Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

Apparently it's misguided love

Here's something that really badly bugs me. I'm sure I've written about it before, but with so many words written here they blur into one.

I was thinking about writing this post the other day, and in a weird twist of synchronicity ( By default that's always slightly weird though I guess ) I popped over to FlashKit games and there was a post summing up exactly the point of this post, the target of my ire.

What drives me insane on any forum are posts like "I'm doing this game for a client... do I make this game ?".

I'm going to make some assumptions. The majority of these questions are for simple games, there's never anything really hard attached to these questions. So these are people who are of a pretty low ability with Flash.
Continuing with my assumptions, these developers know very little about Flash, and have yet managed to persuade a client to go with them. The client is trusting their brand, no matter how large or small, to this developer.
I'm also guessing these developers don't have a great cv. It's quite a stretch that they've got a ton of previous shiny work, but can't do a fairly simplistic game.

Poor cv, lack of knowledge, and yet still won the gig. How could that happen ? It can only be down to the price they quoted ( Or they're excellent at selling themselves, but let me stay on track for now ).

Why does this bug me ? We live in a world economy, what is a poor wage for me is a decent wage for people in other parts of the world. Why should I care if someone has gone in at the cheapest possible price ?

Because it stops the people with real talent, those with the passion to learn and improve, from possibly getting a first foot on the ladder into the industry. If you take a job that you don't know how to do, and hope to just cobble something together using open source ( With no credit for the original author, naturally ) and the good will of forum members, then I've really got no time for you at all.
There's no skill or artistry or creativity or passion to doing that, and for me all those are essential aspects of being a game developer. You're not making a game, you're just shoving bits together in a poor attempt to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

I know there's lots of ways to shoot down my "argument" here, we all have to start somewhere, it could be a great artist doing his first bit of coding and needing a head start, a rush job, a favour for a friend, needing to pay the vet bills etc. etc.
I don't really care, that's the beauty of having your own blog, you can be as opinionated as you like ( The comments are there to call me an arsehole if you so wish ). Also I'm making a generalisation here, I think 90% of all these types of forum posts I've ever read support my point, as for the other 10%, I'm hoping you understand and we can still be friends. Not lending money friends, but saying hi in the street ones.

We all have to learn on the job, it's insane to think that everyone should know everything before starting a project, but there's a difference from learning on the job the bits your unsure of, and accepting a job that you have no clue whatsoever how to accomplish.
By doing so you are:
* Producing something crap for your client.
* Putting more crap on the internet. There's enough already.
* Keeping prices artificially low.
* Stopping someone whose taken the time and effort to learn their craft from taking the job.

No one I've grouped into my little pile will ever read this blog, but hopefully next time you see a similar post on a forum instead of doing the good thing and helping them out, maybe think about it twice.


Comments (7) -

  • Nkronionik

    8/14/2010 6:59:48 PM |

    Cheap people will always be cheap.The only chance the pros have is to raise the bar on what they can do, so they are not competing on the same level.

  • Vlad

    8/15/2010 1:48:10 AM |

    I never saw anything like that on the boards I go to, but I can easily imagine that it might happen easily. I know that we have lost gigs based on price for developers (or not even developers but rather "developers").

    Our reaction is to raise the price. Instead of lowering the price to get the gig we prefer to get less but better ones from people that will choose us for what they know from us and not for the price tag.

    We also don't care about sentences like "we might have other projects in the future" or "this is a reference company". If they might have other projects in the future or they are a reference, I bet they'll prefer a good quality/price ratio and that is a fight that deserves to be fought.

    I agree that it's the good hardworking startup developers and artists that get a harder time with this, but I admit I don't really know how to help or react to this particular issue.

  • bas

    8/15/2010 10:59:10 AM |

    There will always be cheap meat and cheap coders. In the end you get what you pay for.
    We are noticing new customers who knowingly pay us more than they would somewhere else because they hear we are good ( cough, cough )- And then there's the ones that want the cheap meat because they either can't afford the veal fillet or they just don't care if they eat pig's arse. - I'm not convinced we are competing in the same market.

  • Squize

    8/15/2010 1:20:09 PM |

    I don't think I've worded what I wrote very well based on your feedback guys. I'm not bleating because we've lost out on work, without hopefully sounding like a cock the jobs people I'm bitching about are worlds apart from what we get with budgets and expectations to match ( You all know what I mean ? We're not in the eLancer type market, thank fuck ).

    It's more the principal of the thing, I can't help but seeing it as greed, taking a job you can't do and screwing over someone else who possibly could do it, and do it well, and when screwing them over you're also taking bottom dollar.
    I've got some music software on my machine, and I listen to a lot of music, so yeah I'll write that musical for you for less than anyone else. It's that kind of ethos that bugs me.

    It doesn't affect us in the slightest, it annoys me by proxy. I'm annoyed on behalf of the good hard working developers who are starting off and having to take the lower end jobs to earn their stripes and who are missing out due to people who aren't capable to do the job.

  • mike

    8/15/2010 11:20:43 PM |

    I´d partially agree, besides these:
    1.: Most newbies start by mimicking existing games or even using tutorials/ open source they only partially understand to cobble something together until they get it better themselves
    2.: Who put you on your high horse? Aren´t you the same dude who uses existing stuff like box2D which you at best halfway understand to create clones of existing games? Just because you in some weird way gathered better paying clients you aren´t any better, i´d like to know how many of your clients and colleagues would talk positively about you besides those you convinced of being someone you are not.

  • Squize

    8/16/2010 12:00:45 AM |

    1.: Totally agree, open source and tutorials are a great thing. We've all used them at one time or another, and been really grateful for them.
    There's a world of difference between that though, and bidding for a job knowing full well that you don't have the ability to produce it, and then reskinning complete open source games ( Or even using decompilers, it does happen ) to earn money.

    2.: I'm glad you took up my offer to use the comments to call me an arsehole, albeit in a more refined way.
    Yes I've used open source engines, box2D, Papervision, Flade back in the day plus untold code snippets. I don't think I've ever hidden that away or tried to pass something off that wasn't my own work, and I've always been an advocate of not reinventing the wheel.
    Also I've never undercut anyone's pitch, I've passed work onto others when it's not suited my skill set, tried where possible to get younger up and coming developers a break and never accepted a job I've not had the ability to do.
    As to the other points you raise, I really don't feel the need to justify my career in some [ Weird ] way, and by replying to any of those, that's what I would be doing.

    Yes I'm on my high horse about this subject and I always welcome and encourage any and all feedback, and I don't for one second expect everyone who reads this blog to agree with everything either of us say.
    Thanks for taking the time to post your views.

  • Nkronionik

    8/17/2010 2:19:00 PM |

    The pros uses physics engines, the amateurs think they should build their own
    Director, Unity, all of them came with a physics engine.Its a separated business.

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