[OFF TOPIC] Gaming Industry Jobs

I’ve always been interested in working in the Video Game Industry, primarily Level Design. Anyways, Has anyone here worked or still working in the Video Games Industry?

FWIW, I worked in the nascent video games industry back at the dawn of time, and things then were pretty much what people describe now—a kind of controlled chaos with moments of great fun seperated by weeks of grinding it out. Of course, converting Donkey Kong for yet another platform, or coming up with yet another Scrabble clone didn’t take nearly the effort that is given to today’s games. Though, on the third hand, you also had a lot less resources and tools available so the individual effort was still brain squeezingly high. Anyway, I found it fun, until one big name company absolutely stiffed me for pay on a completed project and another company was bought out by an even bigger company who promptly killed our game days before shipping. Then it was time to find a job with a more consistent pay check.

Still, I got to rub elbows with some big dogs before they were big and had some great experiences.

Like any young industry it has its problems, something that the VFX industry (in which I work) has also been going through over the past 10-15 years, namely long working hours/weekend working, increasingly tighter deadlines, a squeeze in salaries, demanding clients/publishers, exploitative work culture and above all, questionable project management.

However, I don’t think its as bad as it seems and things are slowly improving as a) the workforce matures b) as a result, employees seek a better work/life balance and c) more rigorous project management strategies are put in place - these sort of things make a huge difference to the culture of an organisation.

Indeed, as with other industries, there’s a spread of ‘perceived’ good v bad companies to work for - so it’s not all doom and gloom. Check out this link to get a bit of an overview (although for many years previously EA for some reason always comes out way down the list)


Also, I think the smaller indie/mobile game development studios have a very different vibe/culture and tend to value their staff a lot more (check out http://www.king.com - the guys who do Candy Crush - a very progressive studio!)

P.s. ‘Crunch’ is soooo last year - it’s been superseded in my company by ‘Perma-Crunch’ , which appears to start from day 1 of a new project :-/

My wife, during crunch time would work from 10am to 12-1am. However, after crunch time she was givin paid time off. It’s hard work and it can be a challenging field to break into. It can have a lot to do with who you know and if you are in the right place at the right time.

Many years ago I was taking a directX class at the local Junior College for fun. It lead to an offer from EA for an entry level tools programmer position. Just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I regrettably passed up the offer to pursue another career path.

No, but from what I hear, it’s difficult to get into, and the working conditions can be horrendous.

A big problem is Crunch
"Many game companies have a crunch time that often occurs in the weeks prior to a game being published. This crunch time involves increased weekly hours so that employees can finish all of the details and testing by the deadline. The International Game Developers Association finds that the average work week for a game designer is 65 to 80 hours per week. "

(Gamasutra has lots of stuff written by and for developers)


To be fair, normal business has many of the same problems at the moment. Times are hard everywhere, it seems.

One thing I learned from my years in consulting was that you always lose money (or work excessive unpaid hours, or both) the first time you do something new. If you can repeat the same kind of work over and over, then you make money. “Factory” work is what keeps you in business.

I guess one of the big problems for the game industry is that every project is always something new.

Sorry to revive what appears to be an old thread here, but if you are interested in the VG industry you’re welcome to contact me. I’m a lead engineer at Raven Software currently working on Call of Duty, but past projects include Soldier of Fortune, Jedi Academy, XMen Legends, Quake 4, and Wolfenstein.

Its true the hours can be harsh, but in a way I personally like it. Making games has always been my passion, so it does not take much convincing for me to stay up late working on one. Of course, it’s not always fun. A lot of your time is spent writing “glue” code or hunting down some obscure bug or redoing something for the 10th time because something else changed. Raven at least tries to make the overtime happen as infrequently as possible and when it does happen we get food, bring in massage therapists, take everyone to a movie, etc.

Also, as has been commented already above, things have really changed since I started in 2000. Teams are many times bigger, engines are full featured, and the work force is older on average. When I first started almost everyone at the company was in their 20s and single. So working 100 hour weeks just happened. Now though a lot more people are married and many have kids, and people don’t volunteer for OT as much. Not all VG companies are like this. Many of the newer studios (especially indie or mobile) are younger.

The actual job involves being well organized, creative, and flexible. In this business everyone has good ideas so it’s important to be good at listening to others. The code is usually in C++, although we often use other languages for specific purposes (the last couple of Call of Duty games use LUA for User Interface code for example). You’ll need good math skills and the ability to write very efficient code that runs on multiple platforms.

Let me know if you have any specific questions, and I’ll do my best to answer.

Raven does have a few openings at the moment for both experienced engineers and summer internships in both engineering and design. Let me know if you are interested.

Christopher Reed
creed1977@gmail.com (in case our spam filter blocks you from sending to me at work)

@Creed I have trouble believing this, do you have any proof?

Sincere post. Been on forum since Feb 2012. Mentioned gaming industry connection before. Google search looks good. Proof enough for me :slight_smile:

Good video here - https://www.facebook.com/ravensoftware/posts/117640515083607

@creed, Thanks for the Info! I’m still very interested in the field and it does help to know what helps to get a job!

@creed - Very interesting. As a minor (14) years old, I’ve always thought this would be a fun job, but I’m moving towards different types of programs (like useful stuff). IMO, the game industry will probably be one of the more crowded jobs in the future because of the popularity in video games now and days.

Yeah, you are welcome! Thanks for digging up that interview for me. :slight_smile:

@Zoyt, I did the same thing actually. I was really into games as a teenager, and in High School and College I decided to be a bit more practical. I got interested in AI and I was going down the acedemic track when I applied on a whim to Raven. Turned out that they were looking for someone who specialized in AI and I got the job. You are right, the VG industry is continuing to grow. It’s also changing a lot because of mobile and because making games is easier now than ever. There are whole engines available that are totally free. Also just look at this forum. The stuff you guys have accomplished as a community is really impressive. I’m jealous. :slight_smile: When I was 14 I was mostly on my own to learn programming and had nothing nearly as slick as Codea to play with. It’s been a blast for me to lurk on the edges of this community and see what you guys are making.