Three years of art and animation school. One year of game art and design. I’m finally here. After a good chunk of my young life I am finally in the videogame industry. I worked my ass off for my post secondary life, casting aside relationships and friendships. I’ve lost most people that ever said they were close to me. They didn’t appreciate the 18 hour days of dedicating my life to this “abstract” thing.
I graduated top of my class in game art and was hired by a developer one week out of school. I walked into that new job, talked to my senior environment artist and the first words out of his mouth were “Yeah, I’m going to need you to come in on Saturday. We have a milestone coming up, and we really need to get this done.”
I worked my ass off, as did my fellow co-workers. I’d see them working 13, 14, 15 hour days without even breaking a sweat, all with their own families and responsibilities at home. We never really complained, we just did it. Was this all worth it?
Yes. Absolutely. Never in my life have I experienced such a group of like minded people, so bent on pushing themselves to their limits so that in the end the product ships and does well. From QA to programmers to management, every single person at this studio wanted to be there. Never in my life have i experienced such joy from producing my own art. Seeing it placed into a video game and having people come up and congratulating your small team on making something that never existed before.
Never have I met people who adored what they did, each and everyday they would walk in with the biggest smile on their face, or the funniest story to tell all their friends.
Each and every day was a joy to be there, even during the really shitty times.
Unfortunately (as is the nature of the industry) this small to mid sized company went under. Our publisher pulled their contract, and 90 people were out of work. I saw all those people who I had the pleasure of calling my friend lose their job.
What shocked me was the response from each and every person there to what they would miss most. It wasn’t the income (which wasn’t spectacular) it was not the location, but it was the environment. You make this place a home, and the people in it a family whether you like to or not. You place your trust in these people to work to the best of their abilities to deliver. You see them in their lowest and in their highest. Every single person there was sad, because the next week they wouldn’t see their friends at their place of work.
Fortunately most of those people found work (I’m not one of them sadly), and they’ve all moved on to their new families. I guarantee if you were to ask 90% of those people if what they do was worth it, you’d hear the same response. “I wouldn’t do anything else”.
From: The Trenches
This is why I love the industry I work in.