不要選擇全職開發電子遊戲的原因

作者:Alex Nichiporchik

12小時的工作時間。報酬很低。總是因爲時差原因在大半夜接到電話。在大型推廣活動期間需要在半夜醒來檢查重大問題通知。連週末也要加班,幾乎沒有週末。這便是2015年的遊戲開發情況,似乎這已經變成了一項越來越困難的工作。

我是否該拿5周的假期去換取6位數的薪酬?在這輩子看來是不可能了。

而我還是想建議你們不要全職開發電子遊戲。不要選擇全職獨立開發者的角色。相反地,你們最好和我一樣找一份真正的工作並獲取各種不同的經歷—-前往不同產業並與不同的人一起工作。

我是在與世界各地的一些開發者交談後並聽到他們中的許多人表示想要着手創造屬於自己的第一款遊戲後才決定寫下這篇文章。雖然我可以自私地說着:“做吧!我們會發行並資助你的遊戲!”,但我還是希望讓他們瞭解事實。爲了能在今天成爲一名成功的獨立開發者,你需要有能夠承擔失敗的勇氣。

在本文中我將分享自己的一些個人經歷,阻止你們全職開發獨立遊戲的最有力的理由以及受大學驅動的遊戲開發泡沫所面對的最大問題。

“如果我剛從學校畢業便選擇全職開發獨立遊戲,我便會遭遇失敗。”

快速決策。每日機遇。打破任何可能性範圍。一個不斷髮展且充滿多樣化的產業會一直挑戰你的神經線。我便是在這裏成長的。但是如果我只是剛從學校畢業便選擇全職開發獨立遊戲,我便會遭遇失敗。這並不是一種好方法,我會因此深陷泥潭而不願意再回到這個產業中。

我之所以喜歡這裏是受到自身背景的影響—-我成長於拉脫維亞這個不大的東歐國家。作爲一個前蘇聯國家,你可能已經記不得財政穩定是什麼樣的狀態。我們家一直都很窮。每一天我們都在爲了生存努力着。我們身邊充斥着各種不利因素,如果你與別人有什麼不同的話,你便會立馬遭遇攻擊。即使你感到疲倦,也不會有人上前給你一個擁抱。如果你丟了工作,你也不會得到社會補助或福利。這便是我的生活背景。

在14歲的時候,我知道了爲電子遊戲編寫故事這門職業。我可以使用英語和俄語編寫故事,網上的讀者也因爲各種原因喜歡着我寫的內容。這也將我帶到了遊戲新聞行業,並最終將我引向市場營銷和遊戲開發。

到18歲的時候我已經是一名遊戲製作人,並在競爭激烈的市場營銷環境中領導着一支銷售團隊。我開始致力於電子遊戲產業,之後我也幸運地嘗試了各種不同的工作。

我從爲電子遊戲編寫故事到面向自身玩家經營在線商店,再到從事市場營銷執行者,遊戲製作人等工作。

而正是因爲所有的這些經歷才推動着我創建了tinyBuild。如果沒有在不同公司,產業工作的經歷以及在此期間累計的知識和認識到的人,我便不可能從事今天的這份工作。

就像正是因爲擁有聯盟營銷經驗,我才能更好地理解合作遊戲。這也推動着我們完成一些原本需要花費許多時間進行研究的非常高產的交易。因爲我能夠聯繫X公司的市場營銷負責人,使用他所使用的語言,提出交易條件並最終完成交易。

交叉推廣網頁遊戲與運行基於點擊的廣告活動的經驗讓我能夠更輕鬆地在無數“流量服務供應商”中做出篩選。

我在管理擁有來自不同背景的不同人的團隊的經驗對之後創建自己的公司很有幫助。當然了,我也失敗過很多次。

而我們團隊中的所有人也是如此。就像Luke之前便成功經營着組織業務會議的工作。Yulia則與獨立開發者共事過。Mike曾爲電子遊戲編寫過故事,並且非常瞭解PR遊戲。Tom本身便是一個獨立開發者。我們都不是直接選擇這個產業並希望能在此獲得最佳結果。我們都投入了好幾年時間不斷學習,犯錯並適應這個產業。

這也是爲什麼你不應該馬上就開發遊戲。你需要先找一份實際的工作並先兼職開發電子遊戲。不要一頭就扎進遊戲開發中。

電子遊戲是一個不同的媒體

創造電子遊戲與創造其它形式的媒體的區別在於用戶能夠以你想象不到的方式與你的產品進行互動。這讓提前計劃變得不可能,你所玩過的任何優秀的遊戲都是經歷了無數次的迭代,而在這期間時間軸,範圍都會發生改變,所以最終你所看到的內容也與開發者事先計劃的是不同的。

你同樣也會看到相反的一面,特別是在最近的電子遊戲時代中。總是會出現帶有漏洞且並不直觀的大型項目—-因爲時間和發行安排的限制,開發者往往沒有足夠的時間進行迭代,並且這麼做的成本也很高。

輸入方法總是不斷變化着。用戶也不斷變化着。人們發現遊戲的方式每隔6個月便會發生改變。YouTuber呢?那已經是2014的事了。今天是Twitch streamer的時代。但是到明年1月份這個空間也會達到飽和,所以不要太過指望於它。

聽起來很混亂吧?但事實就是如此。

以下是你不該這麼做的3大原因:

1.壓力非常大

如果你不能忍受不確定性—-不要選擇電子遊戲。在工作室中也是如此,在那裏大型項目的開發團隊會不斷壯大着,而在遊戲發行後,大多數團隊成員都會被解僱。雖然這很殘酷,但卻是沒辦法的事。

你明天還有飯吃嗎?我聽說超市的雞肉拉麪正在促銷。

人們是否注意到了你花3年時間創造的作品?真是前景黯淡啊。

2.工作和生活嚴重失衡

早上到達辦公室,晚上7點離開。吃晚飯。回辦公室繼續上班。如果你足夠幸運的話你便能夠看一小時的電視節目或玩自己喜歡的遊戲。

和孩子們在一起的時間呢?別指望了。

你的興趣呢?你的工作就是你的興趣,接受它吧!

假期?天哪,想都別想!

當你變成全職獨立開發者時,玩電子遊戲也會變成一種強制性的工作。你需要看看其它公司在做些什麼。別人在做什麼樣的UI,故事,渲染和遊戲設計。否則你將只會被遠遠甩在後面並開始創造一些被人已經創造過的東西。

這對於生活在西歐的人來說應該非常煎熬,因爲在那裏他們通常都擁有5周的假期。

而我們唯一想到的調節方法便是以幾天的城市之旅的方式組織會議。不過大多數情況下我們都會因爲工作太累而選擇在晚上到酒吧開會。

3.第一次你可能會遭遇失敗

是的,你的第一款遊戲非常有可能會遭遇失敗。所以千萬不要讓自己浪費3年的時間去創造它,並幻想着它會成爲下一款“熱門獨立遊戲”。

如果你能夠接受失敗,並樂觀地看待失敗(遊戲邦注:抱最好的希望,做最壞的打算),你便能夠很快恢復過來並再次嘗試。在成功之前請不斷保持嘗試。

你需要做的:

想辦法支持自己,如找一份工作

擁有耐心

爲上述兩點做好準備

遊戲開發大學畢業生泡沫

如今,在畢業後直接進入遊戲開發領域的大學生們正創造出巨大的泡沫。我發現越來越多大學在推動着人們的遊戲開發夢想。看看那些著名的開發者們!他們的確做到了。

在你真正實踐前,你會認爲這是非常美好的。

糟糕的是,這些教育機構大多是在西歐及發達國家。而這些地方的人們都非常期待假期的到來,工作生活的平衡以及輕鬆沒有壓力的工作環境。

在我提到的這些表面內容之上還有一個非常重要的實際因素—-生活在像荷蘭,德國,丹麥,瑞典等國家是非常燒錢的。這裏的物價非常高。

僱用員工更加昂貴。爲了支付工資,並支付所有相關社會稅,你需要將你的成本乘以2。也許你能找到一些自由職業者,但如果你們是一支由剛畢業的大學生組成的團隊,我會覺得你們想要組建團隊是非常奇怪的事。

東歐國家

europe(from ceibs)

europe(from ceibs)

在這裏東歐又一次駁回了這一話題。這片區域擁有較低的燒錢率。默認的高壓工作環境。各種不確定性。較低的物價。極高的技術教育。

在過去幾年裏我已經參加過至少20個跨越俄羅斯,烏克蘭,白俄羅斯,波蘭的遊戲開發活動。但在這裏我卻未曾看到大學畢業後便直接進入遊戲開發領域的人。這片區域創造了像《巫師》,《這是我的戰爭》,《Metro Series》以及上千款手機遊戲,我們的項目《瘋狂派對》和《羊羣分離法》也是來自這裏。

既然知識和技術之間的界限越來越不明顯,我認爲這片區域將擁有超越西歐的優勢。而我並不是不想談論美國的遊戲開發,只是那裏的情況跟這裏非常相似—-都沒有需要支付高額費用的真正安全的社會制度。

只要準備好迎接失敗你便有可能獲得成功

總之現在有越來越多人在創造遊戲。而這對於大多數想獲得成功的人來說卻是不利的。有些開發者可能會去模仿別人的成功。而當所有人都在做着同樣的事時,這裏的泡沫便會炸裂。

我們會看到越來越多相似的遊戲遭遇失敗。

而只有能夠承擔起這種失敗的人才有可能再次嘗試。並且只有那些具有創造性思維的人才更有可能獲得成功。

本文爲遊戲邦/gamerboom.com編譯,拒絕任何不保留版權的轉發,如需轉載請聯繫:遊戲邦

Don’t develop games full-time

by Alex Nichiporchik

12 hour work days. Severely underpaid. Constant late-night calls because timezones. Waking up in the middle of the night to check notifications for disasters during big promotions. Crunching weeks on-end with no weekends. Forget about holidays. This is game development in 2015 and it’s not getting any easier.

Would I trade it back for my six figure corporate job with 5 weeks of holiday? Not in this lifetime!

But I do suggest you don’t develop video games full time. Don’t go full time indie. Instead, do what I did and actually get jobs and work up a variety of different experiences – from different industries to working with different people.

The idea to write this article came after talking to dozens of development teams from around the world, and hearing most of them wanting to go all-in on their first game. While I could be selfish and say “yes, go ahead – do it! we’ll publish & fund your game!”, I steer away from the all-in scenario. In order to a successful indie today, you need to be able to afford to fail.

In this post I’ll share some of my own personal background for context, the top reasons to not develop indie games full time, and the bigger issue of the gamedev bubble fueled by universities.

“If I had just graduated and got in here full-time, I’d fail”

Quick decisions. Daily opportunities. Breaking the boundaries of what’s possible. A constantly evolving, dynamic industry that’ll put your nerves to the ultimate test. This is where I thrive. However if I had just graduated and got in here full-time, I’d fail. Not in a good way, I’d burn myself so hard that I wouldn’t get back to the industry anymore.

The reason I love it is because of my background – I grew up in Eastern Europe, in a little country called Latvia. As a post-soviet country, you can forget about financial stability. My family never had money. Every day was a constant fight for survival. Aggression is all around you, if you’re any different, you get bullied (in some cases to suicide). If you were harassed, nobody came in to give you a hug. If you were out of a job, nobody came in to give you social security or wellfare. This is for context.

At 14 — despite the school system saying I suck at it — I discovered the art of writing about video games. I could write in both English and Russian and people on the Internet liked it for some reason. This launched a career in game journalism, eventually leading into marketing and game development.

By 18 I had already worked as a game producer and was leading a sales team in a cut-throat marketing environment. I got to start working in the video games industry, and then dropped out to try plenty of different things – via a series of fortunate and not so much events.

I went from writing about video games, to starting online stores for pro-gamers and doing deliveries for them, to being a marketing exec, a game producer, an affiliate persuading the “get rich online quick” myth, to trading stocks and currencies online.

All of this — over 10 years of experience — prepared me for tinyBuild. Without the knowledge or experience working in different companies, industries, and with different people — I would never be able to do the amazingly dumb orange-branded stunts today.

For example, because of the affiliate marketing experience, I understand the partnerships game. This enabled us to pull off some very fruitful deals that’d usually require days of research. Instead, I’m able to come up to the marketing guy at company X, speak his language, propose a deal, and seal it right there.

Experience in cross-promoting web games and running click-based advertising campaigns enables easy filtering through the hundreds of “traffic service provider” offers for mobile games. The list goes on and on.

The encounters I had while managing teams of different people, different backgrounds and heritage, go a long way when building your own company. And I failed more than once. Hit walls. Got knocked over.

It’s the same for everyone on our team really. Luke comes from the perspective of building a successful business to business conference. Yulia comes from working with indie developers and making connections. Mike wrote about video games and knows the PR game. Tom was an indie developer himself. We didn’t just jump straight in and hope for the best. It took years of experience, learning, making mistakes, and adapting along with the industry.

This is why you shouldn’t develop games. You should find a real job and work part-time on video games. Don’t go directly into game development.

Video games are a different medium

The difference between making video games and any other form of entertainment is that the user can interact with your product in ways you couldn’t imagine. This makes planning next to impossible, and any great game you’ve ever played went through hundreds of iterations where timelines shifted, scope grew, and the end result is not what it was initially planned to be.

You’ve also seen the flip side of this, especially in recent generation games. Huge projects being released with bugs, feeling unintuitive — because timelines and release schedules, and no time to iterate and too expensive to deviate.

The input methods are changing. The audience is constantly evolving. The way people discover games changes every 6 months. Youtubers? No, that’s 2014. Twitch streamers is where it’s at today. By January that space will be saturated, so don’t count on it being your sure way in.

Sounds like chaos? It totally is.

And here are top3 reasons you shouldn’t do it:

1. It’s extremely stressful

If you can’t live with uncertainty – don’t get into video games. This also goes for studio jobs where big projects get teams scaled up fast, and after the game has shipped, most of the team is laid off. This is normal. It sucks, but it’s the way it is.

Will you be able to eat tomorrow? I heard there’s a sale on chicken ramen in the supermarket

Will the work of 3 years be noticed by anyone? Odds are stacked against it.

2. The work-life balance sucks

Get into the office at 9am, leave around 7pm. Have dinner. Back to work. Sneak in an hour of a TV show or your favorite game if you’re lucky.

Time for kids? Don’t count on it.

Hobbies? Your job is your hobby, embrace it!

Holidays? LOL!

Even playing video games become mandatory when you’re working full-time indie. You need to see what other companies are doing. What kind of UI, storytelling, rendering, game design tricks everyone does. Otherwise you fall behind and start to invent the wheel, wasting time.

This is especially hard for people in Western Europe, where 5 weeks of holidays is the norm.

The only way we keep sane is by sneaking in a few days of city trips when we’re at conventions. Sometimes. More often than not we’re too tired after days of work, and just call it a night at a bar.

3. You will probably fail the first time

Yes, your first game will likely flop. So don’t waste 3 years of your life making it, hoping to become the next “INDIE HIT X”. Odds are heavily stacked against it.

If you embrace failure, and give it your best (hope for the best, prepare for the worst), you will be able to get back up and try again. Keep on trying until you succeed.

You do, however, need to have

Means to sustain yourself, read: A JOB

Lots of patience

Be prepared for the two points abov

The gamedev college graduates bubble

Coming into indie game development straight out of college is building a big bubble right now. I see more and more universities evangelizing this dream of game development. Look at these famous devs! They totally did it, and we will prepare you for it!

That’s fantastic, until everyone is doing it.

What’s worse, these educational institutions are mostly in Western Europe and in developed parts of the world. This is where people do expect holidays, a great work-life balance, and a stress-free work environment.

On top of the superficial things I mention, there’s the tangible subject of burnrates. Putting it simply – living in countries like The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, etc — is expensive. Cost of life is high.

Employing people is even more expensive. In order to pay a proper salary, with all of the social taxes involved, you need to multiply your costs by a factor of 2. You can always get freelancers, which you should do – but if you’re a team graduating out of college, odds are you all want to be on the team.

The Eastern Europe Disruption

This is where Eastern Europe comes in and disrupts the whole subject. Low burn rates. By default stressful work environments. Uncertainty. Low cost of life. Highly technical education.

I’ve visited at least 20 game dev events across Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland last few years. I’ve never seen students there who are about to graduate and jump straight into game development. This is where we got games like The Witcher, This War of Mine, Metro Series, thousands of mobile games, and our own projects like Party Hard and Divide By Sheep come from.

Now that the gaps in knowledge and technology are becoming non-existent, I see that region having an advantage over everything that’s going on in Western Europe. Not that I specifically don’t talk about gamedev in the US, because there it’s a similar situation — no overly safe social systems that require lots of overhead costs.

Be ready to fail and you can succeed

There are more people in general making games. Odds are heavily stacked against most of them succeeding. Devs inspired by post-mortems of successes are trying to replicate said successes. When everyone is doing the same thing, it’s a bubble that’s about to burst.

We will see more and more heartbreaking post-mortems of games not becoming successful.

Only those who can afford to fail will be able to try again. And only those who think outside of the box have a bigger chance to succeed.

This is indie game development in 2015.(source:gamasutra)