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Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,389
# 11
10-08-2012, 03:03 AM
Originally Posted by lowestlvl View Post
you can work your tail off getting those qualifications but if you dont have the 3-5 year experience they'll look at you just laugh and throw your rear out the door.
And without those qualifications, the exact same thing would happen... Only way around it is to study for qualifications, and work as an apprentice/intern during that study time to have the experience as well. As above, I don't agree with this status quo, but I totally understand why businesses need to operate thus. To do otherwise, would be a risk of business, capital and reputation if un-tried staff who were 'given a chance', couldn't provide results for a deadline when it came down to the crunch... What serious, professional company is going to take that chance, when instead, they can simply hire experienced and qualified people? Another issue is the current economic crisis, where there is mass unemployment, and hundreds of people applying for the same job. Those people who don't get the job were probably perfectly employable and suited for the job, it is simply a matter of there being someone better qualified or better experienced, or both... It's not fair, but as above, "Such is life..."
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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# 12
10-08-2012, 03:23 AM
You know the problem, you have described it yourself, it is business wide all over the world. Here in the UK the exact same requirements apply. I run my own company, a small business indeed, however I would still expect a qualified person to apply before considering an interview, unless of course they were known to me. In larger corporations the person hiring also has a responsibility to deliver and if the person he hired screwed up it would also be him who saw his head on the block for displaying poor judgement.

My advice would be to continue making superb foundry missions, don't bother with the fluff ones, go for broke, find new and innovative ways of presenting rich story telling using the tools that are available to you. Get featured on the weekly bulletins, get reviewed on Starbaseugc etc. Show them what you are capable of with a limited tool set and in the meantime begin formal training either at a uni, college or at home.

In the UK we have the Open university that allows you to study from home to degree level. Once you begin the course you can at least add to your resume that you are currently studying a degree in "whatever" and point to your successes with the foundry.

If someone I had rejected applied again and said "look, I am extremely keen to work with you and this is what I've done since our last meeting to help me in that goal and to prove to you my dedication and commitment", then I for one would listen.

Good luck

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# 13
10-08-2012, 09:30 AM
Well when you have to choose between an unexperienced guy and an experienced one, you'd be a terrible manager not to choose the experienced one. New employees always cost to companies, and if they are unexperienced they cost even more.

You may be willing to give everything to a job, it won't make you experienced. Maybe you're looking in the wrong industry, there are many opportunities in IT. It might not be as exciting as games but at least you can get some experience there.

My advice: don't bother with jobs everyone would like to do.

Last edited by diogene0; 10-08-2012 at 09:32 AM.
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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# 14
10-08-2012, 11:41 AM
Originally Posted by commadorebob View Post
Well, what's sad is if I was in Cryptic's position I would do the exact same thing they are doing. And I acknowledge this is not a problem limited to the gaming industry. Trust me *glances at stack of "thanks, but no thanks" letters* I know it is more widespread. It just makes me think about the potential wasted talent. Imagine if everyone who had the talent were actually given a chance to use it how much better games would be.
I think you're overestimating this by quite a bit. The industry is filled with talented people already. And yes, the job market is saturated with those who want in. There may be some places that are denying people based solely off of a lack of experience, but I think that is the exception, not the rule. I think that most places are much more like Cryptic, and will look for someone who appears to have the talent and drive to do the job, and if they have experience, great. Certainly, experience is more necessary for higher level positions, but there are a lot of entry level positions out there, and I'm willing to bet that there are a lot of people with less experience than the job posting required, getting those jobs.

Those "Required: 3-5 years of experience, 2 shipped games" kind of lines are often BS anyway. Many times lines like that are used to scare of those who would be scared off by lines like that. If you're good enough, and know that you're good enough, you apply anyway. The main point is, it never hurts to apply.

Originally Posted by commadorebob View Post
Companies will always fold due to poor money management. But how much of that is a result of studio management expectations and location choices? I know everyone wants to be in Silicon Valley, but at what cost?

The house I currently have a $82,000 mortgage on near Huntsville, AL would sell for $950,000 in Los Gatos. For what Cryptic is paying to lease their building per year they could buy a bigger building outright in most towns. Move the studio to, say, Orlando and their overhead costs would plummet! Taxes, utilities, and business infrastructure would see a marked decrease in cost while still providing the employees an equally "busy" town to live in. But instead of $500,000 buying this in Los Gatos, CA, it could buy this in Orlando, FL.

You wouldn't even need to provide pay raises to the staff because the cost of living change itself would equate to a pay raise! A $55,000 salary in Los Gatos only covers what it costs $17,000 in Orlando to cover. That is a nearly $40,000 cost of living difference! Imagine what you could do with $40,000 more expendable income every year!
This is a specious argument. There are VERY few game companies in the US, that thrive outside of 4 or 5 areas of the country (Seattle, Bay Area, LA, Austin, maybe Raleigh). There are a few that do, but very few. The reason isn't that people want to live in a busy town. Sure, that's some of it, but the games industry is a volatile place. When/If I lose my job, or even just WANT to move to another company, it's way easier to stay in the same house/apartment, and get hired down the street, than if I were working in say, Providence RI, and when my company gets shut down, I have to apply all over the country, and then move myself, and potentially my family, much farther away.

Yes, the cost of living is much less in most of the country, but you also run into major issues recruiting to those places. If I am a potential recruit, and I currently live in San Jose, hell, if I currently live in Reno, and I am applying around to every company that I can find. I get equivalent offer letters back from someone in the Bay Area, and someone in Orlando. I am much more likely to go to the Bay Area.

Originally Posted by commadorebob View Post
You see these stories about games shutting down due to a lack of funding and then you see videos of their HQ and it is outfitted better than most homes. They spent all of their investment income on overpriced furniture and prime real estate! No wonder there was no funding to finish the game. Start your studio in an Atlanta area office complex and spend a fraction of what it would cost in San Francisco. You could buy a year's worth of utilities and rent for what you pay a month there. Once the money starts rolling in, then upgrade.

I will not deny that a lot of companies have some crazy and amazing amenities, and I agree, that all of that spending is often seen as a factor when those companies shut down. What you have to realize, is that all of that is a recruiting, and retainment tool. As a potential recruit, I get equivalent offers. One is from a company in a hole in a wall in a strip mall down town. They have a fridge stocked with soda, and probably some decent health care benefits. The other is from a company on the other side of town, with a big beautiful campus. All the cubicle areas have big windows with views. They have a cafeteria with good, free food, a gym, a pool, and good health benefits. Which am I likely to pick?

Also, that free cafeteria, and gym, etc. are all designed to keep the employee at work longer. If I don't have to leave the campus for food, I'm much more likely to stay, grab something quick, and then go back to my desk.

Now, Cryptic, is much more like the former. We are not in a strip mall, and we do have a fridge stocked with soda, and some good health care. We have some other niceties, but we don't have a cafeteria, a gym, or any of that other stuff that you see other companies flaunting.

Originally Posted by commadorebob View Post
How many more talanted people could Cryptic hire if they moved out of Los Gatos and into a more business and income-friendly area? "But we would be moving away from all of the talent!" The talent will follow you. I was prepared to move my family to California for the chance to work at Cryptic. Do you honestly think people would avoid moving to Orlando or Atlanta? Some might, but I think most will look at that $40,000 cost of living difference and grab a Gators hat.
See above.

Originally Posted by diogene0 View Post
Well when you have to choose between an unexperienced guy and an experienced one, you'd be a terrible manager not to choose the experienced one. New employees always cost to companies, and if they are unexperienced they cost even more.

Actually, we've been bitten in the butt a couple of times by hiring the experienced guy. Sometimes people look great on paper, only to find out they suck in practice.

Originally Posted by diogene0 View Post
My advice: don't bother with jobs everyone would like to do.
Good advice. Be a garbage man, they get paid more than most of us do anyway.
-The Artist formerly known as Tumerboy

Originally Posted by mightybobcnc View Post
Tacofangs, what is your beef with where's Sulu?

Last edited by tacofangs; 10-08-2012 at 11:45 AM.
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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# 15
10-08-2012, 12:00 PM
I think the big problem is turnover. Credentials and hiring people with student loan debt is, at the high end theory level, a way to reduce that.

I can tell you right now: if Cryptic hired me, I'd be on board for 5 years minimum provided they'd have me just because of debt.

Turnover is what kills features, kills content. It's why Cryptic has rehired so many familiar people. It's what makes people skittish about hiring people without training. They could be great but you need some way of gauging that upfront. The Foundry is a means of that, honestly, along with college, work experience, etc.

But I know from profiling Cryptic that they hire English Lit BAs (Kestrel) and they have one prominent employee whose background was managing a Toys 'R Us.

And they've passed on people with years of professional writing or game design experience out of the fear they'd be volatile and leave.

What they want is some reason to believe that the tens of thousands they'll effectively pump into your training will pay off before you leave.

As for Cost of Living? I really think an option to explore is freelancing. It's one aspect of traditional publishing that isn't going out of style anytime soon.

It's more expensive for artists because companies get a sweet arrangement with Work for Hire and there's a lot of IP rights to manage with visual designs. But for content? I can see it... And I can see where with some dressing up, they could have a private Foundry account for freelancers that publishes real-looking missions that someone like Kestrel and the CBS folks could review. You wouldn't even know they're Foundry missions if it's done right.
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# 16
10-08-2012, 12:14 PM
I'll add. I'm working on a second Master's and if it weren't for the fact that everyone is going to school A LOT right now, I'd be more worried that I'd be credentialing my way out of anything BUT Academia.

I'd much rather be working but I'd like the stability of a job for someone else given my loan debt... And I'm worried my interests are too specialized for academia and the audience I want to hit is too broad for journals.

I'm doing a scholarly conference panel on gaming at the end of the month but my applications to game companies are a big stack of "not now" letters.

I think I tend to get on best with high level design guys and producers. Dispositionally, I'll cop to being a bit like a theatrical designer, which means I excel in private design meetings or auditorium presentations but forums are my weak point. Everything comes off like a rant and I don't get to be funny or bounce ideas fluidly. I'm a verbal person. Dialogue is a strong point. Flow chart doodles are a strong point. Put everything in print without character dialogue though and I have a lot of strongly Aspergian tendencies.
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# 17
10-08-2012, 12:16 PM
Originally Posted by tacofangs View Post
Good advice. Be a garbage man, they get paid more than most of us do anyway.
Plus we have benefits! Like Good Health care (because of all the waste exposure), guanteed a postion for life (postions only open up after someone leaves, which is high turn over btw), good to great pay (you get started very well and combined with you will almost never be fired, you will earn up those pay raises quite well), but the best benefit of all? You wouldn't believe all the perfectly good stuff people throw away! Pickups at my local Community College are by far The Best at the end of semesters. My kids computer? ya...
I picked up an old coffee table once. The top was slant cut piece out of a large tree trunk. i glued the wobbly center leg posts til they were solid, and reenameled the clear coat on it that to fill all the nicks and scratches that were all over it. Made it look like new again. Then sold it at a local used furniture store for $150.

How much a company wastes...
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# 18
10-08-2012, 12:18 PM
In response to Tumorboy, I thought I remembered reading that Cryptic DID offer a gym, on their website.

And it may be easier to find work in one area, but thay didn't seem to keep 2 Cryptic devs from up and moving to Canada over undisclosed reasons. Someone once told me this was in the job description of a game developer to be willing to make life altering moves to different studios.

And its not just Ubisoft having studios all over the place. Retro is based out of Texas. It doesn't seem that location is this depedent obstacle for acquiring talent: it looks like you just need to acquire it and they will come.

I'm curious whether a gym and cafeteria in California would be more attractive than a massive cost of living decrease in Florida. I know I for sure would rather have nicer cost of living.

But hey, what do I know? I'm just a podcaster.
I am a Cheestah.
Check out my Foundry missions
Fed: "To Helna and Back", "Rema Donna", "Animations with Helna", "Mudd's Weapons", "Waiting for Wednesday", "Monolith"
KDF: "Time the Enemy", "Time the Ally", "Time the Traitor"
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# 19
10-08-2012, 12:42 PM
If you want the best talents, you don't offer them a home in slums and a workplace in the desert of Ethiopia. That's why companies spend so much money in amenities. Companies rarely waste money, especially if they are big enough. If they offer their employees a swimming pool it just means they want to keep them. It's not a waste of ressources, they just acknowledge that they have difficulites hiring the guys they want, which might not be an unexperienced one full of goodwill, but maybe a dev with 20+ years of experience.

Last edited by diogene0; 10-08-2012 at 12:45 PM.
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# 20
10-08-2012, 12:42 PM
There are some big reasons about this thread why people see problems with this industry...

The first thing is these games in this format have been out longer than most people think they have. Pretty much back in the 70's and 80's the internet was available to the public for commercial purposes. Although it was created several decades before that occurred. Pretty much if anyone remembers games such as Trade Wars 2002 and Mutants, etc... Those games were made and then players got bored of them so then people created muds, mush, moo, etc. They were basically the text versions of what mmorpg's are now so all these companies that make wow, everquest, ncsoft games, cryptic games, etc are just modelling or copying games that already existed decades ago and doing nothing more than converting them from text to graphical representation.

Pretty much unless a game company can produce new ways games unfold and something that a customer has never experienced before thats where lost opportunity is because really for this game for example if it did not have the Star Trek brand slapped onto it hardly anyone would be playing because it has the same format as any other game you will find out there and nothing special about this game other than the brand itself of Star Trek.

In the end though if you can find one of these muds if they are still up and running you will not find any mechanic in those games different from the new age mmorpg's all that you will find is its kinder to the eyes with graphics vs ansii text So unless someone with some real creativity comes along and creates a game that gives you something you can't get anywhere else they really don't belong in the industry.

Last edited by zeuxidemus001; 10-08-2012 at 12:46 PM.

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