12/23/2012

"Working in gamedev = playing games" a myth? really?

It is one of the most common things you will read when you try to find some insight about work in gamedev. Everyone keeps repeating that "game development is not at all about playing games" and "being a game tester has little to do with playing games".

Ladies and gentlemen, please...


This whole myth feeding and myth busting situation just got a little bit out of hand. Obviously, at some point there must have been some common misunderstanding that implied that working in gamedev is about playing games and shortly after gamedev professionals reacted in a very strict and a very contradicting way. Too strict and too contradicting in my opinion.

Working in gamedev is about playing games. Almost everyone there plays games, talks about games, shares their ideas and opinions. When I started working, one of my first assignments was to "do some research" which meant that half of the time when I was at work I was playing games in some ways similar to the one I was about to help developing. When a new game in the genre came out, we sat down for almost a whole workday and "tested" the co-op mode in that game. We even stayed for some "overhours" :).

Of course, the more duties I got, the less time I had for this. And I soon figured out that many people do not have time for playing games at work at all, as they spend most of their time drawing or modelling. Still, every time a new build of the game comes out, everyone plays it. If someone walks in and sees me selling loot in Diablo III auction house, they will more likely ask if I have something nice for their Shaman rather than having any problems with me having a game installed on my work computer. We can't say that in gamedev we don't play games. It's like publishing house saying they don't read books or a rock band arguing that they don't listen to music at all!


There is a strong need in this industry to look professional. I honestly don't know where it came from, probably some early days, when game developers were treated like a bunch of nerdy never-grow-ups and had to prove their worth to the world. And as a result, these "professional and serious" developers prefer to say (best in a basket chair, wielding a Pipe of Wisdom +5) "Making games is no walk in a park, kids... It's hard work, not playing games!" and well, I can understand that. It certainly sends a better message than "Yay, come and play with us". Still, none of these statements is completely true.

The truth is gamedev is based on playing games and everyone in gamedev is - more or less often - playing games, also at work. But that is not the core task for any of the gamedev positions. It truly is lots of hard, highly rewarding work with little (but existing!) time for occasional gaming.


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1 comment:

  1. This is probably the best article I've ever read on this subject. Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete