Inside Dirt

Hi guys,

I was wondering if anyone can tell me what it's like working for any of the following companies. I'm especially interested in culture, quality of life and whether people are proud of what they're making.

Creative Assembly
Pandemic
Torus
Tantalus
Ratbag
Irrational
Team Bondi
Any other company that is "Not Shit" (TM)

unknownuser2's picture

If there were any bad things to say about any of these companies I'm sure we will see some alias names appear [:)]

Red 5's picture

All have their good and bad points, but what might be a good point to one person might a negative to another, it all depends on the type of games you want to be involved with and what you expect to get out of it.

Obviously one hears a lot of stories over the years about which companies are great to work for and which ones aren't, but it would be bad form to discuss the pros and cons of those studios you've mentioned on this forum... that's what fatbabies is for.

pb's picture

Yeah, it totally depends on what's important to you. Do you prefer working on PC or on the consoles? How important is money to you (and do you care if you don't get paid on time very often)? Would you prefer to work with dedicated hard working people or would you prefer to take 2+ hour lunches at the pub with people who don't care? Do you get more satisfaction from what you work on yourself or from the whole team's final result? If you're a coder do you prefer to work on the engine or on the game? What kind of game do you want to make anyway? Do you like to hang out with people who discuss games all day or would you prefer a hole in the head if it will save you from having to hear about World of Warcraft again? Do you want a game studio atmosphere or would you prefer an IT company that happens to make games? Do you like to have access to the internet (Seriously, I know of one company that doesn't let their employees use the internet during work hours, even senior people).

In short there's no simple answer. Besides, companies change over time, they get better, worse, better again, different projects and people move through them, they get bought and sold, all sorts of stuff happens. In the end just pick one that looks OK and don't let yourself get stuck there if you don't like it and find yourself unable to change things.

pb

BenStride's picture

I know everything is relative. I'm not asking what it's like to work in the games industry in general. I'm more curious about personal experiences about these individual companies. I'm not asking which company is best. Just if you have worked for one of these companies, or have had a mate who worked for them, what the experience was like.

Things like(I'm stealing from your list here pb):

* Is money a constant issue?
* Can your boss say no to a feature that will kill the schedule?
* Are the people dedicated and hard working, or constant beery lunches? (The occasional beery lunch is acceptable)
* Do you have internet - no scratch that. I guess that if you don't have internet then you can't see this. ;-)
* Are you asked to work overtime? No overtime? No weekends and 12 hour days for 6 months crazy overtime?
* Do people like the game that they are making?
That sort of stuff.

Red 5's picture

BenStride, I suggest you get out and do some investigating yourself.

J I Styles's picture

sorry to give you another useless answer, but I think it needs to be said that if you talk one on one with people you'll find that the majority have had bad experiances; however, you'll also find that these are the people that also know how damaging it is to their own career to openly talk about that -- the australian industry is a sardine can, it's small, cramped, incestuous, and everyone knows everyone. That's why people don't openly talk about much in public, even the good things. The smart people have learnt that it's best to simply not even get close to politics, but only accept the best conditions for themselves, which I'm sure is why you're wanting to gain this information so you can make a good decision for yourself.

again, apologies for talking around your question, but I honestly think it'd be best if you talked directly to those companies and asked them straight up, "what are the perks of working at your company", and never be afraid of asking, "what do you think is the worst or weakest part about working for your company" - employers constantly ask that same loaded question in interviews, so don't be afraid to ask it right back. If they can't give you a satisfactory answer then there's really not much point working for them.

BenStride's picture

That's no problem. Thanks for the info.

davidcoen's picture

if your are a nice and good person, you would probably find working at any of those companies very pleasent.

groovyone's picture

* Is money a constant issue?

There's generic wage expectations in the industry, you can view the salary survey done here a few years ago. Really it's all subjective to demand, experience.

Good piece of advice is if you aren't being paid what you're worth in the industry, don't take the job. There's plenty of other companies to choose from where you should be able to get a realistic salary expectation.

If you join a company on probation, make sure in your contract your salary is reflective of "probation salary" and ask for a %5-10 increase after offer of continuation as a permanent.

* Can your boss say no to a feature that will kill the schedule?

They can always do that. If you strongly believe the feature is essential then document an argument for your cause. Bring it up once, bring it up a second time and then leave it alone.

* Are the people dedicated and hard working, or constant beery lunches? (The occasional beery lunch is acceptable)

Beery lunches are essential part of the games industry! Making sure it doesn't interfere with deadlines and being professional is part of the responsibility of engaging in the beery lunch experience!

* Are you asked to work overtime? No overtime? No weekends and 12 hour days for 6 months crazy overtime?

Pretty much all game companies have some overtime requirements. such is the way of scope creep, problems, schedule changes..etc. An excessive amount of overtime = bad management. I would be hesitant staying with a company which had no weekends, 12 hour days for 6 months. I wouldn't expect the company to last long either.

* Do people like the game that they are making?

Sometimes you don't like the games you make, but you can still be passionate about making whatever you input into the game the best it can be. It's like any job there's parts of it you just don't like sometimes. Of course, if you're with a company which you don't enjoy making the type of games they do, then look for another company which does do the type of games you do. You'll perform better and feel better about spending your 12 hour days and no weekends :)

Boroma's picture

Surely making games would have to be better than cleaning toilets for the rest of your life? [:p]