You don’t need qualifications or AAA experience to be a game developer

You don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars in a games course to become a game developer anymore than you need to have a shipped AAA title on your resume. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something, invalidate you or validate themselves. Probably all three.

You become a game developer by developing games.

Build something playable, get it in the hands of a player for playtesting, and you’re a game developer.

But start Googling game development and you get all these SEO magicked listings for games courses and a whole bunch of forum threads asking about getting internships (why so quick to work for free?!?).

In some cases you come across interviews and articles by brilliant game designers telling you exactly what you need to do to be a better game developer: You make, build and playtest another game. And another one after that. Then another one after that.

[Hell, I’ll save you the google-fu time, here’s Derek Yu’s post on it and another one by Edmund McMillen. These guys made Spelunky and Super Meat Boy respectively – two of the best games I’ve played in years, indie or otherwise. Notice how they both say the same things – make and finish your games. Funny, they neglected to say anything about games colleges or internships. Did they not Google?!?]

You know what’s NOT getting into game development?

  • Trading however many years of your life for a 40k debt, a shiny piece of paper and EXACTLY the same portfolio as every other graduate coming out of every other games course.
  • Getting an underpaid internship at the local studio staffing up for crunch because their project managers forgot to scope for polish and bug fixing.

Sending bug reports, making coffee and not getting paid because you’re getting “such great experience” is not going to make you a better game developer.

And if you’re already stuck in that trap – share your funniest stories with the guys behind Penny Arcade’s The Trenches and then GET THE HELL OUT! Life is too short to work for free on someone’s badly scoped project.

 

The Myth of “You Need a Degree”

 

Catwoman by Imogen Suey. Photo Credit: Andy Wana

“So, you’ve always wanted to work on games – why aren’t you?” I ask a stunning woman wearing a perfect replica of Michelle Pfeiffer costume from Tim Burton’s second Batman flick. This after learning that she had spend nearly 2 years, thousands of dollars and had taught herself WELDING to create it.

“Oh I couldn’t do that, I don’t have a degree or anything” she says. Apologetically. Dudes. People. SHE TAUGHT HERSELF WELDING! And she sourced the ORIGINAL PATTERNS from the very same costume designers who created Michelle Pfeiffer catsuit.

Here’s this crazy resourceful, intelligent and amazingly dedicated woman who genuinely believes that the closest she can get to being involved in the games industry is Cosplay.

Just imagine how awesome it would be if folks with this much creativity and ingenuity were making games? They certainly wouldn’t be any games we’ve already seen – we would get something totally new! We’d have new speakers and new innovations to show at GDC – oh and we’d have more women making games too. Funny that.

But we don’t get them. Because it’s very lucrative to keep perpetuating the myth that you need to spend lots of money on a degree to start making games. And you need to be a computer scientist. And you need to have been born in the 70’s. And you need to be American…oh the list goes on. It’s a silly list.

What do successful game developers say when they get on stage and someone asks the question “How did YOU get into games”? What’s the most common answer? Come on, you’ve heard this one before:

They say “I made games”. On the Commodore 64. On an Apple 2. Modding Neverwinter Nights and Half Life. Writing and running Dungeons and Dragons sessions – they just started making games in whatever was most accessible to them. Eventually that lead to…you guessed it…making more games and getting PAID to make games.

 

The Myth of “you need X years experience”.

 

Hey, you know the easiest most straight forward way to get experience making games?

YOU MAKE GAMES!

And you know the best way to get really good at something is to do LOTS of it right? You have to do it all the time. We’ve got all kinds of cliché quotes for that: Practice makes perfect. The 10,000 hour rule. 95% sweat to 5% brilliance. Etc. etc.

How many games do you think you’re going to work on as a junior intern for a large studio?

Well, if you look at the production timeline of most major AAA projects – you can probably expect to work on MAYBE one game every three years. If you’re lucky and the other THOUSAND something people applying for the same job EVERY DAY don’t get it first.

Or you could start making small games right now – there’s lots of tools to help you do that. Try making a new one every week (we did that every week for a month with Test Tube Games 2012 – it was awesome and the games we’re making now are SO much better!)

It took Rovio something like 50 games to get to Angry Birds.

Jonathan Blow contributed to the games industry for over a decade before Braid.

Edmund McMillen made SO MANY FLASH GAMES on Newgrounds before Super Meat Boy.

You’ve got a lot of games to make before you get to your good ones. Why waste years working on just one or two?

 

Just Make, Finish and Playtest Games

 

Every game you get playable gets you closer to being a better game developer. Because you’re skilling up on new things every time and each game will have its own unique challenges.

Every time you playtest you’ll get new problems to solve and questions to answer and THAT is how you learn how to be a better game developer. Test your assumptions, make mistakes, learn from them and then go make new ones.

Game developers develop games. Good game developers develop playable games. Great game developers have done this so many times that they’ve made and learned from all the mistakes you’re about to make and are well on their way to inventing new ones.

Disagree with me? Awesome! Tell me about it in the comments.

Agree with me but don’t know where to start? Check out Pixel Prospector’s really Big List of Game Making Tools and go through the tutorials of each until you find one you like.

Then make a game. Get someone to play it. Learn from the experience and do it again.

 

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40 Comments

  1. Chris Ellis

    One suggestion that I don’t see mentioned enough is to interact with other developers, both experienced and non. I learned more in the #Unity3D chat room than I did in my college courses. I’ve saved myself countless hours just by seeing problems other new developers made, and what they did to fix them. And often times when sharing code asking for help with a problem I’ve learned of things I didn’t even know where problems because they worked correctly… just ineffectively. (Too resource heavy, extremely rare problems that probably would’ve never come up in testing, etc.) This is the type of interacting and learning people say you need to have a job for, because it’s stuff you can’t really learn effectively on your own; but learning it from a developer you aren’t working with gets the same job done, and usually faster.

  2. I know that it is not really to do with what your intent is but I’m just going to say that a good reason for getting a degree, if you’re based in a place like Australia, is so that you can potentially go work overseas. Without one you are going to find it hard to get a work visa in job markets where there is an opportunity for you to further your career. I know the whole indie thing makes it seem that you can just do that forever, however, nothing lasts forever,

    Having said that, I don’t necessarily mean a game development degree ;).

    • Yes, exactly. I wish I’d got a degree in marketing now 🙂

    • As an overseas worker I’ve never had a problem not having a degree.

      My showreel, endorsements from past clients and the solutions I propose have always made it a moot point.

      • ie: It’s about the results you deliver and how closer you can help your employer get to their goals (hopefully saving them time and money along the way).

        Getting a degree prepares you for a certain kind of work. I have yet to see evidence that it prepares you for the business side of creativity.

      • So you’ve had no problems getting visa’s to go work overseas without a degree? You used to require one – nothing to do with the business wanting you or not. It was a requirement of the government that gave out the visa’s. At least, as far as I was aware.

        • Not in Australia, no.

          Also keep in mind that my first visa was in 2005 and degrees in 3D art were almost non-existent at the time (I don’t think there was one on offer anywhere anyways).

          Most of the VFX film and games studios were full of professionals who had come from other fields or were self taught. All the entertainment visas take that into consideration as people are FAR more likely to be self taught then have an academic education.

          I’ve heard that Japan and the US can be tricky to get into without a degree – but you’ll be able to figure all that out from talking to the immigration departments of those countries!

          I’ve been on a number of 457 visas here in Australia working in games, film and education and the fact that I don’t have a degree never came up as an issue in an interview or when it came to processing immigration paperwork.

          Call the immigration department of the country you’re interested in working in! They are full of awesome information and will be able to answer questions like “Do you require a degree for X visa?”

        • Different countries have different requirements. I don’t have a degree (I am a VFX worker) and I have worked in Canada, Belgium, New Zealand, and South Korea (and of course Australia).

          If you are referring to USA, then the requirement is either:
          a) successful completion of a four year degree.
          b) for every year of a degree you have not completed, you must have 3 years of work experience. So if you have no degree at all, you need at least 12 years of work experience to be eligible.

  3. AHhhhhh, the long essay I wrote was lost -_-

    sort version:

    Uni is a place of self learning too, not one is going to force you to study. Doing things like checking out Unity3D chat is exactly what you should do.

    You can get a degree and make games at the same time. This leaves you with a degree + everything someone without a degree would have.

    A degree proves to employees that you can do the job, gets you higher pay once you get a job.

    I do believe you get a deeper and wider knowledge faster doing a degree. Which helps if you want to make it indie, because you are going to have to be doing most things yourself.

    (This is from a programmers perspective, it might be different from an art or music perspective.)

    • Yeah, that was along the lines of something else I was going to say before I got distracted. The degree is going to help you look much better to an employer if you didn’t have one. You can argue that this is just for AAA productions, but the reality is, is that many “indies” have already evolved into an independent studio where they are hiring people for their own projects or for those they are doing for others.

  4. While I agree with you that you don’t need a degree or diploma to be a game designer, it sure as hell helps to have a degree. As for AAA experience I agree 100%. As that entire market is on the decrease and growth appears to be in mobile or casual games. Therefore, it is more important to have multiple skills in developing, producing, or marketing games (which is what you will probably do as an indy) than focusing on one element of game production (which is what you will probably do if you work in a AAA studio).
    My point about the importance of having a degree is that you learn a discipline and (hopefully) some core skills. What a degree can also do is differentiate you from other applicants. If I have two candidates applying for the same job, which one am I going to hire? Well skills and/or experience are really valuable, but a degree can be a great point of difference.

  5. Matt Barker

    I agree and disagree at the same time…

    Although ridiculously overpriced, Gamedev/design education isn’t worthless… it fast-tracks certain things, and serves its purpose for what it is…. The people without the amazing drive necessary, still have a hope, and can be functional in the industry.
    I know that i could have skipped my training, and done craploads of gnomon/digital tutors tuts…. But without the training i would have researched for years in the wrong directions… and maybe would have given up. I also wouldn’t have met ALL the people that started my career.

    There is a lot of incubator people, and others, that wouldn’t have a hope of developing a game alone if it wasn’t for our poking… And even then, most every product they complete is only a prototype, not a finished product, there’s a massive difference once you add the polish necessary for a complete ship-able product.

    As you know, to make a game without any training, involves a phenomenal amount of self learning and a massive self drive, which very few people have in the first place….
    Most students i deal with do very little self learning, have an awful work ethic, are lazy…… but they can still make games.

    Make lots of games!

    Mattb

  6. Johnny Jamroll

    Consider this, two wannabe game developers go to a game company, one has a degree in game design etc. the other has five great playable games that are of commercial quality. Put your self in the shoes of the game company. Who you going to take on?

    • I would hire the person with 5 commercial quality games. But taking programming as an example. (also I will exclude financial pressure.)

      1 – 1.5 years to do a tafe course
      3-4 years to do a computer science course.

      Can person B (5 commercial quality games guy) really learn programming (To be a good programmer takes a long time) + design + make 5 “Commercial” quality games. In the time it takes person A (Getting a degree guy) to complete a course? I think he could easily make 5 games, but “commercial quality”.

      On the other hand, what has person A been doing all this time while at uni/tafe. Uni/Tafe is not exactly as time consuming as a 9-5 job. There is plenty of time to be working on games too. You also have the added advantage of asking professors for any help you might need. If Person B can make 5 commercial quality games in 3 years. Then I would say that Person A could at least make 2-3 games in 3 years + complete a degree.

      Now who would you hire? Person A with 2 commercial games and a degree? Or Person B with 5 commercial quality games? Well, Its a harder choice Imo. I would personally go for the guy with a degree, but I could see other people going a different way.

      • Johnny Jamroll

        Well if I am a game company I will take the one thats going to make me money. My point was really that business is business, if you don’t have a degree and you make JUST 1 game that makes money and captures imagination and people love then thats what is important… but then it depends what type of games you want to produce.. if you want to be involved with large budget game productions you are going to probably need a degree. If its indie games then your aim is to make something simple with great gamplay and heaps of imagination that you can develop quickly and get out there. In which case you issue will become exposure, marketing and converting it all into cash… which is just as likely as getting a degree and working for a big budget game company 😀

      • I’ll look at the quality of the games every time.

        Instead of going to university I lead a team on an academy award winning feature, helped a television production finish 2 months early (saving stoopid amounts of money), started a company, grew the IGDA in Sydney, am working on a book…

        …at no point did any stop me to say “hey…why don’t you have a degree?”

        End of the day what matters is their ability to make and finish a good game. How they get to that point doesn’t really matter so long as they get to that point on their own steam.

    • “…one has a degree in game design etc. the other has five great playable games that are of commercial quality…”

      Neither. The one with the game design degree — if there really is such a thing — I would want to know what the “etc” is. And the second one that you call a “wannabe” that supposedly has five great playable games that are of commercial quality. Well, all depends upon what you take to mean by commercial quality really — along with “great” — but that person is not a wannabe if that is the case as it implies commercial success.

      My point is that the situation you raise is make believe. No wannabe is going to create five great playing “commercial” quality games. If they did, they wouldn’t be looking for a job anyway as they could support themselves and fund their own games. More likely, they will create five games ranging from piss-poor quality to a playable prototype/concept with promise, that is, with further development by someone with a clue — experience.

  7. Khelthos

    I love you. Case closed!

  8. As an employer in the game development industry I can tell you right now that given all other things being equal if I had to choose between somebody who had

    a) no higher education,
    b) a practical games course or
    c) a degree in computer science or a related field

    I would hire candidate b

    The reason is that so much of what determines a success in game development is practical experience. Now I cannot argue that a driven, self motivated individual won`t be able to learn the technical skills of game making in an auto didactic fashion and deliver a game by themselves and all strength to them.

    However I know for certain that they wont be able to gain the experience of working closely in a cross functional, creative team doing it by themselves.

    Now given in my experience the largest factor in the success or failure of your game is how well your team functions you can bet I`m going to be hiring people who have development war stories to tell and these specialist programs do provide that.

  9. Crapduster

    Epona, what the hell are you talking about ? You are employed by the AIE. When have yOu actually ever made a game. Any game ? You are full of s…t.
    You have no idea of what you are talking about. You are comparing yourself with people who worked hard and made a success of themselves on a game. Can they repeat their success and earn a living. For the next 20-30 years ?
    You make yourself out as some expert but you have nothing to show for it. Tell us why we should listen to you ? Give us proof.
    How can you say what you say when you actually work for an organisation as a teacher that delivers degrees ? Are you not breaching your employment contract ? Have you no regard for them ? You sound like a sociopath to me.

    • Oh man, I keep forgetting to write an “About Me” page, thanks for reminding me! Here’s a rough draft in the meantime. I’m even going to save you some Google-fu time by making it really easy to fact check all this (it’s all there in Google, but that would take 5 minutes that you probably can’t afford to spend, being that you’re probably busy working on something awesome at the moment. Surely.)

      Okay, here we go.

      Art Pipeline Stuff:
      I lead my first team on an animated feature film when I was 20, it was Animal Logic’s Happy Feet and by the time I was hired we had 60% of the film still to finish in the last year of production and Warner Brothers wasn’t about to let us push back the deadline. In three months my team and I produced nearly 2000 assets to help the colour grading and editorial departments get the film ready for print. We saved about 15% of the movie from getting cut by reproducing shots, fixing errors and finishing the work of artists who had left production early. In fact the last shot I was able to save was that scene when Mumble and his amigos are cha-chaing down the cliff and they do that skate boarding thing – that was a huge shot that was going to have to get cut because the last artist to work on it fucked up the character lighting and the iceberg geometry kept flickering. I stayed overnight and delivered it to them at 6am the day it would have had to go to final print. Still feeling pretty chuffed about that! Brett Feeney was Supervisor on that project and Ryan Grobins was one of the first artists to join my team. You should be able to reach both of them through linkedin!

      In fact it was Ryan Grobins who recommended me for a senior artist position on Photon’s Animalia. They had something like 30 episodes of a fully animated show they had to produce in less than a year. They were way behind schedule and needed help figuring out how they were going to get everything done without cutting everything. I worked with Ryan and Boon Cotter to develop a workflow that would make sure our artists got great work done in a very small amount of time. Shereena-Lee van de Berkt was our producer, she saw a lot of me on that project either late at night, or in the wee hours of the morning, seven days a week. Shoot her an email!

      Business Development Stuff: When I was doing business intelligence sales for Microsoft I was responsible for bringing Boeing, 7-11 and Department of Defence as clients. That was nifty.

      Design Stuff: I did user experience design stuff on Posse (which I think is available now) and Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden (heh). Currently I’m a lead designer on Silver Nova Software’s Protocol E. Which is so much fun! Can’t wait to tell you guys about it 

      Teaching: I was teaching art pipeline stuff and game design between 2009 and 2011. I now have graduates in most Australian studios and from what I hear they’re doing well. Maybe shoot Hugh Walters from Halfbrick an email or Morgan Lean from Epiphany games? They’ll be able to tell you more about how my guys are doing. I also designed and delivered most of the game production and game design content delivered at AIE Sydney over the last 3 years and have had a chance to review curriculum of the other games courses in Sydney. That gives me a pretty nifty perspective into how degree programs are written, accredited, approved and delivered.

      Production: Last year I designed and pitched an Incubator program at AIE which they picked up and at the start of this year I helped launch the program nationally over three states. At the start of the year 8 studios joined my program in Sydney, 6 of them are now on their 5th game and 3 of those got their first paying customers long before they even hit alpha. I only lost 2 studios, one because they insisted on following a AAA production pipeline and overscoped, the other because a relationship ended. Neil Boyd would probably be the best one to talk to about all that. He helped me draft the original pitch and helped make sure the program launched at all.

      Wow, there’s so much stuff here! I’m onto my second page already o_O

      In Sydney I’ve helped various studios startup, figure out pipelines and helped iron out design issues: See Through Studios, Convict Interactive, Flatearth Games, Red Knight Games, Silver Nova Software, Floating Man Games, Couch Pixels, Pear and Melons, Evoke Method, Well Placed Cactus…just to name a few 

      Oh, and I’ve been working with Screen NSW to make sure the Interactive Media Fund stays part of the fiscal budget. I helped make sure See Through and Brainworth got their funding. I’ll be working with Screen NSW to make sure the program stays supported and becomes more game developer friendly over time. Megan Simpson Huberman is the woman in charge of that program now and the best person to talk to.

      You know, I appreciate you were trying hard to discredit me and that all this information wasn’t obvious. As you could tell from last night’s Bits & Pieces I get REALLY uncomfortable when the spotlight is on me, and I don’t like talking about myself at all. But if you really want to have a go at me because you disagree with what I’ve said here on my own blog, or you’re pissed off that people are listening to me and not to you or whatever, here’s some of my all-time favourite pot shots:

      – I’ve never shipped a AAA game
      – I don’t have a degree
      – I’m under 30
      – I’m female

      Surely one of those will give you plenty of trolling fodder! Have fun, thanks for dropping by, best of luck doing something worth talking about 

      • I got a shout out? Awesome!

        But back on point, I can attest to Epona’s wealth of knowledge in the field. She is someone who has given much dedication to helping others and that should be applauded.

        A lot of food critics have never been chefs, yet these are people who have a knack for talking about what is right and wrong with food. I see Epona in kind of the same light, only a lot more positive.

        In the larger world, Epona is a force for good for the indie gaming industry, there is no need to tear people down for no reason, especially if you have nothing constructive to say.

    • Dan Toose

      ‘Crapduster’ – Why the pseudonym? As Mick has said below, what are your credentials?

      As someone who has been in the games industry for 17+ years, including highlights such as being the campaign designer for Medieval II: Total War, I’ve found that generally, anybody who has ever done anything worth talking about desperately avoids attacking others publicly. Only people who are jealous of the results or attention others attain expend effort to pull others down, and the manner in which you hold yourself speaks volumes. You’re clearly not speaking from a position of strength or credibility, or you would demonstrate that.

      As for Epona – The moment I met her it was instantly obvious that she knew her stuff, and that she makes it her personal mission to try and share her findings with others to encourage them to do something. She actually looks to build others up, infinitely more so than herself, and this is why there was frankly a massive outpouring of heartfelt thanks for her at the IGDA Sydney event last night, from so many of those she has taught, mentored or simply assisted.

      Epona’s thing isn’t making games – It’s helping OTHERS to make games. She does all the research into how people succeed and fail, and brings this knowledge to those who really need it, so they can learn what they should and shouldn’t do BEFORE they go broke learning the hard way. I’ve never come across someone so keen to observe so many cases, and go to so much effort to distill the universally useful information out for people.

      I’ve also seen Epona take on the input from someone disagreeing with her to update her own opinions and messages. She’s someone who CAN admit she’s wrong about something, and then has the decency to ASK if she can use the information presented to her. It’s an uncommon level of respect shown for those who engage and critique her ideas. Maybe if you actually have something insightful to share, she’d be listening to you.

      Finally – The key sign of a sociopath is displaying a lack of care about the imapct of their actions on others… And you call someone who’s made their life about building others up a sociopath. This is pretty ironic when you launch a personal attack at somebody anonymously. By the way you’ve behaved here, if you need a further insight into the meaning of the word, write it under your bathroom mirror and see if that helps.

    • Boon Cotter

      Crapduster: On the one hand, with so much passion, you clearly have something to say. On the other, charging in swinging like a street thug isn’t how to do it. Fuck bullies.

  10. Mick Mancuso

    Very nice smack-down. Folks, if you’re gonna criticize, have the balls to give your name AND your own credentials. We’ll take you much more seriously if we know your opinions are coming from experience.

    Before I put in my own 2 cents on the degree debate, here’s my shortened resume:

    24 years experience in the game industry. My path through the industry is as programmer to designer to producer to director and I’m now teaching at The Guildhall. Shipped 20+ titles from AAA to Serious Games.

    As a professor at a school that gives a Master’s Degree in Interactive Technology, it would seem that I should be just a wee bit bias towards the degree side of the debate. However, it all depends on the nature of the program that the school provides. I believe the point of Epona’s rant isn’t that a degree is worthless, it is that it is not a valid excuse to keep you out of the game industry. If you can’t afford the academic training – or you just can’t stand the thought of going into that kind of institution – that’s fine … just don’t use that as an excuse for not following your dreams. The only one holding you back in that case is yourself.

    Regarding generic degrees (a computer science degree, for example) the major problem is that most computer science departments aren’t teaching the skills that game companies are looking for – you are still going to have to get practical experience in how games are built. Most CS departments are real big on theory and not so good on the ‘get your hands dirty’ coding that people who hire are looking for. This is an issue with attracting people to our program, let alone within the industry itself. The same goes for art – even digital art programs. Most academic programs are still fixated on creating “ART” for art’s sake. They don’t teach low-poly modeling, or how to create textures and materials, or how to get those into a product. They don’t teach the practical crafts of working with a pipeline, under hard deadlines, with vague or non-existent requirements. They don’t teach you how to recognize that situation, realize that somebody has to do it and it may as well be you.

    There are a number of good programs starting to spring up – programs that are driven by a strong knowledge of what the industry needs, and taught by people from the industry. The good ones not only give practical experience in the nuts-and-bolts of learning the software that the student will be using in the field, they also provide experience in creating real games within a team environment. Where the student has to learn how to create a schedule, put together an art pipeline, put in a system for version control and bug tracking. Those kind of programs can be very valuable.

    But they are NOT essential – to Epona’s point. You can do all of this on your own, or, even better, with a group of like-minded individuals who are willing to dive into the coolness, make mistakes, do it again and keep on driving for creating something that other people want to play. The digital download era has shattered the shackles of the brick-and-mortar distribution channels that held the industry back for so long (how many times has a great idea been squashed by the sales department saying “I don’t know how to sell that – it isn’t like anything that is in the market today, can’t you make it more like Call of Duty”?

    Minecraft would never have been made under those conditions.

    So in a nutshell, you can get a good, practical education via the academic route – you just have to be very, very careful about what school you go to – do your research and know what you want to get out of the program before you shell out the big bucks. However, that is not the only road into the industry, and it isn’t a guarantee of success either. That only depends on you and your passion for doing something great.

  11. Crapduster – enough said. Come out under that rock you’re hiding under and have some balls to show yourself. Well said Boon and everyone. Even as a pseudonym, Crapduster is as crapduster does. Dust crap.

    Someone get this clown off the stage of decency.

  12. A. Coward

    So the pathetic sycophants follow Epona online as well as in real life? How touching. Seriously Epona, you’re a clown. You don’t get uncomfortable in the spotlight, you fucking love it and it’s painfully apparent. You’re an absolute nobody and you don’t deserve the attention you get. It really is the naked leading the blind.

    • Nice name 🙂

    • Ladies and Gentlemen I would like to introduce you to an Australian cultural weirdism: “Tall Poppy Syndrome”

      “Tall poppy syndrome (TPS) is a pejorative term primarily used in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other Anglosphere nations to describe a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers.”

      Fun times.

    • Dan Toose

      LOL – Yeah, that’s it – People in the industry who have loads of experience and a history of success are posting here because they’re pathetic sycophants… Or, they’re here because their experience tells them Epona represents someone with genuine insights for upcoming developers. Which of those two seems more likely?

      Epona, please just start deleting this idiot’s posts – They’re just personal attacks from someone who has failed to make a single constructive point, and just give the people who come here to actually engage in topics some rubbish to sift through.

      • Hey yeah stick up for her and that makes you a hero and maybe girls will like you!

        This article is BS, not to say it’s not true, but it makes for a very shit fucking market. Video game degrees, as in degrees that focus on production of video games and nothing else, are bullshit. They’re there to feed the fantasy that kids can get that dream job they want that’s totally radiCOOL and styling and mixes their favourite hobby with earning cash.

        You’re correct, a few years ago these degrees didn’t exist because it wasn’t a market, it was emerging and most of the uses for it people in the industry either didn’t fully understand or didn’t actually need. Now that it’s a recognised function it doesn’t mean there are more jobs for it, the market is still just as small as it ever was, the AAA titles that employ hundreds of people have shit all to do with the Australian market, they are mostly based overseas and would definitely require some form of degree or recognised certificate.

        The indie scene is just a commercialised version of what used to be basement made games. A lot of our historical milestones in gaming were developed this way, and a lot of them have spawned what are now our AAA title companies, but the market is no way the same. What used to be a bunch of nobodies with a few big hits is now a shitload of nobodies with a wide dispersal platform (ie apple store & steam). It’s now super easy to make your game and get it sold for millions, but it doesn’t mean your game will be any good, and if it isn’t any good it’s not going to sell amongst the millions of other average titles stocked along with it. If you manage to make that minimum work/maximum profit title, you might have a shot of being recognised by a big publisher or developer and get in that way, but the more that happens, the less the chance of it occurring again, because there is only a finite amount of jobs.

        Back on the topic of dream occupation, video games creation isn’t a necessity, it’s not a trade skill, it’s a bullshit skill for a flight of fantasy, and the excessive amount of applicants means you will get lost in a sea of job seekers all vying for the same position. In that situation, it’s best you have SOMETHING under your belt, be it a degree or experience. The world needs a diverse range of occupations filled to function, when half the populace goes for a un-needed but highly desirable job, other places lose out. Trades are currently starved of attention, because being an apprentice sucks balls, but you’re likely to make a much better wage once complete than you are in the video games industry. The only people that make it in the video games industry are those that would have made it with or without a degree, because their effort and enthusiasm is matched by their talent.

        As for happy feet, you should be ashamed of yourself, it was a shit movie, and you took part in the complete clusterfuck that is hollywood. As for the rest of your self promoting cv, good for you, if everyone was like you, do you think you’d have gotten the job?

  13. Wow, all that hatred, and I wasn’t even listning to Slayer. I for one enjoyed the article! Keep it up.

  14. Respectfully Disagree

    I think it’s quite easy for you to say “no one asked for MY degree” once you’ve already been established. Hell, look at a lot of older people on the industry: a lot of them will say they didn’t finish college or even start with game related work. The reality of it is that the market is so saturated with new people trying to get in that it’s becoming more and more closed off, in my opinion. “When I was twenty, I was leading a team” means nothing to someone today who can even lead a team because they don’t have professional experience in the industry, and they can’t get experience because they can’t get an internship, which requires schooling, most of the time. (By the way, an internship might be underpaid. But making your own games doesn’t pay at all at first, unless you’re EXTREMELY lucky! And who says you can’t make games while you’re at school or doing an internship?)

    What I see here is a person who is saying, “well, I did it, so everyone else can do it, too.” And that is an argument from anecdotal evidence. If getting a job was as simple as “just make games”, I’d know about two-hundred people who’d be employed by now. I think your point of view is interesting, but I ultimately disagree. I find it hard to trust most industry professionals who insist that the path from point A to point B is easy as pie, especially if they got established before the creative industries became as overloaded as they are today.

  15. Hey Epona and Dan,

    I’m actually looking at attending RMIT’s Games design degree. I know I dont need it to become a game designer, but to me it’ll be a powerful learning resource in many different ways. I think people forget that universities are a place to study at and instead have this beleif that they alone will teach you. To me, its all about study and experience.

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