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15 Types of game developers

by Iuliana U on 03/31/20 12:20:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

The Nice Guy

yes man gif

“Sure, I can make time”, “Let’s not disagree right away.”

He’s the nicest guy you’ve worked with and so positive. Right after meeting you, he’ll tell you all about his kids, his wife and his dog. He makes everyone feels like they knew him for years. Strives to make everyone feel welcomed, be helpful and makes sure that every idea is heard.

The more you work with him, the more you notice that he supports not only your ideas, but all ideas, no matter how bad or nonsensical. Your protests and contradictions turn his smile upside down. He will later tell you off for being too stubborn and not considering everyone’s feelings.

The GOOD:

Makes every team member feel heard and appreciated. Always ready to inject positivity in to an ordinary day. Easy to befriend and a perfect companion for water cooler conversations. If there’s a task you don’t want to do, you know who to give it to. He won’t mind.

The BAD:

Will not support any idea or move that has the potential to create conflict. Enthusiastically supports a stupid idea as soon as it leaves someone’s mouth. The desire to befriend everyone has replaced his better judgment. Aims to create peace and a friendly atmosphere by avoiding and not addressing conflict at all costs.

 

The One-man Army

The One-man Army gif

“I can do that. How hard can it be?”, “Why pay someone when I can do it myself.”

Not only does she write her own code, but also composes the music, draws all the graphic assets and manages the marketing too. She can tell you which engine is best, how to reuse assets effectively and where to get the best bagels in town. Loves looking up tutorials and trying out new tools.

When you see the number of games she has shipped, you want to quit the industry and reconsider your life choices. Most of them work only half the time though, this one has garish neon colors flickering, and the music on that one makes you want to go deaf. But hey, at least she’s trying, right?

The GOOD:

Can cover a wide range of roles and is the perfect representation of an indie developer. No need to spend money you don’t have when she can fill a role you need. Constantly learning new skills and actively publishing new games.

The BAD:

Won’t listen to any advice, acts like an expert on every topic. Ignores your years of experience with intricate code or visual design, because she spent a few days watching tutorials on YouTube and messing with some tools.

 

The Researcher

The Researcher gif

“Well, Berman says this is a mistake.”, “That’s not how you’re supposed to do it.”

He’s read every major book on game design twice and taken notes. He even read the obscure ones. Have you read any good books on the topic? Those are garbage by the way; he knows a few blogs that propose better ideas. He’s got loads of book knowledge ammunition and he’s ready to use it in every meeting to correct you.

He’ll debate you endlessly on development strategies and their pros and cons. He’ll enlighten you about the right way and the wrong way to do things, constantly. With so much knowledge and talk about theory, you’ll be surprised to learn, that he actually never shipped a single game. He just needs a bit more research, you see.

The GOOD:

Makes for a great live encyclopedia on a topic. Can help solve a range of problems and discuss the pros and cons of a solution. Attends every video game conference religiously and wears that fact like a badge of honor. Can draw you a diagram and create a mean design doc.

The BAD:

Unable to grasp the fact that “doing things right” is often impractical and unrealistic. Will get stuck on the simplest of tasks and never finish the work, because he’s busy looking for the optimal solution. Demands to have daily lengthy meetings and produces mile-long design docs that no one ever reads.

 

The Auteur

The Auteur gif

“No. It’s simple. Just do what I tell you.”, “I don’t understand what’s taking so long.”

Only she has passion and vision in this company, that is why she drives her team so hard. She comes up with new feature ideas every other month and expects everyone to drop what they are doing and get on that ASAP. Everyone on her team must feel lucky to be there and work with such a visionary.

Do you have any ideas? Just so you know, the good ones are hers and the stupid ones belong solely to you. Most of your time will be spent tiptoeing around her moods and getting whiplash from her ever-changing feedback. Prepare to let new phrases and feelings in to your life, like “walking on egg shells” and “people pleaser”.

The GOOD:

Has a skill for finding sponsors for any project. Provides a constant stream of instructions on what everyone should be doing. Holds everyone to a high, unachievable standard, making them do their best. Repels lazy and mediocre workers.

The BAD:

Comes up with a new idea in the middle of the project and demands everyone start implementing it immediately, no questions asked. On any day, may decide that the previous work is garbage, even though it was approved a month ago. Demands everyone work hard and not expect much praise or recognition, we’re making history here!

 

The Downer

The Downer gif

“That’ll never work.”, “No one will appreciate your hard work anyway.”

He used to be an enthusiastic, bright-eyed newbie who got his break early and was hired by a big company. Unfortunately, he was put through the wringer and exploited until the last of his optimism and enthusiasm vanished. Now, 15 years later, he’s here to remind you of the harsh realities of life.

You can rely on his experience and he works hard. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to stop reliving his trauma and disappointment, taking you along for the ride. Your feeble attempts at bringing up the bright side of life will be treated as a challenge to come up with the most drawn out and delicious string of complaints yet.

The GOOD:

Brings a sense of stability and level-headedness in to the company. Can help avoid feature creep and common mistakes by listing all the ways things can go wrong. Does not complain when things go wrong, after all, he’s been predicting this moment for years!

The BAD:

Seems to be pessimistic no matter the circumstances. Needs a constant stream of young enthusiastic coworkers to feed on. Can’t seem to cheer up or consider both sides of life, no matter how hard you try to motivate him. Will not give up until the whole company becomes just as unmotivated.

 

The Too Cool for School

The Too Cool for School gif

“This is just a temp job, until I publish my game”, “I’m telling you, VR is going to be BIG!”

She’s laid back, approachable and fun to hang with. Has all these ideas and talks about the latest trends and popular games that recently came out. Is fixated on “sticking it to the man” and “rooting for the underdog” despite working for big companies all her career.

She does good work, when she can muster the effort necessary to make it. Whenever you pass by her desk, she seems to be busy working, but mostly on her own projects. Planning her amazing game that is going to be “released soon” is her favorite pastime. Sometimes, you feel like she just wants everyone to see her as “different” and “edgy”.

The GOOD:

Chill, friendly and rarely displays anger or frustration - the kind of person people enjoy working with. Doesn’t take the job too seriously and knows how to relax. A great source of the latest trends and technologies. Will tell you the latest news and trends on a daily basis.

The BAD:

Tries to solve problems in a unique way that is in line with the “latest” trends. Constantly shares complaints and theories about the status quo. Won’t stop giving unsolicited advice on why you should start your own company and the best way to publish your game.

 

The Brag

The Brag gif

“At Blizzard we used to do it differently.”, ”I can tell you things about Microsoft that will curl your toes.”

He’s the prized possession of your company. Just like an expensive car, he looks and talks the part and aims to impress. His work experience includes big companies and popular projects. He might have been a small cog back there, but to your superiors he’s a certified professional.

He constantly brags and namedrops. You soon start to wonder how much of his accomplishments are his own and how much was actually done by his teammates. By the meager amount of work he does and the truckload he delegates, you can tell that the only professional part of him is his self-marketing skill.

The GOOD:

Can give an inside look at the strategies and solutions experienced companies use. Provides hours of entertainment by talking about all the cool inside jokes and parties at big companies. Knows a lot of famous and talented people that he can ask for favors.

The BAD:

Uses his resume as an explanation on why he is right and his ideas are great. Gets defensive, aggressive, nervous and vague when you ask him to describe in detail what exactly is it that he did in his previous position. Only listens and considers the opinions of people who have experience working for large companies.

 

The Inventor of the Wheel

The Inventor of the Wheel gif

“My code was suboptimal, so I rewrote all of it”, ”Want to do it right, do it yourself.”

She can’t leave a piece of code alone, until she rewrites it at least five times from scratch. She writes her own code, her own test tools, her own level editor and even her own engine. If she could write the hardware drivers too, she would. After all, the most optimal things are those you build yourself.

You’ll be shocked when you learn the amount of work hours she puts in. You wonder why she feels the need to make everything from scratch. Is it because she lost faith in humanity, or because she loves to endlessly tinker with the things she creates? Either way, make sure to backup her work. She’s bound to try and rewrite it sooner or later.

The GOOD:

A talented professional who knows the ins and outs of complex systems. Has a burning passion for optimization and figuring out how things work. Puts in a lot of work hours without asking for much in return. Can be motivated by complex technical problems and unsolved Rubik's Cubes.

The BAD:

Insists on starting a project from the very beginning, way back when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Endlessly iterates on things and takes ages to make any progress. Spends more time fixing things that broke than creating something new. Seems to be more interested in “the journey” than releasing a complete product.

 

The Rookie

The Rookie gif

“I’m so excited to work here – this is my dream job!”, “I’ll stay with this company forever.”

Look at that wonderful rookie. Eyes full of hope, head full ideas and a never-ending storage of energy. He can crunch for months without breaking down or ending up in the hospital. He’s powered by junk food and endless enthusiasm. Friendly, eager to learn and as excitable as a puppy.

You were a rookie once and this volcano of energy is a cute nostalgia hit. He tries so hard that your boss is starting the get the wrong idea. Now you’re the one being lectured on how you should be just as enthusiastic as the newcomer. You feel like he’s secretly plotting to learn everything you know, to replace you, or worse - become your boss.

The GOOD:

Makes up for inexperience with an explosion of enthusiasm and desire to learn. Friendlier and more approachable than many of the other coworkers. Will work for pennies and the bright promise of experience and “exposure”. Eagerly takes on any task, no matter if it’s taking meeting notes or bringing coffee.

The BAD:

Makes everyone else look old, lazy and jaded in comparison. Enthusiastic and ambitious to the point of being nauseating. Lacks experience and asks tons of questions even about the most basic things. Can’t make a single decision without first double-checking it with everyone all the time.

 

The Gifted One

The Gifted One gif

“……….what?”, “No.”

Who’s that weirdo sitting in the corner with five tons of makeup and a desk littered in takeout? That’s the key player in our team! You should see her code – it’s nothing short of brilliant. State what problem you want solved and she’ll work on it day and night, until you see the final result in action, no further input necessary.

Her weird reggae music and incense burner are driving you up the wall, but to her, these are essential elements of getting in the zone. You start to wonder if she erased the social part of her brain to make room for more knowledge and professional skill. Kindergarteners have better social skills than she does, but can they code just as well? She thinks not.

The GOOD:

Saves money on office parties and events by not participating in any of it. Prefers solving complex problems in her own special way no matter what the rest of the team think about this process. The smartest and the most productive worker a company can have.

The BAD:

Speaks a different language from the rest of us. Forgoes documentation or code comments and doesn’t care for any of that. Spends two hours creating code that your team will take two days trying to understand. Lacks any type of social courtesy or common sense. Has unusual habits that drive everyone else crazy.

 

The Idea Fountain

The Idea Fountain gif

“I have a great idea! How about we…”, “Let’s add guns! They’re trending right now.”

He is energetic and loves meetings more than anyone else in your company. They are his moment to shine and finally unload all of the brilliant ideas he has been hatching since he was a young man. Ninjas with machine guns, that one cool mechanic from Assasin’s Creed game he played. Who cares if it fits well or is feasible, it’s the idea that matters!

You start to dread discussing features or art in meetings. This fountain is bound to sprout at the most inappropriate moment, with the most random and uninformed ideas and feedback. You then spend the rest of your time and effort on trying to shoot them down and explain why they are not good. Before you know it, the Lead likes his idea and you get tasked with implementing it.

The GOOD:

Can inject energy and creativity in to a tense work environment and spark everyone’s imagination. Self-motivated and enthusiastic to bring you the latest and most creative ideas from other games. An active presence in the project and always ready to give you feedback and ideas on any subject.

The BAD:

Makes feedback meetings a nightmare, with bizarre, uninformed but very enthusiastic and friendly ideas. Gets offended and defensive after you shoot down most of them. Refuses to listen to reason and continues to be an active presence in every conversation, no matter the subject.

 

The Honest Worker

The Honest Worker gif

“I’d love to do it, but I’m not qualified for it”, “OK”

She comes to work on time and does her job well. She’s not a genius, but she’s not bad either. When her coworkers are asked to give feedback, they don’t know what to say. She’s so well rounded, she slips out of everyone’s mind. She’s just there and does what she’s supposed to do and that’s ok

You haven’t talked to her much, but she seems alright, if a bit obscure. You’ve tried to get to know her, but she’s generic enough that you keep confusing her with the other hundred coworkers just like her. Nothing much to say about her, she’s just an honest worker.

The GOOD:

Does what needs to be done reliably and on time. Doesn’t complain much, overshare or have weird habits. The work gets done without much fanfare or drama.

The BAD:

Well rounded to the point of being bland, uninteresting and boring. Will never speak up, suggest a novel solution or idea. Just provide the request and it get’s done without anyone noticing.

 

The Rockstar

The Rockstar gif

He once created a game that blew up and became extremely popular. That was way way back though, so now he’s in a never-ending quest to recapture the glory of a time long gone. He spends more time attending conferences, giving talks and interviews than he does improving his skills.

You’re excited to work with him and he has lots of cool stories to tell. Unfortunately, he took success as approval to be eccentric, dress weird and act “differently”. All of his “helpful” contributions and direction has to be quietly reworked later on, since he’s so out of touch with how things are done.

The GOOD:

Has a lot of contacts in the industry and attracts talented people. Contributes years of experience to help the project avoid common pitfalls and rookie mistakes. Uses fame to inspire workers to do their best and dream of someday being just as iconic.

The BAD:

Refuses to give up creative control of the project and insists on contributing, despite being underqualified. Gathers a cloud of yes-men and often creates and fuels unhealthy conflicts and competition among workers. Completely out of touch with the economic realities of today.

 

The Simulator

The Simulator gif

“Can you help me with something?”, “I was paid way more at my previous company.”

She must be related to a chameleon or octopus, because her ability to blend in to the background and remain unnoticed is legendary. Her amazing camouflage skills are surpassed only by her ability to simulate hard work. She’s a regular in the vast jungles of large companies, where she can safely dissolve in to mediocrity and do as little work as possible.

You wonder how she got through the rigorous interview process to work here, despite having zero work enthusiasm or drive. She constantly complains to everyone about the pay, and the work, and the boss, and the coffee. How dare you suggest she’s not doing her job?! She’s just efficiently delegating her work to others.

The GOOD:

Loves and lives for extracurricular activities, office parties, birthdays and water cooler conversations. An expert in self-promotion, empty banter, exaggeration and charming the superiors. Provides daily updates on the latest trashy news, office gossip and popular TV shows.

The BAD:

Works hard the first few months, or until the manager becomes complacent and stops checking on the progress. Enthusiastically does work that matters little and makes the least impact. Finds willing “collaborators” to do the bulk of the important work, while working on befriending the higher-ups.

 

The Cool One

The Cool One gif

“I’ve brought coffee and bagels.”, “That’s ok, let’s find a way to fix this.”

He’s the one who brings you coffee and bagels when you’re crunching. When there’s a problem, he considers every option and focuses on the solution. He doesn’t scream when you clearly messed up. He remains level headed, supportive and laid back. He doesn’t hover or micromanage.

You can’t believe he’s real. There must be something under that smooth friendly exterior. A weird sex fetish, a gambling obsession, a drinking problem, something! In the zoo you call a workplace, he’s the most cool and pleasant human to work with. Makes you want to question your sanity. Surely he must be a dream.

The GOOD:

Friendly and level-headed. Focuses on finding a solution instead of placing blame. Never cracks under pressure and keeps his cool no matter how much you screwed up. Always happy to help and support you in a tough situation. Restores your faith in humanity.

The BAD:

Lacks drive and ability to be more aggressive when the situation calls for it. Always aims to be diplomatic even when that approach is clearly not working. Makes all the other coworkers look like mentally unstable lunatics with severe psychological issues.


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