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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.

FuzzySlippers posted:

Is taxonomist/digital librarian/some-other-term a thing at game companies?

My wife is an academic librarian and was tipped off from a friend about a job at The Pokemon Company for a taxonomist. They wanted someone to organize their data, manage workflows, admin their gameplay databases to maximize utility for designers, etc. She got through a competitive interview process but they ended giving the job to another candidate because they had greater TCG experience. She's a video gamer and hadn't ever really played TCGs but she tried to cram once she applied. Though she didn't try to front with them and was honest about her TCG experience.

Is this position common or was it a one off at Pokemon?

This is overlap with what we want from data governance + technical writer type positions. Folks dedicated to organizing documentation and ensuring consistentcy. Does it exist? Eh we don't have one, but I want one. It's probably studio dependent.

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Pseudoscorpion
Jul 26, 2011




FuzzySlippers posted:

Is taxonomist/digital librarian/some-other-term a thing at game companies?

My wife is an academic librarian and was tipped off from a friend about a job at The Pokemon Company for a taxonomist. They wanted someone to organize their data, manage workflows, admin their gameplay databases to maximize utility for designers, etc. She got through a competitive interview process but they ended giving the job to another candidate because they had greater TCG experience. She's a video gamer and hadn't ever really played TCGs but she tried to cram once she applied. Though she didn't try to front with them and was honest about her TCG experience.

Is this position common or was it a one off at Pokemon?

It's not unheard of, but only for companies/franchises that have been around for ages. I interned at Blizzard in my college days and they had that same kind of position there, as well. Pokemon makes a lot of sense for that kind of thing.

Hughlander
May 11, 2005



EA used to have an actual Librarian for their in house library. (Maybe still does, I left like 20 years ago.) At one point she was like the Google Chef from the amount of options that was offered her compared to how long she was there...

DreadCthulhu
Sep 17, 2008

What the fuck is up, Denny's?!


A couple of naive questions, if you'll indulge me:

1)

What keeps programmers locked in the industry as opposed to switching to web dev or anything else outside of entertainment that might pay more, have shorter hours and more stable employment? Is that because it's hard to leave games once you've worked in them for a while due to a specialized programming skillset that doesn't obviously translate to anything else? Or is it the appeal of the kind of ultra-creative people you end up working with? Or is it because after many years the honeymoon of working on a game still hasn't worn off, and it still sounds much much better than working on accounting software solution n.75634? What keeps people from taking a job at a FAANG or a hip up-and-coming Series B startup instead?

Or, are software dev jobs in games no longer a grind, and actually much more competitive in the marketplace, and actually with decent work life balance? I met a few Riot devs a while back here in LA and they seemed to have an amazing quality of life. But that's possibly because League is less of a game and more of a service, like a Salesforce or a Gmail, and the studio doesn't live an die by every new release it cranks out every few years? It's possible Riot is an outlier here.

This actually makes me realize that when I used to hire devs for a web dev startup some time ago, I would never see people with game development experience. And I've looked at thousands of software dev resumes and interviewed hundreds of them personally.. I'm assuming it was a form of self-selection, where programmers with that skillset and experience weren't going to suddenly start slinging CRUD web apps, due to either unfamiliarity or disinterest in anything outside of entertainment. You'd think I would have at least run into people who wrote the backends for games, but I don't recall any at all.

2)

I read the stats that there are something like 1000 new indie games released every day. Jesus Christ. If that's the case, are you very, very unlikely to ever experience the kind of public reception of a Bastion, Journey, Valheim, Subnautica and their likes? It seems like it's very likely you'll grind away at it for years and give up once you run out of money.. Especially if you're trying to self-fund and you don't have an existing track record as a game developer and connections in the publishing world with someone who might bankroll you and your tiny indie team as you work on that early prototype before you can perhaps release it in Early Access and start eating what you hunt?

Shruggoth
Nov 8, 2020


DreadCthulhu posted:

1)

What keeps programmers locked in the industry as opposed to switching to web dev or anything else outside of entertainment that might pay more, have shorter hours and more stable employment? Is that because it's hard to leave games once you've worked in them for a while due to a specialized programming skillset that doesn't obviously translate to anything else? Or is it the appeal of the kind of ultra-creative people you end up working with? Or is it because after many years the honeymoon of working on a game still hasn't worn off, and it still sounds much much better than working on accounting software solution n.75634? What keeps people from taking a job at a FAANG or a hip up-and-coming Series B startup instead?

Or, are software dev jobs in games no longer a grind, and actually much more competitive in the marketplace, and actually with decent work life balance? I met a few Riot devs a while back here in LA and they seemed to have an amazing quality of life. But that's possibly because League is less of a game and more of a service, like a Salesforce or a Gmail, and the studio doesn't live an die by every new release it cranks out every few years? It's possible Riot is an outlier here.

This actually makes me realize that when I used to hire devs for a web dev startup some time ago, I would never see people with game development experience. And I've looked at thousands of software dev resumes and interviewed hundreds of them personally.. I'm assuming it was a form of self-selection, where programmers with that skillset and experience weren't going to suddenly start slinging CRUD web apps, due to either unfamiliarity or disinterest in anything outside of entertainment. You'd think I would have at least run into people who wrote the backends for games, but I don't recall any at all.


People want to work in games because it's fun. You get to work with creative, driven people on an entertainment product that lots of people will (ideally) enjoy. It's also much easier to identify with the customer than it is with a generic CRUD app, and you may even be the target audience. Game programming in particular is fun since you're solving relatively unique problems that don't occur in many other programming domains, or at least not to the degree they do in game programming.

From what I can tell, the quality of life working in the industry has on average improved from the days of EA spouse, but it's still not on par with the rest of tech. Compensation in particular is still low in comparison, but I would guess that job supply/demand is a large factor.

Some people might feel too specialized to switch domains and I've heard some people say they could not imagine themselves doing anything else, but I don't think the majority of programmers feel locked in. I've heard the average game industry career length is only 3-5 years, which is about as long as I lasted. I'm not sure I would have left if the pay was better though.

You probably don't see many people from games because it's a smaller industry and most probably aren't jumping to webdev.

more falafel please
Feb 26, 2005

forums poster



I've got 15 years in a couple weeks, and the fact that my skills are pretty specialized to games now is definitely a big part of it. C++ jobs around here anyway are mostly in finance, and I don't want anything to do with that. I could definitely learn to poo poo out CRUD web apps in a year or so, but like, I don't know anything about that, I'd have to learn what a docker is.

Canine Blues Arooo
Jan 7, 2008

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



Grimey Drawer

I stick around largely because the overall quality of life is very high. The job really is quite good for all things that aren't exactly compensation.

I really like the product I work on - I play my own stuff a lot and engage with the community as a player authentically. I care about the stuff I'm building and it is easy for me to care about requirements as more than just a checklist. Despite working on a big product, I have a lot of creative and stylistic control over the stuff I work on. I have a lot in common with the people I work with and it's easy for me to talk to my coworkers. A lot of my best friends right now come straight from my workplace which has been something very unique for me, exclusive to the game's industry. Crunch is becoming less frequent of an occurrence. Compensation is actually trash though.

Furthermore, my skillset is C# and C++. You can find jobs in this domain outside of games, but the jobs are frequently uninspiring despite offering easily double or more the salary. Web is a super common domain, but I'd rather jam forks in my eyes than ever get caught writing another line of Javascript in whatever the FotM framework is in my life. I'd consider backend work, but I get / have to do everything for my current job and I like to have control over all of it - data, logic and UI/UX.

I've seriously considered leaving the industry because the salary is just... The offers I've gotten from other companies just hurts, but when I look into my heart of hearts, just working around people I really enjoy on products I really care about has a lot of value for me. I guess that's why industry pay is bad .

Zaphod42
Sep 13, 2012

If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.


I think a number of devs DO just leave, and they just have fairly high turnover, but there's always new people happy to take their place. And if they're younger, possibly for less money, so some companies are fine with that for SOP. Of course that's gonna vary from location to location though.

Canine Blues Arooo posted:

Furthermore, my skillset is C# and C++. You can find jobs in this domain outside of games, but the jobs are frequently uninspiring despite offering easily double or more the salary. Web is a super common domain, but I'd rather jam forks in my eyes than ever get caught writing another line of Javascript in whatever the FotM framework is in my life. I'd consider backend work, but I get / have to do everything for my current job and I like to have control over all of it - data, logic and UI/UX.

I've seriously considered leaving the industry because the salary is just... The offers I've gotten from other companies just hurts, but when I look into my heart of hearts, just working around people I really enjoy on products I really care about has a lot of value for me. I guess that's why industry pay is bad .

If you know C# you know Java and there's so many easy Java jobs. But then that's the problem, I make so much more money doing boring coding that applying to game companies feels like a sucker punch. I'm looking at taking like literally half my old salary if I want to switch back industries. I guess I'm still young and dumb enough I'm gonna try it but its something that constantly weighs on you, you know you're worth more.

100% with you on not wanting anything to do with the javascript lifestyle.

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Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


1) Because getting paid more would not significantly improve my quality of life, but having to work on some soulless, uncreative "mainstream" endeavour would have a significant negative impact on my mental and emotional well-being. I like making video games. Even when I'm not doing something immediately creative, just the environment (barring present covid conditions) of being around other creative people who share a lot of your mindset and attitude towards the art and craft of video games is almost worth it alone. Now, you shouldn't be underpaid - and, compared to other programmers, I'm sure I am underpaid - but I'm paid well above the median salary for the nation as a whole and I honestly can't say there's much I could do with another 15% or 30% salary or whatever that I actually care to do. And certainly not at the cost of becoming another faceless development drone.

2) Correct. For every Valheim there are 100 games that aren't good enough to cut the mustard, and (potentially) a lot of money sunk into a dead project. That's life. You want the reward, you take the risks - or, if you're already living paycheck to paycheck, for the love of all that is holy don't risk your drat existence on the hope that your "passion project" is going to be the one thing that gets you the big dollars. You have to plan for failure, too.

Hyper Crab Tank fucked around with this message at 15:44 on Mar 2, 2021

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