The random ramblings of a French programmer living in Norway...
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  15 years working in videogames
Mon 25th January 2010   
Damn, that's typical of me - and of the industry - to miss a deadline!

On the 2nd of January 1995 I started working at Adeline Software, so the 2nd of January 2010 was my 15th anniversary in this interesting industry :)
Now 15 years later, I'm working in Norway, in a company called Funcom. In the meantime I did some stops at Heliovisions Productions (aka Doki Denki), and Eden Games (aka Eden Studio).

I guess I've been kind of lucky. None of the games I've worked on have been ultimate best sellers, but none of these have been so crappy that I refuse to have them on my resume - wait, can think of one, but nahh, by respect to the persons who worked on it I will not say the title of this game. Let's just say that the whoever was in charge of the camera system should have been be shot -.

So, what do I remember of these 15 years?

Mostly a lot of overtime, but also a lot of passion.

Guess without the passion and the team spirit I would not have been able to put that much work in some of the games I worked on. Things like deciding to come back the Sunday to improve the damage system in VRally 2 on Dreamcast or trying an alternate control scheme for Little Big Adventure on PSX, you do it only if you believe in the product.

So yes, a lot of passion. And also a lot of errors, heaps of management errors mostly, the total cost of these errors in terms of exploded budgets, burned colleagues, missed deadlines, sunk companies, is kind of huge. But you don't really expect people promoted from the ranks to become great managers from day one, do you? And let's face it, most of us entered the industry because we loved programming, drawing, composing music, tweak game play... not because we wanted to lead teams. So as a result the conversion rate is quite poor, and what happens is that for sure you've lost a talented practitioner, but you rarely get a talented lead. Specially if they never receive management education after all.

And then you wonder why studios die...

What's certain, is that the people seem more professional today, there's less abuse (in average) in the industry (even if we still see the occasional anonymous denunciation of abusive practices in some studios, this time it's Rockstar, it used to be EA or Ubi, who's next?), so hopefully the next 15 years will be even better :)
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