earx wrote:i don't know if coder is a bad position in the games industry. the wages ain't bad, for sure. but the hours are, i've heard. and maybe there is more and more specialisation these days which limits the hardcore algorithm coding to r&d positions.
Yes, the interesting job is done in R&D, but there is very few places for that, and they take experienced people for that (for example, very few software houses code their own 3D engine).
About the pay, it's miserable compared to the amount of work.
About the number of working hours, it really depends on you. In France, I kept working 40 hours every week, but people around me were working 50+ (being paid less). I was more experienced, but the pay was low anyway (I'm earning a lot more now that I'm in 'professional' programming).
The problem is not working 40 or 50 hours, it's using your time wisely.
I saw a lot of hard work go to the bin because it wasn't used in the game.
Also, it's very harassing to finish a game. People believe that they have to work 60+ to finish a game, that's why there are long endings (finishing a game takes several weeks), and in general, everybody is so bored that they leave the company at the end (I think around 30% leave the company at the end of the game !).
Tension is terrible during the last phase of the game.
musicians in the gamesbiz: some made a great career out of it. take scavenger or jesper kyd. they are now composers for orchestra's of 50 ppl. also rob hubbard and jeroen tel. they are now world famous even in "art" circles. i know composers from PS2 game soundtracks but wouldn't be able to name just one of the coders involved..
I mean: if you try to earn fame through your work, you're doomed !
I did game programming during 18 years, and am more known for my demo-making past that my own work in games !
can you name coders that have achieved this stardom? minter, perhaps? but he's on a gradual decline, and except from a cult following, he's a bit of a loner in the industry.. there's carmack, and maybe that jerk from half-life. and that's it. no star coders for the rest.
I don't care about the very well known people, since I don't know them personally.
Since I worked with a lot of coders, I try to follow my favorite ones. I'm pretty glad to have seen them debuting and working now as reknown coders in France (Pierre Adane, Claude Levastre, Didier Malenfant, Olivier Nallet, amongst others).
my 2 cents in this coder vs musician vs gamesbiz discussion
Passion is nice when you are young, but it's stupid when you are 30+.
btw. i tried to get into the biz as a coder, but i guess at 29 years of age it's not a wise choice, esp seeing i only made 1 lousy game before and mainly focus on demo coding on long obsolete machines (atari!
It's true that it's easier to begin when you are young (I started at 19 !).
Now, I'm 42, and am not interested anymore in game programming.
However, I love puzzle making, and my hobby is to create puzzles. I had no chance to get money from my passion at this moment, but it's not what matters.