Everything I've heard about game dev gives me the impression that it is one of the hardest niches to be a software developer in. I've heard it's highly competitive, pays less on avg (vs some equivalent frontend or web position), and the work hours are extreme (at least 10-12 daily).
Is this true from your experience?
Before I ever discovered Bitcoin or learned how to program I always wanted to make games (I think this is common for kids who grow up playing games).
I remember the first ever coding I did was simple scripting in second life in like 2012 though it didn't stick for long and I actually put it down for about 8 years until I found Bitcoin.
I could see myself being a pretty good game dev but the industry has always turned me off. I guess there's always indie game dev as well?
What are your thoughts?
It's a passion industry, like Hollywood. Too many people willing to work harder and for lower pay in order to be part of the industry.
Too much math for me. The journey through game dev courses in college pass through a ton of extra algebra and geometry classes even for an engineer. Probably having a decent understanding of physics too.
Hmm yeah that makes sense, high barrier to entry as far as the math tools/formulas you need to use to make things run efficiently.
I remember watching old John Carmack interviews with him talking about all of the math and physics tricks he used to get the FPS effects in Wolfenstein/Doom a long with his other games.
It seems back then this kind of innovation was required to even get shit to run where nowadays you can probably rip most of your game from the Unity toolkit and marketplace
71 sats \ 4 replies \ @ek 9 Jan
nowadays you can probably rip most of your game from the Unity toolkit and marketplace
fyi, there was some controversy around Unity license changes a few months ago
If you were developing a Unity Engine game on Monday, you did so with the general understanding that you wouldn't be charged additional royalties or fees beyond your subscription to the Unity Editor software itself. If you were developing that same game on Tuesday, you were suddenly subject to shocking new terms that would impose charges of up to $0.20 per install (starting next year) after certain per-game revenue and install thresholds were reached.
This change led to a firestorm of understandable anger and recrimination across the game development community. But it has also led some to wonder how such a massive change is even legally possible. Can Unity just unilaterally alter the fee structure its developers were relying on, even for development projects that were started (or even completed) under completely different legal terms?
not sure if you were already aware
Woah what a rug...
Trusted third party development tools are a security hole
31 sats \ 0 replies \ @ek 12 Jan
Yeah, a friend of mine dodged a bullet. He decided 1-2 years ago to use Unreal for his new game because Unity wasn't as easy to use as Unreal when it came to networking code.
Snippet from our conversation:
are you using UDP? I think that's common when it comes to p2p games
dude, I have no idea lmao
okay, crazy, I didn't know it's that easy to work with lol
seriously, it's literally just calling a function that creates a host session with a parameter done everything else is handled by the engine there are trade-offs but it works for us
i think that's a key point if you use unreal for indie games. unity was a lot less helpful when it came to networking
Godot is a viable alternative for indie devs
Crazy, what a rug pull indeed!
deleted by author
674 sats \ 0 replies \ @k00b 9 Jan
A friend in college was a total video game nerd. He is a super smart and able programmer and fantasized about working on games, but the FUD around the industry kept him from doing it.
Instead he's a salaryman at Microsoft.
We should be more afraid of leading an unfulfilling life than we are hard work for relatively low pay.
It's getting easier to make your own game with all the engines put there, but yes, you get dramatically underpaid and overworked if you work at an established studio. Start your own or just do it as a hobby.
I've worked adjacent to the game development industry for most of my working life. What does that mean? Well, I've made and published games, worked on game development libraries, contributed to open source game dev projects and created my own art assets and so on.
But I've never worked at a big game dev company. I had a job interview at one once but then I got a job at a regular desktop and web dev software company and that was that.
At one point I got burnt out and almost quit game dev forever. I took a year off and didn't do any game dev stuff at all.
Then one day I realized that I really do just enjoy game dev as a hobby. Not taking it too seriously and treating it as art was one of the best things I ever did. Surprisingly, I get more done now than ever before and most importantly I enjoy it again.
My advice after this experience goes like this...
  1. Yes, working at a big game dev company requires long hours and the pay sucks but what you choose to do with your time matters more. If you love making games, then make games. Stop listening to what other people say about this and spend your life doing what you love doing. It's your life, you can change your mind.
  2. There are many paths to success. Most of them are not a straight line. It's possible to build a game dev career if you really want it badly enough or you can come up with some hybrid approach making games in your spare time alongside a day job.
  3. Whatever path you take, be prepared for a long journey. Almost nobody makes it big on their first game. Even Markus Persson, the guy who created Minecraft made 30+ games beforehand. Most people didn't play his previous games.
  4. You don't actually need wild success to be successful. There's plenty of indie devs that make a decent modest income selling pretty average games on Steam, app stores or other funding models.
  5. Most game dev success comes from finding the niche within the niche. When you get good at game dev the hard part is not making games. It's deciding which games to make. Fortunately, if you've spent enough time messing around you'll eventually find a little corner of the market to take for yourself. If you make something uniquely enjoyable there will be people that want to buy it.
Okay, that's the general thousand foot view advice out of the way. Now for something a little more practical you can start doing right away.
Make a small game and publish it on itch. It doesn't have to be great. It doesn't have to be unique. You can clone another game and put your own twist on it if you want. You don't have to charge money for it. The goal is simply to get someone... anyone to play your game and provide feedback. That's harder than you might think and yet you'll learn more through that experience than you'll get from any school or tutorial video.
Once you've actually published a real game, any game, you've go the ball rolling and you can move onto the next or decide to do something else with your life.
Great advice. I especially like: "There are many paths to success. Most of them are not a straight line. It's possible to build a game dev career if you really want it badly enough or you can come up with some hybrid approach making games in your spare time alongside a day job."
Wow this is gold, thanks for sharing!
You're welcome. Best of luck with your game dev endeavors.
“Game dev” is a broad term nowadays — PC or mobile? Mobile game dev is “relatively” easy; there’s so many templates in Unity. It’s not “real development” though if you’re a hardcore engineer. AAA physics games otoh…those can be.
Either way, the stuff I’m reading here about salaries isn’t true if you’re at a good company, as would be the same in most industries.
The thing that makes it back breakingly hard is that, these days, games go into LiveOps mode and it becomes a constant content creation treadmill that burns out the team.
There’s also always the risk that your game flops, and sadly that’s pretty much instant bankruptcy and is the fate of ~80% of gaming startups.
Very low pay for the amount of skilled work the person is doing.
They could earn way more if they were working at a different industry doing a very similarly demanding job, say at a financial institution, like those high frequency trading companies.
Now, of course it's much more fun to make games than to buy and sell stocks fast.
If an industry is getting promoted it is so that there are plenty of drones to do the job.
If you want to code, just make stuff that you like and people will notice.
Games are big deals. The budgets are bigger than big films. The numbers of people who create them are also huge! Look at the latest film with any kind of special effects. Thousands of credits. Games are this way, too.
Make a list of what are the pluses and minuses.
If you can't get paid doing what you like, get paid so that you can do what you like. You could document your experience here and stack sats.
I feel like it's saturated and, yes, highly competitive. They use game dev to get the kiddos interested in coding and have been hitting that hard for the last decade, starting out with scratch and raspberry pi and going on from there. The Universities have grasped the opportunity to sell their products to the kids coming out of school. Soooo many of them have cobbled Game Dev Degree courses together and sold them to the kids (yes they are businesses selling products). When you look at how many Unis are churning out these courses and how many kids are graduating from those courses - do the maths. Then look at how many game studios there are and how many jobs they have going. Crazy disparity. It feel it's somewhat of a con. I went to a games festival and attended a talk by a guy who was compelled to set up a games hub in the UK to help these kids set up their own games companies because he was so annoyed by all the jobless graduates. I also used to know someone who was high up in recruitment at a very well known game studio and it seemed to me like they basically just constantly poached the "good ones" off each other and to make sure the competitors couldn't have them either. The had very little interest in training new devs up. It's seemed so backward. This is all based on my research as one of kids studied game dev but not at degree level. He decided to do something else but he's still a dev in the creative industry. It, honestly, didn't give us the impression that it was the nicest industry. You might have more success going indie but not sure how many people make it. I actually have the youngest kid making an indie game right now lol but he also has a part-time remote job and I think he has the entrepreneurial skills to do other things, so I'm not too worried. I wish you all the best.