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TIGSource ForumsPlayerGeneralShare your experience working in AAA industry
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J-Snake
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« on: April 25, 2019, 10:53:23 AM »

If you have some experience to share on that matter (in particular from programmer's perspective), I am especially interested in these 3 points:

- Job security ("hire-and-fire" on a title basis?)
- Salary expectations
- Working conditions (severity of "crunch-time" etc.)

I am asking because I have the opportunity to join the engine team to work on the Snowdrop engine (Ubisoft).
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Superb Joe
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2019, 03:45:45 AM »

no input just saying congrats, that sounds cool and i hope it works out for you
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ProgramGamer
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2019, 07:25:53 AM »

Ditto, sounds like a pretty great opportunity!
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Cobralad
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2019, 11:14:14 AM »

are you getting hired in on of the eastern european offices or going west/uS?
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J-Snake
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2019, 01:05:25 PM »

The studio of interest is located in Germany.
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2019, 04:08:26 PM »

I don’t know what it’s like outside of the US. In the US my experience with AAA is they don’t pay competitively, and there’s widespread toxic age discrimination against young people. I’ve had many opportunities denied not based on merit but based on age alone. There’s a concept in American AAA of “paying your dues” by sitting around with no opportunity to take on responsibility at work. I’ve had to carefully position myself around people who see me for the things I can accomplish as opposed to a number of years of experience. Identifying talent requires a lot of skill, and most people hiring do not know how to evaluate talent or merit, and instead rely solely on years of experience.

So I left the game industry and will not return until they pay competitively and undergo a fundamental paradigm shift. To me I think western games are ripe for innovation and a new generation of capitalist competition. I think the old guard of AAA have outdated and inneffective business practices. They don’t know what software engineering of today looks like, and they overvalue their subjective experiences from decades ago when games weren’t such serious business. I think they will die out soon and the next generation of innovation will out-compete old business practices.
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badru
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2019, 02:43:34 PM »

Big companies have employees who've been there a long time and cemented specific social norms. Internal politics, and who you do or don't get along with, may have a big effect on your career and general emotional well-being.

Working at an engine may sound sexy in a way, but beware that especially coming from indie, the shift away from creativity can be harsh. So make sure you actually want to work on an engine, and not on games.

Big companies also have a lot of weird cruft internally, people who've been there a long time and don't really care to do good work, tiers of executives calling the shots in ways that don't really make sense. Be ready to not feel proud of the product that actually comes out at the end of the tunnel.

All that said, the financial stability can be tremendous, and if you do want to work on an engine, and you do well in a large established company setting, it might be great for you. Congrats on the opportunity regardless!
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InfiniteStateMachine
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2019, 02:29:10 PM »

The answers to your questions depends on location. I'm not familiar with Germany unfortunately.

Crunch is going to happen at some point. It's just a question of how long the crunch is.

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michaelplzno
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« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2020, 06:58:47 AM »

I enjoyed working AAA but there was a lot of "territoriality" meaning everyone had their own little piece of the game that they coded and it was sort of a struggle to get your own piece of anything. There was a lot of clashing between personalities that showed up in the code. The lead of the project coded in C and the rest of the team layered C++ on top, which of course sort of indicates a kind of a split between everyone right there.

I was really low level, but they had me come in and fix bugs in other people's stuff, so of course no one liked me. But hey, if code is broken its gotta be fixed somehow. All things considered they were pretty tolerant of me coming in and reworking other people's stuff, especially since I was so young at the time. My biggest regret is that I didn't stay working in AAA a bit longer before my rocky road to being an indie.

But your millage may vary, some AAA companies can be real meat grinders etc.
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