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Studio
Jan 15, 2008




Coffee Jones posted:

recruiter spam:

it's 343 - formerly of 434 Kirkland Way, lol.

Is "Producer" just an extremely overloaded term in gamedev - because this looks like a "Program Manager" role in Microsoft terminology aka "Project Manager" or "Jira Janitor" - if it's critical team leading work, why would they be contracting this poo poo out instead of leaving it to a core team?

Yup! It'll vary within companies, and I've seen it vary within teams. I've seen Producer range from Product Manager to Project Manager, to Nothing Manager, JIRA Janitor, to IT Ticket Support Submitter, to Live Ops Salesperson. It's very silly

Top of my head:
EA Producers are Product Managers
Zenimax are mostly Project, but sometimes kind of Product
Riot has like a fork in the road where they split between Product and Project?

Just The Silliest.

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Hughlander
May 11, 2005



Studio posted:

Yup! It'll vary within companies, and I've seen it vary within teams. I've seen Producer range from Product Manager to Project Manager, to Nothing Manager, JIRA Janitor, to IT Ticket Support Submitter, to Live Ops Salesperson. It's very silly

Top of my head:
EA Producers are Product Managers
Zenimax are mostly Project, but sometimes kind of Product
Riot has like a fork in the road where they split between Product and Project?

Just The Silliest.

Unless EA has changed a lot that's definitely a fork as well. Larger teams would have an EP and one maybe two Product Manager Producers (Usually over design) and then a few other producers/associate producers wrangling schedules. Of course the tech side would also have Project Managers. which wasn't confusing at all.

WBIE were technically Project but you could do whatever the gently caress you want and I know at least one QA => AP => Producer => Design Director over a 9 year period.

OneEightHundred
Feb 28, 2008

Soon, we will be unstoppable!


Chev posted:

Yeah, normal mapping was kinda pointless in games until we got better lighting models that'd come a couple years later with real time programmable shaders, everything would look plastic, plus game makers didn't really figure out what to do with normal maps until the idea of baking higher poly models came about
There were some other complications. They were introduced at a time when fully dynamic lighting was an extreme technical challenge given the available GPU power, and none of the approximations of complex multi-light environments (vertex shading, lightmaps) worked with normal mapping, so the path of least resistance was very harsh lighting environments with a small number of light sources.

OneEightHundred fucked around with this message at 08:25 on Jul 28, 2020

KajiTheMelonMan
Sep 2, 2004

Trust me baby, my vagina is 100% plague free!

Most of the people in this thread seem to be higher up in the tree - programming, management, etc.

How do you guys feel about the lower level teams - customer facing support, play testers, fault submitters, etc. Are they the poor guys who have to deal with the sucky parts, or are they the grunts who deserve this and gotta start somewhere?

I've recently got made redundant from a network support role in a Big 4 ISP role (VoIP T2 support - not customer facing, but still not allowed to play with the Big Boy toys) - just want to compare.

How's the relationships between the finders and fixers? Some of our higher ups were absolute cunts, not even accepting 100% proof that there's a problem in their work and thinking that if you're not T3, you're an idiot especially since you can't do their job anyway. Some of them, however, were cool guys and are happy to learn and teach.

(Sorry if this is a bit generic, since I'm sure it happens at all business - just wanted to see if its any different in gaming)

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

You walk in with the Turnips, you leave with the Bells.



QA, IT, Community Management, Customer Service, et al all play vital roles and deserve full, benefitted positions and a living wage full stop.

They also deserve respect and credits and you can tell a lot about your co-workers and your company in how they treat folks in those departments.

Studio
Jan 15, 2008




In my experience, QA and CS tend to get treated pretty poorly from a structural perspective, but not necessarily from an individual perspective. There's a lot of promises in the air (you can go from QA/CS to Design/Prod/Eng/Art if you work on your secondary skills!!!) that don't tend to actually happen.

It really depends on the company itself too. I know some people that absolutely hated there day to day, and others that are pretty happy, but don't expect specific career advancement.

CS is almost another layer away from QA? A lot of it is outsourced, and while QA will sometimes interact with devs to repro or describe problems, it's muuuch less frequent with CS.

In general, I feel like QA is an "Okay" option if you need a job, and may not have a degree or skillset that gets you into the higher paying roles of games. A lot of companies just don't have in it though, with anywhere between 50 and 200 QA people with 3-4 salaried roles.


Edit: I treat QA/CS and all teams with respect because they're people . I also take their word since they have the most visibility in their role, and generally errors in their work are actually errors from guidance given by another team. I would love to see QA and CS unionize

Studio fucked around with this message at 03:53 on Jul 29, 2020

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


The company I work for isn't big (although it's grown a lot in the past year or two), so we don't have dedicated a playtest department and customer-facing support is literally one or two people doing it in between other tasks. Honestly I would like us to shape up a bit in that department, but it's easier said than done. Fault reports come to us from two sources, basically; pre-release scheduled play tests and post-release feedback from customers. The former is almost always addressed within the scope of a few weeks (although we prioritize issues and we may have different interpretations of what the right direction to go is with any particular problem, so the answer isn't always what the reporter anticipated or suggested), while the latter tend to languish. The reason for that has nothing to do with disdain for the people reporting or handling the feedback on our side, though, the reality is much simpler: 1) if a game doesn't work for a customer there's a galaxy of potential external issues that could be causing it that we can't fix (e.g. hardware issues), but more importantly 2) we have a lot of work to do as it is and non-critical bugs from a product that is already released is never going to have top priority when we need to keep pushing new products to stay afloat.

As a programmer, really, I want to fix as many bugs as I can. What's keeping me from doing it isn't that I don't like QA - quite the opposite - but that I need to juggle many different things in a day and the timeline for fixing any particular bug could be weeks or months down the line once all the high priority stuff has been dealt with (and that's a pool that gets continuously refilled, mind you). Most people understand that inside the company, though. Outside, not as much.

Hughlander
May 11, 2005



KajiTheMelonMan posted:

Most of the people in this thread seem to be higher up in the tree - programming, management, etc.

How do you guys feel about the lower level teams - customer facing support, play testers, fault submitters, etc. Are they the poor guys who have to deal with the sucky parts, or are they the grunts who deserve this and gotta start somewhere?

I've recently got made redundant from a network support role in a Big 4 ISP role (VoIP T2 support - not customer facing, but still not allowed to play with the Big Boy toys) - just want to compare.

How's the relationships between the finders and fixers? Some of our higher ups were absolute cunts, not even accepting 100% proof that there's a problem in their work and thinking that if you're not T3, you're an idiot especially since you can't do their job anyway. Some of them, however, were cool guys and are happy to learn and teach.

(Sorry if this is a bit generic, since I'm sure it happens at all business - just wanted to see if its any different in gaming)

Sorry to hear about your 'redundancy' God I hate that word.

It's going to be different everywhere you go. Some of the worse things I've heard about are publisher QA folks where there's a really large firewall between you and the developers and unless you're a QA Lead or Publishing Producer you'll have no access to them. You probably won't even be entering bugs into the same database that the dev team uses.

If you're with a Studio though some of that can depend on if you're contract or full time. For instance where I am now we QA is about 15-20% full time, 30-35% contract, 50% 'off-site' contract. I'm very high up in the org and never spoken to an external QA person. They're referred to by the collective noun of the city they're based out of. And if there's a question about a bug someone in the on-site pool will repro it and talk to you. That said there's not a huge stratified difference between the full-time and contract on-site folks. We've converted multiples from one to the other, and also had people swap between different contracting firms to keep them after their contract ended. I don't think anyone on my teams would look down at QA, but I've definitely seen places where they would. But that was much earlier in my career and I'd stomp the poo poo out of that if I saw it now.

Customer Support is totally different though. In over a year I've only ever interacted with the CS Manager, and one of my teams directly provides the CS Tools. I have no idea what the ratio are of in-house vs external CS reps are, it's a complete black box. I work with the manager on requirements, and hear from him on bugs in the tools.

This is just one example of course, previous orgs were different.

Canine Blues Arooo
Jan 7, 2008

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


Grimey Drawer

It is my experience that there is a major difference between Developer QA and Publisher QA. Developer QA depends on who you are working for but I've only heard horror stories of bad process, bad policy, and bad treatment from Publisher QA.

My personal experience is with dev QA. I started there but am now an Engineer (I don't really recommend this as a path). Good QA Analysts are *really* valuable and it annoys me that they aren't paid to reflect that. A great QA analyst tends to know more about how systems in the game are glued together at the client-level better than most others. While developers and engineers are siloed and given goals and specs, the QA analyst is more likely to have a better high level view of not only what exists across an entire game, but how it 'looks' and how to manipulate the client to setup certain states. On top of that, they tend to know how all the data on the backend is stored and where to find it. That kind of knowledge can be hugely useful outside of simple test design and execution, and I find myself leaning on the more senior Analysts frequently for that breadth of knowledge.

CS I know less about, other than that the job seems to be thankless. I'd agree with Studio that CS < QA in general and for every dumb policy QA might have to 'encourage productivity', CS has three.

Of the two, definitely prefer QA if you can get into Developer QA. Some entry level QA jobs are full time and benefitted and those tend to be decent. Most of the team appreciates the efforts of QA and while the pay isn't going to be great, the developers generally appreciate their QA teams.

KajiTheMelonMan
Sep 2, 2004

Trust me baby, my vagina is 100% plague free!

Canine Blues Arooo posted:

I'd agree with Studio that CS < QA in general and for every dumb policy QA might have to 'encourage productivity', CS has three.

Oh hey, its the reason I got let go, the new productivity plans! If you're not available 24/7, you're useless.

Its nice to see that for all the common faults, QA is still appreciated

ninjewtsu
Oct 9, 2012



Do you guys ever watch twitch streamers or let's plays of the games you make?

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


Yes, all the time. But I'm a big nerd for let's plays and not a lot of people play our games on stream to begin with, so...

Hughlander
May 11, 2005



ninjewtsu posted:

Do you guys ever watch twitch streamers or let's plays of the games you make?

There's a row of TVs at the office (Oh hey remember those?) that are set to twitch channels of people streaming the game.

Studio
Jan 15, 2008




No, but the games I worked on weren't really great for Let's Plays or Twitch (Mobiles game made to be played in smallish chunks). I'd check occasional YouTube videos, but even those weren't too common.

ninjewtsu
Oct 9, 2012



Hughlander posted:

There's a row of TVs at the office (Oh hey remember those?) that are set to twitch channels of people streaming the game.

Do people sit down and watch them at the office? Does what you see on those streams ever inform your work?

Hughlander
May 11, 2005



ninjewtsu posted:

Do people sit down and watch them at the office? Does what you see on those streams ever inform your work?

I'd definitely watch sometimes for 2-3 minutes if it was something I hadn't seen before. And it was near couches where people would sit and play anyway. But mostly it's for morale. Reinforcing, "What you are doing isn't in a vacuum people play it every day and have fun, don't let reddit get you down."

Tricky Ed
Aug 18, 2010

It is important to avoid confusion. This is the one that's okay to lick.




Ramrod XTreme

I think a major problem in the industry is that QA is generally respected personally (as in devs know QA are people and relate to them as such) and profoundly disrespected structurally. It's hard to convince management to pay QA anywhere close to what they're worth, so it can't be a career, so the good people constantly have to move on. I was very fortunate to start in QA and jump up to design relatively quickly, and if I'd had student debt or a family to support or even a car payment I wouldn't have been able to afford to stay with the company long enough to do that. Underpaid entry-level work self-selects for privilege, and that keeps the industry homogeneous.

Things continue to get better over time, but like all positive change it's slow and easy to jam up, especially if you've got anyone who loves to collect personal power to the exclusion of everything else.

As for Twitch, in the best case it's everything you ever wanted from a blind tester. Facecam, thoughts, strategies, high points, pain points, bugs. But normally if I'm watching a stream of our game it's as background noise while I work in another tab.

Gromit
Aug 15, 2000

I am an oppressed White Male, Asian women wont serve me! Save me Campbell Newman!!!!!!!


Is game testing something you can get into as a remote working job? Australia doesn't have a lot of game companies, and it seems like something that would go well with remote working, especially given recent conditions around the world.

I'm an old fart thinking about work I could do as a wind-down towards retirement, so money or long-term career isn't the driving force. Game testing seems like it would scratch my investigative and detail-oriented itches. I've got a degree and a ton of managerial/IT technical experience but I'm not a coder or artist.

RazzleDazzleHour
Mar 30, 2016



Gromit posted:

Is game testing something you can get into as a remote working job? Australia doesn't have a lot of game companies, and it seems like something that would go well with remote working, especially given recent conditions around the world.

I'm an old fart thinking about work I could do as a wind-down towards retirement, so money or long-term career isn't the driving force. Game testing seems like it would scratch my investigative and detail-oriented itches. I've got a degree and a ton of managerial/IT technical experience but I'm not a coder or artist.

I'm guessing that's a big no because no studio is going to risk sending out build copies of their game to remote testers to get potentially leaked

leper khan
Dec 28, 2010
Honest to god thinks Half Life 2 is a bad game. But at least he likes Monster Hunter.

Gromit posted:

Is game testing something you can get into as a remote working job? Australia doesn't have a lot of game companies, and it seems like something that would go well with remote working, especially given recent conditions around the world.

I'm an old fart thinking about work I could do as a wind-down towards retirement, so money or long-term career isn't the driving force. Game testing seems like it would scratch my investigative and detail-oriented itches. I've got a degree and a ton of managerial/IT technical experience but I'm not a coder or artist.

With that level of credential and experience, it may be easier for you to get a job as a QA manager. A lot of QA is outsourced, so it's something that is done remote from the contracting organizations standpoint. Whether the job itself is offered remote is up to the given org; in today's climate it's probably an easier sell.

Hughlander
May 11, 2005



Gromit posted:

Is game testing something you can get into as a remote working job? Australia doesn't have a lot of game companies, and it seems like something that would go well with remote working, especially given recent conditions around the world.

I'm an old fart thinking about work I could do as a wind-down towards retirement, so money or long-term career isn't the driving force. Game testing seems like it would scratch my investigative and detail-oriented itches. I've got a degree and a ton of managerial/IT technical experience but I'm not a coder or artist.

I've never seen (individual) remote QA. Some of it is probably contractually impossible. I don't think Microsoft wants X-Box Series X test-kits being mailed internationally for example. When working with pre-release hardware some places had to have really heavy security written into the contract with the first party. I remember working on some stuff where we couldn't even acknowledge the hardware to other people on the dev team and it had to be locked 24/7 with only people specifically NDAed allowed in the area.

Now some small time Steam game? Maybe? Epic Game store actually makes that one really easy. But then you'd need to find the overlap of a studio or publisher large enough to have HR and recruiting around remote (And deal with the international tax code headaches of remote to Australia) but small enough that just shoving 100 people on a too small floor doesn't make business sense for them.

MithosKuu
May 2, 2013

Captain Anthony La Forge

Gromit posted:

Is game testing something you can get into as a remote working job? Australia doesn't have a lot of game companies, and it seems like something that would go well with remote working, especially given recent conditions around the world.

I'm an old fart thinking about work I could do as a wind-down towards retirement, so money or long-term career isn't the driving force. Game testing seems like it would scratch my investigative and detail-oriented itches. I've got a degree and a ton of managerial/IT technical experience but I'm not a coder or artist.

Yes, I work for a triple A studio and 95% of our workforce including all QA are currently working remotely.

Studio
Jan 15, 2008




Gromit posted:

Is game testing something you can get into as a remote working job? Australia doesn't have a lot of game companies, and it seems like something that would go well with remote working, especially given recent conditions around the world.

I'm an old fart thinking about work I could do as a wind-down towards retirement, so money or long-term career isn't the driving force. Game testing seems like it would scratch my investigative and detail-oriented itches. I've got a degree and a ton of managerial/IT technical experience but I'm not a coder or artist.

I have seen some very explicit "Game Testing" positions that were only remote in non-Covid times, but those were at third party services that you'd contract for a larger user testing group, and the actual work hours were pretty low. Mod Squad is the one that jumps off the top of my head, but they're not hiring atm and also only US and Western Europe .

Lazy Robot
Jan 18, 2001

yospos


Yeah, right now a whole lot of QA is being done remotely. It remains to be seen if that will be a long-term change when/if this pandemic ever ends. There are definitely things going on now that would have been considered unthinkable pre-Covid. I have three devkits on my desk at home right now, which would have just been crazy in the before times.

Big K of Justice
Nov 27, 2005

Anyone seen my ball joints?


MithosKuu posted:

Yes, I work for a triple A studio and 95% of our workforce including all QA are currently working remotely.

Same here.

Lazy Robot posted:

Yeah, right now a whole lot of QA is being done remotely. It remains to be seen if that will be a long-term change when/if this pandemic ever ends. There are definitely things going on now that would have been considered unthinkable pre-Covid. I have three devkits on my desk at home right now, which would have just been crazy in the before times.

This presented a new issue for me, my 15Amp home circuit for this bedroom isn't enough for my workstations/devkits and tv's without blowing a fuse, and/or running extension cable to other rooms/circuits. If this becomes the new norm I'm going to want a room wired with at least 2 20Amp circuits down the road.

Roman
Aug 8, 2002



Games like Ghost Recon Breakpoint or Anthem flopped (or seemed to) with many players assuming they would just be abandoned. But Breakpoint is still getting updates and Anthem is being reworked. Why do companies think it's worth the time/money when players assume it's not? Is it hoping for No Man's Sky type rebirths? More active players than people think? R&D for future games? All or none of the above?

Chev
Jul 19, 2010


Switchblade Switcharoo

First, No Man's Sky is a very, very special case, quite unlike the others, in that it cost comparatively next to nothing to make. Stuff like Anthem is hundreds of developers, NMS was four people, eventually ramping up to a staggering dozen in the final months before release. As such it needed to sell very little to be profitable, and sold quite a bit more from the get go. So if was very profitable form the beginning despite the internet drama, which was a very good reason to stick to it

So rather than wanting to be MNS, Anthem or Ghost Recon breakpoint want to be more like FF14. Those seem more about being designed as GaaS anyway so from the moment the pitches were accepted they were in it for the long term and quite a bit of money was put into them, so sunk cost fallacy is probably in full effect, especially since FF14 has demonstrated that the process can work (well, has worked once). FF14 was also about fixing the brand name, in that it was a numbered FF game and numbered FF games are flagship products don't have that kind of dismal failure, ever. Of course, that specific aspect only applies if you have some deluded people thinking Anthem is an important brand, and there sure seems to be such people in the relevant management. The Bob Dylan of videogames! Plus, well, the company's survival is likely riding on it.

Leif.
Mar 27, 2005

Son of the Defender
Formerly Diplomaticus/SWATJester


Roman posted:

Games like Ghost Recon Breakpoint or Anthem flopped (or seemed to) with many players assuming they would just be abandoned. But Breakpoint is still getting updates and Anthem is being reworked. Why do companies think it's worth the time/money when players assume it's not? Is it hoping for No Man's Sky type rebirths? More active players than people think? R&D for future games? All or none of the above?

Because players don't have a loving clue as to what's "worth the time/money" for a studio. Companies, on the other hand, are seeing the raw BI data and numbers for how many people are playing, how profitable those players are (if it's a live game), the user acquisition cost for new players, and are able to make judgments about where the game overall fits into the studio's broader release schedule (and thus how long they need to support it to maintain a future userbase for the next game).

Players have literally zero insight into any of this, and there's usually a tremendous amount of overlap between the ones who mistakenly think they do, and the ones who are toxic and entitled pieces of poo poo.

Hughlander
May 11, 2005



Leif. posted:

Because players don't have a loving clue as to what's "worth the time/money" for a studio. Companies, on the other hand, are seeing the raw BI data and numbers for how many people are playing, how profitable those players are (if it's a live game), the user acquisition cost for new players, and are able to make judgments about where the game overall fits into the studio's broader release schedule (and thus how long they need to support it to maintain a future userbase for the next game).

Players have literally zero insight into any of this, and there's usually a tremendous amount of overlap between the ones who mistakenly think they do, and the ones who are toxic and entitled pieces of poo poo.

Mostly agree with the caveat that with full BI data a typical Product Manager seems to have a clue about 50% of the time instead of 5% of the time without.

If I had a dollar for every title that shipped with the requested features, at the requested time, with the art that was approved, and a low bug count but wasn't a success I'd be able to grab a pizza. (My point there is that if every other group in the company did their job successfully then it's a fault of the PM for saying, "This will produce a positive ROI based on our data.")

Studio
Jan 15, 2008




Chev posted:

First, No Man's Sky is a very, very special case, quite unlike the others, in that it cost comparatively next to nothing to make. Stuff like Anthem is hundreds of developers, NMS was four people, eventually ramping up to a staggering dozen in the final months before release. As such it needed to sell very little to be profitable, and sold quite a bit more from the get go. So if was very profitable form the beginning despite the internet drama, which was a very good reason to stick to it

So rather than wanting to be MNS, Anthem or Ghost Recon breakpoint want to be more like FF14. Those seem more about being designed as GaaS anyway so from the moment the pitches were accepted they were in it for the long term and quite a bit of money was put into them, so sunk cost fallacy is probably in full effect, especially since FF14 has demonstrated that the process can work (well, has worked once). FF14 was also about fixing the brand name, in that it was a numbered FF game and numbered FF games are flagship products don't have that kind of dismal failure, ever. Of course, that specific aspect only applies if you have some deluded people thinking Anthem is an important brand, and there sure seems to be such people in the relevant management. The Bob Dylan of videogames! Plus, well, the company's survival is likely riding on it.

I would bring up Rainbow Six Siege as a specific comparison, since that game has absolutely blown up compared to its launch, and it's also an Ubisoft game. The truth is that there might actually be viability in continuing some sort of development. Like maybe there's a small but extremely hardcore Anthem userbase out there, or the Epic Games Store Breakpoint deal softened the weak launch and they're still able to recover. Or it could all be a waste of money and a total sunk cost, and we'll find out in a year when a bunch of people are laid off

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

Don't look at me-
I'm ugly in the morning
When the headaches gone
The sun is not.
Forgot to turn the alarm
On - on




Pillbug

Studio posted:

I would bring up Rainbow Six Siege as a specific comparison, since that game has absolutely blown up compared to its launch, and it's also an Ubisoft game. The truth is that there might actually be viability in continuing some sort of development. Like maybe there's a small but extremely hardcore Anthem userbase out there, or the Epic Games Store Breakpoint deal softened the weak launch and they're still able to recover. Or it could all be a waste of money and a total sunk cost, and we'll find out in a year when a bunch of people are laid off

Ubi has done a ton of sticking with games that had rough launches. They completely turned the Division 1 around and even delayed launching paid DLC to do it.

I think it’s because they’re really heavy on franchises and licensed stuff, so they don’t want a game completely poisoning the well for that IP in the future. They’ve typically done a pretty good job of it.

Coffee Jones
Jul 4, 2004



Had an interview the other day for a server side developer position.
One of the questions they'd asked me:
"How would you design a match making lobby for an FPS like Halo or a CCG like Hearthstone?
This Game is distributed across multiple sites in the world, but you need to find the best possible match for several waiting players ASAP."

Queue me spitballing for thirty minutes about whatever I could come up with at the spot. Of course, the question isn't the point, it's "how well can you spitball?"

I'd been interviewing for jobs for years, and this was one of the neater ones over the weaksauce Cracking the coding interview: "How would you design an airport?"

Coffee Jones fucked around with this message at 20:07 on Aug 1, 2020

Hughlander
May 11, 2005



Coffee Jones posted:

Had an interview the other day for a server side developer position.
One of the questions they'd asked me:
"How would you design a match making lobby for an FPS like Halo or a CCG like Hearthstone?
This Game is distributed across multiple sites in the world, but you need to find the best possible match for several waiting players ASAP."

Queue me spitballing for thirty minutes about whatever I could come up with at the spot. Of course, the question isn't the point, it's "how well can you spitball?"

I'd been interviewing for jobs for years, and this was one of the neater ones over the weaksauce Cracking the coding interview: "How would you design an airport?"

Send resume. I need server developers badly.

Gromit
Aug 15, 2000

I am an oppressed White Male, Asian women wont serve me! Save me Campbell Newman!!!!!!!


Thanks for all the QA/testing responses - it sounds like there's a wide variety of in-house and remote working options, depending on the dev. I guess I'll keep an eye on the job boards and dev websites and see if anything pops up. I guess one of the big problems about working remotely is that you are then competing for that job with the rest of the world, and plenty of countries have a far lower cost of living.
Cheers.

Canine Blues Arooo
Jan 7, 2008

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


Grimey Drawer

Leif. posted:

Because players don't have a loving clue as to what's "worth the time/money" for a studio. Companies, on the other hand, are seeing the raw BI data and numbers for how many people are playing, how profitable those players are (if it's a live game), the user acquisition cost for new players, and are able to make judgments about where the game overall fits into the studio's broader release schedule (and thus how long they need to support it to maintain a future userbase for the next game).

Players have literally zero insight into any of this, and there's usually a tremendous amount of overlap between the ones who mistakenly think they do, and the ones who are toxic and entitled pieces of poo poo.

I've seen way more bad decisions made being justified by BI data than I have good ones. That doesn't mean that BI data is evil or bad, but that the people who wield that data frequently do not understand the game they are working with.

Definitely don't source ideas from reddit, but also carefully scrutinize ideas from people who don't play the game.

MJBuddy
Sep 22, 2008

Now I do not know whether I was then a head coach dreaming I was a Saints fan, or whether I am now a Saints fan, dreaming I am a head coach.

Canine Blues Arooo posted:

I've seen way more bad decisions made being justified by BI data than I have good ones. That doesn't mean that BI data is evil or bad, but that the people who wield that data frequently do not understand the game they are working with.

Definitely don't source ideas from reddit, but also carefully scrutinize ideas from people who don't play the game.

BI is just a tool. Like every other aspect of production it needs strong buy in from executives and depending on your scope needs to be informing your entire business (and design) unit (I think you get this, but just reaffirming as a BI-side perspective).

There's definitely cases that I can read the BI tea leaves and know a game's position. In mobile if you see a game launch a patch and a sudden spike in paid ads soon after, it's likely whatever new feature is monetizing well. Matchmaking and engagement analysis is a personal favorite of mine because it's vanilla "reddit and Twitter are obviously wrong" category of analysis, in which Twitter will rant about SBMM nonstop for a game like CoD or Halo but the company never announced it and doesn't turn it off afterwards. The systems are obviously increasing engagement (and probably increasing overall and typical player happiness, though that's not always the same thing) but if you designed by reddit you'd be underperforming.

I also play every game I work on extensively and I know that's not universal, and at some companies may not be reasonable. I know designers usually approach me with some skepticism until they understand that I'm engaged with their game as well and can talk fluently in it. Most importantly it helps me translate my (THEIR!) data into player experiences.

E: depending on the company, it may be different, but a source of scrutiny is obviously that the studio did not hire me. I work for the publisher with the studio. But like marketing and community and PR I'm in every way trying to help the studio achieve their goals. Unlike those other groups, it's incredibly important that BI analysis comes from a neutral position. The studio needs to know you're not producing a loaded analysis to push through a publisher agenda and vice versa. Once you're on that footing, it actually improves working relationships for everyone because trust in the information you have goes up.

MJBuddy fucked around with this message at 02:35 on Aug 2, 2020

Ranzear
Jul 25, 2013



Coffee Jones posted:

Had an interview the other day for a server side developer position.
One of the questions they'd asked me:
"How would you design a match making lobby for an FPS like Halo or a CCG like Hearthstone?
This Game is distributed across multiple sites in the world, but you need to find the best possible match for several waiting players ASAP."

I'm gonna read between the lines that they intended the question to be about the differences in matchmaking between those two titles.

For Halo, you might have some stat tracking or ranking, but almost exclusively you're gonna group players by nearest server because ping is critical. Fill matches to a minimum player count and then level them with remaining players (better to have four 7v7s than three 8v8s with eight players left hanging).

Hearthstone is the complete opposite. What server is connected to doesn't really matter, even regarding localization. Players should be matched by a strong MMR or ELO system. There should be some minimum waiting time in case a better match comes along, but also considerations toward maximum waiting time.

Matchmaking is a hellish nightmare of no solution ever being good enough because the expectations of any system are plainly impossible. There will always be waiting times because a short wait is worth a better game experience.

Ranzear fucked around with this message at 06:33 on Aug 2, 2020

MJBuddy
Sep 22, 2008

Now I do not know whether I was then a head coach dreaming I was a Saints fan, or whether I am now a Saints fan, dreaming I am a head coach.

Ranzear posted:

Matchmaking is a hellish nightmare of no solution ever being good enough because the expectations of any system are plainly impossible. There will always be waiting times because a short wait is worth a better game experience.

That's measurable though! You can predict retention be wait times and by bad matches and optimize. Ideally, at least.

You're definitely right that you're not left with a lot of good corner solutions, though. It's all tradeoffs and what's good for overall population could easily exclude small and even valuable customers.

Ranzear
Jul 25, 2013



Don't get me started on some hypothetical about mild pay-to-win in the game so top rankers are always top spenders, so keeping their match times low and "letting" them curbstomp others is a big loving can of worms someone always wants to crack open.

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dads friend steve
Dec 24, 2004





Sounds like a fun problem. I don’t play online FPSes so not sure how it works, but Id probably do something like when a server is ready to host a game, it opens up a lobby and registers it with a discovery service. The game starts when the lobby fills or after a set timeout. Player clients connect to the lobby discovery service which gives them some candidates. The player client then chooses which one based on some greedy heuristics like “am I close enough?” and “is it starting soon?”. Lobbies alone accept or reject client attempts to join, so if a client gets rejected it can just choose its next-best candidate in the list. But the upshot I see is you need very little coordination between the servers - aside from the discovery mechanism, which can probably get away with a softer eventual consistency model, since if a player gets a stale lobby in its candidate list, nbd just try the next one

Obviously I’m missing a whole bunch or edge cases. Thank u for coming to my lazy moron TED talk

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