This week Marc Littlemore spoke about jobs in the games industry and how to break through into games. One piece of advice he gave to designers was to develop and publish games while at university. The software he believes is becoming a major part of the games industry and is helping small developers is Unity 3D.
Unity 3D is a development programme that allows users to easily develop and publish games to their chosen store like IOS. Currently Unity Technologies claims that they have two million registered developers and four hundred thousand active developers. It has been used to make games from start-ups to big companies, games such as last year’s big hit The Full Bright Company’s “Gone Home” and big mobile titles such as N-Fusion and Eidos Montreal’s Deus Ex: The Fall. This tool is used throughout the Bolton Games Design course and is currently allowing students to create 2D and 3D games for their Portfolio project.
A way in which Unity has supported small developers and students is providing them with free tools to publish to IOS and Android. Previously a developer would have to pay around $800 for the mobile development tools which can be out of reach for some small developers and students (Brodkin, 2013). This has now made Marc Littlemore’s advice about publishing games during the time at university a possibility.
Unity Technologies is currently working with Sony to support the PS4 for release in 2014 (Chapple. 2013). With Sony’s move to support indie development it will only be a short time until any designer can have an idea and publish to a home console with minimum fuss.
Another topic Marc Littlemore spoke about was job stability. He showed us how many of the studios he had worked for that no longer exist. This was about 80% of the studios he had worked at which demonstrated how volatile the games industry can be.
The CEO of Tantalus, Crago in an interview with Gamasutra explains how situations can change and how a profitable company can run into financial trouble (Gaft, 2013). He tells of how the studio ran into difficulty during a project porting Mass effect to the Wii U and over this time he had to lay off staff to keep the company running, he also blames the fact the industry is transitioning at the moment and he failed to read the change. This is a sad example of a studio that has supported itself for many years and a bad project can have a huge effect on people. In this case the studio managed to survive but cuts had to be made and in an industry with few positions it can be very hard for these people to get back in.
Tantalus is a fairly large company with many employees but this problem can effect start up in a similar way. A recent closure of Rivit Studios in Manchester at the end of 2013 had an adverse effect on recent graduates who had never worked at a games studio before. Rivit had been running for a few years and was a team of mainly graduates who put everything they had to release games that they could put their names to. As failed projects piled up and confidence in the studio was lost and the studio had to close its door a week before Christmas. This left many of the staff in a difficult position and left them questioning if a job in the games industry was for them.
These two examples of studios struggling are prevalent in the games industry and is something that happens with all business. If the company is using all the available money on the current project and it flops it could spell the end of that business. This means having a permanent position in the games industry is rare.
Brodkin. J, (2013), “How Unity3D Became A Game-Development Beast” [Online] Available at: http://slashdot.org/topic/cloud/how-unity3d-become-a-game-development-beast/ [Accessed 25/01/14]
Chapple. C, (2013), “Unity Come to PS4 in New Partnership” [Online] Avaialble at: https://www.develop-online.net/news/unity-comes-to-ps4-in-new-sony-partnership/0114328 [Aceessed 25/01/14]
Gaft. K, (2012), “Mass Effect 3 Wii U developer faced a tough reality” [Online] Available at: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/179589/Hardwon_lessons_for_one_Wii_U_developer#.UIUYJeDzXLY [Accessed 26/01/14]
Unity3D, (2013) “Games Made With Unity” [Online] Available at: http://unity3d.com/gallery/made-with-unity/game-list [Accessed 25/01/14]
Unity3D, (2013) “Unity-Fast Facts” [Online] Available at: https://unity3d.com/company/public-relations [Accessed 25/01/14]