Sponsored By

Feature: In The Belly Of The Whale

In <a href=http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6395/the_belly_of_the_whale_living_a_.php>Gamasutra's latest feature</a>, Zynga's Bob Bates reprises his popular GDC lecture, explaining what developers should do to move their careers forward while also fi

June 2, 2011

2 Min Read

Author: by Staff

In Gamasutra's latest feature, Zynga's Bob Bates reprises his popular GDC lecture, explaining what developers should do to move their careers forward while also finding them creatively fulfilling. Bates is Zynga's chief creative officer of external studios, and got his start at Infocom in the mid 1980s. "Every year, thousands of people come into the games industry, believing they have found their 'dream job.' Five years later, about half of them are gone. The business cost of this turnover is huge. We train people, only to lose them. The human cost is even more devastating, as these people enter a field they expect to love, then end up leaving, disillusioned," Bates writes. "To explore this problem, I interviewed over sixty people, ranging from workers "in the trenches" to company executives who have come up through the ranks, as well as people who have left the industry altogether. I spoke with writers, programmers, artists, testers, composers, producers, marketers, project managers and a host of others who are trying to use their creativity to nurse games through development." Pulling together these quotes, as well as collected wisdom gleaned from research and books on the subjects of creativity and management, Bates offers a look at how to stick with the game industry and even how to get ahead -- and even a discussion of whether it's in your personal interest to get ahead or not. While many low-level jobs make beginning developers feel like cogs in a machine, writes Bates, "Use your position to learn your craft. You're on the inside -- the best possible place to get a hands-on education." Later, when you get a chance to move up the ladder, you can be pulled from the creative work you enjoy most, but with this move can come a different kind of pleasure in development, Bates writes. "As a manager, you have the opportunity for a different kind of joy. It's the happiness that comes from helping others. It's called 'naches,' the pride in the accomplishment of those whom you have helped, or perhaps the pride in the accomplishments of the organizations you have built. For some of the people I interviewed, that pride was stronger than any of their achievements as hands-on game makers." The full, extensive feature, is live now on Gamasutra.

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like