If you want to work in the games industry, know that it is filled with geeky guys. Be prepared to put up with a certain amount of ‘eccentricities.’ In this series, I offer up a sampling of the types of people you might meet in your journey.

Last time I talked about the ‘Burnout’, this time I’ll be talking about a close cousin to the ‘Burnout’ I like to call the ‘Broken.’

The inspiration for the name comes from something that Dan, a fellow gameplay programmer on BioShock, told me. After I was hired at Irrational, I learned that there was long search to fill the position I was hired for. When I asked Dan why it took so long, he explained that it was hard finding experienced people that still had the passion to make great games, and the person they interviewed right before me was ‘broken and bitter.’

If a Burnout is someone that quit when he realizing his time in the games industry is past, the Broken is someone that stays way pass his time in the games industry. A burnout may reduce moral temporarily, as the leaving of any good employee, having a broken in your team can depress moral for the duration of the project.

The broken is bitter and cynical, but not in a good way like normal developers. Normal developers may be cynical about ‘corporate vision’ or ‘marketing is very excited about your game,’ but they care about the team and producing good quality work. The broken will seek busy work so it looks like he is being productive.

It can be difficulty to spot a broken game developer from a normal one, because you might dismiss him as just being incompetent. So here is a checklist you might want to use:

  • Has been in several companies
  • Has been in the industry over 5 years
  • Likes assignments that aren’t essential
  • Does passable jobs on assignments, but not the quality you’d expect from his experience
  • Likes to criticize the company/management, but not in terms like ‘I wish we would…’ or ‘We need to learn…’

A note about the last item, it is very normal for game developers to bitch about the company during lunch. It blows off steam and focuses on issues that bothers the team and can lead to things changing for the better.

Have you had a brush with a Broken game developer? Leave a comment or email me at blog@alwaysongames.com about your experiences.

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