I’ve been doing some thinking recently about the term “Breaking Into the Industry.” I’ve come to the basic conclusion, that I really don’t much care for the term, because it is stupid. It stems of course from the whole idea that making games is a Rockstar profession full of long nights and groupies or something. Honestly, I’m not sure what people think, although I’ll assume that stupid, asinine commercial with the phrase, “We just need to tighten up the graphics in level 3,” doesn’t help matters. Although, if you really want to know what it’s like to be a game designer, just have a gander at the last 200+ posts here. This is about it really, except I pay for my own energy drinks and I work on a couch, not at a desk. But regardless, and I’ll use some slightly slanted emphasis here, it’s fucking difficult.
Lots of people think that making games is easy, like the douchbags in the commercial. Well, here’s the thing, making crap is easy, making anything that isn’t crap is very difficult. Sometimes, you try hard and you make crap anyway, but them’s the breaks.
Anyway, people have this magical idea that being a game developer means epic Halo sessions or is somehow a land of proverbial milks and occasional honeys (wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more). This of course has the detrimental side effect of putting the whole thing on a pedestal, this thing that only a select few are capable of. But here’s the thing, it’s not that hard to make games. Making games for a living is another matter entirely – just have a peek at my Profile to see what I mean. But making them, not so much.
If you want to make games, or really if you want to do anything, just do it now. What’s that you say? Can’t program? Neither could I once, but I got over it. There is no “Breaking In,” just keep chasing what you love doing and you’ll get there eventually. There is no secret handshake and no hidden cabal. Certainly, you don’t have to go on a bloody gameshow either.
– In something related, I’ve recently read that 90% of game jobs aren’t advertised. This seems to mean that you know people that know people, a process which I find distasteful. The odd Shadow Market of jobs that lingers deep beneath the offerings of Monster or Craigslist. A secret underground that I previously knew nothing about. Some quick math shows that, if 10% of the available jobs have something that I’m qualified for once or twice a month, then the other 90% should have something that pops up once or twice a day. This is a resource that clearly needs tapping.
Of course, the logical entry point for such an underground market of creative meat would be the IGDA San Diego Chapter, but they are either A) in sleep mode or B) broken beyond measure. A damn shame really, although I think I lack the gravitas to pull together the chapter again, seeing as I lack the connections.
So since that’s a big, fat, greasy bust, I’ll need to look for other ways. So, *sigh*, I signed up for Facebook. I once had an account there, but discovered that I couldn’t write out long winded passages like this one so abandoned it. I’ll try to follow the signs and see what I can do.
-Hurray for mixed messages! The first half says, “There is no breaking in. If you make games, good job, you’re a game developer!” The second counters with, “To get a job there is a secret society that one must first verify the existence of, like some kind of test.” These seem contradictory at first blush, but the messages are distinct. One is a call to democratize game development, the idea that anybody could be a developer if they wanted to. The second is the cute trick of being paid to do it in actual dollars instead of gum or meatballs.
Instead consider them this way, be a game developer first, then try to find someone that would like you to do it for them (or find a way to pay yourself). Don’t wait until you find somebody to pay you before becoming anything. I mean, if you won’t do it for the love of it, why subject yourself to doing it at all?