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mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

There are people who wonder if graphics and tech have peaked every generation. Maybe we'll get there someday but not anytime in the next 10-15 years. Certainly processing and authoring power won't peak for a good loooong while either.

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mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

And while Ninty operates with some different philosophies, don't believe that they are really that different logistically. They still crunch worse than a lot of western devs.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

On the business side, it's really rough right now. If you open a studio right now it's a HUGE longshot whether you'll still be open in 2 years. Expenses have never been higher, the market has never been more saturated, and margins have never been slimmer. I don't know for sure, but I wanna say that that turn of the century era you're talking about seemed pretty great business-wise. Just getting a box on a shelf put you on pretty equal marketing footing with your competitors and games could sell to tiny niche audiences and still be a company-carrying success.

As far as PRODUCTION goes, we've never had better, more varied, more powerful, or more accessible tools and resources than we do now. The act of making games is far and away the best it's ever been.

If I had to declare a golden age for devs, though, I'd say it was the 80s when every idea was new and fun, jank didn't matter, and nerds in high school could write games in the evenings and sell them mail order from home and drive Ferraris to their first year at college.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Every single open world game has had to grapple with "Well what about Breath of the Wild?" this year.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Haifisch posted:

I'd argue that Skyrim had the bigger problem of all its caves being effectively identical, so you only got the cool exploration feeling the first or second time you went into one. Every other time it was "oh, this again." Same went for all its other dungeon types.

Then again, all of the combat & dungeon-related stuff feeling super-samey was a problem with Skyrim in general. Maybe it's because I'm used to the more directed experience of JRPGs, but it left the game feeling less like an RPG and more like a town quest simulator(not a bad thing in itself) where you were occassionally sent to kill Interchangable Level-Scaled Enemy Set Q in Identical Cave 546 for Macguffin 8(definitely a bad thing).

So to kiiiind of throw you under the bus to make a point about a previous conversation, this is one of Skyrim's main criticisms and it is because it was made by a team of 70 people (plus outsourcing). The dungeon art team in particular (dungeon here being any interior space like caves, ruins, etc) was 2 people, I believe. Skyrim made by 70 people is a feat in and of itself but repetitive samey caves made from modular asset packs is what smaller (aka sustainable) teams can do realistically and games DO get dinged for it.

Bethesda is an outlier here and they pulled off an amazing feat with Skyrim so it hasn't affected their bottom line, but stuff like that gets called out and it makes a difference for games with less IP and marketing power.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

General software and video games are VASTLY different in most aspects. I'm sure there's a ceiling at some point, but nothing suggests that we're approaching it.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

I'll be the first to point the finger at my own industry and say that the hub system is played out and does immense harm to employees and absolutely needs to change. It's a big, big reason why game industry workers burnout and leave so quickly. It's hard though. For example, there are only a couple devs left here in Salt Lake City, and they have trouble hiring out of state candidates because there's no where else to jump to if things go south. If you get laid off, that means you're rebooting your career or moving. It's really hard to spin up a studio in general these days: if you start in a hub you have to compete with the big boys in town, and if you start in a cheaper place, you can't get people to come to you.

One of my pie-in-the-sky dreams is to start a mostly remote-worker studio where most employees can live where ever they want. That brings plenty of its own challenges, but keeping workers and keeping them happy is a huge drain in a lot of places, especially if you aren't one of the "It prints money" AAA studios.

mutata fucked around with this message at Dec 12, 2017 around 03:35

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Perhaps it's time to leave this topic for the time being? Seems we're getting stuck in a roundabout here.

foutre posted:

I recently participated in a student game showcase through a game design course at my school: basically a bunch of people from various companies in the games industry came to judge, give out some swag to a few winners, and hang out. My team's game ended up winning awards from some of the companies, one of which came with an offer for a fast-track interview for whichever (intern) positions at the company I'm most interested in. I previously didn't really think of game design as something I could actually break into professionally, even for an internship - my major is in Social Science, and although I do have some experience with Unity/C# (what I made the game in) as well as some basic knowledge of C++ most of my actual projects/skills are pretty much related to stats/'data science'.

I'm definitely going to follow up with the company that offered the interview. I'm in the Bay Area, so presumably they're flush with more qualified CS people applying for the more technical positions. I would like to do something at least related to game design there, but I'm not sure what else that would look like. 'Game design intern' feels a bit nebulous, are there more specific roles that I should ask about?

I'd also like to try applying more widely for game dev internships in the area to at least give it a shot. My current plan is to polish up my portfolio some, reach out to people that I met during the course, and just generally apply for internships at nearby companies. Is there anything in particular that I should consider when looking at positions/anything in particular I should keep in mind going into the application process?

Sorry for the kind of vague questions, I hadn't considered game dev as a possibility prior to this so I'm not totally sure where to start. I'd appreciate any perspectives on what y'all look for in applicants/any advice you'd give for someone just starting out.

You should ask this in the Games Jobs thread here: https://forums.somethingawful.com/s...=601&perpage=40 You may get more info there since there are a lot of folks in there who don't post in here.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Well no one in here is providing actual data about their side of the debate and quite frankly that's because we unfortunately don't have access to it and even if we did, market research is expensive and is bought and therefore counts within companies as valuable trade secrets so we're not likely to see any manifest here.

I've lost sight of the thesis statements on either side here, frankly. If the position is that market data can lead to poor decisions, then that's absolutely correct, but not all the time. In my opinion Disney Infinity was market tested into oblivion and we did far too little just listening to our customers (there are other issues behind this though. Everything is more complex than we think it is). If the position is that companies should not rely on market data to make creative decisions, then that's fair to say but not realistic to expect from AAA aside from maybe a couple outliers. Mid-tier and indie are much more able to sluff huge data trends and go for a niche, but even then it's a gamble. All companies want to get as close to being able to tell the future as possible and that's not limited just to games industry companies either.

This is all pretty obvious, though, so, like I said, I may be missing people's end game points here.

mutata fucked around with this message at Dec 18, 2017 around 08:33

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Pixelante posted:

Are there any useful Christmas presents to buy for a teen who is pursuing a career in game dev? He's done a Digipen high school thing and really liked it.

Game Maker can also be a great piece of hobbyist software for people starting out. If they're an artist, then a monoprice or huion graphics tablet is standard kit. Wacom's are best but super pricey.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Lutha Mahtin posted:

if you think "every meaningful metric" is a couple of random stock market attributes picked from arbitrary years, i really don't know what to tell you

It is the most meaningful metric for those in the final decision making positions.

Again, I think these lines of debate have lost sight of their thesis statements and are just now about going "no, but what I think is true because of data". I'm not even sure what points people are trying to make anymore.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Lutha Mahtin posted:

I don't know if I've explicitly said it but one thing I've been trying to point out is that big, existing industry leaders, whether in games or something else, didn't get to the position they are in because they are the sole captains of industry who are smarter and more rational than everyone else. Pointing to a couple of arbitrary data points on (in this case) EA's ticker readings and SEC filings really means nothing. This is because EA, much like any other large multinational corporation, is affected by a huge number of variables every single day. They are affected by changes the economy and stability of every country they do business with, changes in all the laws and regulations of these countries, mergers and acquisitions (and divestitures) of their own and of competitors, the growths and failures of competitors, internal reorganizations, and I could go on for quite a bit longer here but I think anyone arguing in good faith would see my point. And this is even before we consider the general monopoly nature of the games business and the entertainment business in general (in terms of copyright, trademarks, and patents), the monopoly nature of the console business, and so on. We don't live in an Ayn Rand libertopia where "smart man -> business decision -> more profit -> better than" and I think it really obscures the bigger picture when people discuss it that way.

Ok. I mean, I don't really think you're using the word "monopoly" correctly here, but you're right that there are many, many factors that feed into the success of a company. What's your point though? People in this thread have drawn a line from "uses microtransactions" to "makes 20 times the profit" and used financial figures (albeit general ones) to back that up. What are you positing?

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

The short answer is that everything costs money so fewer things cost less money. Also, was that line really recorded in multiple voices? I only remember the one. (I wouldn't be surprised though).

Also, I'm betting that there are a TON more than just 5 other lines and people latched on to that one because memes so it eclipsed all others. Likely a certain class of characters was given a library of generic response lines to pull from and that was in that library.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

I'm not sure, obviously, but they likely wrote a big list of generic lines and then just had multiple voice actors record off of that list. It most likely wasn't a question of "Ok, we finished Voice Actor Harry's list, now let's write Voice Actor Joe's list" but more like "Ok, Voice Actor Harry, we've finished the 3 characters you'll be voicing but we're still paying for another hour of your time. Would you mind doing some lines from our generic list for us?"

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

What incentive or interest would, say, a Disney animator or a comic book cover artist have had in the early 90s games industry? In this period games were still billed as toys and sold in toy stores. And what draw would the pixel blobs of the NES or the polygonal soup of the N64 have to an illustrator working in his studio? There were no drawing tablets or consumer 3d modeling packages back then; tools were abysmal. Additionally, making games was an extremely technologically complex field. The people who were doing these drawings were programmers and game designers by profession. Art was a side effect of the medium. What we nowadays call programmer art was shipable back then.

It's not really fair to call those dudes out when they were doing art because they had to while working 2 other disciplines. The short answer to your question is they were doing the art because they were already working on the games and they were the best artists in the industry. No other respected professional artist cared to gamble their careers on some new toy industry for nerds.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Video games are a visual medium so therefore the visuals are pushed and developed in various ways like technological complexity, art direction, concept and design. Better visuals are a way to make a better product. Audiences expect good/engaging visuals in their visual entertainment.

This doesn't necessarily mean that the visuals for all games have to be top of the line expensive, of course, but pushing the line graphically is part of the games industry which is in many ways an industry that marries art and tech.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Is there something with the existing answers that doesn't sit right with you? Asking for reals.

Edit: So I consider modeling to be firmly on the art side of game production, and I do think I'm alone in that. What is your understanding of what makes up art for games and it's percentage of the budget?

mutata fucked around with this message at Jan 5, 2018 around 19:33

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

hackbunny posted:

No, I understand the answers and they make sense. I just don't want people to think I'm going for a shallow "superior Hanzo art folded a million times" point. Hell, I even found perfect counterexamples with PaRappa (Japanese game, good American artist) and Shogo (American game, awful Japanese artist)


I don't understand much, a good half or more of the roles in the "door question" were new to me. I was like "this makes sense" but also "it's an actual job description?". I'm probably seriously underestimating how many people work on a modern game

Gotcha. Yeah, as far as "art budget" goes, that includes all of asset production where is where the armies of people and millions of dollars goes. Concept is relatively cheap in comparison because a good piece of concept can solve 3 dozen problems but an asset only solves the problem of "We need that asset". Concept is the top of the funnel and asset production is the bottleneck.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Well seeing as how the posed questions have been sufficiently answered to the point where we've moved on to personal attacks and slipping into each other's PMs, let's call this one finished and move on, eh?

GAME PRO PRO TIP: Being a dork on the internet still isn't a good look. Also, shoot the Cyberdemon with rockets until it dies.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Disney Infinity had a marketing department that painted campaign narratives that weren't factually present in the game, so I imagine that's a common marketing/dev disconnect. Fans and players sarcastically spitting our own marketing campaign slogan "IF YOU CAN DREAM IT, YOU CAN DO IT" back at us when obvious, blatant, often frustrating limitations cropped up was common and we devs were just as angry as they were because we couldn't deliver what marketing was promising and marketing wouldn't reign in their dreamspeak.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

I'll shill this once, and only once here, but if anyone is interested in 3D art, I've started a twitch channel where I'm livestreaming work on an Overwatch-themed large scale environment art project. I usually stream Wednesday nights, but I'm trying to find other nights of the week to add to the schedule.

https://www.twitch.tv/mutatedjellyfish

Going live in 10 minutes.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

I commute 3 seconds to my desk downstairs. Lunch is instant noodles and a fried egg. Freelance life wooooo!

My longest commute was probably 20 minutes bike ride to the bus, then a 1.25 hr bus ride. I've also had an hour long car commute. Shortest actual commute was ~15 minutes by car.

I try to bring a lunch as much as possible since eating out over time is a huge unnecessary expense.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

All right, I think both sides have gotten their jabs in re mobile games and monetization mechanics. Probably best to turn it into an actual conversation or move on, eh?

ShadowHawk posted:

I'm surprised no one's written a tool where you give it your Steam account and then it auto refunds every game you haven't played 2 hours of yet.

Isn't there like a 2 week or less ownership requirement too?

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Canine Blues Arooo posted:


When people like Cocoa Crispies are almost sarcastically dismissing the mobile and f2p market, it's because those markets are dominated by 'profit-first' games. They don't deliver these kinds of experiences because they don't care to. The game isn't about delivering those kinds of experiences. The game is primarily about making as much money as it can and will gladly sacrifice everything else at that alter. Those kinds of games are not Games.

This is a solid and probably personally useful, subjective, personal definition of "games". It certainly isn't the definition that we're using in this thread, though, as contextualized in the OP:

mutata posted:

Wait shut up. By way of disclaimer, in this thread we'll be discussing an industry of businesses, all of which are out to make money, but many of which also want to make good games. This thread is not intended to advertise or shill for game companies nor am I here to evangelize about the industry and convince anyone that it sucks or it doesn't suck or whatever. The games industry is made up of thousands of separate companies with different goals, methods, and intentions. Some are scum. Some are sincere. All of them are staffed by human beings. This thread is an attempt to shine light and show that the industry is a beautiful pallete of shades of grey and much more complex than the average angry forum thread paints it. Ok, cool.

I'll also remind the thread that there is a list of people who I can vouch actually work in the games industry in the 2nd post. I'm sure I have missed some of you who have contacted me while this thread goes into lulls or I'm traveling or what have you. If I've missed anyone, please get in touch again and I'll add you to that list. Thanks!

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

You're hired!

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Character artist in games means 3D character artist, so keep that in mind. If you're a painter, you could chase concept art, but (A) a concept artist is more of an idea/solution generator than a painter and (B) concept art is generally the single most difficult position to land in games. If you have graphic design/motion graphics/UI interests, then UI/UX are positions that are frequently in demand. Beyond that, there's very little exclusively 2D art roles in games. Even companies that are big enough to employ dedicated texture artists use photogrammetry, procedural generation, and 3d sculpting to make their materials.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Ah, good point.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

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The answer to this all is obviously waiting rooms or loading screen games, duh.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

We still are an industry where we debate whether or not PC ports are worth it. The Linux conversation rarely even happens.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Well, sure, maybe, but in this case the big 3 set their own TCR terms and can literally put whatever they want in there including "include in your submission a bowl of only brown m&ms or you fail certification".

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Hence this thread! One of the points of this thread is to give devs and players a chance to communicate directly and candidly about stuff like this.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

ChocNitty posted:

I worked for Blizzards helpdesk just before Diablo 3 came out. They put us in a separate building than the developers, because they were too good to be under the same roof as us lowly peasants.

Blizzard's campus and buildings are still under the jurisdiction of the city of Irvine and from what I understand there's a lot of restrictions and red tape surrounding what they can and can't do as far as construction and expansion. There isn't much open space around their campus either. Whenever there's an open building across the street they snatch it up. Pixar has a lot of buildings across the street from the main campus too. vv

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

I don't have time or energy for so called fans who only spit poison and try to destroy the thing they claim to love. They talk about wanting to fix it, but most of the time I don't feel it. It seems to me to be mostly masturbatory on their part, so let it be a solitary activity, I say.

I'm a rank and file dev, though, so it's my job to do the artwork not engage with the public. Companies that encourage dev/player interaction need to provide professional PR training to their people, and many of the big ones do.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

RazzleDazzleHour posted:

Reporting in from a couple months ago when I asked about game dev jobs, people said that hiring was almost entirely about your portfolio, which I expected. I had very little digital art experience so I decided to go back to school, I'm at a college a fair number of successful industry artists have been to (Riot, Pixar).

Now that it's come time for finals, I figure this is a good opportunity for some work to go into the portfolio. The only "real" class I'm in right now is a 2D/traditional animation class (handdrawn, digital drawing, claymation, etc, basically anything except 3d rendering). What are the big selling points for a portfolio? Would it be better to focus on something more narrative, or go all-in on a skill demonstration like a technical demo? I mean, ideally it would be both, but you know what I mean. What sorts of things should I keep in mind about portfolios if I'm making fresh work for it?

What role within the industry are you interested in? Character art? Animation? Environment art? Etc

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mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

They're dead and gone, I'm afraid.

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