Stropp's World

Games And Gamery

Developer Appreciation Week #DAW

Posted by Stropp on April 12, 2012

Game developers must be a confused lot. After all they create the games that millions of gamers buy and enjoy immensely, yet they are constantly reviled in gaming forums. How many times have you read comments like “The devs need to learn to code” or other statements questioning their competence? There’s a lot of venom there.

That there’s a hell of a lot of negativity directed towards game developers is a real pity since these men and women often spend far more hours in the office sweating over a hot monitor than the average person working their nine-to-five day. In some cases, the folks at the coal-face of game development, the non-rockstar developer get paid far less than their business development counterparts while doing some pretty horrendous hours.

So I reckon it’s pretty cool that Scarybooster has initiated the Developer Appreciation Week (#DAW.)

Over the last year I’ve played a lot less than in previous years, but while my list of games is smaller, I would still like to thank all the game developers across the world who are hard at work producing the entertainment that we love.

As Stargrace mentioned in her developer appreciation week post, it’s pretty much impossible to narrow down to one or two developers since there are so many amazing games. But there is one thing…

I would like you to consider the indie developer for your gratitude. These guys are producing some pretty amazing work. Games like Minecraft and Terraria didn’t come out of nowhere. These developers worked for years until they developed these hit games. Literally garage (or bedroom) developers with no access to the fund to resource their games, they have to make do with free tools, and low cost assets. Indies aren’t going to spend millions on art or on getting celebrity voice acting. They’re going to concentrate on the gameplay. I’m convinced that the independant developer will be the driving force for innovation in computer games in the next few years.

One other thing. A great way to show your appreciation is with your wallet. Head over to Kickstarter, find an indie developer with an interesting project and make a pledge. It doesn’t have to be much, five dollars will help someone reach their goal.

Why Game Developers Should All Come To Australia

Posted by Stropp on August 18, 2010

Just reading over at Biobreak a post about a post by Mark Jacobs, one of the bright lights behind Warhammer Online, is returning to work, although he didn’t say what on.

The thing that caught my eye was the bit about being held by his employment contract to not being able to work in his chosen area for the last year. This isn’t new news of course, there’s a long tradition of US companies that are so scared of the slightest competition forcing their employees to not work for a period of time, or to change career.

So here’s my invitation to you, game developer person. Come to Australia where the employment laws make it illegal for Australian companies to include such clauses in their employment contracts. And if they do, those clauses cannot actually be enforced. Our employers cannot sack someone on a whim either, meaning that you don’t have to fear leaving crunch time to attend your childs birthday party or attend a sick relative — or even just to go home and get some sleep. (We work smarter, not harder.)

We have a great climate, but of course you know that already. What you might not know is that we do have a fairly reasonable cost of living and living standards, depending on the city you choose to live in. In fact the two game development hubs in Oz, Brisbane and Melbourne aren’t the most expensive places to live (although Melbourne does come close. It’s second to Sydney.) Unfortunately, Adelaide (my home town) while one of the low cost of living, great family lifestyle places, isn’t really a hub of game development activity.

You probably also don’t realise that Aussies are pretty smart people. Every year, tremendous scientific and medical breakthroughs are made here.

We’re also a friendly bunch.

Mark, if you’re reading this, consider relocating here. You’ll be able to build great games with good people, and not worry about those pesky employment contracts again.

You just have to watch out for the wildlife, that’s all.