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Preview: Comments on: Are Game Programmers Good Enough?

Comments on: Are Game Programmers Good Enough?

Pragmatic Thoughts On Game Development by Alistair Doulin

Last Build Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2016 05:05:09 +0000


By: Paul

Wed, 24 Mar 2010 14:57:49 +0000

Hi, I'm looking for a Programmer/Partner to take over development of my interactive online NHL Card Game. I have a playable demo at: . While I believe there is certainly commercial potential for this Game, the demo itself is not even completely finished to meet my own personal standards. But my current programmer has left me hanging and is no longer willing or able to finish what he started several years ago and now I can't even enjoy playing the game for my own personal pleasure. So I'm just asking for a personal favor for someone to help me finish what the programmer did not/would not finish which is mainly to do with Game Play AI. I also have to fix a problem with a DataFile Tool which allows me internally change the Players Names and Jersey Numbers on the Cards. That really upset me because the Tool works fine on the programmer's computer but when something went wrong with a new install, mine got disabled and he won't even help me with that either. Anyway, I own the Source Code too and now I just want to find a new Programmer/Partner who is willing to help me and won't hold me hostage and leave me high and dry like this guy did. Don't get me wrong though; I do very much appreciate what he was able to accomplish. It's just that it took him 7 years to get a demo done and now I'm left with a broken and unfinished product which I think is unfair so I hope you can help. Kind regards. Paul Fletcher (Owner)

By: Wes

Thu, 07 Jun 2007 22:46:43 +0000

I think the difficulty really rises along with the complexity of the project. One man games, such as Pac Man, Donkey Kong (well, they can be created by one man -today-) are relatively easy because there are less factors which you have to consider. Less complex gameplay elements, less elements, and typically far less art assets to control. As the number of people involved in a project rises, as do the collaborative difficulties associated with that project. Team dynamics break down at a certain point (depending on team member personality and number of members) so that is why you see this industry becoming more tightly controlled -> someone needs to be a chief, and the rest indians. :P It's a shame, but if you look at the history of human endevour, this is a pretty obvious step for anything that becomes significantly large i.e requiring the efforts of a large number of people.

By: Doolwind

Fri, 11 May 2007 22:41:14 +0000

I think the biggest problem is the difference in the end product between a game and other complex software development tasks. People confuse the fact that people have fun with our end product with the fact that developing it is not just a 'fun activity'. Whereas it's easy to see that a complex accounting package is a complex system that is hard to both create and use. Once people realise that game software development is just as complex (if not more) as most software development jobs we might get a little more respect.

By: Nogame

Thu, 10 May 2007 17:58:22 +0000

Yes, game programming has the cool factor/fun factor appeal that helps drive wages down, since it's a "privilege" just to be making games you love. Helps keep the work conditions low as well. That will change some as the larger game studios continue to grow and become more professional. Of course, we'll lose some creativity too, but such is capitalism. "Like all disciplines it can go as deep and as complex as you like. " Truth. But really, anyone who thinks game writing is in any way on the less-complex side just isn't aware. As dool mentions, not only is it a significant technical discipline, but it requires combining that with fun factor, poor pay/work conditions, all combined with the necessity to be cutting edge, which necessariliy involves many new problems each time. It does lack some of the stress that another..say, brain surgeon endures, or lacks the insane patience/risk of a physicist who spends 30 years only to fail at the one task they set out to acheive...but it's no doubt a serious, challenging technical field.

By: Mike Nelson

Fri, 02 Mar 2007 21:23:25 +0000

The Prima Donna thing is a horrible problem to the industry. All these people with their mad skillz and all that. It's annoying. But you find that in other computer app development as well in it's own way, but at least those people try to be civil about it. But that pay problem is that main reason that I'm not professionally in the industry (I'm an Indie/hobby developer). The thing is I make way more money doing business apps than I probably ever would working at some game dev house. I might, and just maybe, be able to make what I make now after 10 years or so in the industry but by then I'd probably be looking to get out it anyway way before then if I'm like the average developer. I like the challenge of game programming. That's really the sole reason why I still do it. If I just did it for the pleasure of building my own game I'd probably be out almost as I got started. You're right it is super tough, and what's cool about it is if you think you've sorta got a good handle one aspect of it there are a ton of other things that you can get into and ticker with that you have no idea about. That's another thing that I love about it, but is exactly why it's so hard and complex. About the people with their mad skillz again, I've found it's very hard to convey the difficultly of game programming to people that haven't really took it on before. They just assume they can do it with what they know at the time. I think it may be because people look to great games to emulate and those games make it look even easier than bad games because they hide all that complexity incredibly well. I had to do a ton of study for a long long time to even get started, and I'd been doing programming in general since I was like 12 or something. I was like 30 at the time. Also, I'm guessing here, people sort of tend to think of games as like toys, which they definitely are for the players, but seem to equate that to their construction as well. Like, "it's just a game you know, how hard can it be?" People don't have this same perception of becoming a physicist or other similar thing but game programming can be just as complex I believe. Like all disciplines it can go as deep and as complex as you like.

By: Doolwind

Fri, 26 Jan 2007 12:13:53 +0000

Roman Budzowski- I'd agree that the simple games are quite easy to do, and this can lure people into even more of a false sense of security that 'coding games is fun'. Yes, along with game programming being hard, the entire creation process is extremely difficult. Why else would most games run over time, budget and end up being only half as fun as was anticipated. I'd like to discuss why most publishers and producers don't know what they're talking about and are also not up to the challenge either, but this may get me in trouble with too many people that control my pay cheque's ;).

By: Roman Budzowski

Fri, 26 Jan 2007 10:42:03 +0000

Very good reading and interesting points made. I try to teach programming at University using games as task to code with the hope that it will not be that borring for those who don't get programming. It works out good with simple games like pacman in Pascal, so maybe game programming is not that hard ;-) Just joking, but still maybe we all should say instead of game programming is the hardest form of soft dev than game CREATING is the hardest form.

By: PoV

Fri, 26 Jan 2007 09:31:16 +0000

Buddy in the original article likes his wargames.