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chglcu
May 17, 2007

I'm so bored with the USA.

In my experience, producers are mostly about trying to keep a project on schedule and managing dependencies between teams, and there may be more than one for a given project. The project manager is more of a high level decision making type position. Also donít recall ever having more than one of those for a project.

Every place does things a bit differently though.

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chglcu
May 17, 2007

I'm so bored with the USA.

taqueso posted:

ChocNitty posted:

Is it possible to learn software development skills if you suck at math really hard, not even getting past Algebra?
absolutely, for general development it isn't needed for most things and it is usually minor when it is needed

While I agree in general, it's probably worth mentioning that games specifically (since this is the "Ask A Game Dev" thread) do have some pretty math-heavy bits. You can often get by with looking up how to do that stuff as needed, but it is helpful to understand why things work.

chglcu
May 17, 2007

I'm so bored with the USA.

While we're on the topic and there are people here more familiar with this stuff than I am: Is there a viable alternative to fully deterministic lockstep networking for a large-scale real-time strategy game, where hundreds or thousands of units may be relevant at any given time?

chglcu
May 17, 2007

I'm so bored with the USA.

Chev posted:

Planetary Annihilation uses a more FPS-like client-server model.
https://www.forrestthewoods.com/blog/tech_of_planetary_annihilation_chrono_cam/

Yeah, that seems like a really interesting approach, though this bit about the server bandwidth requirements pretty quickly takes hosting a server on your own machine off the table, at least for any place I've lived in the US:

quote:

Servers will need to support 1 Mbit per connected player. For large games with many players this can add up quickly. This is why Uber is running dedicated servers so players never have to worry about it.

chglcu
May 17, 2007

I'm so bored with the USA.

Lots of middleware contractually obligates you to make the player miserable. It's awesome.

chglcu
May 17, 2007

I'm so bored with the USA.

punk rebel ecks posted:

- Is working as a game developer as lovely as it is perceived to be? All I see on forums and news is layoffs and crap working conditions.

My experience as a programmer at medium to large studios:

As mentioned, this varies a lot depending on the company and circumstances. I believe I've had it a bit better than most. In the ~14 years I've been in the industry across three companies (technically four, but just started with a new one, so not really counting it), I've experienced two layoffs due to cancelled projects - one where I lost my job, one where I didn't - and probably only about three months total of actual crunching. Some companies (looking at you, EA Sports) seem to budget the crunch time in to the schedule, and it gets even worse when the schedule inevitably slips. When I first started, my pay was much lower than it would've been in a non-games development position, though the gap has narrowed quite a bit over time. Still probably a bit lower than it should be.

The actual work is pretty cool when things are going well. You work with a reasonably diverse group of talented people who want to be there and care about what they're doing. It's awesome seeing things go from concepts, through design and into a real game. It can be both rewarding and frustrating having people play and comment on your work. Some players are entitled assholes who do nothing but poo poo on you, others are appreciative and cool and it's clear the really enjoy the games.

One thing that's been universal at places I've been so far is that production is a bit of a mess. Keeping things running smoothly and on schedule is a constant losing battle, which can make things stressful. Management is usually varying degrees of out of touch and priorities can shift frequently.

Another thing I rarely see mentioned is that you'll likely be working on something you aren't actually super interested in playing. It's not like a solo or small team project where you get to choose what you create. For the majority of people, your input on the direction of the project is relatively small.

These days, the major downside for me is the instability compared to other industries. Even though I haven't personally experienced as often as some, the threat still kinda hangs over you. For example, I really want to buy a house and settle down in once place for an extended time, but I have no certainty about where I'll be working next year, let alone ten years down the line. This may just be me, but in the last 15 years, no place has really felt like home. My whole life has a "this is temporary" feeling about it.

Edit: Just to clarify a bit, by "reasonably diverse" I was referring to having a mix of different backgrounds and skill sets and so on. We still have problems with racial and gender inequality and such. The industry as a whole is too heavily white and male - especially in engineering - though things seem like they may be slowly improving. As a cis white male though, my perspective on these issues is going to be limited and skewed, so I'm not really sure that's actually the case.

chglcu fucked around with this message at 10:02 on Jan 23, 2021

chglcu
May 17, 2007

I'm so bored with the USA.

TIL mobygames has a link to my linkedin profile in my credits. Not sure how I feel about that one.

chglcu
May 17, 2007

I'm so bored with the USA.

Pollyanna posted:

Iím a developer (Software Engineer, technically, but that title doesnít really mean much). That means I do both programming and architecture/design, which has mostly been in the context of applications that just so happen to be deployed on the web. Game dev, from what I can tell, requires a very different set of technical skills and works with very different problem domains. Would the skills I have built as a developer on non-game applications transfer at all to game dev, or would I be starting from scratch?

I'm working at the moment, so can't really effort post right now, but I wouldn't say it would be completely starting over. Data structures and algorithm knowledge, task planning, etc. are all still important. Some differences would be we tend to be more focused on performance since we need to do tons of stuff 60+ times per second, and also many places don't do much in the way of unit testing. We also iterate quickly since a large part of game development is experimenting to figure out what is actually fun, since you usually don't really know going in.

It's also worth mentioning that many game companies, especially multiplayer focused studios will have server and web teams that might provide a migration path for your skill set, and there's also stuff like DevOps.

It's reasonably easy to pick up something like Unity or Unreal Engine if you want to just play around with the idea and see if you find it interesting.

chglcu
May 17, 2007

I'm so bored with the USA.

If you look at the table of contents of the book Game Engine Architecture (https://www.gameenginebook.com/toc.html), you can see an overview of many of the components of what's usually considered the "engine" of a game. Basically, it's the stuff that you build on top of to make a game. It's frequently - but not necessarily - resusable between multiple projects. There are multiple ways to do pretty much everything in that list, each with their own tradeoffs in performance, usability, etc. Different engines do each of them differently.

Some engines, such as Unity and to a somewhat lesser extent Unreal (it's FPS heritage really shows sometimes), attempt to do these things in a way that will be "good enough" for most types of games. This genericity is a bit of double-edged sword. It lets you make pretty much anything, but it can add unnecessary bloat, complexity and overhead. Sometimes this matters, sometimes it doesn't. For any given game, you will likely know more about your specific requirements. If you have the time, manpower and ability, a custom game engine can be better optimized for exactly what you need to do. It can also streamline your workflow to your specific use cases. Another valid reason people will make custom engines is control. When using any third-party product you are limited in various ways. You have to abide by their license agreements, work with how and when they choose to implement features or fix bugs, etc. This may or may not be worth dealing with.

The line between game and engine can be pretty blurry sometimes. There's some systems that are generally reusable for any game type, such as basic containers, algorithms, graphics, audio and input systems, etc. There are other bits that are more game-specific, but could still be reused if you make something similar to this game. Then you have the stuff that is ultra-specific to one game and maybe reusable to some degree in something like a direct sequel.

Edit: Ah, the Game Engine Architecture site also has a diagram of various engine components from the book that I was wanting to show: https://www.gameenginebook.com/figures.html. Basically, things higher up in that diagram are built on the things below. Different engines do all these things differently, or sometimes not at all if a given game doesn't require some of it.

chglcu fucked around with this message at 08:29 on Apr 7, 2021

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chglcu
May 17, 2007

I'm so bored with the USA.

Play posted:

Also as time goes on it stands to figure that free / cheap assets will increase in quality and number and be easier to use and still look decent.

Still, out of all the small games released on steam every year most of the total failures are low effort asset flips and the majority of the successes have original art.

The major problem with purchased assets - in my opinion - is just that itís drat near impossible to create a full game with a unified visual theme using them, unless youíre specifically creating the game around a limited set of assets, which is inherently very constraining.

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