Yeah.. In one of moods lately.. Actually in a funk I need to shake off? anyways here's the rant..

Ok lets have a look at the Sumea job posting. 4 big studios just posted for job positions. And they all want EXPERIENSED game developers.

This does come at the good time for the two ex companies? employees Ratbag and the Stargate team. I?m sure those guys will snap up many of those jobs.

However. Point being. While that's all good for people in the industry with experience? What are we the noobs to do?

Wanting to be a game designer I?m slowly over the next few months building some documented levels in unreal-ed and building that into a folio. But will it be enough? I?m starting to have doubts.

Here's a sample from the QA position for blue tongue.


Required Skills/Experience:
? QA testing experience a major plus? Exceptional attention to detail and an eye for quality
? Scripting/Programming experience
? Enthusiasm and knowledge of video games in general
? Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
? TAFE Diploma or University Degree in IT or related discipline

Now don?t get me wrong I bet QA is a harsh job just like all jobs in the games industry.. But damm. A C++ programmer I know who did QA for a game said he just walked in. told him his passion for games. Explained some design conventions and got the job. That was 5 years ago. [And by the way. He knew little to nothing programming experience at that time.]

So then what is open to the beginner? And how much credit does he need. Programmers need code, Artists need Art and Designers need documents and levels.. But to what extent? With game quality needing to improve if where to keep up in the world market is there any room for the inexperienced? Or do we have to go and make our own games with only books and Guts to guide us? I?m passionate about creative industries but I DON?T wanna be working at coles in 4 years time doing the same shit I?m doing now. But with this perception of ?elitism? thoughts of choosing another creative industry has been on the cards.

So what do you guys think? Where do the beginners start? From all these job advertisements it's obviously not in a bigger scale studio. And how long do you have to stay in the industry before you go from beginner to experienced and desirable.

Yeah .. I know. This has been said before a few times. But with companies closing and other companies wanting only the best of the best. What happens when your best isn?t good enough?

unknownuser2's picture

'Know your place' - There are *alot* of people out there who believe they are better than they really are, just because theyve got experience. For the love of god, make sure you never gain that attribute. Keep checking your personal stat list - if ego has appeared, your first goal is to loose it.

Sometimes your ability to network will get you a entry level job on the inside without any game experience - just because your a friend of a friend who knows a guy.

Talent + Experience = If your truely good, there will be a place for you in at any game dev in AU.
Ego + Talent + Experience = Still get in most Game Devs sadly [:(]
Ego + Experience = ALOT of people fall into this category - and they are working in the industry fulltime.
Talent only = If your lucky and very highly skilled you might have a shot at making it in.
Ego + Talent = Doubt youll make it in - or you wont last too long once you do get in.
Ego only = If you have no exp, definately dont come across like you know everything. Especially if you dont [:P]

Lastly look outside yourself - alot of people dont use the internet as a tool for learning. Hunt down and compare your work with others as much as you can, read recounts of sucesses and failures, gamasutra post mortems etc - ARM YOURSELF WITH KNOWLEDGE.

Its the best and most misused resource on the planet - read and learn everything you can. ( Sift through the bullshit, your level of intelligence should help you decide what is and isnt [:P] )

Purchase books and read them for the sake of increasing your knowledge,Religion to human behaviour, historical recounts.

The closer you are to becoming a walking almanac, the more solid grounding your ideas will have, and the more areas you can pull your game ideas from.

Ultimately if your very best isnt good enough - its your decision to keep learning and keep trying therefor raising what your best is - or not, dont let ego get the better of your here, if no game dev will hire you - treat it as though you are not good enough, and make a decision to either keep going or give up. Dont assume that by resting youll make it in somewhere else. Always further yourself.

rezn0r's picture

I agree with Hazard.

quote:What happens when your best isn?t good enough?

Get Better!


Rohan's picture

DOH! I fall into talent only I think. Maybe ego but I don't want that one bit... egos really screw things up and I'm bad enough with people as is [:P] Maybe the Uni degree will help with experience. I get what you mean too, Caroo. If there's another industry like the games one I'd be trying for it too but there aren't really any.

Maybe sooner or later for whatever reason there could be more games job oppertunities... hopefully in 4 years time [:P]

Malus's picture

Hi Caroo,

Ok firstly, I'd say alot if not all the people working in the Oz industry have been in your situation before and have shared in your frustrations.

Unfortunately I have to say anyone complaining that its not "fair" that developers want the best is just being naive and unrealistic. Btw, its not "elitsm" its business.

Secondly, if you have a sh!t hot reel or tech demo[s] and there is a job opening available then a savvy developer will give some decent thought to hiring you, no matter what your experience. Hell, they may even hire if there isn't a job just so someone else doesn't get you. :P

Thirdly and more to point on your frustrations..

What companies ask for and what they will hire doesn't always equate to the same thing.

Worst case senario they really will only hire MIT graduate programmers who can write neurologic pathway systems for the first sentient machine....

...just as likely though, they are after as good as they can get and have a "wishlist" that says what there ideal candidate is while helping to hold off the hordes of teenage boys who think they should apply for that senior modeller position because they kinda draw ok and there mum likes there poser/max hybrid model that took them a year to complete.

In the end if you really think you have what it takes...have a go at applying for the job anyway.
If you fail, see Reznors post.... get better, rinse and repeat.

Jackydablunt's picture

Malus is pretty much on it there, they ask a lot, 2 years exp and all that crap but they dont expect it, not for a QA job, they say that just to thin out the numbers of the armies of kids applying. I myself was noob in stereo when I started, still am really I could draw ok, not fantastic but ok, and that was basically it, this and that happened and now I'm in Design for the last two + something years. When we were looking for a Level Designer some time ago we posted all this criteria, minimum Bachelor Degree, 2 years exp preferred yadda yadda (when barely any of the guys in the company actually have that themselves).

The guy we got came in, I had to take the interview, he handed over his CV and examples of Designs he had done. I barely glanced at his CV, he studied games in England or something, dont know, I don't even know if he passed. Degrees mean nothing to me, it just means you can write assignments, its the way you think, the interest and the approach you take that I looked for, thats the hard stuff to get and most of the time you can't learn that, individual tech skills you can, it just takes memory. Anyway I had a look through this Document that he and couple of other guys had wrote and thats where I saw the attention to detail we needed, he didn't just say "I got a cool idea for a game" he said "I got a cool idea for a game and this is how it works" and bam, it was right there in the doc, detail detail detail, how many rooms are here, the doors, where they lead, how attributes work, all this tedious stuff which games really are, he covered it.

My personal strength is my capacity for memory and covering all aspects of the game wether art, code, music, VO scripts, marketing, whatever, all at once, I'm good at compromise and dealing with people, but when it comes to flat out production and technical skill I lag pretty far behind, and thats something I saw in this guy, he also had the ideas, and more (most) importantly the humility (something seeeriously lacking in this highly overated industry), we could make a good team. I closed the CV and the Doc and just started talking to him, what games he liked, what movies, and why he liked them, and just general crap game related or not. The interview went quite a while and the whole time we talked comfortably and it was cool, at the end he even said "So come on, give me the job then" and although I didnt answer, inside I was saying "This assy bastard, yeah ok cool you got it" we gave it to him the following week (I made him sweat a little just for spite).

Basically what I'm saying is apply anyway, who gives a damn what they're asking for, if all they look at is CV for something like QA, then they aren't gonna be a very fun company now are they. A lot of the time it just comes down to the right place at the right time, and if you ain't in their face at that time then you wont get there, so to hell with the criteria man, I know for one thing you yourself have the tenacity that will one day pay off, so just stick with it.

J I Styles's picture

All the numbers I'm about to spurt out are based off the last 6 years of observation and current trends that I've personally seen and feel are a good median.

~6 major sources of school level institutions, ~200 graduates per year each, and how many stable companies with desirable jobs are there in Australia? In all honesty crap all, and even less this year. And if I remember right, the number of stable jobs per company was around an average of 3 per year in these companies (we're talking hire a person for a career, not ten or twenty people for 5 months and let them go when the title ships. That's called seat-warmers, which we'll get to in a bit). That's a lot of graduates competing for quite a dismal amount of work.

So we've already figured out there's simply not the industry to support the sheer volume of graduates which are pumped out each and every year. This isn't even taking into account the fact that a lot of people spend time improving their abilities AFTER they've graduated and haven't got jobs yet, so they're competing against fresh graduates as well, and are likely to be at a better advantage since they've got the advantage of learning from past rejections and improving their skill past a graduate level.

It's a very sad but true state of affiars which you come to learn about after being exposed to the business side for a while. The general feeling is that there's all these people floating around, so you really should be picky since you obviously want the best. That's fine, but unfortunately it means that it's filtered to the best at a graduate level... This comes down to around 2 employable people per a class, so let's assume that as being a class of 25. 200/25*2, That's 16 genuinely employable candidates in an employers eyes per school per year. So great, 16 people have it good, the rest need to fight it out amongst themselves who can become disposable seat-warmers, and who are going to be packing groceries or servicing mcdonalds.

If anyone takes anything away from this post, please just consider this: General consensus among all the companies I've worked with or for has been that vanilla graduate level is not employable. So in effect, no school creates employable people, that's for the individuals to make up that gap by themselves on their own time while they're attending school. There's simply too many other better choices out there soaking those jobs up.

Jackydablunt's picture

It's certainly a hard industry to get into, and of course it also depends upon the individual position itself, but Styles, in your observations not of stats but on the ground level, surely you've seen many people in it who simply go on tencity alone, who make all their own games in their spare time and are forever learning. That's the respectable stuff and the hardest to get, and in time I feel it eventually speaks over accreditations. Just because you've got a degree does not neccesarilly mean you're good.

All I'm saying is they shouldn't get discouraged at all because it really does for the most part come down to chance in the end, people in the industry are really not much different to people not in it, you could have skills in stereo but if you don't apply then they wont go anywhere. What possible reason could there be for people not to apply? and reapply, and keep applying, maybe because they want to save printing costs, I don't know, I cant see any other reason.

Also games is not the only industry to aim for, more and more with this next gen we'll be seeing further intertwinement with games and other mediums, the skill sets for the most part are the same, so branch out, apply within the film industry, business programming, writing, whatever, cause games arent games anymore. Look at Auran with their MVH, I personally quite respect the way Auran branch out into other mediums like that, and its that innovation which although may not initially bring the crowds and popularity, will actually be the thing that advances us.

I don't know, thats just me, I may be way off.

J I Styles's picture

oh I'd agree, I was talking purely graduate level since that's where a lot of those fuzzy margins come from for requirements. Second to that... I've seen applicants rejected because the person looking at their application wanted to get to lunch. Time, people, and knowledge are always the best resources.

Jackydablunt's picture

Yeah I've heard things like that too actually, and it buxes up the arguement all the more, any hopefulls out there should just keep at it. A lot of them have skill levels higher than actual industry people do so if they're tenacious about it then surely it's only a matter of time till they catch an eye.

skunx's picture

I'll agree with the rest above (didn't read it all but what the heck). All you need to get into the industry is infinite patience and abit of skill peppered with abit of luck here and there.

I'm the guy Jacky above was talking about(thnx for the kind words [;)]) , and i can tell you my story of trying to find a job for nearly six months while on unemployment benefits...

It all begins with having a strong desire to get into the industry in the first place and judging by the way you are frustrated now Caroo it looks like you have this desire, i made similar posts when i was frustrated. I came over here from england where i had just finished a degree (which i DID PASS btw! [:p]) and i had high hopes that finding a job wouldn't be that difficult as i figured the industry over here would be less demanding than the UK in terms of experience/qualifications. I was wrong, its the same everywhere.

As has been said many times, qualifications mean nothing. Even my degree means pretty much nada. Hell even my lecturers at the time (some of which had a respectable career in the industry) told us pretty much the first day that finishing this degree (which i payed dearly for) does not guanantee anything. And its true. What a degree points out is that the person that completes it is generally able to start something and see it all the way to the end. It was extremely tough (in a - omg i have to do 26556 assignments in 3 days - kind of way) but it didnt really teach me how to make games better, what it did teach me was how to deal with tense situations, how to manage time, and how to focus on something and finish it in the best possible way. It was more about convincing the students that they can actually make it in the industry if they try hard enough (strangely many of them never thought they could get a job - why they chose such a degree baffles me).

In saying that it is true that when companies ask for degrees they are usually full of it, if the applicant can show them the skill then thats all they need. However a degree can help getting an interview in the first place... sometimes.

I personally applied with nearly every friggin company in Au and got mostly the same response: no experience? no cookie for me. I finally got a job after being interviewed by Jacky (sif make me wait a week [:X]) and got a tester job and then moved onto design before i knew it.

So, don't get discouraged, keep at it and eventually u'll get what you want and things will be happening so fast you will hardly keep up with it all. You just need alot of patience.

Jackydablunt's picture

Get back to work Skunx and stop posting on forums ya slack bastard