Monday, 11 March 2013

From generalist to specialist

Generalists are adaptable and can take on more than one job, so are suitable for smaller companies as they don't have to employ as many people. Specialists are very good at one singular thing so are better for bigger companies who have more money to spend on quality. I think that as Game Art students, we should be focussing on being BOTH.
For example after doing 2 years of this course, I have decided I would like to go into 3D environments and props because that is what I enjoy the most. However I will still try and hone my skills in the other aspects of the course, such as concept art, characters and vehicles. I would like to be employable to both big and small game companies and not be too specific and picky when I have job interviews. So as well as having a reasonably good knowledge and creating above average work in concept art, characters and vehicles, I will focus mainly on the 3D environments and props that I want to get a job doing. I have a few projects that I have set myself to do over the summer, that I am quite excited about doing, so this should help with my environmental artist goal!

I went on a website called: They had carried out a survey on this website to show the different salaries of each position in the games industry. I thought it was quite interesting so I made a table summarising the results. It's all in dollars, so the wages are probably very different here in England, but I think it paints a good picture of the importance of the different roles.

Job Type
Job Title
Average Starting Salary
Average Salary after 3 Years
Average Salary after 6 Years
Game Programmers
Lead Programmers
Game Artist
Lead Artist
Game Animator
Lead Animator
Game Designers
Lead Designer
Game Producers
Project Lead/Producer
Executive Producer
Quality Assurance
Game Tester
Lead QA
Game Audio
Sound Designer/Engineer

From what I understand, I am already at a disadvantage in the games industry, and that is because I'm English, I live in England and want a job in England. Apparently us English are the most expensive to employ, so with the world as it is at the moment, the chances of me getting a job over someone in a different country is quite slim unfortunately.
I recently read up on a thing called “outsourcing” which is where a company pays people in poorer countries to do the work, because their wage would be a lot lower so it would save the company money. This idea makes me feel a bit sick actually, not only is it taking advantage of countries in poverty but also England is a dying country anyway, the government has screwed everyone over, and we're not even safe trying to get into an industry where you need a degree and a good range of skills to even be considered. It's absolutely pathetic! :(
A good example of outsourcing is the well known flop of a game Aliens: Colonial Marines which was predominantly outsourced, and contained many glitches, errors, unfinished parts and a terrible storyline. With the only gleam of hope being the online levels which weren’t outsourced.
So at the sole benefit of saving money, some companies are willing to risk unhappy customers and terrible reviews:

I think if the companies aren't willing to stop screwing everyone over and taking advantage of cheap labour then it would be worth either working for a smaller company or making your own company with the risk of not even having one of your games published. I'm not sure how my ultimate life dream of becoming a successful member of a games company really fits into this reality.. but I really hope it will! I'm feeling very pessimistic now :/ all I can do is focus on becoming employable by having a good range of skills and have absolute blind luck to get a job!

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