine for something like Uncharted its locked in pretty early, but DOOM had its final plot and writing come in really really hot during the last few months of production. Like just months before I remember the plot being something entirely different to what we have now.

Very interesting and enlightening, thanks. I've been enjoying the Scriptnotes podcast, where two screenwriters talk shop, and was curious how video games fit into things. I figured it'd be close to how they've described TV writing, where the season's arcs for story and character are broadly scripted out, and but later episodes are being written written as earlier ones are filmed.

And the answer seems to be (which, of course, I should have known) It Really Depends. Thanks again.

GC_ChrisReeves
Dec 16, 2004



"You're going to be...amazing."

cubicle gangster posted:

So here's a question for the game dev's - have you ever had co workers that still act like stereotypical gamers and feel games owe them something, despite working on them for a living? I imagine it's mostly limited to junior level, but is it ever a problem?
I used to BE that guy back when I first started working on my first game, a mobile title and was only just being introduced to F2P gaming and monetisation at the same time. I'd make the usual vocal mad gamer statements against balancing for enticing players to pay and was completely and utterly stopped by a senior dev simply asking me "Well how do we make money then, Chris?". Of course, I had nothing.

I grew up a bunch that day.

Discendo Vox
Mar 21, 2013

This user's endless pedantry is kept grey.

Key words: nutrition, philosophy, regulatory science, law, shallow realpolitik, fake cheese, game design fanfiction.

How are folks defining "microtransaction" in this context? Its definition is often blurred to suit different complaints, entitlements or controversies.

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mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

I define them in my mind as payments for small pieces of packages of incidental content like skins or pets. I'd personally probably draw the line at stuff like whole new maps and call those DLC but single shot piecemeal content like a new weapon or a new skin or a new prop are microtransactions.

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