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  1. Post

    Posts in this thread appear as comments on the following Gameplanet article:

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  2. Post
    #2
    I've seen the NZGDA stats on the lack of senior talent a few times now. I'm a senior game programmer who left NZ to further my career. I know at least 5 others I worked with in NZ who did the same. All of us are working for companies that working in the AAA console/PC space. I haven't really kept in touch with all these people, but I imagine a lot of them would like to return to NZ one day. For me, some of the barriers to returning are:

    * As far as I can tell, I'd be taking a significant pay cut, like 30% or more, even for regular IT programming jobs. That's tricky, smaller companies can't necessarily compete with that, but it's a big barrier.
    * Work-life balance - a lot of senior people have families and other commitments outside of work, even just being more aware of their own health and well-being. I wouldn't even bother applying anywhere that doesn't have a clear policy on maintaining the work-life balance of their staff. Some NZ companies are clear about this, a lot aren't.
    * Location - game companies are spread throughout a lot of the country, which is great, but for various reasons it might not be practical or desirable for people to relocate to where you are. I don't think I've seen any NZ studios consider hiring remotes. Conversely I know of many people who are working remote for companies outside NZ. There's downsides, but it does open up the talent pool a lot.
    * AAA - as I said above, a lot of people I know left to work on larger games. That's probably just my circle of devs, but for a lot of us the challenges of shipping a large PC/console seem more exciting than other areas. Again, that's a tricky one, you don't just make a AAA game.

  3. Post
    #3
    As a senior developer, I always wonder how much of a mind shift it requires to start developing games... Liking to play them probably isn't enough of a qualification

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    #4
    walmeister wrote:
    As a senior developer, I always wonder how much of a mind shift it requires to start developing games... Liking to play them probably isn't enough of a qualification
    Ha no, depends on what kind of development you are doing. If you're already working in C++ or C# then that helps. If you're doing related stuff like embedded or 3d graphics, then it's often possible to transition into games.

  5. Post
    #5
    bitshifter wrote:
    I've seen the NZGDA stats on the lack of senior talent a few times now. I'm a senior game programmer who left NZ to further my career. I know at least 5 others I worked with in NZ who did the same. All of us are working for companies that working in the AAA console/PC space. I haven't really kept in touch with all these people, but I imagine a lot of them would like to return to NZ one day.
    Thanks for this perspective! There are undoubtedly some things to overcome for the NZ industry. It seems to me the biggest barrier is getting the Government onside. You are right to say AAA will be key, and we are only going to get more large scale developers setting up shop here if the NZ Government helps to make that happen.

  6. Post
    #6
    Kaabaz wrote:
    Thanks for this perspective! There are undoubtedly some things to overcome for the NZ industry. It seems to me the biggest barrier is getting the Government onside. You are right to say AAA will be key, and we are only going to get more large scale developers setting up shop here if the NZ Government helps to make that happen.
    I know that Gareth Hughes of the Greens has been a big advocate for NZ game development; I wonder if he can sneak a bit of additional support in via their influence in the new government.

  7. Post
    #7
    Yet there's no shortage of stories, at least recently, about how horrible it is working on AAA titles for large publishers, and how so many of the senior staff bail to form their own small studios and make indie games. What's the real deal here?

  8. Post
    #8
    leopardsqueezy wrote:
    Yet there's no shortage of stories, at least recently, about how horrible it is working on AAA titles for large publishers, and how so many of the senior staff bail to form their own small studios and make indie games. What's the real deal here?
    For sure, I'm not saying building AAA in NZ is the answer. Certainly, overseas companies opening studios is often short lived, see Australia for an example, or even Gameloft in NZ. As far as working conditions go, you have to be super careful. Some AAA studios are diabolical for crunch and some are pretty clear that they try and avoid crunch as much as possible.

  9. Post
    #9
    A lot of American developers seem to have employment expectations that would be outright illegal here.