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Insomniac's Ted Price: Games studios must break the habit of brute-forcing through problems

Topher

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Insomniac Games CEO Ted Price wants to see more developers being "creative within constraints" in order to end the cycle of crunch.

The pressures of games development, and the impact this has on staff, was one of many topics covered during his keynote interview at last week's Develop:Brighton conference.

The talk began with a whistle stop tour of Insomniac Games' history, in which Price described the Marvel partnership -- which led to Spider-Man, its Miles Morales follow-up, and now a full sequel and Wolverine game -- as a "watershed moment," adding that working with licensed IP was "never something we would have considered."

He also dubbed Sony's acquisition of his studio as "the biggest moment in our history," pointing to the many benefits it has brought, such as being able to collaborate closer with other first-party PlayStation developers.

After this, the conversation turned to the various wellbeing initiatives at the company, with Price emphasising the importance of mental health care.

"Achieving a balance between excellence and wellbeing is, at least in my opinion, a crucial goal," he said.

However, the games industry has shown many times that an excellent product can come at the cost of wellbeing. Tales of crunch -- especially at AAA studios, including PlayStation's own Naughty Dog -- stretch back decades. Insomniac reportedly managed to avoid crunching on this year's acclaimed PlayStation5 exclusive Ratchet & Clank, but with this very much the exception rather than rule, how can studios ensure excellence does not impact wellbeing?

"It's a tricky one," Price admitted. "I do think they are naturally opposed sometimes."

His main suggestion was to set goals as a studio. Price gave two examples of Insomniac's goals, the first being to "increase wellbeing and reduce burnout."

One of the things the company does to accomplish this is issue regular wellbeing surveys to staff, which have in turn highlighted concerns over planning and scope. As a result, Insomniac built more planning meetings into its process, giving staff a chance to plan what they want to achieve every few weeks.

"It sounds like a no-brainer but it's really hard to do when you're moving at a million miles an hour during production," he said. "But it's effective."

Insomniac also allocated certain hours where project leaders would be available to answer questions or address any concerns, which can help identify problems with scope.

Another Insomniac goal is to "support sustainable productions." By way of example, Price pointed to how teams like visual effects, audio and lighting, which work across multiple projects, should not be stretched too thin.

"It's also about committing to not throwing people off of one project to finish another, which I think every [multi-project] developer has done," he said. "But it's a commitment we're making, and we're making sure that we're avoiding this."

He added that it's hard to know which initiatives have worked and which haven't until long after they have been implemented, which is why Insomniac aims to gather feedback and share results -- including any failures -- with staff at regular intervals.

"When we all repeat the message, that it's okay to try new things that fail, it gets repeated and becomes part of the culture"
"With that in mind, one risk of being responsive and transparent is that pendulum swings can occur. It can be really easy to overcorrect when identifying problems and trying to attack them. That's one of the reasons we need to constantly get feedback from the team."

One common problem at games studios is feature creep, as the scope of a project expands with more and more ideas from the team. This in itself can cause periods of crunch as developers desperately try to cram everything planned into the final product. It presents studios with the hard choice between what some may see as an inferior product and keeping employees healthy.

"We face those choices all the time in the games industry," he said. "I think the default is to brute force the problem -- in order words, to throw money or people at it. But that can actually cause more chaos and affect wellbeing, which goes against that balance. The harder and, in my opinion, more effective solution is to be more creative within constraints."

He suggests developers should look at the features they're trying to make and consider the time and resources they have. If they have enough, it's an opportunity to get creative, dropping any preconceived notions of what the feature should be or what players want. It's a chance to do something different.

"This process is the ideal. Does it happen all the time? Absolutely not. In the stress of hectic production, we often feel we can't take our foot off the gas pedal -- but that's often what it takes. The team needs to have permission to pause and come up with a better way, instead of bulldozing through the problems and causing potential health problems."

Insomniac Games reportedly developed the acclaimed Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart without crunch

A prime example he offers is the final confrontation between Spider-Man and Doc Ock in Insomniac's seminal 2018 game.

"Originally, we were going to have a boss battle that took you all over New York City, and it was way out of scope," Price explained. "The temptation is to just brute force it, put our heads down and run through the brick wall. But the team took a step back and thought about what was important to the players, and that was the breakdown of the relationship between Peter and his former mentor, Doctor Octavious.

"We can't be afraid of change. What we need to be afraid of is stagnation"

"They rethought the fight and realised they didn't need to destroy half of New York to pay off the relationship. In fact, it would have worked against what we were going for. As a result, the final battle is much more up close and personal, and has a far bigger emotional impact than planned -- and it fit within the time we had."

He added: "This permission to be creative within restraints needs to come from the leaders, who set the tone for the project. When we all repeat the message, that it's okay to try new things that fail, it gets repeated and becomes part of the culture. I see this in action, and it's incredible when it works, but it takes constant repetition because I think we default to old habits."

The keynote also discussed another well documented issue in the games industry: the lack of diversity. Price observed that, when he started in the '90s, an industry dominated by white men was making games representative of their audience. Since then, however, the audience for video games has changed significantly.

"Today, every culture, every race and every gender has embraced games, which is amazing," he says. "We need teams that are as diverse as our audience."

Price claims that Insomniac ensures there are diverse candidates to choose from at every stage of the interview process, and that the panel interviewing them also has diverse representation.

He also revealed that the studio is eliminating higher education as a requirement for "almost all of [its] roles," adding: "This means if someone can't afford to obtain a university degree, experience is a valid substitute."


The final confrontation in Marvel's Spider-Man was originally much grander in scope, and would have taken place across New York City

Diversity is often discussed alongside company culture, which Price observed will change with every person that leaves or joins a studio.

"We can't be afraid of change," he said. "What we need to be afraid of is stagnation. In games development, we're making new things all the time, we're trying and failing frequently, so we should be able to do the same thing with our culture. And we do try a lot of things, and they don't always work, but that's just a part of dealing with the pendulum swings at a company [of our size]."

"As game developers, our legacy is not just the games we make, but also the culture we create"
The keynote touched very briefly on the waves of abuse allegations that have emerged from the games industry over the past couple of years -- some of which were aimed at Insomniac.

On the subject generally, Price said: "I don't think any organisation is immune from toxic behaviour. We have a lot of work to do, as an industry and as individual companies, to ensure that every person feels safe. At Insomniac, we're not perfect. Creating a safe environment where people can speak up is absolutely key. What we've learned over the last couple of years is that we can do better in ensuring every single person clearly understands our policies and all of the resources that are available for support."

Among the examples he gave were the code of conduct that has been drawn up for all employees, the "clear and frequent education" on harassment policies, the 30-, 60-, and 90-day check-ins with those who make reports or complaints to ensure there has been no retaliation, and the introduction of third-party reporting options for those who don't want to go through company channels.

"The realisation I came to recently is it's really easy to take safety for granted," he said. "Our default as developers can be to just focus on games development and assume that everybody knows how to act responsibly. But as we've learned, efforts to keep any workplace safe and healthy is a never-ending task."

The conversation circled back to these subjects by the end, with Price offering more general thoughts in conclusion.

"Wellbeing, diversity and safety aren't just buzzwords," he said. "They're core to a successful and healthy society. For many of us, corporate culture bleeds into our lives. It can affect what we teach our kids, how we interact with our friends and how we participate in society. So how we talk about diversity, wellbeing, safety and other cultural topics within our company sets the tone for how things happen outside those companies.

"No company is perfect. All companies are made up of individual humans with their own ideas, beliefs and approaches, and this is the beauty of being part of this society and any organisation. Ultimately, I think when we embrace our differences and give each other the benefit of the doubt, we do make progress. I also believe that if we have the will to be introspective and tackle our cultural problems -- and we all have them -- then constantly problem solve and share what we've learned, we can make a positive lasting impact inside and outside of our industry.

"As game developers, our legacy is not just the games we make, but also the culture we create."



Interesting that Insomniac no longer requires a college degree for employment (for "most" of its positions as pointed out by M1chl M1chl ). As a software developer who was writing code long before I earned a degree in computer science, I'm really happy to hear that and hope it becomes a trend through the rest of IT related fields.
 
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Warnen

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but I agree
 
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M1chl

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He also revealed that the studio is eliminating higher education as a requirement for "almost all of [its] roles," adding: "This means if someone can't afford to obtain a university degree, experience is a valid substitute."

Somewhat this sounds like to make the work even more unobtainable, you probably have statistically bigger chance of finishing university than do a position in some AAA game company, which you want to have in different company.

But all in all it was pretty fine article, good read.
 

reksveks

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Must not quote parts of the article as a 'middle finger' to a group of users on the internet.

Damn, I was too late someone already started that topic.
 
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IntentionalPun

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He also revealed that the studio is eliminating higher education as a requirement for "almost all of [its] roles," adding: "This means if someone can't afford to obtain a university degree, experience is a valid substitute."

Somewhat this sounds like to make the work even more unobtainable, you probably have statistically bigger chance of finishing university than do a position in some AAA game company, which you want to have in different company.

But all in all it was pretty fine article, good read.
It says experience is a valid substitute; that means both spending those 4-5 years of your life getting a degree vs. working are valid.

But it's a rather odd statement TBH; most of the tech industry doesn't care about degrees over experience. Sounds a bit like they are patting themselves on the back for something that's been rather standard for 30 years.
 
Last edited:

Topher

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Jesus OP... That looks like a leftist meme.

Here you go.....I've right-aligned the text just for you...



Insomniac Games CEO Ted Price wants to see more developers being "creative within constraints" in order to end the cycle of crunch.

The pressures of games development, and the impact this has on staff, was one of many topics covered during his keynote interview at last week's Develop:Brighton conference.

The talk began with a whistle stop tour of Insomniac Games' history, in which Price described the Marvel partnership -- which led to Spider-Man, its Miles Morales follow-up, and now a full sequel and Wolverine game -- as a "watershed moment," adding that working with licensed IP was "never something we would have considered."

He also dubbed Sony's acquisition of his studio as "the biggest moment in our history," pointing to the many benefits it has brought, such as being able to collaborate closer with other first-party PlayStation developers.

After this, the conversation turned to the various wellbeing initiatives at the company, with Price emphasising the importance of mental health care.

"Achieving a balance between excellence and wellbeing is, at least in my opinion, a crucial goal," he said.

However, the games industry has shown many times that an excellent product can come at the cost of wellbeing. Tales of crunch -- especially at AAA studios, including PlayStation's own Naughty Dog -- stretch back decades. Insomniac reportedly managed to avoid crunching on this year's acclaimed PlayStation5 exclusive Ratchet & Clank, but with this very much the exception rather than rule, how can studios ensure excellence does not impact wellbeing?

"It's a tricky one," Price admitted. "I do think they are naturally opposed sometimes."

His main suggestion was to set goals as a studio. Price gave two examples of Insomniac's goals, the first being to "increase wellbeing and reduce burnout."

One of the things the company does to accomplish this is issue regular wellbeing surveys to staff, which have in turn highlighted concerns over planning and scope. As a result, Insomniac built more planning meetings into its process, giving staff a chance to plan what they want to achieve every few weeks.

"It sounds like a no-brainer but it's really hard to do when you're moving at a million miles an hour during production," he said. "But it's effective."

Insomniac also allocated certain hours where project leaders would be available to answer questions or address any concerns, which can help identify problems with scope.

Another Insomniac goal is to "support sustainable productions." By way of example, Price pointed to how teams like visual effects, audio and lighting, which work across multiple projects, should not be stretched too thin.

"It's also about committing to not throwing people off of one project to finish another, which I think every [multi-project] developer has done," he said. "But it's a commitment we're making, and we're making sure that we're avoiding this."

He added that it's hard to know which initiatives have worked and which haven't until long after they have been implemented, which is why Insomniac aims to gather feedback and share results -- including any failures -- with staff at regular intervals.

"When we all repeat the message, that it's okay to try new things that fail, it gets repeated and becomes part of the culture"
"With that in mind, one risk of being responsive and transparent is that pendulum swings can occur. It can be really easy to overcorrect when identifying problems and trying to attack them. That's one of the reasons we need to constantly get feedback from the team."

One common problem at games studios is feature creep, as the scope of a project expands with more and more ideas from the team. This in itself can cause periods of crunch as developers desperately try to cram everything planned into the final product. It presents studios with the hard choice between what some may see as an inferior product and keeping employees healthy.

"We face those choices all the time in the games industry," he said. "I think the default is to brute force the problem -- in order words, to throw money or people at it. But that can actually cause more chaos and affect wellbeing, which goes against that balance. The harder and, in my opinion, more effective solution is to be more creative within constraints."

He suggests developers should look at the features they're trying to make and consider the time and resources they have. If they have enough, it's an opportunity to get creative, dropping any preconceived notions of what the feature should be or what players want. It's a chance to do something different.

"This process is the ideal. Does it happen all the time? Absolutely not. In the stress of hectic production, we often feel we can't take our foot off the gas pedal -- but that's often what it takes. The team needs to have permission to pause and come up with a better way, instead of bulldozing through the problems and causing potential health problems."

Insomniac Games reportedly developed the acclaimed Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart without crunch

A prime example he offers is the final confrontation between Spider-Man and Doc Ock in Insomniac's seminal 2018 game.

"Originally, we were going to have a boss battle that took you all over New York City, and it was way out of scope," Price explained. "The temptation is to just brute force it, put our heads down and run through the brick wall. But the team took a step back and thought about what was important to the players, and that was the breakdown of the relationship between Peter and his former mentor, Doctor Octavious.

"We can't be afraid of change. What we need to be afraid of is stagnation"

"They rethought the fight and realised they didn't need to destroy half of New York to pay off the relationship. In fact, it would have worked against what we were going for. As a result, the final battle is much more up close and personal, and has a far bigger emotional impact than planned -- and it fit within the time we had."

He added: "This permission to be creative within restraints needs to come from the leaders, who set the tone for the project. When we all repeat the message, that it's okay to try new things that fail, it gets repeated and becomes part of the culture. I see this in action, and it's incredible when it works, but it takes constant repetition because I think we default to old habits."

The keynote also discussed another well documented issue in the games industry: the lack of diversity. Price observed that, when he started in the '90s, an industry dominated by white men was making games representative of their audience. Since then, however, the audience for video games has changed significantly.

"Today, every culture, every race and every gender has embraced games, which is amazing," he says. "We need teams that are as diverse as our audience."

Price claims that Insomniac ensures there are diverse candidates to choose from at every stage of the interview process, and that the panel interviewing them also has diverse representation.

He also revealed that the studio is eliminating higher education as a requirement for "almost all of [its] roles," adding: "This means if someone can't afford to obtain a university degree, experience is a valid substitute."


The final confrontation in Marvel's Spider-Man was originally much grander in scope, and would have taken place across New York City

Diversity is often discussed alongside company culture, which Price observed will change with every person that leaves or joins a studio.

"We can't be afraid of change," he said. "What we need to be afraid of is stagnation. In games development, we're making new things all the time, we're trying and failing frequently, so we should be able to do the same thing with our culture. And we do try a lot of things, and they don't always work, but that's just a part of dealing with the pendulum swings at a company [of our size]."

"As game developers, our legacy is not just the games we make, but also the culture we create"
The keynote touched very briefly on the waves of abuse allegations that have emerged from the games industry over the past couple of years -- some of which were aimed at Insomniac.

On the subject generally, Price said: "I don't think any organisation is immune from toxic behaviour. We have a lot of work to do, as an industry and as individual companies, to ensure that every person feels safe. At Insomniac, we're not perfect. Creating a safe environment where people can speak up is absolutely key. What we've learned over the last couple of years is that we can do better in ensuring every single person clearly understands our policies and all of the resources that are available for support."

Among the examples he gave were the code of conduct that has been drawn up for all employees, the "clear and frequent education" on harassment policies, the 30-, 60-, and 90-day check-ins with those who make reports or complaints to ensure there has been no retaliation, and the introduction of third-party reporting options for those who don't want to go through company channels.

"The realisation I came to recently is it's really easy to take safety for granted," he said. "Our default as developers can be to just focus on games development and assume that everybody knows how to act responsibly. But as we've learned, efforts to keep any workplace safe and healthy is a never-ending task."

The conversation circled back to these subjects by the end, with Price offering more general thoughts in conclusion.

"Wellbeing, diversity and safety aren't just buzzwords," he said. "They're core to a successful and healthy society. For many of us, corporate culture bleeds into our lives. It can affect what we teach our kids, how we interact with our friends and how we participate in society. So how we talk about diversity, wellbeing, safety and other cultural topics within our company sets the tone for how things happen outside those companies.

"No company is perfect. All companies are made up of individual humans with their own ideas, beliefs and approaches, and this is the beauty of being part of this society and any organisation. Ultimately, I think when we embrace our differences and give each other the benefit of the doubt, we do make progress. I also believe that if we have the will to be introspective​
 
Last edited:

Herr Edgy

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He also revealed that the studio is eliminating higher education as a requirement for "almost all of [its] roles," adding: "This means if someone can't afford to obtain a university degree, experience is a valid substitute."

Somewhat this sounds like to make the work even more unobtainable, you probably have statistically bigger chance of finishing university than do a position in some AAA game company, which you want to have in different company.

But all in all it was pretty fine article, good read.
University degrees were just a baseline; having one never meant you'll get in. Once you had big names on your resume, you were good to go, but getting the foot in is the actual hard part. You basically had to have multiple years of experience in addition to the degree to maybe get a junior role. I'm an example of this. Currently contracted to Epic Games, almost done with my master's degree (but paused so I can focus on work), 1.5 years prior work experience, 7 years total of programming, 4 of those in Unreal Engine. I'm the equivalent of a junior, regardless. All the other students around me doing some level of game dev degree (either Computer Science or an arts degree) end up not joining the industry at all, making indie games or joining companies where games such as police simulator or mobile games are made.

So the above is a good thing.
 

eyesabitdull

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Huge wall of text, but great read nonetheless.

Huge respect for Ted Price and everything his studio has stood for and the kind of output they've done the past many many many years. I definitely take his word in higher regard than most studio heads.

Can't wait for someone to say "go woke, go broke" in about 5 minutes because hur durr diversity is bad.
 
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Topher

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I'm a Social Democrat, I prefer it centered.

You guys are never happy.

:messenger_winking:

It says experience is a valid substitute; that means both spending those 4-5 years of your life getting a degree vs. working are valid.

But it's a rather odd statement TBH; most of the tech industry doesn't care about degrees over experience. Sounds a bit like they are patting themselves on the back for something that's been rather standard for 30 years.

He's probably highlighting that to advertise the vacancies they have. I earned my Master's 15 years ago because I was turned down for a number of jobs (not gaming) for lack of CS degree. It was incredibly frustrating as I had more experience than many of those with degrees. Some companies are slower to realize the benefits of experience over an education where you spend fours in school and only about a third actually applies to the job.
 
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Punished Miku

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Without the results they've shown, it would be fairly hollow platitudes. But they do seem to be putting out games very quickly and effectively, so I'm not surprised to learn they have a few insights in management style, project planning, etc. Sounds like good advice.
 

M1chl

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University degrees were just a baseline; having one never meant you'll get in. Once you had big names on your resume, you were good to go, but getting the foot in is the actual hard part. You basically had to have multiple years of experience in addition to the degree to maybe get a junior role. I'm an example of this. Currently contracted to Epic Games, almost done with my master's degree (but paused so I can focus on work), 1.5 years prior work experience, 7 years total of programming, 4 of those in Unreal Engine. I'm the equivalent of a junior, regardless. All the other students around me doing some level of game dev degree (either Computer Science or an arts degree) end up not joining the industry at all, making indie games or joining companies where games such as police simulator or mobile games are made.

So the above is a good thing.
Seems like I was extremely lucky then, getting job at Warhorse, without doing anything more than to be "programming helper" for Machinarium prior, which was project of my high school teacher. But I had experience points for general programming. But to be honest, there were tons of people with just a hobby in coding, modeling, etc and high school "diploma". I guess it helps, when you live in small country...
 

IntentionalPun

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University degrees were just a baseline; having one never meant you'll get in. Once you had big names on your resume, you were good to go, but getting the foot in is the actual hard part. You basically had to have multiple years of experience in addition to the degree to maybe get a junior role. I'm an example of this. Currently contracted to Epic Games, almost done with my master's degree (but paused so I can focus on work), 1.5 years prior work experience, 7 years total of programming, 4 of those in Unreal Engine. I'm the equivalent of a junior, regardless. All the other students around me doing some level of game dev degree (either Computer Science or an arts degree) end up not joining the industry at all, making indie games or joining companies where games such as police simulator or mobile games are made.

So the above is a good thing.
A bit odd that the gaming industry is like this; but it is a different world than the rest of the programming world.
 
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Bernd Lauert

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Seems like I was extremely lucky then, getting job at Warhorse, without doing anything more than to be "programming helper" for Machinarium prior, which was project of my high school teacher. But I had experience points for general programming. But to be honest, there were tons of people with just a hobby in coding, modeling, etc and high school "diploma". I guess it helps, when you live in small country...
Bruh when's KCD2 coming I need it
 
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SlimySnake

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Experience vs degree requirements sounds bad until you realize both Zuckerberg and Bill Gates dropped out of college. If you can code and have made games before then who gives a shit what degree you have.

The rest of what he says about diversity isnt really that bad. It's weird to see them focus so much on diversity and mental health when games have been stagnant for a good 15 years now. They need to focus on innovation and interactivity instead. Make games better.

I do like what he had to say about crunch and devs shooting themselves in the foot by increasing scope. I have always wondered how these studios went from making games ever 2 years in the PS2 and PS3 era to taking 5 years. And the answer is pretty simple. Their games have gone from 8-10 hour campaigns with mp to 50 hour campaigns with no mp. they give themselves too much work and then bitch about crunch.

Keep games around 20 hours and add replay value to it. Add RPG elements so you can replay the campaign as a mage or a brute or a thief. Or just add new rougelike modes like Hades and Returnal that let you replay the game over and over again. Far quicker than creating a fucking 40 hour story with another 40 hours of side content.

Lastly, the ending fight he's talking about is exactly what I wanted from a Spiderman game. I really dont understand these open world games that dont utilize the open world for their single player missions that are mostly held indoors anyway. That wouldve been an awesome fight and instead of just cutting that they shouldve cut the random bs side quests and have the entire team focus on delivering a badass ending fight right when the dev started. ND made the train setpiece in Uncharted 2 and the plane setpiece in Uncharted 3 in two years. They started developing it pretty much immediately and those levels were the last ones to finish. If Ted Price wants the team to develop games smarter, he needs to start doing more of that.
 
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IntentionalPun

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He's probably highlighting that to advertise the vacancies they have. I earned my Master's 15 years ago because I was turned down for a number of jobs (not gaming) for lack of CS degree. It was incredibly frustrating as I had more experience than many of those with degrees. Some companies are slower to realize the benefits of experience over an education where you spend fours in school and only about a third actually applies to the job.

Sure; I'm not talking about all jobs at all companies. You are going to need a degree to go full time at some old school Fortune 50.. I'm talking more tech company jobs.

The worst are companies that do a lot of government contracting as the government is notorious for having education requirements and they model themselves after that, at times because contracts depend on it.

Then ironically they hire contracts from tech consulting firms w/o knowing even if they have a degree or not, and those contractors get paid more than their full timers w/ degrees, and have more experience lol
 
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Bernd Lauert

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A bit odd that the gaming industry is like this; but it is a different world than the rest of the programming world.
Gaming industry is just incredibly competitive. It's also much harder to stand out. In the rest of the programming world, if you can code really well and can prove it, you're in.
 

IntentionalPun

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Gaming industry is just incredibly competitive. It's also much harder to stand out. In the rest of the programming world, if you can code really well and can prove it, you're in.
Hell if you can code at all, you can get in. Most programmers are garbage in the business world lol, even at tech consulting firms.
 

Great Hair

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He also revealed that the studio is eliminating higher education as a requirement for "almost all of [its] roles," adding: "This means if someone can't afford to obtain a university degree, experience is a valid substitute."
4 Jul 2013 webarc.

Price sees a bright future in cloud computing and Microsoft's vision for how developers will use it. "The potential of the cloud for console developers is pretty large," he stated. "Over the next five or six years, it's one of those technologies that will change in meaning as we see more games come out and take innovative approach to the more and more offline processing that's available."

"It is proven that cloud services can improve products and services in other areas, so it's cool that games are starting to take advantage of it," Price told us, explaining that other industries have successfully integrated cloud computing to the benefit of industry and consumer alike.

Price did share his thoughts on the benefit of offloaded processing. "When people say 'cloud' it's one of those broad terms that mean many things," he said. "How we use the cloud depends on the genre, depends on the audience, and it depends on the state of the hardware behind the cloud. We're learning that new opportunities and ideas are popping up every month when we discover how we can take aspects of the game offline [to the cloud]. We are going to be relying on heavy backend services to churn through the data we get from players to understand what they're telling us and what they're doing in the game."

Insomniac is planning on using Microsoft's data farms, too. "Some of the hardcore data collection, correlation, and translation that we expect to do is difficult and takes a lot of horsepower, and that is one aspect of the cloud that is attractive to us," Price told us.
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M1chl

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Bruh when's KCD2 coming I need it
Studio isn't operational for new titles. Now it's mainly port for KC: D on Switch, which is done by Sabre Int. and few heads of the dev team. Since we still have the console warring policy, so I am just saying that I am doing counseling for the CUDA part of the code, which is like 10 hour job per month it total. Cuda is where I have probably the most experience.

But to be honest, when the time comes I will be ready to drop anything which I am doing to work with the team. My best working experience by far. But like I've said previously about direct storage, PS5, XSX and other stuff... I am in active contact with the members of the dev team. So we are ready, it's the management
 

Bernd Lauert

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Studio isn't operational for new titles. Now it's mainly port for KC: D on Switch, which is done by Sabre Int. and few heads of the dev team. Since we still have the console warring policy, so I am just saying that I am doing counseling for the CUDA part of the code, which is like 10 hour job per month it total. Cuda is where I have probably the most experience.

But to be honest, when the time comes I will be ready to drop anything which I am doing to work with the team. My best working experience by far. But like I've said previously about direct storage, PS5, XSX and other stuff... I am in active contact with the members of the dev team. So we are ready, it's the management
Sounds rough tbh. Vavra just can't be assed to make a new game? First game is almost four years old, I hoped we'd get something new within a year or two.

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M1chl

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Ah.....see I live in the US. I can pretty much describe any political group in America as "never happy" and be completely 100% accurate.
Understandable : D

Sounds rough tbh. Vavra just can't be assed to make a new game? First game is almost four years old, I hoped we'd get something new within a year or two.

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You need to take into account, that I or anyone else, don't know about what is going on with Vavra and his close folks. Since the research for KC: D took him good 4 years of life, there is chance of him doing work. It's just does not make sense, to keep the studio open, partly because of wu-flu and second because of the support for KC: D ended. All in all, there is a chance of past team doing other things, together, but there is nothing to be announced.

But I am close, so if you were happy with loadings and pop-in. I am still close : D
 
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Herr Edgy

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Seems like I was extremely lucky then, getting job at Warhorse, without doing anything more than to be "programming helper" for Machinarium prior, which was project of my high school teacher. But I had experience points for general programming. But to be honest, there were tons of people with just a hobby in coding, modeling, etc and high school "diploma". I guess it helps, when you live in small country...
Yeah, it really comes down to what studio you are talking about, and the country's industries' practices. And it's not like standards are impossibly high in all cases, but it's generally pretty competitive, so if something like a relatively easy to enter paid internship opens up that can convert into fulltime, you just know that tons of quality starters will apply that spent years doing their own stuff in their free time rather than be content with just finishing their degree. The choice is easy.

Luck always plays into it. Me getting into Epic, at least as a contractor, also wasn't hard. But that's just survivor bias. For every me and you there are hundreds who never manage to get in.
 
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Kimahri

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Interesting that Insomniac no longer requires a college degree for employment (for "most" of its positions as pointed out by M1chl M1chl ). As a software developer who was writing code long before I earned a degree in computer science, I'm really happy to hear that and hope it becomes a trend through the rest of IT related fields.
So we have a class that's basically builf and program mindstorm lego.

Most kids really need time to "get" this stuff, but this year we had a kid who just started doing insane shit the first period he had it. He's doing shit I didn't know possible, and he's finding bugs in the software, and all kinds of stuff.

And he's 13,and not really that strong in most fields. He just loves this stuff.

Just goes to show how grades aren't the be all end all, and companies do well to keep that in mind.
 

ACESHIGH

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Yep... specially bruteforcing their unoptimized games through overpowered PC HW... looking at you Ubisoft.
 

Varteras

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I would say anyone has a lot to learn from Insomniac's practices. Their development timelines are insane even for a studio that has a little over 400 people and at the quality their games typically have.
 

kiphalfton

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University degrees were just a baseline; having one never meant you'll get in. Once you had big names on your resume, you were good to go, but getting the foot in is the actual hard part. You basically had to have multiple years of experience in addition to the degree to maybe get a junior role. I'm an example of this. Currently contracted to Epic Games, almost done with my master's degree (but paused so I can focus on work), 1.5 years prior work experience, 7 years total of programming, 4 of those in Unreal Engine. I'm the equivalent of a junior, regardless. All the other students around me doing some level of game dev degree (either Computer Science or an arts degree) end up not joining the industry at all, making indie games or joining companies where games such as police simulator or mobile games are made.

So the above is a good thing.

Isn't that the case everywhere, where once you have a big name on your resume you're good to go and set?

Also isn't a contractor position less than ideal, since you can't actually explicitly say that you worked at Epic on your resume and have to instead put something like "worked at an American video game and software developer and publisher based in Cary, North Carolina". Since you likely work for a contracting company and not Epic themselves.
 

kingfey

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Not a good comparison. Insomniac are in their own league.

No other developer puts out so many games and with consistent quality.
Its still not enough to reach higher level.

You can release small games, and make it polished fast, but that doesnt grant you the seat of your own league.

We saw Insomniac like studios. 1 mistake, and they become history.

Bethesda (Despite shitty bugs), Rockstar, and Naughty dogs are the top alpha. Compared to them, Insomniac is still a teenager with potential, with a backing of rich daddy, with a bigger resources.

I hope they fix Spiderman 1 issues. Game was fun, but too much shit repetitive, and scripted npcs.
 
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Not a good comparison. Insomniac are in their own league.

No other developer puts out so many games and with consistent quality.
Really? I would rate PlayGround Games up there alongside Insomniac.

They have put out quality and done so for all their Horizon games with an engine that runs extremely well on virtually anything including your pocket calculator.

They've been very consistent in their output, quality and efficiency.
 
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Papacheeks

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I can tell not many people went to animation school or have a high level of experience in 2d animation in this thread?

Because thats what a lot of people mean when it comes to experience when not talking about coding/programming part of games. A lot of the animators over at Insomniac come from animation studios like cartoon network, Nickelodeon.

Having that background in animation even if 2d mostly benefits you greatly in your chances at being a animator or sketch artist/concept artists, or QC for animation/Rigging.

You may not have the program knowledge but you can tell a janky animation or if timing frame wise in a specific motion is off.

No degree will teach you how to spot that unless you have been doing animation for a long ass time.
 
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Vognerful

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There was comments And discussion in reddit on how Insomniac subcontract a lot of their task to third party studio that is involved in working in several other games at a time. As per some reports, they are (the contracted studio) have been using crunch to be able to meets it's targets.
 
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SenjutsuSage

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*Clears throat*

Leading by fucking example. Let this be a lesson to some who are always pointing to these things as some kind of weakness or stain on a game development studio. They know who they are.

"Today, every culture, every race and every gender has embraced games, which is amazing," he says. "We need teams that are as diverse as our audience."

Price claims that Insomniac ensures there are diverse candidates to choose from at every stage of the interview process, and that the panel interviewing them also has diverse representation.

"Wellbeing, diversity and safety aren't just buzzwords," he said. "They're core to a successful and healthy society. For many of us, corporate culture bleeds into our lives. It can affect what we teach our kids, how we interact with our friends and how we participate in society. So how we talk about diversity, wellbeing, safety and other cultural topics within our company sets the tone for how things happen outside those companies.
 
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