On Being a Video Game Programmer – The Perks and Pitfalls

What is it like to work as a video game programmer? It is considered by using many game-gambling children to be a dream activity. Is it definitely as exact as it sounds? It genuinely is a thrilling lifestyle. However, as with something else in the world, there are both advantageous and poor aspects of operating as a video game programmer.


For the ultimate 7 years, I actually have labored as a video game programmer at 3 development studios: Activision/Treyarch, Visual Concepts, and DiscoPixel. I even have posted titles for the Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo consoles. This article is a precis of some of the perks and pitfalls that I have experienced thru my paintings at these corporations.

Perk #1 – Make Games!

This is pretty obvious, but the largest perk of running at an online game studio is that you will be MAKING video games. You can help build the following outstanding recreation that doubtlessly tens of millions of people will play and experience. There’s a super pleasure that stems from knowing that you helped make something massive.

Perk #2 – Play Games!

In addition to trying out and enhancing your modern sport every day, you may additionally be gambling games made via other businesses. There are few jobs available in which sitting down and playing a newly released console title is considered a study. Companies truly want you to live on the pinnacle of the latest games’ generation and capabilities, and the simplest way to do that is by playing plenty of video games. At the groups I’ve labored at, I’ve by no means visible everybody get reprimanded for playing video games at some point of the day.

Perk #3- Independence

A top-notch component of working as a video game programmer is the independence you’re given. It is uncommon that you’ll have manager respiration down your neck or double-checking the entirety you do. To get employed right into an improvement studio, you need to have already got high-quality programming competencies so that you are given a whole lot of freedom to make many selections yourself. You may be assigned a widespread assignment to complete, but how that clearly ought to be achieved, as well as how long it must take, are frequently up to you.

Provided that you can get your work completed, the organizations I have worked for commonly regarded me as very willing to let my paintings on my terms. When I become worn-out or bored or lazy, I could pass play a sport or loosen up somewhere without anybody complaining. Happy employees with advanced morale make better video games.

Perk #4- Fun Office Environment

Everybody that works at an online game studio has one aspect that is not unusual: they love games. If they didn’t love playing video games, they could have been employed to make them by no means. Because of this, the office setting often has a laugh or quirky things anywhere you look. Many humans deliver unusual new objects to expose off or play with at some stage in the day.


Most video game studios have plenty of video games and toys lying around to keep their employees entertained. A few things that I even have come upon at various studios: Arcades with loose coin-op video games, foosball tables, ping pong tables, razor scooters, board games, action figures, puzzles, daylight hours basketball video games, and giant filled animals.

Coming to the office still means you will work, but there’s no reason why it cannot also be a laugh.

Perk #5 – Free Soda + Snacks

This perk is perhaps not important to absolutely everyone. However, it is best to understand that you may not pass hungry operating at an online game studio. I’ve never met a video game agency that hasn’t offered free soda and snacks as a part of the blessings of running there. I assume being loaded up on caffeine and sugar allows boost productiveness. During long days in the workplace, businesses will commonly provide free dinner as a thank-you for staying past due. One corporation I worked for served fully catered food from diverse restaurants each night for lots of weeks.

Pitfall #1 – Long Work Hours

Making video games is a lot of labor. The quantity of time had to make the brand new sport seems to be growing exponentially. Development groups continue to get larger and larger every year; however, the amount of labor in keeping with an individual doesn’t appear to get any smaller. Games are very complicated. Also, video games’ nature is that they ought to be fun, which isn’t always continually so smooth to appropriately pencil right into a timetable. A lot of experimentation is wanted, in particular with new sports ideas.

Before a milestone and particularly some months earlier than a recreation is released, the paintings day might be very extreme. The paintings have a manner of in no time piling up. New features and vintage insects suck away all of your time. Working long nights or weekends isn’t uncommon. Fortunately, employees commonly care about the games that they’re making, and their ardor enables energize them via those occasional long shifts.

The strain can get overwhelming, too. At one organization, I had a massive stack of trojan horse reports awaiting me on my chair when I got her into the workplace. I would work all day, scrambling to restoration the insects as quickly as possible, working on complete blast all day and night time. I’d pass domestic for pair hours of sleep, but once I’d go back to work, there could be a new, even large stack of bug reports watching for me.

Typically after an assignment has shipped, there can be a length of downtime in which the employees can get a risk of loosening up and get better. The workload will abruptly drastically reduce. One agency gave bonus holiday time after a project shipped, and another positioned personnel “on-call” for about a month, in which they only needed to come to the office if there have been a few sorts of hassle. It’s exceptional to know that your long painting hours do no longer pass, not noted.

Pitfall #2 -Choosing What to Work On


Working on your own video games for your loose time is lots of amusing. You get to pick precisely what sport and tasks you need to paintings on, focusing handiest on the laughing stuff. Anything boring can be competently left out since the only target market is you. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for huge online game studios. There are many obligations to be completed, some of which aren’t too glamorous. Fixing console manufacturer requirements violations or building data tools isn’t always very exciting. Still, it nonetheless wishes to be done by someone so that you can deliver the very last product.

In addition to the possibility of working on less glamorous tasks, you could be assigned a project which you aren’t completely interested in. Typically the corporation will permit you to paintings initiatives that hobby you; however, this isn’t always viable. A specific venture could be falling not on time, and it wishes some extra personnel to repair some insects or add some new functions. Or, the assignment you are inquisitive about already has sufficient workers.

I suppose that the passion of the employees running at an online game studio is important to that recreation’s success. If you are not excited about what you are running on, it will display up in the sport you’re creating. To keep away from any misunderstandings or letdowns, earlier than identifying paintings at a selected enterprise, it is vital to find out what recreation you’ll be working on further to what obligations you’ll be assigned.

I’ve heard from some human beings that the pay working as a video game programmer isn’t always as accurate as the pay operating at more traditional groups. Business database programmers, for example, can be earning more money. This may be real. However, choosing your profession isn’t always just about the pay. You spend a huge percent of your life at your job. Money is not the entirety. Choosing something that you experience is critical, too.

I idea the pay on the corporations I even have labored at becoming very reasonable. There is also a large capability upside from royalty exams coming from a recreation that sells properly, which has occasionally become out to be great. You will simply not be residing as a pauper if you get a programmer task at a video game business enterprise.

Jeffery D. Silvers
Love and share my articles, I will be happy to react on it ! Spent 2002-2009 promoting weed whackers in Edison, NJ. Earned praise for importing junk food for fun and profit. Spent 2001-2006 exporting teddy bears in Atlantic City, NJ. Had some great experience investing in tattoos in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Spent 2002-2007 selling action figures in the aftermarket. Enthusiastic about working on basketballs on the black market.