Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
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.

floofyscorp posted:

Join the union, make the plan. Sitting back and waiting for other people to come up with a plan to fix your problems is not going to get you anywhere tbh.

Cool yeah, I'll just go through an incredibly long process of hostility with my employer on the off chance that a union succeeds so that I can give them a large chunk of my paycheck while I'll then be required to "figure it out" later in a process no one can describe to me ahead of time.

Sounds great.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

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.

Gearman posted:

None of these things are true with the current UK GWU.

I'm all for explanations for how things would actually work. I'm very put off by the detailess demands.

Not that anyone has to provide that, or that anyone has to convince me.

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.

Jan posted:

To be fair, I don't think a union would've saved the laid off workers at Activision Blizzard. There's a reason the corporate-speak term you often hear for layoffs is "redundancies". Without Destiny 2, there was an awful lot of workers twiddling their thumbs with nothing to do, and unlikely Activision would've found anything for them to do within a year, if anything.


Do you (royal you?) believe that these union efforts extend to not strictly game developers?

Most of the recent layoffs have been to Sales, Marketing, Production, Analytics departments, etc.

I've seen massive Twitter threads arguing amongst game industry employees about who and what game dev actually includes. Is it just designers, art folks, and those who produce the game under the game developer studio? Is it everyone employed by game studios and publishers? Even chefs and cleaning staff?

So I'm not even sure of the scope of the union. I'm not sure if I'm actually part of the discussion or not. It feels like the union efforts knee-jerk reaction is to say it's everyone because bigger union is stronger union, but most of their primary topics of discussion (and their audience, at events like GDC) don't focus on the same issues that affect layoffs in Marketing, HR, Finance, etc. So I waver to think that means the union doesn't include those roles. But then articles like the one posted here, or the weekly Kotaku piece on unions cites layoffs that are mostly to those roles and it confuses me more.

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.

Potato Salad posted:

Larger unions represent management, engineers, support, etc in different pools. This is to ensure there is a lack of conflict of interest when, as an example, an engineer has a problem with a manager and both are members of the union.

That doesn't answer my practical questions though (Though it may help explain the narrow focus?).

From conception to development to launch to post launch support to everyone getting paid correctly there's literally hundreds of people involved at major publishers in gaming. The union push is unclear as to how it's going to address the disparity of those roles, or if it even wants to.

I'm also not quite sure of the machinery of deploying a union in that environment. Do you narrow down the company to one segment at a time and hold votes in that segment and slowly roll it out?

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.

Big K of Justice posted:

Seems odd, coming from film where there is a ton of politics since most of the unionized groups have credit terms in writing, also because they may get residual payments for the rest of their life depending on how they are credited. The one group that's non-unionized and has the least power? The computer jockey/VFX guys, who are usually credited last when the font changes so it can list 6 rows of text under digital artists.. aka the VFX War memorials.

Feature animation is pretty good about giving everyone and their dog a credit, but games? I can't think of any restrictions on not giving everyone a credit.. even if its under one heading/card.

I'm not sure which publishers are not listing people from the comments above. To my knowledge, it's a little harder than it appears to get credits completely right, for a variety of reason including just not having knowledge of who worked on what. I haven't seen anyone knowingly excluded from credits (though maybe contract workers would be? I haven't noticed).

Our place lists everyone in a studio or publishing level who could have touched the game, as far as I know, but the same folks will have different titles or clustering based on title because the organization of credits is non-standard.

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.

It seems in hindsight that their desire to use frostbite over their entire AAA lineup has been really rough on their development cycles, but literally every major publisher tries to do something similar to a smaller scale.

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.

Not sure if this is likely in other departments/companies but we ended up in a situation with a little budget and no perpetual headcount and we came up with some technical debt related projects that we could hire a contractor to come in, clean up, and move on. We're entirely limited by our budget in that circumstance, so the offer is likely going out at that rate and We'll see the best candidates that respond to that rate and if they look capable of doing the work.

I'm not personally involved in either that team or that process, so I don't know if there's other factors but that could be one (of many possible) reasons.

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.

So at what point do we layer into the discussion that these aren't organic mobs at all, and they're largely driven by outrage and hate based YouTubers farming an algorithm?

Virtually every vitriolic response you can find on Twitter can be tracked back to a user sharing videos of the exact position they're representing from one of a dozen or so of those folks. This most recent EGS event is part of an almost year long campaign of this exact thing, and videos that use the actual language "Epic Games Store Must Be Stopped" is a bit troubling.

It's not "don't buy their stuff" or "This is a bad idea." It's a direct call to action, and people will repeat the content in those videos without an ounce of fact checking or pushback and cite screencaps of those videos in arguments. For large swathes of gamers, this is the only way they get their news and it's a distorted fox news gaming reality.

Calling mild inconveniences "anti-consumer" isn't some incredible parallel thinking. It was an approach that content creators used to point out a new outrageous slight every week and present themselves as the bastions against corporate exploitation. And when the stakes are that high, it's justified to behave in these putrid ways towards, you know, folks who do their job.

Last week a level designer at MachineGames was harassed until he closed his Twitter account because he posted that he was proud of the work he and his team did on Youngblood. He was harassed because Jim Sterling made a video that misrepresented what was in the MTX store to produce a talking point about the game. When people said it wasn't okay to harass a level designer, those who did justified it by saying he publicly had in his Twitter bio that he worked at that company so he was fair game.

This is hosed up

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.

Studio posted:

Important question for other goon Game Devs:
How often do you find SA emojis on Slack, and wonder if the person that uploaded them is a goon???

Frequently.

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.

I mean, the issue is complicated greatly because the cost of making a bad game and getting it on steam is down as well. It's not just good fames.

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.

Studio posted:

That's actually a lot of math.

For real. Especially in context of stuck at Algebra.


ChocNitty posted:

Is it possible to learn software development skills if you suck at math really hard, not even getting past Algebra?

I think someone should clarify the differences in building and engine or engine tool, using an engine, and game design and the math needed for each because I think they're all being referred to as a bit of game design soup right now (and I don't have the answers to all of them).

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.

RazzleDazzleHour posted:

What is hiring looking like right now? I just graduated and normally I would have felt pretty good about my odds of getting a job but in the year of our lord 2020 I have no clue

We put on a freeze at the start until we had more clarity, but listings are back up. My department brought in 4 new hires over the wfh time and that's probably more than most because we had those interviews rolling before poo poo went bad. I need 1-3 more headcount on my team specifically over the next few years but I probably won't have anyone until early next year at this rate.

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:

And now I'm down a rabbit hole about how Shrek for Xbox was the first game with deferred shading.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-ijgJNFAD4#t=466s

Apparently this was made by a team later known as ... DICE?

They seem to disavow it though.

Programmer on that is now chief architect at Oculus.

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.

Discendo Vox posted:

Contracted program management explains so much about the colossal failures of planning/resource management I've noticed in some AAA games.

Or the ND route of no producers at all

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

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.

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.

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

What I don't have though is data on if the game is fun. And it's just really hard in this day and age to be able to watch other people, especially non-gamedevs, mash on my game. They need to be set up for streaming, or they need to record their video and send it to me, or else I just get scattered "I couldn't figure out how to do X" feedback.

...I guess in principle I could add some kind of session recording functionality to the game that would record inputs and game state in enough detail to let me replay their sessions after the fact, but oh lordy that sounds complicated to retrofit in.


You can implement telemetry recording in your game that tracks some summary data of the events as they're occurring. Implement it along your core game systems (ex: skill usage, fight success failure, using items, finding secrets).

Then issue surveys with play tests to probe player response. Make sure you can identify the player in telemetry to the survey. Correlate responses to telemetry results to ensure engaging with the gameplay loop correlates to fun. Use overall engagement to figure out if everyone is finding that loop, or if there's some other edge case loops that are driving people out of the fun zone or into an even more fun zone. Lean into what's fun (this would seem obvious and yet).

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.

xtal posted:

Important note: Make sure telemetry is opt-in and that the scope is well defined and explained. Otherwise your software just became spyware.

I doesn't need to be opt in, but it should be clear it's being done.

But I'm talking about play testers. Public release would be different.

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.

Jack B Nimble posted:

How much does Ubisoft care if I buy the new assassins creed now vs a year from now at half price? I mean as regards them considering the game a success or a faiure? I'm thinking that they care very much how many copies they sell week one and, and then while it's at full price, and then once it's discounted, in descending order?

More broadly, not all sales are the same, so how does a major AAA company like Ubisoft think about them?

Depends on who you are at the company, to start.

If you're the dev studio, you want sales now, full stop. Catalogue sales may or may not flow to you but unless you're in an upper management position, likely publisher side, you're not getting explicit residuals and any bonuses you'd expect are going to be driven by launch sales before March or so (I forget when Ubi's FY ends but it's around then?). This also gives them the ability to move to new projects. Longer tails, all things equal, benefit the publisher over the developers.

Immediate sales are also going to effect how the folks who worked on the title are perceived. Think of the election, and how the order you count votes changes perception. Big upfront sales can and will affect perception, because people won't know if the game will outperform it's entire projections or just shift the same totals to the earlier time, so people will probably start licking their lips over a massive success.

Earlier sales will probably also lead to bigger budget plans for follow up titles. I can't talk about that much.

For the actual company bottom line? Eh. Ubi specifically doesn't aggressively drop their prices compared to others, usually waiting until a games sequel (including standalone expansions) releases before discounting a game in their catalogue. AC: Odyssey hit it's lowest price ever literally today, for instance. They don't behave like other companies in that respect though. EA and Actividion usually goes through discounts on a time based cycle which coincides with their yearly release schedule.

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.

Jack B Nimble posted:

Thank you all; ubisoft doesn't make my absolute favorite games but they seem to keep improving, so I wanted to make sure my purchase did what it could to signal that; sounds like if I buy it any time in the next couple weeks or so that should be ok, doesn't have to be like a movie where everyone is watching that first weekend.

They're not even going to pour over the launch numbers until January and even then not until physical reports come in. Right now they'll be getting digital and user activity.

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.

I think the only issue you'd likely run into is how you vocalize your issues with crunch on interviews, but I don't think that's revelatory beyond "don't apply to work places that crunch their staff if you don't want to crunch."

Technically it could cost you a job but it's probably not a job you want.

But studios will define away crunch even internally. It's not "crunch" it's "our devs are dedicated". So be clear with boundaries or it will become an issue when it happens. I also don't think that's bad and I've never seen someone get looked down on for having a strong understanding of what they want in a role, including the work life balance.

Again, could "cost you the job" but you're looking for good job fits, not just any job.

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.

I believe it pays to ask about layoffs at a given company or studio. Lots of companies (Activision, EA) won't blink an eye at it. My company hasn't had a mass layoff in the time I was here or in the years before I arrived, and the culture is one of perseverance even in rough projects. When games sunset the people don't. When people are hired for a project and that project changes form, those people go to different projects.

There's no specter of a mass layoff. There's probably a cost for that, both in salary and in upward movement. That could all also change, but there are companies and studios that pride themselves on stability and you can absolutely identify them and work with them.

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.

Mine is the child laughing stock that was in Rollercoaster Tycoon that appears god drat everywhere.

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.

Skwirl posted:

Based on one friend who used to work in games and a couple other programmers in non games I know, that's a very good thing.

One of the first things I was told when I started at my company was "hey now don't work late, because we don't do overtime and if you start doing it other people will think it's okay and we don't do that here"

And I've repeated that to new hires since. I don't think that's typical at our studios but at pub level there's no reason to be around late. Just plan better or call out your deadlines. There's rare exceptions, depending on role, and usually around launches, but overall late/early days are rare and predictable exceptions, not the rule.

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.

Studio posted:

Oh my god is Rami Ismail the reason I've started getting really bad facebook ads for obscure steam games.

I'm going to get my pitchfork and we'll put a stop to this!

*Starts receiving ads on Facebook for obscure indy game about leading riots out if small rural French towns*

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.

foutre posted:

I'm going to have an interview for an internship doing data analysis for one of the big battle royales. I think I'm a pretty good fit - I have a lot of experience working in the tools they use - but I haven't done any data analysis in this context before, and don't really know what to expect. It sounds like some of what they do is the more standard, 'how do we optimize this battle pass' kind of thing, but they also like, analyze how players move around the map over time and work with designers on incorporating that info into design choices.

Does anyone have any insight re: what teams like this do, and what kind of skills I should emphasize? I'd also def. appreciate any general tips for interviews like this - this position seems absurdly cool, and I want to give it my best shot.

e: Also, just because it seemed interesting, I made a little battle pass simulation thing in the language they use, to get an idea of what it might be like. I figure at the very least I can add it to my portfolio for future stuff. Is that the kind of thing it would be worth bringing up in the interview, i.e., here's an example of me doing the kind of thing I'd be working on over the summer?

Yes. I do this. Not specifically on our BR, though.

It's hard to give specifics based on someone else's team structure, but we put a higher value on how people think through a problem than their tools. A decent SQL or Python coder is fine. Unoptimized code is usually functional. Bad hypothesis testing wastes potentially months and good hypothesis testing can save/make millions (even if it's just not sending dev effort into something that will definitely fail and you can identify it).

As long as you can show ability to pick up "tools" in general, I give a pass there. Your battle pass sim fits really well into a monetization or game economy designer roles. If that sounds fun, lean into it, but also understand what the goals are for those BP sims and have a empirical strategy once players get into your system to see if your simulation meshes with reality (it won't, so think through where it'll differ, if that's okay, should you iterate or switch to frequentist models or agent based etc).

To be clear: absolutely loving bring that up. It will look good. Have results or a web page or whatever so you can reference it like a portfolio. Everyone in my team would be on your sim screwing with it the same way we all stopped to futz with Steam's recommendation algorithms when they come out.

It sounds like you're looking at a pretty holistic team if it's including gameplay analytics and game economy stuff. I think getting an idea of what you'll be doing is important. Some studios will segment analytics into different groups or roles.

The missing piece usually is having a background in the softer skills: requirements gathering (probably not going to be expected of an intern) and delivering work on deadline and with attention to detail. It will be nice to see people who can get from vague request from stakeholders to actionable data, so if you've done that before queue that story up.

I don't have PMs but happy to talk things through if you'd like. I can talk all day about this stuff.

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.

foutre posted:



Basically, I'd love to hear more about what your job's like in general! Until hearing back from this company I didn't realize how much more excited I was about doing this stuff for games than other industries.

I'll shoot you an email in a bit once I get my kids down.

I did this stuff in government admin and in home security call centers before gaming. Gaming is a lot more fun. I'm not going back.

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.

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.

You have to conceptually separate the candy crushes from the Red Deads of the world. If you're doing a good structured marketing plan, you're comparing your cost per acquisition vs your LTV in mobile space. In box retail it's a bit different.

Candy crush advertised a lot because their game was engaging and had a huge ARPU, so you just turn on the money for CPA and make huge profit.

The big shift in mobile is that CPA jumped massively over the last half a decade so you can't just make a decent game that monetizes okay and advertise and make an easy profit. Your LTV has to be pretty high.

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.

Dewgy posted:

Games like Candy Crush ARPU, I agree.

If you don't have an LTV > your CPA in mobile it's just not going to be a big moneymaker.

Which is disappointing about that space. Something (CPA going up) completely irrelevant to game quality changed and pushed out entire segments of games (infinite runners being a whole genre that kinda died overnight) or games that don't monetize aggressively enough.

Now most ads I get in mobile are just outright lies about what a game is, just showing ads for popular game styles or concepts that just aren't even in the game they're advertising just to get the install.

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.

Zaphod42 posted:

Yeah but isn't Rockstar literally on the record for spending as much or more on marketing than they did on development? Maybe for other AAAs but at least that case in particular...

But R* also has the capital for doing things like that. I think you could extend what you were saying to say that both the red deads and candy crushes of the world are outliers compared to most games.

Oh definitely. I just meant that mobile games marketing is a function of internal metrics of cycling people into a product. On the box product space marketing has different functions.

There's definitely more than two categories though, even at similar AAA game budgets.

Part of that is capital needs. You don't need to advertise a game launch if it monetizes well. You just get it to people, take your proceeds and reinvest into marketing until you're out of people to buy in and then make another game. That is to say that mobile marketing spend is virtually unrelated to development costs.

In AAA retail you've likely committed the marketing budget years in advance. It's way less agile and need to be planned and spent before you even ask for pre orders. A lot more risk involved. Technically they ALSO care about cost per acquisition and that staying under their launch take, but it's potentially more complicated and probably publisher specific what the ratios are and in what media (digital, tv, etc).

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.

more falafel please posted:

AAA has also gotten much more expensive to produce in the last 20 years -- $100m dev budget is normal for big franchises. Publishers are just starting to test the waters about charging $70 instead of the $60 they've been charging since the 90s. (This has gotten a little better with GaaS, digital distribution, DLC, MTX, etc). In 2001, if you sell a million copies, you're a big success. A million copies of a AAA game gets a studio closed now. Marketing has to be a big budget, because you need to sell way more copies than you used to to break even.

There are very high semi-fixed costs in the way publishers actually publish. For an Activision or EA it's probably quite high, because they have a lot of controls and red tape and QA and such that they get through. Some of those companies as a result have to make a decision between backing projects that are likely profitable at other publishers but not worth pushing through the controls. Take two created a second publishing house in Private Division seemingly to address this and get smaller and more flexible to kinda move alongside a lot of the indie+ publishers.

But yeah, like a million isn't worth the hassle of organizing the company around, and not worth revisiting with sequels, so it leads to just kinda "the end" at big publishers.

The dev teams were smaller in 2001 though. Half life 2 was made by fewer than 100 people. Doom 3 less than that. Red dead 2 took over 1600 people.

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.

Zaphod42 posted:

Yeah but again red dead is a pretty wild extreme case. How many people made something like Doom Eternal? (probably fair to say more than 100 though)

Tried googling to find out and while I didn't, I did find an article that says Id was "crunching pretty hard" while working on it. this industry, I tell you.

id is around 200 people give or take right now including their QA team and have some smaller projects that aren't Doom Eternal.

Zenimax (like a lot of big publishers) does also pull people from other studios to lend a hand on projects though, like Machinegames and Arkane working on Youngblood together and I'm sure some folks from other studios did things here and there in Eternal.

Most of these numbers don't include temp QA staff either, though. It's hard to peg down dev sizes inclusive of QA.

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.

Studios and devs don't have to cut and close if they don't hit. It's brutal if it's the first title out, but practically if you're concerned about that when joining a place you should be trying to make an informed decision based on the resiliency of your studio.

Some studios will have multiple projects and move people over. Some have multiple projects and will lay everyone off. It's a business reality or a business strategy, but I'd really suggest placing some value on roles with resiliency and having that in your calculus.

I think people DO that, actually, which is why those shutdowns aren't necessarily catastrophic for those employees even if they suck. People do great work on games that don't work out. People do great work on games that do work out and just don't hit. I don't think working at those places is a stigma or anything.

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.

Practical advice is keep your resume updated and increase the size of your emergency fund.

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.

VelociBacon posted:

I have what I think is a quick question but I constantly wonder about it.

In situations like the mobile diablo game announcement, it's so obviously the kind of thing that everyone could see a mile away was going to be scorned, was this something that a higher up just made their pet idea and even though every reasonable person under them could see it was going to be taken horribly by the community, they couldn't do anything because the producer wants it?

Other examples being that SimCity online rollout, or the Warcraft 3 'reforged'. Maybe also the dota 2 card game to a lesser extent.

Stuff like cyberpunk/fallout 76 issues I don't consider to be the same obvious problem and more just decent ideas with poor execution.

Is this problem related to top-down philosophy of management or did everybody in important positions really feel these were going to be successful?

It's going to be hard not to get orphaned failure responses to this. Everyone thinks every bad idea is horrible after we know it had blowback.

A lot of time it's just contracts. You make an agreement, everyone tries their best (or maybe they don't) and at the end you have a thing so you release it because it cost money and you'll make money when you release it. Any amount of loss less than 100% is good.

Some of the stuff is services back end that can't just be turned off. Which is kinda in the category of contracts in that you committed to something and the result is worse than you want but it's done.

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.

It's also important to that market that it doesn't feel like some knock off product, so it gets the full force of promotion. It's a "real game" not some side branded knock off.

Ignore if any of that is true.

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.

All of this (orphaned failure analysis) is ignoring the likely reality that Diablo 4 was supposed to be presented there as well, but had fallen through over the previous years and they were left with a mobile game they needed to promote with a key partner and a not ready to announce or show Diablo 4

https://kotaku.com/sources-blizzard-pulled-diablo-4-announcement-from-bli-1830232246

They even warned that audience that Diablo 4 wouldn't be shown. It's just an awkward situation.

All of the "the audience there wouldn't care for it" take is just ignoring reality of exposure and responsibility to their development partner. You can suggest that a different venue may have been better but you're insane if you think they could have convinced anyone that showcasing a title they've dumped considerable resources into should not be mentioned at your personal convention and no one would believe that exposure from the event wouldn't be good without doing it and seeing the result.

Of course I think they could have done it better (I like the comment earlier that it should have been done with it ready to play, for instance) but I've got the wonderful gift in hindsight.

E: Like seriously the only word to describe not promoting D:I at your own convention would be "sabotage" and if the project failed they'd be sued in a foreign court for exactly that.

MJBuddy fucked around with this message at 05:13 on Mar 17, 2021

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.

Yeah I don't think I could handle the yearly Activision purge but 90 days isn't bad.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

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.

I read along to credits of big AAA games because it's one of the few places you can see an org chart of our peers around the industry and where they put our types of people, or if they use redundant specialist layers, etc.

You can't really outsource us (yet) despite products that keep rolling in that really want to lie about their ability to do so, so it's hard to bury that type of info out of the credits.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply