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Gaming Industry

Share your views on the state of the Animation Industry.

Gaming Industry

Postby JDC » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:33 pm

I'm curious how other artists feel about the game industry. I've gone from tv to social games and it seems the only benefit of working in the game industry is longer terms of employment.

I feel like artists are looked upon as the bottom rung of the companies they work for.

Do you consider game companies as "Software" companies or "entertainment" companies?

Just want to see what other artists are feelin'.
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Re: Gaming Industry

Postby Glen Moyes » Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:48 am

I personally see game companies as entertainment companies, but saying that a game company is run like software company shouldn't be seen as a bad thing. A good design firm, a good engineering firm, a good software company, and a good entertainment company all have something in common: they all use the same process.

Over the past few years I've been researching Valve Software's process. These are the guys that made Half-Life, Team Fortress 2, and Portal to name a few. Their company treats their artists very well and produce hit games every time, and are generally regarded as the Pixar of the games industry.

What is interesting about Valve Software is that they see themselves as a software company run as an engineering firm. When Valve was making the original Half-Life their game sucked during playtests and they weren't sure why. They were told by just about every other industry professional to find a creative genius, one of those super-star game designers who had all of these attributes of understanding gameplay, level design, story, entertainment, art, and so on. When Valve sent out to find one of these artistic geniuses (even at other game companies) they discovered that such a game designer didn't exist, so they turned to the engineering field to create a process so they wouldn't need one of these fictional super-star game designers to direct their project. They ended up calling this engineering process adapted to game design as the Cabal Process.

Here's where it gets interesting. Their process is identical to IDEO, an amazing product and design firm (so no surprise there) but it is also identical to Pixar's creative process. Now granted that IDEO designs consumer products, Pixar creates movies and Valve creates games, and so the production pipelines are drastically different, but the core design group (or design groups in Valve's case) are all managed the same way, have the same levels of constructive feedback, both companies have an open door policy and everyone's ideas weigh the same as everyone else's.

And something else that Valve does to reinforce their collaborative process, the end-game credits is just one big alphabetized list of everyone who worked on the game, because they believe you can't assign the credit to any one part of the game to one person because so much collaboration and feedback goes on. Everyone is a designer, everyone is an artist, and everyone is a story teller.

The reason why I was so interested in learning Valve's process a few years ago is because I felt like bringing the graphic design process into an entertainment studio would be a great way to be innovative and successful as an entertainment studio. Well guess what. The process I came up with ended up being the same as all these other successful companies and in all these seemingly unrelated fields.

So really, it depends on the game company. So-called entertainment companies can be run just as badly and treat their artists just as poorly as the coldest "software" companies out there. The differences between art, engineering, programming and design are only in their minds.
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Re: Gaming Industry

Postby -Evan- » Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:28 am

...yeah, what Glenn said...
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