The Dark Side
Holy crap. I’ve made some staggering discoveries. First, The Behemoth game studio has as many people as Star Frog Games. That’s great! It gives me a bad case of hope.
Next, I was thinking (look at the last 2 posts) and came to the basic idea that I have no real idea as to why I’m going for an English Degree. Since this isn’t something that I couldn’t sit down and work out myself, I was off to research. I thought the best way would be to find the email addresses of a dozen or so HR Departments of some game studios (both local and distant) and ask.
I know, that seems a little, um, dumb, but I feel that the best way to know what HR people are looking for in Game Design positions is to ask. Mostly though I know what a Designer does, and I actually have all of the requirements already, but I do want to know if they look for or prefer a certain major. Since this is a scientific test, I’ll try to find a way to formulate the question in such a way as to receive as unbiased an answer as possible. So no, “Hi, I’m studying English and I’m almost done and I want to be a Game Designer. Am I stupid?” or “I think English is a waste of time. Should I focus on obscure European history instead?” I’ll post the details once I get some feedback.
Anyway, along those lines I came across a site that has the local game studios in and around any area. It’s a big map http://www.gamedevmap.com. I’ve already found a few that either have jobs I can do available or have internships that can lead to said jobs. New resources are exciting, no?
Right, something something Dark Side. In my search I found that the best, most thorough, and most specific information for would be designers to be from Electronic Arts. Yes, I know, they are supposed to be evil. The big, black box where dreams go to die. But then they bought BioWare, and released some IP that was pretty far out, and put some serious money behind it making sure that lots of people knew about it. It’s a shame Mirror’s Edge didn’t sell better, but I have it in my GameFly Que and I’ll get to it eventually. Right-O the link is at : https://jobs.ea.com/about/roles/role.aspx?id=6#0
This is the best information I’ve found that tells me what skills a Designer actually needs. Not general interests, not general notions and ideas, but the specific skill set that can be learned and refined. Of course, reading this seemed like a laundry list of things that I’ve learned making The Thief’s Tale, so it’s nice to get some recognition in that respect. What it doesn’t tell me is what kind of Major. I mean, they have design interns that studied Japanese. I’m beginning to think that it doesn’t matter. I’ve heard that games are a Meritocracy, but really, now I’m beginning to see it. The work is everything. Do good work, do well.
Right, but now I’m thinking, maybe EA would be a good place to get started. Maybe I could get into their summer internship program and move into one of their studios, move up, start my own one day (where I can pay people). I could see that. Of course, I have heard some, let’s say interesting things about their practices, especially developer grinding, that could make that thought a very dangerous one.
-What is Developer Grinding? It’s a term I made up, just now, but is real. It’s the concept that you can hire new people, pay them new people wages and work them like animals until they burn out. Then you get new people. Morale suffers, stock prices go up and games are made without passion and are crap.
This is different than Crunch. Let’s assume Crunch Time is like going to war – people participate and make sacrifices that they would not make otherwise knowing that it is temporary at best. Grinding is like 1984. There is always war because the people in charge keep it that way so that they keep the powers that they have. Sacrifices are demanded and constant. There is no light since there is no tunnel and so there is massive developer die off. I mean artists, designers, programmers, the whole lot of them. I think this is one of those things to be aware of. I think that this is a practice that has fallen out of favor in recent years, and I hope so.